If you are new to poker, learning how to play Texas Hold’em is a terrific place to begin. Assuming you are already familiar with poker hand rankings and some basic poker vocabulary, this article is where you can comfortably begin your poker education. Because Hold’em is the most popular poker game in existence and is so easy to learn, it is an ideal starting point for a poker novice.
The goal of Texas Hold’em is to create the best five card poker hand by using a combination of your two hole cards (dealt face down to each player) and the community cards (dealt face up in the center of the table for all players to use). Players may use one, two or none of their hole cards to make up their hands.
In Flop games such as Hold’em (as well as Omaha), there is a small round disc called a dealer button that sits in front of one player at a time. The button rotates clockwise at the completion of each hand and determines the position of the players during the hand.
While there are ways that Texas Hold’em can be played, the two most popular are No Limit and Limit. In No Limit Hold’em (the more popular of the two in recent years), players may make bets or raises in any amount between the minimum required (bets must be at least equal to the big blind and raises have to be at least double the last bet or raise amount) and whatever they have in front of them. When a player wagers their entire chip stack, it is called “going all-in.”
Limit Hold’em, while less popular with modern players, is perhaps a bit easier to start out with because it requires less decision making. In this variation, players may only bet or raise in predetermined increments. The bets during the first two rounds (preflop and after the Flop) are “small bets” and they double to “big bets” for the final two rounds of betting (after the Turn and River). For example, if you were playing $5/$10 Limit Hold’em, you can bet in $5 increments before and immediately after the Flop, and in $10 increments after the Turn and River.
Now that you understand how to play Texas Hold’em, check out our Hold’em Strategy page for some tips on how to maximize your chances of making a profit at the tables.