How to Play Texas Hold'em Poker in 7 Quick Steps!
Texas Hold’em is still the most popular poker variant on the planet. Prestigious tournaments with mind-boggling prize pools are one of the most appealing things about the game.
So, how can you get started learning how to play Texas Hold’em poker?
888poker makes it easy to learn basic Texas Hold'em rules, using the 7 simple steps below:
- Texas Hold’em Rules
- Pre-flop Action
- Post-flop Action
- Post-turn Action
- Post-river Action
- What Happens at Showdown
- Know Your Poker Hand Rankings
Texas Hold’em Rules
There are several basic rules to this poker format that you should know:
- Two forced bets – called the Small Blind and Big Blind are collected before cards are dealt.
- All players get two cards dealt face down in the pre-flop betting round.
- Only one player can act at a time, beginning with the player left of the big blind.
- That Under-the-Gun player can fold (not play the hand), call (match a prior bet or raise) or raise (increase the size of current bet or raise).
- The action moves clockwise around the table. Each player has the same available options.
- When all players have acted, and the pot is correct, the betting round ends.
Newbie Tip: Check out the table position names, as these will affect your actions both pre and post-flop. In general, the closer you are to the Button, the more hands you can play.
All players receive two face-down cards in the pre-flop round. (This round occurs before the first 3 (called the Flop) of 3 community cards.) Only one player can act at a time, beginning with the player left of the big blind.
That Under-the-Gun player can take one of the following three actions –
- FOLD (not play the hand)
- CALL (match a prior bet or raise)
- RAISE (increase size of current bet or raise)
The action moves clockwise around the table. Each player has the same available options. With no prior raise, the Big Blind can also check.
When all players have acted, and the pot is correct, the betting round ends.
Newbie Tip: Make sure that you know when it’s your time to act. Online you can set your PC sound levels, so you don’t get timed out and fold a winner!
As soon as the pre-flop betting round ends, the post-flop action begins.
Three cards - called the Flop - are dealt face up in the centre of the table.
Betting options and rules are almost precisely the same as pre-flop.
Players can take the following actions –
- CHECK (bet nothing)
- RAISE – depending on their position and any other prior action.
The first player to act post-flop is the first player with a hand to the left of the dealer button.
Newbie Tip: It can take a bit of time to know whether to check, bet, call, raise or fold post-flop. But the more flops you see, the sooner you'll get a feel for it.
Once all players have had their chance to act post-flop, the next card to be dealt is called the Turn.
This round of betting has the same rules and options as the previous ones.
Players can exercise one of the following five options –
- CALL (if there's a previous bet)
- RAISE (if there's a bet)
Hopefully, you will “turn” one of the top hands in the standard Texas Hold’em Poker Hand Rankings chart. (See section 7 below)
Now you could find yourself on the way to winning a monster pot!
Newbie Tip: The Turn is where your hand is either made or very far behind. You should evaluate where you stand before chasing that river card to win.
The next community card dealt out is called the River. In all previous rounds of betting, you had the possibility of improving your hand.
But this round is different.
The River is the fifth and final of the five community cards.
But players still have the following five options –
- CALL(if there's already a bet)
- RAISE (if there's already a bet)
Next up is the final and most exciting step. You get to find out if you’ll be dragging the pot or mucking your hand!
Newbie Trivia: The River card possibly gets its name from Stud Poker Games - a poker format played on the Mississippi Riverboats in the 1800s.
Newbie Tip: Also, the River is your final stab and making a winning hand. So, make sure you get there with only your best made hands and/or draws.
What Happens at Showdown
The Showdown is one of the tensest and most exciting stages of the game.
At this point, if at least two players remain, the winner must show their hand to win the pot.
The player with the best 5-card poker hand wins - per the rankings listed in Step 7.
With no more betting rounds left, that player with the best five-card hand scoops the lot!
Fingers crossed, that's you
If that’s not you, the good news is that another poker hand is on the way!
Hey, you never know; the next hand could be the one that rakes you in a big pot!
Newbie Tip: Make sure you read your 5-card hand correctly at Showdown. Once you’ve made the call or raise, you can’t take it back – even if you misread your hand!
Know Your Poker Hand Rankings
Bluffing and mind games aside, you'll still have to form the strongest 5-card hand possible to win at Showdown.
Players can use their two hole cards along with 3 of the 5 community cards (cards dealt in the middle of the table available for all players to use). They can also use any mix of 5-cards.
When players have the same hand, their other cards or “kickers” come into play.
See chart for the complete list of Poker Hand Rankings
Newbie Tip: Knowing what hand beats what will help you figure out what to do at Showdown (when the winner is announced). If you’re sure that you have the winner – bet or raise for value. If not, you might have to make a “hero call” or even make that tough fold.
Top Betting Formats in Texas Hold'em
Knowing the number of betting rounds in Texas Hold'em poker isn't all there is to the game.
It is essential to understand that there are three major betting structures:
- No Limit:
This betting structure is the most common in Texas Hold'em. Players can bet or raise in all their chips (known as going all-in). The minimum raise must equal the previous bet or raise. If the raiser has fewer chips than the minimum, they would be all-in.
And, if another player wants to raise again (called a 3bet), they must raise at least the amount of the previous raise. It can get a little confusing and intimidating. But in online poker, the numbers are all worked out for you.
- No Limit:
- Fixed Limit (also called Limit):
In Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em Poker games, you can only bet a set amount at any one time. You can raise a set number of times per street (flop, turn and river). The raises are typically set at a maximum of four per street.
Pre-flop and post-flop, the bet amount is called the Small Bet. The fixed bet post-turn and post-river is usually double the Small Bet and is referred to as the Big Bet. This format is excellent for beginner players are there is a maximum amount you cane wager/risk.
- Fixed Limit (also called Limit):
- Pot Limit
In Pot-Limit Hold'em, players may bet or raise any amount over the minimum raise, up to the current pot size (known as betting pot). A pot raise amount is the current size of the pot, plus the current bet amount, plus your call of that bet amount.
For example, say the pot is $100, and the current bet is $25. The pot raise would be $100 (pot size) + $25 (bet) + $25 (call) = $150. You can raise to that amount, plus an additional $25 for your call, making a total of $175.
- Pot Limit
- Newbie Tip:
Luckily for you, when playing pot-limit games online, the calculations are done automatically. You can raise pot at the click of a button!
You can also use the pre-set BET/RAISE buttons to create customised raise amounts in one click. So, there’s no need to fiddle with keys, sliders or do complicated calculations to get the bet/raise percentages you want!
- Newbie Tip:
Ready to Put All You've Learned into Action?
At 888poker, you will find a wide range of Texas Hold'em games –
- Multi-Table Tournaments (lots of players on more than one table at the same time)
- Sit & Go's (set number of players – usually from 6 to 180 maximum)
- Cash Games (real money tables where you can come and go, as you please)
It's as easy as 1-2-3 to download the state-of-the-art poker app software and start crushing the tables.
- Start with our Beginner Play Money tables and put into practice what you've learned here.
- You can also play at the Cash Money Tables for nothing with our No Deposit Bonuses.
- Or get free entry to events by following the 888poker social media channels –
Ready to move up to the real cash money games? New depositing players can take advantage of 888poker's signature Welcome Bonus Package. It features a deposit bonus of 100% up to $400.
Isn't it time you started playing Hold’em Poker at 888poker?
For official Texas Hold'em rules to the game, including all terms and conditions, please click here.