How to play texas hold'em poker

Online Poker rules explained

Texas Hold'em is the most popular and arguably the most popular form of poker, especially at online poker

The aim of texas hold'em is to make the best 5 card hand that you can, using both the two cards that you're dealt face down (hole cards) and the five community cards dealt face up in the middle of the table. Although it may sound simple, there are a number of betting rounds where players will try to bluff, intimidate and trick you making texas hold'em poker one of the most psychological as well as entertaining games around.


Blinds are forced bets to start the betting off in poker, so that the player with the winning hand always wins something. The blinds are set depending on the table you are playing at. In a cash game, blinds remain the same throughout the game, but in tournaments they get bigger and bigger as the tournament progresses.

The player to the immediate left of the dealer posts the small blind, and the player to their left posts the big blind. .

The size of the blinds are dictated by the stakes of the table that you're playing at. When you choose a table to play poker at, the table limits will be displayed, so if you're playing at a $5/$10 table, the small blind will be $5 and the big blind $10. The minimum subsequent bet will be $10.

Hole Cards

Once the blinds have been posted, it's time for some cards. Moving clockwise round the table from the dealer, each player receives two cards dealt face down that only they get to see. These are also called pocket cards or hole cards. It's now time to start some betting. That is why we're here after all.

First round of betting

At this stage, each player is betting on what hand they feel their pocket cards could lead to. The betting starts with the player to the immediate left of the big blind.

For this round of betting, each player has three choices: to fold, raise, or call the big blind. As the players who posted the blinds have effectively opened the betting, each player has to at least call this bet to stay in the hand, so checking isn't an option at this stage.

The betting goes round the table in a clockwise direction until each player has either called, folded or raised. If no-one has raised by the time the betting returns to the person who posted the big blind, this player may check his own blind, fold or raise.

The first round of betting is at the lower level of table stakes, so in a $2/$4 game all raises are increments of $2. Once the betting is completed it's time to see the flop. Just a quick note on betting before you move on. The betting can't go on for ever, as we use the standard bet and three raises model. That is, for any round of betting there can be an opening bet and no more than three raises. After the third raise betting is said to be capped.

The flop

Once the first round of betting has been completed, the dealer deals three cards face up - known as "The flop". These three cards are community cards which every player is allowed to use to build their best possible poker hand. These cards are placed in the middle of the table so that all players can see them, and this is commonly known as "the board".

Once the flop has been delat another round of betting commences. The player who posted the small blind starts the betting if they are still in the hand and continues clockwise (if the player in the small blind has already folded pre-flop, the betting starts at twith the next player to his left who is still in the hand. This round of betting follows the same pattern as the pre-flop betting described earlier in this article.

The turn card

Once the second round of betting has been completed the dealer deals another community card known as the "turn". Another round of betting commences in the same format as the previous two rounds of betting.

The river

The final community card dealt by the dealer is known as "the River" and once this card has been dealt each player remaining in the hand can now see what their best five card hand is. It's now time for the final round of betting and once this is completed it's time for the showdown.

The showdown

Each player who's remained in the hand shows their cards and the winner is determined by the player with the best poker hand. In online poker, the poker software will automatically determine the winner and show their winning hand. Losing players then have the choice to muck (not show their losing hand) or show the rest of the players at the table their losing hand.

In poker, it is possible to win a pot before the river card and showdown, even before the flop has been dealt because if everyone folds the last player standing wins the pot by default. When this happens there is no showdown and players do not have to reveal their hands.

Practice makes perfect

Remember, you can play poker for free at any of our reccomended poker rooms on this website, so practice before you play poker for real money. For new starters, we recomend

VC Poker