Rules for Poker
Poker first emerged in America in the early 1800's. The game was first played in New Orleans, and from there spread north and north west along the Mississippi in the steam-boat saloon culture of 19th America. Many variations have emerged since that time and taken their turn in popularity including Five Card Draw, Seven Card Stud, Five Card Stud, and Omaha. Poker undoubtedly has made a recent evolutionary jump since the World Series of Poker was introduced. It has proved to be a massive hit with the media, punters, and even online poker revenues have grown exceptionally.
Today major betting sites offer satellite tournaments where players can enter real life poker events. They even provide poker training for those who are new to the game, teaching them how to master the art of poker
before playing for real money.
Number of Players
Texas Hold’em can be played by as few as 2 and as many as 10 players.
Texas Hold’em is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. Cards rank A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and A where and the Ace may be counted as 1, ranking below 2 in a straight, or high, ranking above the King.
The objective of the game is to win the pot by either;
- having the highest-ranking hand at the showdown, or;
- to be the last player standing after everyone else has folded.
Deal and Play
Posting the Blinds
The game begins with two players left of the Dealer placing an initial bet. This is called ‘posting the blinds’. In Texas Hold’em there are no antes, but rather forced bets or blinds.
The player to the immediate left of the Dealer posts a small bet, called the ‘Small Blind’, which is usually equal to half the minimum bet.
The player left of the small blind, then post a bet called the ‘Big Blind’, which is equal to the minimum bet.
Beginning with the player to the Dealer’s left, each player is dealt two cards, one at a time, face down. These are called the ‘player’s hole’ or ‘pocket cards’.
First Round of Betting
Each player will now look at their pocket cards. Beginning with the player left of the Big Blind, each player takes it in turn to bet, raise or fold. The option to check is not available at this stage. To stay in each player must either match the Big Blind or see any previous raise. This also means that the Small Blind will have to increase his/her bet to match the Big Blind or any previous raise so that at the end of the round, all players staying in have an equal number of chips in the pot. Any player who folds automatically forfeits his/her bet and cannot re-enter the betting process again.
The Dealer then burns the top card of the deck, and deals the next three cards face up to the center of the table. This is called the ‘Flop’. These are communal cards with the idea being that a player can combine any number of his/her pocket cards, with any number of the communal cards to form a five-card Poker hand.
Beginning with the first active player in clockwise direction from the Dealer, each player takes it in turn to check, bet, raise or fold.
The Dealer then burns the top card of the deck and deals out another card face up to the center of the table. This card is called the ‘Turn’.
Third Round of Betting
Beginning with the player to the Dealer’s left, each player takes it in turn to check, bet, raise or fold.
The Dealer then burns the top card of the deck, and deals the next card face up in the center of the table. This is called the ‘River’.
There are now five community cards lying face up in the center of the table. Players are now able to use any number of their pocket cards in combination with any number of community cards to form their best five-card Poker hand.
There is now a final found of betting, beginning with the player who was last to bet or raise, where players can check, bet, raise or fold. A player who folds forfeits his bet to the pot and cannot re-enter the betting process.
The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot. If two or more players have the same ranking hand, then who ever holds the highest card breaks the tie. For example, if two players hold a flush, one 7 high, the other Queen high, then the Queen high flush wins the pot. If the tie cannot be resolved in this way, then the players split the pot evenly. In some rare cases the five cards making up the board will actually be the best hand, in which case everyone left in the hand divides up the pot.
If all players fold but one, then the last player standing wins the pot but does not have to show his/her hand.
At the end of play, the deal proceeds to the left.