The Poker Basics Series Texas Holdem – Understand the basics 

Texas Holdem can be played with up to ten players. At the start of the game one of the players is designated as the dealer. The dealer is given a button to show the other players who the dealer is. When each subsequent hand is dealt the dealer button always moves to the player on the previous dealers left. The two players to the left of the dealer are the small and big blind respectively. Before any cards are dealt the big blind is required to make a blind bet of a predetermined amount that varies from table to table. The small blind is required to make a bet that is half the amount of the big blind.

Texas Holdem is player in two forms; limit and no-limit. Since no-limit is by far the most popular form I will describe that game.

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To start a hand the dealer deals two cards face down to each player, starting with the small blind. After all the cards are dealt a round of betting occurs. Players must act in the correct order. The player seated to the left of the big blind is first to act. Play in this game always works clockwise. Playing your hand out of turn is frowned upon and can lead to penalties. When it is your turn to act you have a decision to make. If nobody has placed a bet before your turn to act you can either bet or fold. If you like your hand and want to play you must place a bet. The bet must be at least the amount of the big blind, but can be larger. In fact if you wish you can bet the entire sum of money you have at the table. If you do not like your hand you can simply throw your cards into the discard pile and you are finished for the rest of the hand.

If however someone has already placed a bet in front of you the options are different. You can still fold a bad hand by throwing the cards in the discard pile. If you wish to play on you now have two options. You can match the bet placed by the previous player by announcing call and placing an equal amount of money in the betting area. You can also announce raise. When you announce raise you can put any amount of money you wish in the betting area. This amount must however be at least double the initial bet, unless you are putting all of your money into the pot. When you do this all other players, including the initial bettor, must match your bet or allow you to take the pot.

After this round of betting three cards are dealt face up in the center of the board. These are community cards that all players share. This is commonly referred to as the flop. At this point another betting round occurs with the player to the left of the dealer initiating action. When this round ends a fourth community card is dealt, this is called the turn. Another betting round then occurs. Finally the fifth and final community card is dealt, also referred to as the river. This is when the final betting round takes place. At this point any players left show their cards and the best hand is declared the winner and is given the pot.

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Sonja is a professional content writer and is a professional poker player as well. She is here to tell you all about the secrets of this industry that will help you in improving your card game.