At poker, you play against the other players for the highest combination of a maximum of five cards from a total of seven cards. Each player gets two closed cards (pocket cards or hole cards). The other five cards are placed open on the table (the board).
The dealer/the button
The dealer goes around the table clockwise, so that every player gets the chance to be the last one to take action in the first round. The first card is dealt to the person left of the button. The button itself gets the last card. After every round, the button moves to the next player, also clockwise.
Small and big blinds
Before the game starts, two players left of the dealer need to place the blind bets. They have to make a bet before they see their cards. The first player on the left side of the dealer must place the small blind, which is usually half the minimum bet. The second player on the left of the dealer, places the big blind, which usually equals the minimum bet.
The game is played in four phases, with a betting round in each phase.
Round 1: the Deal
Each player receives two cards, which are faced down. These are also called pocket cards or hole cards. For instance you've received . Only you can see these two cards. The first player that's up, is the player on the left side of the dealer. He looks at his cards, and then chooses to do one of three things:
Call: place the bet equal to the big blind
Raise: raise the bet of the big blind
Fold: muck or throw your cards.
Round 2: the Flop
When the first betting round has ended, the dealer places three more cards on the middle of the table. This is called the flop. The players that are still in the game now have two closed cards, and three open cards.
The flop for instance is: .
The second round starts at the player left of the dealer. You now have the chance to make a flush of hearts if the turn (the fourth card) is also hearts. Or you could make a straight if the turn is a jack or a 6. You can choose from these options:
Bet: bet an amount
Call: go along with the bet that a player before you has bet
Check: wait for someone else to place a bet
Raise: raise the bet of another player
Reraise: raise the bet after another player has raised it before you
Fold: throw or muck your cards.
Round 3: the Turn
The dealer places a fourth card next to the flop. This is called the turn card. The whole process starts all over again. Bet, call, raise, re-raise, check or fold.
The turn for instance is:
This fourth card did not strengthen your hand. To make a winning hand, you have another chance of getting a hearts card on the river (the name of the fifth card) or a 6 or a jack to make a straight.
Round 4: the River
Another open card is added to the cards already open on the table. In total, there are now five cards open on the middle of the table. This fifth card is called the river card. And again, the whole process starts again: Bet, call, raise, re-raise, check or fold.
The river for instance is: .
The river has turned your hand into a flush ( ).
The players still in the game show the cards they were given at the beginning of the game. The player with the best hand, wins the pot.
Practice Texas Hold'em for fun or play for real money at: