Holdem Poker Basics

Texas Hold'em poker is one of the most popular casino games of all time thanks in part to televised poker events. By understanding the basics of the game, players can jump in headlong with a real chance to win large amounts of money.

Bets and Blinds

To get the game started, two players to the left of the dealer will place the first bets of the hand, known as blinds. The player sitting directly to the left of the dealer places the small blind bet and the player to that person's left places the big blind bet. The big blind is usually determined by table rules and the small blind is usually either half or one-third the amount of the big blind. Blinds are the first bet players are required to make, so no one can 'check'. Each player must place a blind bet.

Dealing

Each player at the table receives two face-down cards before the flop is dealt. The flop is a set of three cards that are laid in the center of the table face-up and can be used by every player at the table. After another bet is placed, the fourth community card--referred to as the 'turn'--is dealt. Finally, another bet is placed and the fifth and final community card--known as the 'river'--is dealt into play. Players are allowed to use the two cards in their hands and all five of the community cards to play.

Winning

The goal is to create the best poker hand at the table, and poker hands are ranked high to low as follows: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair and One Pair. In the event that one or more player creates the same poker hand, the hand with highest card in the winning combination takes the pot.

Playing Texas Hold'em is not quite as complicated as many people may think, especially when they consider the prestige surrounding worldwide winners. By understanding and following these basic rules, players will be on the right track to playing like the pros.