Poker is a parlor game that can be played with a minimum of 2 players. A maximum of 10 players usually play at a table at the same time. Players continuously play one game round ("hand") after another and the game lasts as long as the participants determine (preferably at the beginning) or until one player could bring all chips into his possession (e.g. tournament).
There are two basic variants of Texas Hold'em Poker: No Limit Hold'em and Limit Hold'em. The difference is that in the Limit variant the amount of the bet is limited. In the end, this leads to a calmer game, because the money changes hands more slowly. In No-Limit Hold'em, exciting situations occur more often.
|Tip: If you play No-Limit Hold'em with a low minimum bet and do not increase it in the course of the evening, you can also have a long poker evening with this variant.|
|1. Game Preparation||4. The Betting Round (Check, Fold, Bet)|
|2. The Game Round (Flop, Turn, River)||5. Peculiarities of the All-in|
|3. Poker Hands|
1. Game Preparation
First of all, the general conditions should either be determined by the game organizer or agreed upon together. The following points should be considered:
Tournament or Cash-Game: In a tournament, everyone starts at the same time with the same amount of chips in return for the buy-in and after a so-called optional re-buy phase, in which players can re-buy, the winner is determined according to the well-known knock-out system. However, if you arrange a cozy poker evening with friends, this mode has the disadvantage that eliminated players wait bored until the game ends and this can sometimes take longer.
Therefore, we recommend a cash game mode: that is adapted to your own needs: you set the start and end time in advance. Late players can buy in without any problems, e.g. at the buy-in amount set at the beginning, and players who want to leave early should announce this in advance with precise timing.
End of the game: It should be clear to everyone in advance when the game will end. Unless you are playing a tournament where the game ends as soon as one player has all the chips, you should set an end time in advance. (If you want to keep the end of the game variable, the chip leader may prefer to end the game right away and the player who lost the most may prefer to have more time to make up for the loss, and that has potential for tension).
Buy-In: Determine how much a player has to pay up front to participate in the poker round or if you want to play with no money down. Decide whether you want to allow a player to buy-in again once he has lost all his chips or fallen below a certain score ("re-buy") and how much he can buy-in again.
|Tip: If you want to keep the odds fair, it is advisable to set the same amount for a re-buy as for the buy-in.|
Minimum stake: In addition, a minimum stake must be set before the game begins, which a player must bet at least when he has decided to bet ("big blind") and whether and how this should increase during the course of the game.
|Tip: Experience has shown that a low minimum bet is recommended at the beginning. In a game with chips worth 1000 points per player, a minimum bet of 10 points is therefore initially sufficient.|
The minimum stake can be increased in the course of the game evening (e.g. after x minutes or after x game rounds) if the players have agreed on it before the game starts. However, the increase always applies only in the next game round ("hand") and is never introduced within a current game round.
Each player now receives a stack of chips ("chip stack") whose denomination should be the same for each player and which corresponds to the value of the buy-in when playing with money in cash game mode. The chips must remain on the table throughout the game and must not be hidden at any time..
Seat cards: Pick cards from the deck so that you have an ascending order (e.g. A-2-3-4-5-[...]) with enough cards so that there is one for each player. Determine which seat the lowest card should be assigned to. The next highest card is assigned to the seat to the left of it and then clockwise so on. Shuffle the picked cards and place them face down on the table. The players each draw a card and take the place assigned by it.
2. The Game Round
A game round of Texas Hold'em Poker is divided into 4 phases, during which cards are dealt or revealed and bets can be made:
- Players have only their two hand cards and there are no community cards (Pre-Flop).
- Three community cards (valid for all players) are revealed (Flop)
- Another community card is turned over (Turn)
- Another community card is turned over (River)
At the beginning of each game round, each player receives two cards from the dealer after the dealer has shuffled the cards. The cards are not shuffled again until after the completed game round.
Each player should always keep the hand cards secret until the end of a game round so as not to give any advantage to the other players.
