how to play texas hold'em

Your Guide to the Official Poker Rules

Ah, Glasshoppah, many there are who want to know how to play Texas Hold'em! But as with all games and contests, before you can focus on actually learning the "how to" of this great game, you have to actually know the official poker rules--and then, the Texas Hold'em rules in particular.

The great poker champion and one of the truly famous poker players Doyle Brunson has called Texas Hold'em the Cadillac of the Poker World. Well, if you want to know how to drive this car to the heights, you need to know the rules of the roads. Fear not; for behold, I shall reveal to you how to play Texas Hold'em!

Here at Learn to Win Hold'em, we've put together a large and ever-expanding site teaching our readers all about official poker rules and Texas Hold'em strategies, personalities, resources, and even a little history. And right here, I'll give you the great intro to the Texas Hold'em rules and regulations. You don't need to go out and buy a half dozen books, you don't need to take up smoking and drinking and hanging out at casinos (that comes later, when you can makes some money at it!). Just keep that ISP bill paid up and your computer registry clean, and you can learn right from the comfort of your own home!

And now, without further ado...


There are two players who are seated to the left of the dealer: one to the dealer's immediate left, and the next to the immediate left of that person. These two players have "forced" bets. They have to open the betting and they have to do it even before anyone gets any cards! So, it's probably not surprising that the money these two poor players are forced to put in the kitty are:

  • the SMALL BLIND and the BIG BLIND. The big blind is usually twice as much the small blind.
  • *The blinds are set at the beginning of the game. The PURPOSE of these blinds is to drive the action forward.
  • You see, without the blinds, players would just muck their cards until they got the MONSTERS.

(Not fair to them, you say? Ah, fear not, for behold: the "button", which indicates who is dealing, moves around the table in a clockwise manner between games. Eventually, they who had to place the blinds become the dealers--and the original dealer has to bet blindly!)

Now, after those two players put in their blinds, the dealer gives each player TWO HOLE CARDS -- these are dealt face down. After every player has their two hole cards,

  • Each player has the opportunity to CALL, RAISE, or FOLD.
  • The person sitting to the left of the big blind is "under the gun" and is the first to act. This is commonly referred to as "early" position. (Note: the "later" your position in a game of Texas Hold'em, the better for you.)
  • If no-one raises the pot, the last person to act is the player who put in the big blind. S/he has the option of either CHECKING or BETTING. If s/he bets, then another round of betting is launched.


When all the initial betting ends, it's time to see the flop.

  • The dealer burns (discards) the top card of the deck. This is common procedure for basic Texas Hold'em to prevent cheating.
  • The dealer then turns over THREE cards face UP on the table for all to see. These are community cards that anybody involved in the hand can use in combination with their two hole cards to form the best possible Texas Hold'em hand that they can.
  • Another round of, I mean, of betting commences! The action will start to the immediate left of the dealer and move clockwise...And of course, the person on the button will act last in any round of betting. (It's good to be the King; in Texas Hold'em, it's even better to be the Dealer).


Once the second round of betting has ended, the dealer burns a second card and then places a FOURTH card face UP on the table.

  • Players now have a sixth to use in forming their best possible five-card Hold'em hand.
  • You will hear the terms "turn" or "Fourth Street used quite often when you're playing Texas Hold'em to denote this latest, er, turn of events. Once again, players place their bets or choose to fold.


And when the previous round of betting has ended, the dealer burns a third card and then places the final card face up on the "board". We call this round "Fifth Street" or "The River".

  • Players can now use any of the five cards on the table and/or the two cards in their pocket--their Hole Cards, which still nobody but them sees--to form the best five-card Hold'em hand.
  • A final round of betting, calling, raising action begins.
  • Now for the fun! All of the players who have not folded begin to show their pocket cards. This starts with the player to the left of the last player who has called.
  • This is known as the Showdown.
  • Players use a combination of their pocket cards and the cards on the board to form the best possible Texas Hold'em hand that they can.
  • The player who stays in (does not fold) and also shows the best hand wins! There are instances where players with equal hands in value will share or split the pot. In that case, both players will get 50% of the pot.
  • The button is moved over one person clockwise, the cards are shuffled, and it starts all over again!

The only way to really learn how to play Texas Hold'em is to play. Check out Full Tilt Poker to get a feel for the action. Play all you want for free, and then start playing for real money as soon as you feel comfortable with the official poker rules. Full Tilt has both low limit cash games for beginners as well as high stake sit and go poker tables for advanced players.


- Now that you know how to play Texas Hold'em, move on to what beats what in poker.

- Make sure you learn the best 10 best starting poker hands as well as the not so good hands to play.

- Once you understand official poker rules, make sure you understand poker position at the table it can help or hurt you.

- It is always a good idea to follow good poker etiquette.

- While you learn how to play the game, you must avoid these 10 Costly Texas Holdem Mistakes.

- You can learn how to play Texas Hold'em in a few minutes and once you understand the official poker rules will be playing decently in just a short amount of time. But in order to become a master, play early and play often!

Exit How to Play Texas Holdem » Texas Holdem Poker

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