The objective of Texas Hold’em is to win the pot (the sum of money bet by all players in a hand). Texas Hold’em is the most popular type of poker game. The pot is won by the player who is able to form the best five-card poker hand, using any combination of two Hole cards and Five Community cards.

Texas Hold’em can be played with a minimum of two players and a maximum of ten players using a 52 card deck without jokers.


Basic Rules

At the start of each hand, all players are dealt two cards face down, these are known as ‘hole cards’, and five ‘community cards’, which are dealt face up.
Players can use any five cards to form a combination.
The best five-card combination wins the pot.

Game Types

Limit poker
In Limit Poker the maximum raise is agreed before starting a game. For example, in a 1/2 Limit game both the bet and raise must be 1. In the last two rounds, the bet and raise must be 2.

Pot Limit
In a Pot Limit game, the maximum value of the bet or raise must not be more than the total amount in the pot at that time. For example, if the total amount in the pot is 10, the first player to act in the betting round can bet a maximum of 10 but the second player can bet up to 30 (10 for his part of the call with a raise of 20, the total amount of money in the pot when it is his turn to play). There is no limit to the number of raises in Pot Limit poker games.

No Limit
There are no maximum bet limits in a No Limit game. All players can make any bet in any betting round, as long as the minimum bet (equal to the big blind) is met.

Game Stages

Each game is divided into four betting rounds, with the initial pot created from blinds. The first player who joins the table becomes the dealer and is marked by a round disk. The game is played in a clockwise direction, starting with the player seated next to the dealer.

If players join the table simultaneously, as in tournaments for example, each player receives one card face up and the player who receives the highest card becomes the dealer. The dealer button moves clockwise from player to player with each hand.

Before a game begins, the two players to the left of the dealer place ‘blind bets’ (these are called blind bets because they are made before the players have seen any cards). This is called ‘posting the blinds’ and ensures that there is some money in the pot to play for at the start of the game.

The player to the left of the dealer posts the ‘small blind’ and the second player to the left of the dealer posts the ‘big blind’, which is exactly twice the small blind amount.

If a player does not have enough chips to place a blind bet, he stakes everything he has at once (see the All-In section).

If there are only two players in the game, the small blind and the big blind still have to be posted. In that case the dealer posts the small blind and the other player posts the big blind, so the first round begins.

Each player is dealt two cards face down and all players can only see their own cards. The player to the left of the player who posted the big blind begins a round of betting. This player can:

Call match the amount bet in the big blind,
Raise increase the amount bet,
Fold surrender his cards and stake in the game.

The same actions may be taken by each player when it is their turn to place a bet. When the betting returns to the player who placed the big blind, that player can decide not to raise, i.e. to make a check, if no other player raises. However, if an opponent has risen, the player who placed the big blind again has the option to call, raise or fold.
When all bets are equal, the initial pot is formed and the game turns to the next round (Flop).

During the Flop, three ‘Community cards’ are dealt face up to be used by all the players. The player who posted the small blind begins this betting round and, when all bets are equal, the game moves to the next round (Turn).

A fourth Community Card is dealt face up on the table and the third round of betting begins.

The fifth and final Community Card is dealt and the final betting round begins.

When all bets are of equal value, it is time for all players to show their cards. Usually, the last player to bet or rise during the final betting round is the one to show their cards first. However, if during the last betting round all the remaining players checked (i.e. no player placed a bet); the first player to the dealer’s left who did not fold during the game is the first to show their cards.

Moving in a clockwise direction, the other players reveal their cards in turn and, if the player’s hand is weaker than the current winning hand, the player has the option to show or ‘muck’ their cards. The best five-card hand takes the pot.

If two players have equally high-ranking hands, the pot is split. Each player may claim back the part of the pot, which they originally contributed to. Please see the “All-In” section.


Missed Blinds Policy
To prevent players from entering games late (and avoid placing blinds) each player must post an initial fee equal to the big blind or decide to sit out and wait until the big blind reaches their position. The player can choose to:

  • post the big blind or
  • wait for the big blind.

If a player chooses to wait for the big blind, they will be sitting out and will not be able to join the action until the big blind comes around to their position.

If a player was at the table and then sat out resulting in their missing the big blind, they will also have to miss the small blind and the dealer’s button.

If a player misses the small and the big blind, they will be required to post an amount equal to the big blind plus a ‘dead’ bet equal to the small blind.

If a player finishes his chips he is not immediately required to fold but may decide to go ‘All-In’ and bet all their remaining chips. If this happens, the pot is divided into the main pot and the side pot with all subsequent bets included in the side pot.

If the player who goes all-in does not win, the winner receives all of the chips (both the main and side pot).

If the player who goes all-in wins, he receives the main pot, but the side pot is passed to the player having the second highest-ranking hand.

If several players go all-in, several side pots are created. If the player who accepted all of the all-in bets does not go all-in and has the highest ranking hand when the cards are revealed, they will take the main pot as well as all side pots.

If the player who went all-in has the highest-ranking hand, he takes the pot or all pots, which were created until he went all-in.

All all-in players having highest-ranking hand can only take the pot (or pots), which they contributed to.

Table Stakes

The buy-in is the amount of money required by each player to take part in a particular poker game. All real money games have a minimum buy-in which is required before a player may join a table.

Minimum and maximum buy-ins

Limit poker The minimum buy-in requirement for Limit Poker is 10 times the big blind. There is no maximum buy-in.
For example, in a 1/2 limit game, the big blind value is 1, so the minimum buy-in is 10×1, or 10.

Pot and No-Limit poker
Pot-Limit and No-Limit games have minimum and maximum buy-ins.
The minimum is usually 20 times the small blind and the maximum is usually 100 times the big blind.
For example, in a 1/2 No Limit or Pot Limit game where the small blind is 1 and the big blind is 2, the minimum buy-in would be 20 and the maximum buy-in would be 200.

Table Stakes
All games and tournaments comply with the following table stakes protocols: No chips can be added to a player’s stack during a hand.

Players can add to their stack between hands only. While some tournaments offer re-buys and add-ons, these can only be made after a hand has been played and before the next hand starts. However, players can add chips or re-buy and add-on during the hand if they are not involved in that hand.

Players cannot take any chips from the table during play until they leave the game. This rule applies regardless of how many chips the player has brought to the table.

The table stakes protocols are designed to protect the game and to ensure that the game remains playable. For example, if a player were allowed to put a few chips into their pocket every time they are ahead, the number of chips available for play would be greatly reduced.

Click here to download PokerKing software to play Texas Hold’em.