Deal: First, the dealer deals a card to the player to his left, and then to the next player in a clockwise direction until he deals a card to himself last in the round. Then he repeats the whole thing so that each player has two cards in hand.
In the further course of a round, a total of five community cards are revealed in the middle of the table, which apply to everyone and with which each player combines his face-down hand cards in the best possible and secret way. The best card combination - consisting of five cards - that a player can achieve by combining the hand cards with the community cards is a player's poker hand. It does not matter how many hand cards are combined with the community cards (whether both, only one or none).
|Ex. For example, if someone has a 7 and a 2 in their hand, and the community cards are a straight of 9-K, the player's hand is a straight of 9-K. If another player has an ace in his hand, that player would have a higher straight of 10-A.|
3. Poker Hands
The poker hands shown below (also called "pictures" or "hands") should be memorized by every player (shown on the next page in ascending order).
High card: None of the following images could be scored. - The highest card counts.
Pair: Two cards with the same value.
Two pair: Two different pairs.
Three of a kind: Three cards with the same value.
Straight: Five consecutive cards in value; the ace is considered a "1" before the 2 or follows the king.
Flush: Five cards, with the same symbol.
Full house: One triplet one pair.
Four of a kind: Four cards with the same value.
Straight flush: A street where all cards have the same suit at the same time.
Royal flush: The highest street (10-A), where at the same time all cards have the same symbol.
If two or more players have the same hand, then the card values decide. Thus, the following situations may occur:
- In case of a tie between two players (both have the same hand), the one who has the same hand with higher card values wins.
|Ex: Two players have a straight. One has a straight of 4-8 and the other has a straight of 5-9. The player with the straight of 5-9 wins.|
- If the card values of the pictures also match, then the additional cards in the hand decide.
- If two or more players have all five cards equal in value as their best combination, then each of these players wins in equal shares.
There is a betting round. in each of the four phases. After the hand cards are dealt, the first betting round takes place, which is slightly different from the other betting rounds. The other three betting rounds each follow the reveal of the next community card(s).
Revealing community cards: After the first betting round, the dealer reveals the flop (see above), first taking the top card of the deck and placing it face down ("burning"), and only then placing the next three cards from the top face up in the center of the table. After another round of betting, the dealer again burns the top card and turns over the next card (turn). Another betting round is played and on the following last community card (river) the dealer does the same as on the turn. Then the last betting round can take place.
A game round ends at the latest when the remaining players have matched the highest bet after the last betting round. The remaining players reveal their hand cards, starting with the player who raised last ("showdown"). If no one has raised, the player to the left of the dealer reveals his cards first.
The game round can also end early if all but one player folds.
The pot goes to the winner of a game round. The Winner of a game round is:
- in a showdown, the player with the highest hand
- when all others have discarded: the last remaining player. He does not have to reveal his hand cards, but may do so if he wishes.
- if two or more players have the same hand at a showdown, which is also the highest: all players who have the same hand win. The pot is divided between these players ("split pot").
Before a new round of play begins , all the cards are shuffled again and the dealer is now the player to the left of the previous dealer, he is also the one who shuffles the cards. The dealer moves clockwise after each game round.
|We recommend that the dealer button (white chip labeled with the word dealer) be used continuously in the game: It is placed on the table in front of the dealer, clearly visible, so that the other players can identify it.|
4. The Betting Round
- Starting player: In each betting round, the player sitting to the left of the dealer starts and then the action moves clockwise. The dealer is always the last to act (exception in pre-flop).
- Bet: A player is never forced to make a bet (exception: "blinds" in pre-flop). Once a bet has been made (chips pushed into the center or bet amount called), it cannot be taken back, but goes to the center of the table into the so-called "pot", which is given to the winner of a game round.
- Clarity: Until the end of a betting round (revealing a new community card or showdown), you can leave each player's bets in front of them, and only when all the betting decisions of the round have been made, you pull all the bets together and add them to the pot.
The pre-flop betting round differs from the other betting rounds:
- The players must - unless they want to fold already here - make a bet even though they only know their hand cards and do not have a complete hand yet ("blind").
