Texas Hold 'Em poker is a great game for a beginner to learn.
Instead of other poker games like Omaha High or 7 card stud which have a great many more possibilities for calculating odds and perhaps even trying to count cards,
Hold'Em can be learned in a few minutes by anyone, and you can be playing fairly well with a few hours practice.
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A Texas Hold 'em poker game goes as follows:
1. The betting structure can vary. Sometimes antes are used, but most games start with two players to the left of the dealer placing out a predetermined amount of money so there is an initial amount to get things started. This is called posting the blinds. Check out our page on blinds and antes.
2. The dealer shuffles up a standard deck of 52 playing cards.
3. Each player is dealt two cards face down. These are called your hole or pocket cards.
4. Then there is a round of betting starting with the guy to the left of the two who posted the blinds. This round is usually referred to by the term pre-flop.
5. The amount a player can bet depends on what kind of game it is. (Check out our page on betting structures)
6. Much like most games of poker, players can check, raise, or fold.
7. After the betting round ends, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called a burn card. This is done to prevent cheating.
8. The dealer then flips the next three cards face up on the table. These cards are called the flop. These are communal cards that anyone can use in combination with their two pocket cards to form a poker hand.
9. There is another round of betting starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
10. After the betting concludes, the dealer burns another card and flips one more onto the table. This is called the turn card. Players can use this sixth card now to form a five card poker hand.
11. The player to the left of the dealer begins another round of betting. In many types of games, this is where the bet size doubles.
12. Finally, the dealer burns a card and places a final card face up on the table. This is called the river. Players can now use any of the five cards on the table or the two cards in their pocket to form a five card poker hand.
13. There is one final round of betting starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
14. After that, all of the players remaining in the game begin to reveal their hands. This begins with the player to the left of the last player to call. It's called the showdown. Players use a combination of their pocket cards and the community cards to form a poker hand. For more about that go to our Forming a Five Card Hand page.
15. The player who shows the best hand wins! There are cases where players with equal hands share the winnings. Go to our page about split pots for more info about who wins.
Once you understand this basic structure of the game, you can play holdem and even some of the many holdem variants out there. Holdem is an easy game to learn, just difficult to master. The "mastering" part is the costly part, especially in the traditional setting of a casino poker room. Thankfully, you can practice all you want for free in online poker rooms.
The only way to learn the game is to play. Check out
to get a feel for the action. Play all you want for free, and start playing for real money as soon as you feel ready. They have both low limits for newer players as well as high stakes tables.