There is a variety of different poker varieties out there, however, Texas Hold em is by far the best game for a beginner to learn how to play.  Texas Hold em can be learnt in a matter of minutes and after familiarizing yourself with the basics of the game, you can be playing fairly well within a few hours!  In order to fully learn and understand the game, you should be playing fairly often.

A typical game of Texas Hold’em Poker goes as follows:

  • The way the betting is structured can vary from game to game.  The game starts with 2 players to the left of the dealer placing a determined amount as the starting amount to get the betting started.  This is called “posting the blind”.   They are called ‘blinds’ because they are made before the layers have seen the cards and is a method of forced betting to ensure that there is money in the pot.  The player to the left of the dealer posts the ‘small blind’ and the player positioned to his left will post the ‘big blind’.
  • Once the blinds have been placed, the dealer shuffles the deck of 52 playing cards.
  • Each player is dealt ‘pocket cards’ or ‘hole cards’ which are 2 cards dealt face down.
  • A round of betting then ensues with the player to the left of the 2 players who initially posted the blinds betting first.
  • Players can then either call the bet, raise the bet or fold.  This round of betting is referred to as the ‘pre-flop’ (before the flop is dealt by the dealer).

Call:                match the amount that was bet in the big blind
Raise:            increase the amount bet
Fold:              Give up the cards which means giving up any stake in the hand at play

This procedure is continued clockwise around the table until every player has had a chance to act on their poker hand.  If one of the players raise, then all players wishing to remain in the pot must match the amount of the raise, re-raise or fold without having to invest any more money.  The player in the ‘big blind’ (the first compulsory full bet), can ‘check’ and opt to stay in the game without adding anything to the pot.  However, if an opponent has raised, then the big blind has three options:  fold, call, or re-raise.

  • Once this initial round of betting is completed, the dealer discards of the top card of the deck which becomes the ‘burn card’.  The reason for the ‘burn card’ is to prevent any cheating.
  • The next 3 cards of the dealer pack are then flipped face up on the table for all the players to see.  These 3 cards are referred to as ‘the flop’.  The flop cards are communal and can be used in combination with the players’ two pocket cards to form a poker hand.
  • Another round of betting ensues starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
  • Once the betting is complete, another card is ‘burnt’ by the dealer and he then flips one more card onto the table.  This card is called the ‘turn’ card and, if suitable, players can now use this sixth card to form a five card poker hand.
  • The player to the left of the dealer begins another round of betting.
  • After the betting round, the dealer burns a card and places a final 5th card face up on the table.  This is called the ‘river’ and players can now use any of the 5 cards on the table or the two cards in their pocket to form a winning hand.
  • There is then one last round of betting which is again, started with the player to the left of the dealer.
  • Once this is all over, all the players remaining in the game begin to reveal their hands.  This will start with the player to the left of the last player to call and is referred to as the ‘showdown’.  Players use a combination of their pocket cards and the community cards to form a winning hand.
  • The player who has the best hand wins (see rank of hands).  There are occasions where players with equal strength hands share the winnings (pot).