TEXAS HOLDEM POKER RULES
Poker is a social game that can be played with a minimum of 2 players. At a table, the maximum is usually 10 players at a given time. The game lasts as long as the participants decide (preferably at the beginning) or until a player gained all the chips.
There are two basic variations of Texas Hold'em Poker: No Limit Hold'em and Limit Hold'em. The difference being, in the Limit variant the bet that may be placed is limited. This leads to a calmer game, as 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 during the evening, you can have a long poker evening with this variant too.
Create Rules of Play
Firstly, it should either be determined by the game organiser or agreed upon together which rules of play are to be followed. The following points should be considered:
End of the game: It should be clear to everyone in advance at which point the game ends. 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 wish to keep the end of the game variable, the chip leader may prefer to end the game, but the player who has lost the most may prefer to have more time to make up for that loss).
Buy-In: Determine how much a player has to pay to participate in the game or whether you want to play with no money down. Decide whether a player may re-buy in if he has lost all his chips, and how much the re-buy will be.
Tip: If you want to keep the odds fair, it is advisable to choose 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 starts, i.e. the minimum stake a player must place when he has decided to bet ("big blind").
Experience shows that a low minimum stake is recommended at the beginning. For a game with chips worth 1000 points per player and using the above value system, a minimum stake of 10 points is therefore initially sufficient.
The minimum stake can be increased in the course of the evening (e.g. after a given number of minutes or after a given number of rounds) if the players have agreed on it before the game starts. However, an increase always applies in the next round and is never increased within an ongoing round.
Each player receives a stack of chips ("chip stack") the denomination of which should be the same for each player and which corresponds to the buy-in. The chips must remain on the table during the entire game and must not be pocketed 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 as many cards as there are players. Determine which seat the lowest card should be assigned to. The next highest card is assigned to the seat to the left of that and then continue clockwise. Shuffle the picked cards and place them face down on the table. The players each draw a card and take the seat assigned to it.
Texas Hold'em Poker is divided into 4 phases in which cards are dealt or revealed and bets can be made in each phase:
- 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 revealed (Turn)
- Another community card is revealed (River)
At the beginning of a round, each player receives two cards from the dealer after the dealer has shuffled the cards. The cards are not shuffled again until the round is completed.
Each player should keep his hand cards closed until the end of a round, so as not to give the other players an advantage.
Deal: First, the dealer gives a card to the player to his left, and then to the next player in a clockwise direction until he gives himself a card, last in the round. Then he repeats this until each player has two cards in hand.
As a round progresses, a total of five community cards are revealed in the centre of the table, which apply to everyone and with which each player combines their face-down hand cards in the best possible and unrevealed 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 would have a straight of 9-K. If another player has an ace in his hand, that player would have a higher straight of 10-A.
The poker hands shown below (also called "pictures" or "hands") should be known by heart by every player:
High Card: None of the following images could be scored. - The highest card counts.
Pair: Two cards with the same value.
Two pairs: two different pairs.
Three of a kind: Three cards of the same value.
Straight: Five consecutive cards in order of value; the ace is considered a "1" before the 2 or follows the king.
Flush: Five cards that all have the same suit.
Full House: Three of a kind and a pair.
Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same value.
Straight Flush: A straight where all the cards are the same suit at the same time.
Royal Flush: The highest straight (10-A) where all cards are of the same suit at the same time.
If two or more players have the same picture, then the card values decide. This can lead to the following situations:
- In case of a tie between two players (both have the same picture), the one who has the same picture with higher card values wins.
Ex: Two players have a street. One has a street of 4-8 and the other has a street of 5-9. The player with the street of 5-9 wins.
- If the card values of the images also match, then the additional cards in the hand decide.
- If two or more players have as their best combination all five cards of the same value, then each of these players wins in equal shares.
In each of the four phases there is a betting round. After the hand cards are dealt, the first betting round takes place. This is slightly different from the following rounds. The next three betting rounds each follow the revealing of the next community card(s).
Reveal 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 ("burns"), and only then placing the next three cards from the top face up in the centre 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 round finishes when the remaining players have matched their bets to the highest 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.
However, the round can also end prematurely if all but one player has dropped out.
The pot goes to the winner of a round. The winner of a round is:
- in a showdown, the player with the highest score
- when all others have discarded: the last remaining player. He does not have to reveal his hand cards, but can do so if he wishes.
- when 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 the start of a new round, the cards are shuffled 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 round of play.
We recommend that the dealer button (white chip with the word dealer written on it) is used continuously being placed on the table in front of the dealer, clearly visible for all players.
The betting rounds
- 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 in pre-flop). Once a bet has been made (chips pushed into the center or called), it cannot be taken back, but goes to the center of the table in the so-called "pot", which is given to the winner of a round.
The betting round in the pre-flop differs from the three following betting rounds:
- The players must - unless they already want to fold here - place a bet, although they only know their hand cards and do not yet have a complete hand ("blind").
- The two players to the left of the dealer must always place a bet in this point, regardless of whether they want to play this round or not. The first player to the left of the dealer must place only half the minimum bet ("small blind"), the second player must place the full minimum bet ("big blind"). Neither player may bet a higher 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.
At this point, the dealer is not the one who has the last move, but the player who placed the big blind.
Possible courses of action
The active player basically has five options:
- 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, it ends.
- Bet - The player places a bet. This must be at least the amount of the previously set minimum bet (big blind). In the no-limit variant, the amount of the bet is limited only by the amount of chips he has on the table 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.
- Raise - The player raises a previous bet by at least the big blind. After a raise by a player, any player still in the game may re-raise.
- Call - The player bets an amount equal to the amount of the last bet. The player can call the amount of the last bet or match the amount of the previous bet.
- Fold - The player wavers betting and puts his cards face down. He can no longer participate in the following betting rounds of this game, nor can he win the pot. Any bets previously placed remain in the pot and are lost to the player who folds.
A betting round ends in the following instances:
- All players matched their bet to the highest set in the round or folded.
- All players check. Once the last player has checked (dealer or big blind) the round is over without any bet being made.
- All players (except the last one) discard their cards, thus ending both the betting round and the round.
Special features of the 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 from a fellow player as he was able to bet in the round up to that point.
E.G.: A goes all-in after the flop with 50 points and has previously bet a total of 20 points in blinds (70 points total). B bets 120 points (+20 blinds = 140 points) and C calls. A can win 70 points from both B's and C's bets (for a total of 140 points). So the total amount A will get 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 goes 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 with the round. Bets that the all-in 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 may continue placing bets.
So if the all-in player has the highest hand at the showdown, he only wins the side pot that contains the equal amounts to his all-in bet. 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, as in everything.