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Texas Hold'em is a card game played with a standard 52-card deck. In each hand, every player is dealt two cards, called the "hole cards", and then several betting rounds commence, where five community cards are eventually dealt face-up on the table.

In each betting round, players take turns adding chips to the pot. Each other player must meet or exceed the bet to remain in the hand and keep playing for the pot.

A player wins a hand in two situations: A) every other player has given up ("folded"), or B) when the final community card is revealed, each remaning player reveals their hole cards ("showdown"). The player who makes the strongest five-card poker hand out of their seven cards (the five community cards plus their two hole cards) wins the hand.

The player who wins the hand collects the pot. All cards are shuffled and a new hand is dealt.

When a player runs out of chips, they are eliminated from the game. The winner is the last standing player, who has won all chips from all the other players!


Hole cards: A player's two cards in hand, hidden from all other players.

Community cards: The cards face-up on the table, that all players can use to make their Poker hands.

Flop: The first three community cards (which are dealt all at once).

Turn: The fourth community card.

River: The fifth and final community card.

Showdown: When hole cards are revealed at the end of a hand.

Pot: The collective chips that have been bet by all players this hand. The winner of the hand will take those chips.

Stack: An individual player's total amount of chips.

Call: To increase your own bet so that it matches the highest current bet.

Check: To pass without betting more, when your bet already matches the highest current bet.

Raise: To increase the current bet.

All-in: To bet all the chips you have left.

Fold: To give up the hand. You are out of the hand and lose all chips you have already bet to the pot.


Pre-flop, and the structure of the betting round in general

At the start of the game, a random player is designated the dealer for the first hand. This is indicated with the dealer button in front of them. The dealer button rotates clockwise after every hand. The dealer position serves to show which players will be posting the blinds, and which players will be beginning the betting rounds.

In the first (pre-flop) betting round, the player immediately clockwise from the dealer posts the small blind. The blinds are mandatory bets that always begin the pre-flop betting round. The next player clockwise posts the big blind, which is always twice as large as the small blind. You can see the current blinds level below the play area.

Each player is dealt two cards, then pre-flop betting commences. The player clockwise from the big blind chooses whether to call, raise, or fold.

If your current bet is smaller than the highest bet someone has made this round, you must call or raise to meet or exceed that bet to stay in the hand. If you do not wish to do so, you must fold. The big blind is a bet, thus, if you are the first to act after the big blind, you must either call (bet equal to the big blind), raise (bet more than the big blind), or fold.

Betting ends when each players has either bet the same amount, gone all-in, or folded. A pre-flop betting round example:

  • Alice is the small blind (1), Bob is the big blind (2), Charlie is the dealer.
  • Charlie sits after the big blind and begins the betting round. Charlie chooses to call and puts 2 points worth of chips in front of him.
  • Alice has a bet of 1 but needs to pay 2 total to stay in the hand. But she has a good feeling about this hand and chooses to raise instead, and adds 3 additional points to her bet, making the total 4 points.
  • Bob has a bet of 2 but needs 4 to stay in the hand. Bob chooses to fold. He does not need to pay any more chips, but the 2 he already bet as the big blind are lost to the pot.
  • Charlie has a bet of 2 but needs 4 to stay in the hand. He chooses to call again, increasing his bet by 2, to 4.
  • Now every remaining player (Alice and Charlie) have a bet of 4 on the table. Since Charlie did not raise, Alice does not get a chance to act again - Charlie closes the action by calling. The betting round ends and all bet chips are placed in the pot.


Three cards are dealt face-up on the table. Then a new betting round starts. There are no additional blinds. Those are only paid in the pre-flop round. Remember how the player clockwise after the big blind position began action in the pre-flop round? That was an exception - in all other betting rounds, the player after the dealer begins.

Since there are no blinds on the table now, the first player now has the option to check with a bet of zero if they wish. Or they can bet. (They can fold too, but this is inadvisable since staying in the hand is free at this point!)


The fourth community card is dealt, followed by a new betting round.


The fifth and final community card is dealt, followed by a final betting round.

If the final betting round closes out with more than one player still in the hand, each remaining player shows their hole cards and makes their hands (see below). The best hand wins the pot!


At showdown, you make the best five-card hand out of the seven cards available to you. Your hand can use both, one, or zero of your hole cards. That's right, your entire hand can consist of only the five community cards. BGA will automatically make you the best possible hand. Note that this means that multiple players can have the same card(s) "in their hand". For example, if A♥ is a community card, perhaps every player uses A♥ in their showdown hand.

