Each player is dealt two cards, by the dealer, face down. These are the “hole cards” or the “pocket cards” or the player’s hand. After each player has had the opportunity to see his cards, the first round of betting takes place. Each hand begins with the player at the left of the dealer position posting the small blind. The player in the seat to the left of the small blind posts the big blind. The rest of the players do not post a bet, but every player will get the opportunity to be the dealer, the small blind, and the big blind as the dealer button rotates to the left at the onset of each hand. The player at the left of big blind then starts the round by either folding, calling or raising. Then each player acts in turn, around the table, until it reaches the player that has the big blind. If no player has raised by the time the bet reaches the big blind, the player in this seat can either raise or check. A check bet means the player does not need to bet anymore but is still in the game.
After this first round of betting is complete, the dealer burns one card and then deals three community cards on the table, face up. These three cards are called “the flop.” The second round of betting then takes place. The player sitting at the left of the button has two options: to check or to bet. Then each player bets in turn around the table, where they call, fold or raise, until it reaches the player that has the button. The player in this position can call the amount that has been raised to see the next card, raise the pot, or fold his hand. If no player bet during this round, the player on the button can check as well to complete this betting round. To learn how to play for free visit www.texasholdemonline.com
At this point, the dealer must burn another card and then deal another community card face up on the table, which is called “the turn” or “fourth street.” Another round of betting takes place in the same manner as the previous. After betting is complete, the dealer burns another card and deals the fifth and final community card face up on the table (called “the river” or “fifth street”). The final betting round then takes place. This round will be the final action and result in “the showdown,” and all remaining players will show their hands to establish the pot winner(s) or muck (not showing their hands).
To win, players must make the best five-card poker hand using one or both of their hole cards with three or four of the community cards. In the event of a tie, the pot is split.
The limit style of the game (limit, pot-limit, or no-limit) will determine the betting limitations placed on players.