How To Play Texas Holdem Poker -- Learn Texas Holdem Rules

Man throwing playing cards onto pile of poker chips
Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Master the rules of Texas Holdem in minutes and learn how to play this extremely popular poker game.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 15 Minutes

What You Need:

  • 52-Card Deck
  • 2-20 Players
  • Money or Chips

Here's How:

  1. The two players to the left of the dealer put out blind bets. The player directly to the dealer's left puts out the small blind, while the player two to the dealer's left puts out the big blind, which is twice as much as the small blind.

    Don't know what blinds are? Read more about Betting Basics
     
  1. Every player is dealt two cards, face down. These are called hole cards or pocket cards.
     
  2. The action, or the first move, falls on the player to the left of the big blind. They can either call the blind, raise it, or fold. The size of a raise must be at least twice the size of the bet preceding it; the maximum depends on whether you are playing with a limit or no-limit betting structure. Betting then continues around the table, clockwise.
     
  3. After the betting round is completed, three cards are dealt face up in the center of the table, which is referred to as the board. The first three cards in Texas Hold'em are called the flop. These cards are “community cards” meaning everyone can (and will need to) use at least three of them in combination with their own hole cards to make the best hand.
     
  4. From the flop on, betting begins with the player to the dealer’s left, who can check or bet. The players after must either check or bet if no one has bet yet; or they must call, raise, or fold if someone has.
     
  1. A fourth card is dealt face up onto the board. This is called fourth street or the turn card.
     
  2. Another round of betting.
     
  3. The final card is dealt face up. This card is also called fifth street or the river.
     
  4. A final round of betting occurs. The remaining players show their cards and the person who can make the best five card hand by combining their pocket cards with the cards on the board wins.

    Note: In some rare cases in Texas Hold'em, the five cards making up the board will actually be the best hand, in which case everyone left in the hand divides up the poker.
  1. The deal passes to the next player to the left (who was small blind last hand) and a new hand is dealt.

And now you know all the basic rules to Texas Hold'em poker!

Tips:

  1. Make sure you learn the best starting hands in Texas Hold'em poker and how to play them, as well as the worst starting hands to play. Playing the former and folding the latter will immediately make you a better player.
  2. Once you've got the basics of how to play, make sure to understand your position at the table can help or hurt you.
  3. It's always a good idea to follow good poker etiquette.
  4. It is also always smart to follow these top 10 tips to make you a better poker player.
  5. Practice reading the board and which hand beats which with the Texas Hold'em Quiz.