How to Play Texas Holdem
Let’s start with the most popular variation of Poker, “Texas Hold’em” aka “No Limit Hold’em (NLH)”.
Let’s have a look at how a NLH ring game works:
GETTING IN THE GAME
To get into a poker game you need to know two things:
- Blinds/Stakes: These indicate the minimum bet possible on the table. So if you see 5/10 as the blinds. 10 is the minimum voluntary bet possible on the table
- Buy-In: “Buy In” is the total amount of chips/money you need to sit on the table. So on a 5/10 table, the Buy In can have a range of $400 – $1000
PLAYING THE GAME
A poker game is made up of hands; consider them like “Overs” in Cricket, or “Steps” while you are walking. Hands are the unit of measurement of how much you played.
James: “How was your Poker Game last night?”
Marie: “It was a short session. I played 300 hands”
This implies that Marie was dealt cards 300 times.
The objective of the game is to win the chips collected in the pot in a hand, either by making the best hand, or by bluffing (we will get to that later).
MAKING THE BEST HAND
Each player on the table is dealt two cards which are known as their hole cards. And 5 cards are dealt in the middle which are known as Community cards as they are available for everyone to see and use.
Using your hole cards and 5 community cards, you have to make the best possible 5 cards combination to win the hand. Out of all the players participating in a hand, the player with the highest ranked combinations wins the hand and thereby chips in the pot
Please refer to the Hand Ranking Chart below to see the combinations and their rankings:
POKER HAND RANKINGS
GAME PLAY ROUNDS
Let’s see how a hand works:
In a hand, a maximum of 4 rounds of action can take place
- Pre-Flop: Each player is dealt two cards
- Flop: 3 Community Cards are dealt on the table
- Turn: 1 more Community card is dealt on the table
- River: The final community card is dealt
DURING ANY ROUND , PLAYERS HAVE 4 OPTIONS:
- Call: Match the opponent players’ bet to proceed
- Raise: Raise the betting amount to a higher value
- Fold: If you do not wish to participate any further in the hand, you can choose to stop without putting in any more of chips
- Check: Pass the option of betting more chips to see the next round of card
A hand can end at any round, if there is only one player left and all others chose to fold. Or the hand ends at river where the best 5 card combination wins
That’s it. It’s really that simple to learn but as they say “It takes a minute to learn poker and a lifetime to master it”
So get on the tables and you will have a hang of it soon! And remember to keep mastering this beautiful mind sport!