Texas Holdem (affectionately known as Hold'em or Holdem) is without question, the most popular poker game in the world today. There are 3 major variants of Texas Holdem, that are basically differentiated by limits on betting:
Regarding Texas Holdem Rules, after each hand is completed, the dealer position alternates clockwise to the next player. This player is called "the dealer" for that given hand. As a result, each player has an equal opportunity to be in the early, middle and late position of a game.
The 2 players to the left of the dealer place blind bets to start the pot (similar to an ante). The player to the left of the dealer must post what is called the "small blind", which is usually equal to half the lower stake.
The player to the left of the small blind must post the "big blind", which is equal to the lower stake limit. The blinds in Hold'em are treated as live bets and the players who posted them have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting returns to them. Note that the dealer (and thus the small and big blinds) move around the table clockwise at the end of each hand, so each participant will post these blind bets over time.
Once the blinds have been placed, 2 closed cards are dealt to each player (these are known as the "hole" cards). Next, the 1st round of betting begins. The player to the left of the player who posted the big blind starts betting for this current round.
Each player has the option to place bets in the 1st round, which is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. For example, in a $ 5/$ 10 Hold'em game, the value of each bet is $ 5 for the first round. Therefore, when a player calls the bet, this is equal $ 5, and the "raise" bet is $ 10. A raise is inclusive of a call on the prior bet made and 1 additional bet.
Bets can be made by either Calling or Raising. These betting options are available depending on the what course of action was taken by the previous player. Additionally, each player always has the option to fold. The 1st player to act has the option to bet, which means he can call or raise. Subsequently, players have the option of calling or raising the bet. To call a bet means to bet the same amount of money as the previous player has. To raise a bet means that the player matches the previous bet and then increase the bet, over and above the call amount.
Every player participating (i.e., a player who has not yet folded) in the hand should have equal amounts of money bet as the previous players. When a point in time is reached and the players have put equal amounts in the pot, the betting resumes. There is a maximum limit on the dollar amount and the # of bets that a player can make during a given betting round (4 bets for limit games).
After the 1st round of betting is over, the Flop, which are the 1st 3 community cards are dealt. The community cards are common to all the players still playing in the hand.
After the Flop, and in each following betting round, the 1st remaining player to the left of the dealer is 1st to act. The 2nd betting round, similar to the 1st betting round, also limits the value of bets and raises to the lower limit of the stake structure. Thus, in a $ 5/$ 10 game, the value of each bet is $ 5 for this 2nd round.
Bets can be placed by either Calling or Raising. These plays are available to each player based on the action taken by the previous player. The 1st player to play in this round is the player to the left of the dealer, and he gets the option to bet or to check (checking is the ability to make not bet, but is only available to that player if no bet has yet been made in that betting round). Once a player has bet (i.e., not checked), subsequent players will have the ability to either Call or Raise only.
After this round of betting completes, the 4th community card is dealt. This 4th community card is known as the "Turn".
The 3rd betting round begins again with the player to the left of the dealer. Bets and raises are now limited to the upper limit of the stake structure (i.e., in a $ 5/ $ 10 game, $ 10 is the upper stake. Therefore, a single bet in this instance is $ 10, and a raise is $ 20, which includes a call on the previous bet and 1 additional bet. Bets can be made by playing any of the following options - Bet, Call and Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player based on the action of the previous player.
After this round of betting consummates, the 5th and final Community card is dealt. This 5th community card is known as the "River".
The 4th (and yes, final) betting round once again begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stake structure which in a $ 5/$ 10 game, would be $ 10. Bets are made by doing any of the following - Bet, Call or Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player based on the action taken by the previous player.
Once all the bets have been made, there are 2 possible scenarios: 1) all the players except for 1 have folded and that person wins the pot, or 2) out of the remaining players left, the best hand wins, upon the revealing of hands.
The game play is identical for both No-Limit and Pot-Limit Texas Hold'em games, with several exceptions to the rules stated above:
In Limit Texas Hold'em, a maximum of 4 bets is allowed per player during any betting round. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap. In No-Limit Texas Hold'em and Pot-Limit Texas Hold'em there is no limit to the number of raises that a player can make. The only limit is that you can never 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 that player.
Minimum raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the 1st player to act bets $ 50 then the 2nd player must raise a minimum of $ 50 (for a total bet of $ 100).
Maximum eligible raise: The size of your stack (i.e., your chips on the table).
Minimum eligible raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the 1st player to act bets $ 50, then the 2nd player must raise a minimum of $ 50 (total bet of $ 100).
Maximum eligible raise: The size of the pot, which is defined as the total of the active pot (which can be either the main pot or the side pot depending on whether anyone has gone "all-in") plus all bets on the table plus the amount the active player must 1st call before raising.
As an example, if the active pot is $ 100 and the 1st player to act in the round bets $ 75 and the next player calls $ 75, the 3rd player has a maximum eligible total bet of $ 400. The $ 400 total is made up of the $ 75 call and $ 325 raise. The $ 325 max raise portion is equal to the pot of $ 100 + first player's $ 75 + 2nd player's $ 75 + his own call of $ 75.