Summary of Poker Basics - How to Play Poker

Lesson 5:

Every variation of Poker has its own specific set of rules but the ultimate objective is the same - Winning the pot. The player can win either by creating the best 5-card combination as per the hand ranking rules or by making every other player fold before the showdown. Poker is a mind game which challenges the player’s focus, patience, and decision-making skills. Other than rules, it is also important to learn how to implement strategies and tactics in the game. 

So before we head towards the heavier strategic lessons, here’s a quick summary on how to play poker:

In a Texas Holdem Tournament game every player begins with an equal amount of chips. The game starts with placing the dealer button which determines from where the bets will begin. The first player right next to the Dealer Button has to deposit the Small Blind & the second next player has to deposit the Big Blind (double the amount of Small Blind).

Now each participant receives two cards face down which are called Hole cards. 

The players need to keep these cards hidden from each other untill the final showdown. 

The Players can start playing by taking the following actions:

  • Call - to match the previous bet Amount
  • Raise - to increase the previous bet amount
  • Fold - to discard the hole cards and wait for the next hand
  • All In - to put all your chips in the Pot
  • Check (Only after Flop cards are shown) - to carry on without contributing any chips into the pot. This option is available only for the betting rounds after the Flop.

After the Hole cards are dealt, the betting rounds begin.  There are four rounds of betting :

  • Preflop
  • Flop
  • Turn,
  • and River.

The dealer reveals 5 community cards (3 at Flop, 1 at Turn, and 1 at River) during the betting rounds. Players take action clockwise on their turn in every betting round as per the strength of their hole cards. If you believe that your cards are good enough to form the best hand, you can continue betting till the showdown. If at any point during the game, you feel that your opponent has a stronger hand then you can fold your cards. When you quit, the amount that you have already contributed to the pot as your bet stays in the pot for the winning player.

In a Texas Hold’em game, the hand ends when one of the following two situations occurs-

  1. When all but one player fold their cards. The last remaining player wins the pot. 
  2. After the final betting round, all remaining players show their hole cards on the table at showdown. The player with the best 5-card combination wins the pot. If two players have the hand of the same value, the pot divides equally between them.

To form a hand in Texas Hold’em, the player can use the hole cards and the community cards in any of the following ways-

  1. One of the hole cards and 4 community cards.
  2. Both hole cards and 3 community cards.
  3. All 5 community cards without using any hole card.

A player gets eliminated when they lose all their chips

Types of Texas Hold'em Poker 

  1. No Limit Texas Hold’em - The most popular variant these days where the player can bet as much as his chip stack allows. There is no upper limit of betting.
  2. Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em - Players can bet and raise only up to a fixed limit.
  3. Pot Limit Texas Hold’em- Players can bet up to the current size of the pot.

You can checkout other variants & formats in the following lessons.


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