One of the most popular and common variants of poker, Texas Hold'em has long been a favorite of many types of card game fans. Actress Jennifer Tilly, TV show producer Sam Simon, and actor Tobey Maguire are just a few of the many high-profile celebrities who have won significant amounts of money from playing the game.
Texas Hold'em is immensely popular both in land-based and online casinos. Players who are new to the game, however, might want to practice and familiarize themselves with the game before deciding to play for real money. Fortunately, many online casinos offer free trial versions that players can utilize to improve their skills and strategies.
The basic goal of a game of Texas Hold'em is for a player to make the best possible five-card poker hand by using their hole card in tandem with the community cards. One game involves several rounds of betting, with players receiving two private and a maximum of five community cards.
A player needs the highest poker hand in order to win, unless all the other players surrender before the showdown. New players should remember this: they do not always need to have the best hand to win the pot. By bluffing, they can make their competitors — particularly those holding better hands — into folding or abandoning the game.
These hand rankings are used in Texas Hold'em, but they also apply to other types of poker.
High Card: This is the lowest-ranked hand, which consists of five unmatched cards.
One Pair: This is two cards having the same number or letter.
Two Pair: A combination of two pairs of cards of the same rank; for instance, ace of hearts, ace of spades, king of diamonds, king of clubs.
Three of a Kind: Having three cards of the same rank, or number/letter.
Straight: Any five cards in sequential order; they do not have to have the same suit or color.
Flush: Any five cards in any order having the same suit (e.g., hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades).
Full House: This hand combines Three of a Kind and One Pair.
Four of a Kind: Four cards in the hand have the same rank (number or letter).
Straight Flush: This hand has five cards in sequential order, all from the same suit.
Royal Flush: The best and highest hand in poker, a Royal Flush consists of the 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace from the same suit. It's quite rare to get this hand; the odds are about 650,000 to 1.
To initiate the betting, two players post what are called a "small blind" and a "big blind," which are forced bets (also called the ante) at the start of every hand. Consequently, the game's action occurs on multiple moments or streets.
Preflop: This is the first round of betting, which occurs after two hole cards have been dealt to each player.
Flop: The second betting round, this is when the first three community cards are dealt. Players have the option to bet, call, fold, raise, or check.
Turn: The turn, which is the fourth community card, is dealt face-up in this third round of betting. Once again, players can choose to raise, call, check, fold, or bet.
River: This is the final betting round. The fifth community card, referred to as the river, is again dealt face-up. Like the previous betting rounds, players can opt to bet, fold, call, check, or raise. Once all betting is completed, the players—excluding those who have folded in the earlier rounds—reveal their hands to determine the winner. This action is known as the showdown.
Texas Hold'em might seem confusing at first to those who are new to the game. But with practice, they can better understand the rules and develop potentially profitable betting strategies.