- The two players to the left of the dealer must always bet in this phase, regardless of whether they want to play this round at all. The first player to the left of the dealer must post only half the minimum bet ("small blind") and the second must post the full minimum bet ("big blind"). Neither of those two players may bet a higher amount at this time. Only after the dealer has made his move, the players with the small and big blind may make their move, i.e. take one of the five actions mentioned below.
In this phase, exceptionally, it is not the dealer who has the last move, but the player who had to post the big blind.
The active player basically has three possible actions: Check, fold or bet. When betting, a distinction is made between calling and raising.
- Check - The player does nothing and it is the next player's turn. (Can also be indicated by tapping on the table). This is only possible if no bet has been placed or raised by any player in the betting round before. If he is the last player in the betting round, the betting round ends.
- Fold - The player declines to bet and places his cards face down. He cannot participate in the following betting rounds of this game round and also cannot win the pot. Any previous bets placed remain in the pot and are lost to the discarding player.
- Bet - The player places a bet that must be at least equal to the amount of the previously set minimum bet (Big Blind). In the no-limit variant, the amount of the bet is limited upwards only by the amount of chips he has on the table in front of him at the time of the betting decision. If he bets all of it, it is called "all-in". If a player does not have enough to make the minimum bet, he must go all-in if he wants to make a bet. If another player has already made a bet in the betting round, then - if you do not want to fold - you have the option of calling or raising, whereby the re-raise is also shown here for illustration purposes:
- Call - The player bets an amount exactly equal to the last bet placed or matches the bet already placed if other players have raised.
- Raise - the player raises a previous bet at least by the amount of the previous raise.
|Ex: The first player A bets x (e.g. 10 points, so he has raised from 0 to 10); player B must raise the first bet x (10 points) at least by x (also 10), so he must bet a total of z=x+x (10+10=20 points) for the raise to be valid.|
- Re-raise - After a raise by a player, any player still in the round may re-raise, with the last raise setting the minimum re-raise in each case.
|Ex. In the above case, if B raises the first bet x (10 points) by more than the minimum raise (e.g. 14 points), he bets a total of 24 points and player C would have to bet at least 24+14=38 points to re-raise the previous raise.|
A betting round ends in the following cases:
- All players have matched their bet to the highest bet in the round or folded.
- All players check. As soon as the last player has checked (the dealer or the big blind, depending on the phase of the game), the round is over without any bet having been made.
- All players except one fold their cards. In this case, both the betting round and the game round are over.
5. Special Features of All-in
When a player goes all-in, he bets all the chips he has available. The player who goes all-in can only win as many chips of a fellow player as he has been able to bet in the game round up to that point.
|Ex. A goes all-in after the flop with 50 points and has already bet a total of 20 points in blinds (70 points in total). B bets 120 points (+20 blinds = 140 points) and C calls. A can win 70 points each from B's and C's bets (140 points in total). The total amount that A will be paid if he wins is 210 points (he also gets his own bet).|
The rest of the game depends on whether more than one player calls the all-in amount or only one player calls the amount:
Only one player calls: The betting round is over. If the one player calling has bet more than the all-in amount (e.g. to scare off other players), he can take back the amount exceeding the all-in after the last player has been eliminated. Since no further bets can be made, the players already open their hand cards and the dealer gradually reveals all community cards according to the rules.
More than one player calls the all-in: A so-called "side pot" is formed, which corresponds to the maximum amount that the all-in player could win (i.e. 210 points in the above example). The other players continue to play the round as normal. Bets that the all-in player cannot win because they exceed the all-in amount and all bets made in the further course are collected into a second side pot. The second side pot can only be won by the other players who can continue to bet.
So, if the all-in player has the highest hand at the showdown, he wins the side pot that he had the maximum chance to win. The player with the second highest hand wins the other side pot. If another player has the highest hand (also higher than the all-in player), he gets both side pots, i.e. everything.