Texas Hold'em

There are certain things you are supposed to know by the time you are a grown up. How to tell the difference between red and white wine (pro tip, the red is darker) how to get out of a speeding ticket (“Sorry officer, I am a neurosurgeon on my way to an emergency at the hospital, also, which one of these 100 dollar bills is yours?”) how to tie a bowtie (pull elastic at back, slip over your head, taaa daaa, you’re ready for the Ball) and how to play poker.

Playing poker is one of those things that a lot of people claim to know how to do, but maybe they really don’t. Fear not, in the interest of science, beer has been drunk whilst research has been done and as a result, here are the rules for playing ‘Texas Holdem’, which is the cool kind of poker they play in the movies.

The first thing to know is what the aim of the game actually is. Basically you want to win all the money, but if you can’t manage to do that, you want to not lose too much, and not lose any because you were stupid and didn’t know the rules.

Texas Holdem’ can be played with 2 people and up to 10.

If you are in a Casino, the dealer is not really playing, but is making it so that you can. If you are playing with mates, you rotate who the dealer will be. You can choose by drawing a card and whoever has the highest one starts. Then it rotates clockwise after that. The dealer is called the ‘Button’. Once you have a dealer (button), the person on the left of the dealer puts down a small bet, known as the ‘small blind’. The next person along then places a bet which should be about double the small bet. This larger amount is called a ‘big blind’.

So far, no one has any cards; hence these are ‘blind’ bets.

The dealer then hands everyone a card, facedown until the whole table has one, and then a second card is dealt. These care called you ‘hole’ cards. At this point, has looked at their cards, but once everyone has two, they can.

This is when the game really starts.

This first round of betting is called the ‘pre-flop’ round. When you look at your cards you have some decisions to make. If the two cards appear to have very little value (a 3 and a 7 of different suits for example) you may want to ‘fold’ (give up on this game and wait for the next one) if you have an Ace, or a picture card, or if you have two of a kind, you might want to keep playing. remember, the cards in YOUR HAND can be joined up with the cards ON THE TABLE, so you are playing WITH THE CARDS that are about to be revealed.

In all honesty, at the very beginning of the game, unless you are CERTAIN that the next few cards you get will be equally rubbish, you might want to wait and see. In order to do this, you will need to cough up some cash.

If you think you’ll continue to play, you will need to match the amount of the ‘Big blind’, this is called ‘calling’ and you would say ‘call’ and put your money down. If you have two aces in your hand, or something equally exciting, or you want to raise the stakes, or like a good bluff, you would increase the amount of the bet by saying ‘raise’ and cough up some extra. Usually you would double the amount of the big blind, but if you are feeling cocky, you might go even higher.

Here is an example of a round

There are five players at the table:

Player 1 – Button

Player 2 – Small blind (10¢)

Player 3 – Big blind (25¢)

Start of betting round

Player 4 – Calls the big blind (25¢)

Player 5 – folds

Player 1(Button/dealer) – Calls the big blind (25¢)

Player 2(who played the small blind) – Calls the big blind (since they already have 10¢ bet, they only have to add another 15¢, for a total of 25¢)

Player 3(who played the big blind) – Checks (since they already have the bet matched, they do not need to add more money to call; this is called checking)

End of betting round

When Player 2 calls the big blind, all players now have the same amount of money in front of them, but Player 3 (the big blind) has not had a chance to act, so the betting round is not over.

Once Player 3 checks, both conditions are met, and the betting round is over.

Here is another example of a betting round

There are five players at the table:

Player 1 – Button

Player 2 – Small blind (10¢)

Player 3 – Big blind (25¢)

Start of betting round

Player 4 – Calls the big blind (25¢)

Player 5 – Raises (50¢)

Player 1 (dealer) – Folds

Player 2(small blind) – Folds

Player 3 (big blind) – Re-raises (they already have 25¢ in as the big blind. They complete the bet of 50¢, and add one additional bet for a total of 75¢)

Player 4 – Folds (their previous call of 25¢ is now in the pot)

Player 5 – Calls (matches the bet of Player 3 for a total of 75¢)

End of betting round

In this scenario all players had had a chance to act when Player 3 made the re-raise. But all players did not have the same amount of money bet.

Once Player 4 folds, only Player 3 and Player 5 are left in the pot. When Player 5 calls, both conditions are met, and the betting round ends.

So, we have all made a bet, we have looked at our two cards. Now it is time to see what we are playing against (or in fact WITH, cause these cards can be added to yours- in your head initially, dont tell everyone) in the form of the dealer dealing three cards face up. This is called ‘The Flop’. In Poker, a card is often discarded (see what the English language did there?) before a new one is dealt. This is called ‘burning a card, and is really about superstition and checking for cheating as much as anything, just so you know.

Once these three face up cards have been dealt, players need to see if the cards they hold can do anything exciting when combined with the cards on the table. We are looking for …2 or more cards of the same suit, cards that run in sequence, high number cards ( 8,9,10), picture cards, cards in pairs or triplets.

Now the first post-flop betting round begins.

The rules of a post-flop betting round are the same as a pre-flop, with two small exceptions: The first player to act is the next player with a hand to the left of the dealer, and the first player to act can check or bet; as there has been no bet made, calling is free.

A bet on the flop is the amount of the big blind. In our game, a player must put out 25¢ to make a bet.

Once the betting round on the flop completes, the dealer deals one card facedown followed by a single card face up, also known as the “burn and turn.” Once the turn has been dealt, the third betting round starts.

The third betting round is identical to the flop betting round with one single exception: The size of a bet for this round, and the final betting round, is doubled, meaning that to make a bet in our game will now cost a player 50¢.

Assuming more than one player is left, having not folded on one of the previous rounds (sometimes called ‘streets’), and the final (5th) ‘community’ card (the one face up and on the table) is dealt. This is called ‘The River’. Dealing The River is identical as dealing the round before, with one card being dealt face down (the burn card), followed by a single card face up (the turn card).

This is the nearly the final part of the game, and no more cards will be dealt in this hand. The betting round is identical to the betting round of the third turn.

After all the bets are made, it’s time to show the table what you have. Starting with the next person after the last bet, they put down their cards. This is called ‘the showdown’ (very Texan) and is the “I knew you were lying” part of the game.

These are the wining hands in order from YES!!!! OMG I WON to At least the beer is cold

  1. Royal Flush
  2. Straight Flush
  3. Four of a Kind
  4. Full House
  5. Flush ( all same suit, not in order)
  6. Straight ( all in order, not same suit)
  7. Three of a kind
  8. Two Pair
  9. One Pair
  10. High Card ( this means Ace is best, then King, then Queen, then Jack then steadily downwards)

If yours is the winning hand….yippee…drinks are on you. If not so much of the winning, well, life goes on. At least now you know how to sit at the table and use the right words (pro tip, shouting “OH WOW, I HAVE REALLY CRAP CARDS” are NOT the right words if you intend to keep playing).

Remember, all gambling should be fun (it’s just a game), if it’s no longer fun, please stop and if it’s REALLY not fun, seek help here. http://www.gamblersanonymous.org



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