Texas Holdem Basics
Texas Holdem is fairly easy to learn (the rules are straight-forward) but playing it well with solid strategies is a much harder proposition (hard to master). Betting is a harder part of the rules. The basic rules are as follows:
- Betting starts with the placement of an ante and blinds. These are mandatory amounts which must be posted even before cards are dealt.
- The player to the left of the dealer is the small blind. The player to the left of the small blind is the big blind.
- Different house rules for betting may apply. For now, let us ignore the ante. The big blind amount is usually the minimum bet while the small blind amount is half the minimum bet.
- A player may call or raise the bet with the ability to go all-in (for no-limit Texas Holdem) at any time during betting. A player may also fold the hand at any time during betting thus dropping out of that round of play.
- Two cards are dealt face-down to each player. These are called the hole cards.
- The player to the left of the big blind is the first to act in the first round of pre-flop betting. In a two-player game, the dealer is the small blind and the first to act in the first round of pre-flop betting.
- Five community cards are dealt face-up in a sequence of 3 cards in the flop, 1 turn card and 1 river card. Betting takes place after each of these three dealings - flop, turn and river.
- In subsequent betting rounds, the player to the left of the dealer is the first to bet. Betting proceeds in clockwise direction around the table of players.
- In the end, after the river card has been dealt and after all betting rounds, the player with the best 5-card poker hand selected from the 2 hole cards and the 5 community cards is the winner of that round of play.
- The dealer position (marked by the dealer button) rotates clockwise around the table after each round of play.
Here is a screen shot of a software program for learning and practicing Texas Holdem. The development of the program is described in the Texas Holdem blog entry.
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