HOW TO PLAY
Texas Hold´em is probably the most popular poker game today. It
is played with a standard 52 card deck and typically 9 or 10 players online.
Each player receives two face down cards, and five cards are dealt face up on
the table. All players play their best five cards using any combination of their
own two and the five common cards. The best five-card hand among those vying for
the pot wins.
The dealer in Texas Hold´em is always changing. The dealer
position is indicated on the screen by a small disk containing the letter D (the
button). The button moves clockwise around the table by one seat every hand, and
dictates which players are required make opening bets (blinds). In a home poker
game, this would be the player who is responsible for dealing the cards. Being
in the dealer position is an advantage because the dealer is the last to act.
Each hand begins with two opening bets called blinds that must be
paid before cards are dealt. The player to the left of the button is responsible
for the small blind, which is usually half the size of the minimum bet for the
game. The player to his immediate left is asked to pay the big blind which is
equal to the minimum bet for the game. In a 10/20 limit game, for example, the
small blind would be 5 and the big blind 10. In practice the movement of the
button and the blinds is considerably more complex. As players leave the table
and new players sit down, the game must ensure that nobody misses the big blind,
and that players are given the choice to refuse to pay a blind, in which case
they will lose their seat and the player to their left will be asked to pay the
If the player in the big blind leaves there may be no small
blind on the next hand. The button will move to the seat that was the previous
small blind. When a game goes from more than two handed into heads up play, the
movement of the small blind and button may be altered.
If a player
misses paying either the small blind or the big blind while in 'Sit Out' mode,
the player will be treated as though they are sitting down for the first time
when they return. The player will be required to post the big blind before they
can resume play, or they can wait until the big blind position returns to their
seat. If the player missed playing a small blind this amount will be added to
the big blind amount that they must pay. The made-up small blind will not be
counted as an active bet, but will be automatically added to the value of the
main pot at the end of the first betting round.
When you sit down at a table, you must wait for the big
blind to reach your seat. You may have to wait several hands if there are
several players at your table. If you do not want to wait, you can post an extra
big blind and get dealt in immediately. This option is not available if you sit
down between the button and the regular big blind position, otherwise one of the
other players would be forced to pay a blind more than once in a row. Thus, if
you sit between the button and the big blind position, you must wait for the
dealer button to pass your seat before you will be given the option of posting
the extra big blind.
Once the blinds are paid, two cards (hole cards) are
dealt to each player. You can see your own hole cards but not those of the other
players. The player to the left of the big blind position is the first to act.
Since opening bets (blinds) were already posted, players will not have a check
option in this round. A player must either call (add enough chips to the pot to
match the highest contribution by any other player), raise (increase the amount
of chips that other players must match to stay in the pot), or fold (discard
their hand and lose any chips already wagered). Betting continues until all
players remaining in the hand (those who have not folded or gone all-in) have
contributed an equal amount of chips to the pot. The betting round will also end
if all players have checked. After the first round of betting is complete, the
chips in front of each players are raked into a main center pot and three
community cards are dealt face up at the center of the table (the flop). Players
must now determine whether their 5 card hand (the flop combined with their own
secret hole cards) has a reasonable chance of beating those held by other
players. Generally, if the flop doesn’t improve your hand, you should fold.
Unlike the first betting round, there are no mandatory blinds to start the
betting in later betting rounds, so players will also have an option to check
(stay in the hand without betting), until somebody places an opening bet. Once a
player bets, all players will be given the opportunity to call it, raise it, or
fold their hand. When the second betting round is over, the fourth community
card (the turn) is dealt. This is followed by another round of betting. The
final card (the river) is then dealt, followed by a final round of betting.
When all betting rounds are over, the game compares the hands
of the remaining active players (those who have not folded or gone all-in). The
game combines your two hole cards with the five shared community cards to create
the best hand possible. One, both, or none of the hole cards may be used. The
holder of the winning hand is awarded the pot. If two or more players have the
same hand (such as when each player’s best hand uses all 5 community cards), the
pot is shared. If only one player remains, he or she automatically wins the pot
and the winning hand is not shown. Cards in the showdown are displayed beginning
with the player who most recently bet or raised. Moving clockwise around the
table, each remaining players cards are shown in turn if they have a hand of
equal or greater value. If the player has an inferior hand, their cards will not
be shown if they selected the muck lost option at the bottom left corner of
their game screen. Although players often do not show their hands, you are
entitled to see any cards that made it to the showdown by viewing the game
transcripts. Click on the "menu" link at the bottom left of your screen, then
the "History" button to choose from a list of all hands that have taken place
since you entered the game room.
When a player runs out of chips and puts the last of his
money in the pot, he is considered all-in. The all-in player is ineligible to
win money in excess of what they have contributed towards the pot. Thus, at the
end of the betting round one or more side pots would be created. The software
keeps track of all of these side pots and which players are eligible to win
Fixed Limit Games
If a table is designated a fixed limit table, all bets
and raises are set at a fixed amount. For example, in a 10-20 game the first two
betting rounds limit the bets and raises to 10 in the first two betting rounds,
and 20 in the final two betting rounds.
Spread Limit Games
If a table is designated a spread limit table, a
player may choose the amount of the bet or raise between a minimum and maximum
range. Raises must always be equal to or higher than the previous bet, however.
Pot Limit Games
If a table is designated a pot limit table, a player may
bet or raise up to the amount of the pot. As the pot grows in size, the maximum
bet and raise increases as well. In all but fixed limit games, the software
automatically tracks the allowable bets and raises for you. A slider is provided
to adjust your bet, but you can also type a value into the little box above the
No Limit Games
Players in a no limit game can bet or raise all of their
chips at any time.
Single Table Tournaments
Single table tournament tables start when a
minimum number of players have joined. Once the tournament starts, nobody can
sit at or leave the table until the last player has been eliminated. If you are
disconnected due to a poor internet connection, you will be able to re-join the
tournament in progress. Typically the last three finishers at a tournament table
share a percentage of the tournament pot. 3rd place finishes typically win 20%,
2nd place finishers 30%, and the last remaining players in 1st place wins 50%.
Once the tournament ends and the winners are paid, all seats are emptied and the
registration process begins again. Tournament seats are filled in order,
starting at the first chair at the top right of the screen. When the tournament
starts, each player is dealt a single card. The player with the highest face
value becomes the starting dealer. If two players have the same card (ie,
Jacks), the priority of card suits is clubs, diamonds, hearts, then spades. This
process is called highcarding for the dealer button.
Royal flush: A, K, Q, J, 10, all the same suit.
flush: Five cards in a sequence, all in the
of a kind: All four cards of the same rank.
house: Three of a kind with a pair.
Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a
Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same
of a kind: Three cards of the same rank.
pair: Two different pairs.
Two cards of the same rank.
Card: The highest card (in this example the
King) in your hand.