Understanding the rules to Texas Hold'em poker will take the average reader about five minutes. Moving from beginner to an experienced player takes time and practice, but mastering some simple rules to keep you from burning your entire bankroll in a single sitting is easy.
World Series of Poker Champion Doyle Brunson considers No-Limit Hold'em to be the Cadillac of all poker games, but millions of players enjoy the limit variety of poker also. No-limit poker games are just as easy to learn, but the risk factor is higher when you might lose your whole stack on one hand.The Game
Texas Hold'em is played with a standard English deck of 52-cards. No jokers are used and there are no wild cards. The main difference between standard poker and Hold'em is that each player is dealt only two cards. These constitute their own personal cards and a total of five additional community cards are used by all players to make their own best five-card hand. Standard poker hand rankings are used.The Blinds
Instead of an ante from each player, Hold'em employs blind bets to stimulate play from the two weakest starting spots, those following the dealer. The dealer gets to act last in poker games, and that makes it an advantageous spot, so the player to the left of the dealer is forced to put up half a bet in the blind (small blind) and the next player puts up a full bet (big blind) before any cards are dealt.
In a standard $2 and $4 limit game, the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2. Bets before the flop and on the flop are $2 and afterward, on the turn and river, a standard bet is $4. All blind bets are live and count as part of a standard call or raise.Pre-Flop
Once the blinds are up, each player receives two cards, face down, starting in clockwise order from the small blind to the dealer. Betting starts not with the blind hands, but with the player closes to the big blind. To call, a player matches the big blind, raises, or folds their hand. In a standard limit game of $2 and $4, the call is $2 and a raise is an additional $2. Subsequent players must call the raise or re-raise. Most games have a four-raise maximum.On the Flop
Once the pre-flop betting is completed, the dealer burns a card and deals the next three in the middle of the table. This round of three cards is known as the flop, since all three cards are flopped over at once. Players now contemplate what kind of a hand they might finish with, using any number of the eventual five community cards with their own two cards. After the first betting round is completed, three cards are dealt and turned face up in the middle of the table. This is known as the "Flop." These are community cards used by all the players. Another betting round begins with the first active player to the left of the dealer button. The bet for this round is again $2.The Turn
On the turn, the dealer burns a card and turns over the next one as the fourth community card. There is another round of betting, but here the bets are doubled, so in a standard $2 and $4 game, the betting is in units of $4. Betting stars as always with the first spot after the dealer.The River
On the river, the dealer burns a card and turns over the fifth and final community card. The final betting round ensues, and a winner is declared. Often, players use both of their own personal cards to make their five-card hand, but the best hand is always made using any combination of the community cards, even if they have to use all of the community cards. This happens occasionally when the board shows a straight or a flush.Simple Strategy
As with all poker games, the better you are, the more often you will win. As a first-time player, put your emphasis on your two starting cards. With that in mind, play only when you have a pair, an ace with another suited card, or two face cards. If you are in the small blind with these hands or a hand with two connectors (such as 7-8 or 4-5), you can call the other half-bet to play. Don't call any raises with hands below two face-cards or a pair above 7's.
Beginners should also limit themselves to raising with only A-K and A-Q and any pair above 7's. This simple strategy will keep you out of dangerous pots, limiting your play and giving you the advantage on many hands when you do play.