The Rules of Texas Holdem Poker

Objective

The goal in Texas Holdem Poker is to win all the money wagered in a game. A player tries to make the best set of cards by combining their cards with those cards shared by all. Just which is the best set or "hand" depends on prescribed hand-rankings. But there is a twist: You can also win even with a weak set of cardsóby making your opponents believe you have a strong one. This is known as bluffing and is one of the factors that make Holdem such a captivating game.

Below we describe the rules of the game.

Setup

Holdem is usually played with more or less nine players. Before the game starts, the wagering system must be decided on. If you play in a casino, check the betting rules of the table you are joining.

In every game, there is a disc known as the "dealer button" placed in front of the player who is the dealer. Whether or not this player is really the one who deals the cards makes no difference. They are the last one to play in the game, and so are able to watch their opponents first. The button switches from one player to the next in a clockwise direction as games are played.

(NOTE: In casinos, there is an actual dealer, but they never join the game.)

Play

Play begins when two players to the left of the dealer make forced wagers called "blinds." The one to the dealer's immediate left typically makes half the minimum wager, and the second one makes the whole minimum wager.

Next, a pair of cards is given to each player, facing down. As a player looks at their cards, they must make sure that nobody else sees them. These are known as the "starting hand."

Then the wagering begins. Players take turns acting, starting with the one to the left of the blinds. To "call" is to make the same bet as the one offered. If a player does not like their cards, they can "fold" instead and not play. If someone decides to "raise" the bet, everyone else who has not folded must decide whether to call that bet or fold. The wagering ends when all players have either folded or called.

The dealer next takes three cards from the deck and lays them face up on the table. These are the first open cards known as the "flop."

This is followed by another wagering round started by the player to the dealer's left side. After this, a fourth card is dealt, called the "turn."

There is a third wagering round, to be followed by a fifth card known as the "river."

There are now two hidden cards for each player, and five open or shared cards that all can see. Players still in the game must now try to make the highest possible hand by mentally combining their cards with the community cards in any way. The total number of cards in a hand is always five.

After the five open cards are displayed, the last wagering takes place. By now the stakes are increased considerably. After this, and there is more than one active player remaining, it is time for the "showdown" where players divulge their cards. The dealer judges which hand is superior according as stated in the hand-ranking system. The winner takes all the money wagered, called the "pot."

These are the rules of Texas Holdem Poker.

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