Guide to Playing Texas Hold'em Online

Texas Hold'em is a community card game in which equal importance is placed on the cards dealt to players and the betting decisions they make. A typical online game of Texas Hold'em will have between two and ten players. The objective of playing is to accumulate as many chips as possible by winning pots. There are two ways you can win a pot: by getting all your opponents to fold before the game reaches showdown or to beat them at showdown.

The Dealer

A game of online poker begins when the number of players required at a table sign-in. The players will then have to buy the chips they want for playing. In Texas Hold'em, each player will get the chance to be the dealer. The dealer's role is passed from one player to the next on his left in a rotating format. To identify the player who has the role, a 'dealer button' will be assigned to him.

Posting the Blinds

To start a game of Texas Hold'em, two players have to post blinds which are compulsory bets. This is done by the first two players to the left of the dealer. Of them, the player who acts first - the one immediately to the dealer's left - is called the small blind. The player next to him is called the big blind. The small blind places the minimum stake allowed at the table. The big blind bets twice that amount.

Dealing of the First Hand

After the blinds have been posted, the first hand will be dealt to all players. One card is dealt to each player seated at the table. Following this, the dealer will distribute another card each to all players. The two cards together form the starting hand. The strength of the starting hand will change according to the combination of cards in it. There are very strong, strong, good and weak hands. Players will decide to either continue or leave the game based on the strength of their hands.

Pre-Flop Betting Round

The players who leave the game will have to fold the hand dealt to them. Those who stay will participate in the first of four betting rounds in the game. The first is known as the pre-flop betting round. Other than folding, players can take two other decisions - to call or raise.

When a player calls, he agrees to match the bet placed by the big blind. In case a player makes a raise, he opts to bet more than the big blind. The amount raised will depend on the betting format followed in the game. There are four betting formats - no-limit, pot limit, spread limit and fixed limit. In the pre-flop round and others that follow, players have to wait their turn to announce their decision to call or raise. The pre-flop betting round concludes when all players have acted and those remaining in the game have wagered the same amount in the orbit.

Flop and Post-Flop Betting Round

After the pre-flop, the players in the game will reach the flop, also called the third street. On this street, the dealer will place the first card from the deck on the board with its face down. He will then deal the next three cards, called community cards, face-up on the board. Using these three cards and the two hole cards in their hands, players get the chance to make a five card hand. Again, players will have to assess the strength of their hand and decide whether to stay in or leave the game. Those who stay will participate in the post-flop betting round, which follows the same rules as those pre-flop. In this round, the player who makes the first move has the option to place a bet or check.

Turn, River and Showdown

Once the post-flop betting concludes, the game enters the fourth street, or the turn. Here the dealer burns one card and deals the next, which joins the community cards on the board. The betting round following this will be similar to that on the flop for players who decide to continue.

The turn is followed by the river if more than one player is in the game. The last card will be dealt in this round, followed by betting. After the betting is over, players enter showdown, where players reveal their hands. The player who has the best hand ranking will win the game.