Texas Hold’em uses what is called a dealer button to indicate the theoretical dealer of each hand. After each hand is completed, the dealer button moves clockwise to the next active player. This player will be considered “the dealer” for that hand. In this way each player has equal opportunities to be in early, middle and late position. The two players immediately to the left of the dealer button place “blinds” to start the pot. The player to the left of the dealer button posts the small blind (usually equal to half the lower stake). The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the big blind, equal to the lower stake limit. All the blinds in Hold’em poker are considered live bets and the players who posted them will have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting returns to their position.
Once the blinds have been placed, two cards are dealt face down to each player (“hole cards”), after which the first betting round starts. The player to the left of the player who placed the big blind starts the betting for this round.
Each player now has the option to place his bets in the first round, which is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. (For example in a $10/$20 Hold’em game, the value of each bet is $10 for the first round. Therefore, when a user makes the move “bet,” this is equal $10, and “raise” is $20…a raise includes a call on the previous bet placed and one additional bet.)
Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. These options are available depending on the action taken by the previous player. Each player always has the option to fold. The first player to act has the option to bet or check. Subsequent players have the option of calling or raising if a bet has been placed, or betting or checking if not. To call is to bet the same amount as the previous player has bet. To raise is to match the previous bet and increase the bet.
Every player participating in the hand should have equal amounts of money bet as the previous players. Until the time all the players have placed equal amounts in the pot, the betting will continue. There is a limit on the amount and the number of bets a player can place during a betting round (four bets for limit games).
After the first round of betting is over, the Flop (the first three community cards) is dealt. The community cards are common to all the players participating in the hand.
After the Flop (and in each subsequent betting round), the first active player left of the dealer button is first to act. The second betting round also limits the value of bets and raises to the lower limit of the stake structure. So in a $10/$20 game, the value of each bet is $10 for the second round.
After this the fourth community card is dealt; this is known as the Turn. The betting limits now increase to the higher limit of the stake structure for the remainder of the hand.
After betting on the turn is complete, the fifth and final community card is dealt; this is known as the River. Betting continues as on the turn.
Once all the bets have been made, there are two possible outcomes: either all the players but one have folded (and hence that person wins the pot), or the remaining players reveal their hands and the best hand wins the pot.
The game play remains same for both No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em game with a few exceptions to the rules mentioned above:
In limit Hold’em a maximum of four bets are allowed per betting round. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap, but in No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Hold’em there is no limit to the number of raises that a player can make. The only limit is that you cannot raise yourself. If all the other players in the hand only call or fold, the player would not get an option to raise, because the last raise was done by him.
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