Hand rankings

When determining which hand is "highest", the Ace is highest, except when used in the A 2 3 4 5 straight.

  1. Straight Flush: Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit. Example: 4♥ 5♥ 6♥ 7♥ 8♥. If there are multiple straight flushes, the highest straight wins (A 2 3 4 5 is the lowest possible straight, and T J Q K A is the highest).
  2. Four of a Kind: All four cards of the same rank. J J J J. If there are multiple four-of-a-kind, the highest wins. On a tie, highest fifth card outside the four-of-a-kind wins.
  3. Full House: Three of a kind with a pair. J J J 9 9. If there are multiple full houses, the one with the highest three of a kind wins, followed by the highest pair if tied.
  4. Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence. 4♥ J♥ 8♥ 2♥ 9♥. If there are multiple flushes, the one containing the highest card wins. If still tied, compare the next highest card, and so on.
  5. Straight: Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit. 9♥ 8♦ 7♦ 6♠ 5♣. If there are multiple straights, the highest wins.
  6. Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank. 7 7 7. If there are multiple three-of-a-kind, the highest wins. If tied, compare the highest card that is not part of the three-of-a-kind, then the next highest.
  7. Two Pair: Two different pairs. 4 4 3 3. If there are multiple two pairs, the one with the highest pair wins. If tied, compare the second pair. If still tied, compare the hands' fifth cards which is not part of the pairs.
  8. Pair: Two cards of the same rank. A A. If there are multiple pairs, the highest wins. If tied, compare the highest card outside the pair, then the next highest, and so on.
  9. High Card: When you haven't made any of the hands above, the highest card plays. In the example below, the jack plays as the highest card. 3 J 8 4 2. If this occurs for multiple hands, you guessed it, the highest card wins, followed by the next, and so on.

Nitty-gritty rules

You definitely already know enough to play, but here are some explanation of additional rules.

Blinds increases

The blinds double in value periodically after a set number of hands. This makes the stakes go higher and higher as the game goes on, and makes sure the game ends eventually.


When you fold, nobody else gets to see what cards you had.

If every player but one has folded, the remaining player wins the pot, obviously. The winning player does not have to reveal their hand.

Raising and bet limits

The minimum raise is equal to the big blind - you cannot raise by a smaller amount, unless you go all-in. There is no upper limit to how big a bet you can make, you are allowed to go all-in and bet your entire stack at any time.

All-in and side pots

So there's a minimum bet limit, but what if you have been unlucky enough to find yourself with less chips than the big blind? In this case, you are allowed an exception to the min-bet rule. You are always allowed to go all-in, even if you have less than the minimum bet. If you become the big blind while in this situation, you will simply automatically go all-in with what you have.

If you have gone all-in, you will be allowed to remain in the hand even if you have not met or exceeded the others' highest bet. Indeed, the other players can keep raising against one another while you don't have to pay another dime to the pot (since you don't have any to pay)! But, crucially, you can never win more from each opponent than you have bet. When other players have bet more than an all-in player, the pot will be split into side pots, where certain players are only able to win certain pots. An example will clarify:

  • Alice has 20 chips left, Bob has 100, and Charlie has 100.
  • Alice goes all-in with her 20. Bob calls.
  • Charlie, however, feels like he has a better hand than Bob. Charlie chooses to raise Bob's 20, up to 50.
  • It would be Alice's turn, but she is already all-in and has no possible choices to make for the rest of the hand. She is just along for the ride!
  • So it is Bob's turn, and he chooses to call Charlie's 50. The betting round ends.

To recap, at this point, Alice has bet 20, Bob has bet 50, and Charlie has bet 50. Even though Alice does not meet the highest bet, she is still allowed to stay in the hand, because she is all-in!

The pot is 120, but, this should be split into two side pots! Alice can only win back 60 points: her own 20 plus 20 from each other player. So "pot 1" should contain 60 points. The remaining 60 can be called "pot 2".

  • If Bob or Charlie has the best hand at showdown, that winner gets both pots, for 120 points. Alice will be eliminated from the game.
  • If Alice has the best hand, she wins pot 1 for 60 points. The best hand out of Bob's and Charlie's wins the remaining 60! Alice will remain in the game with 60 points left.

Split pot

If at showdown two or more hands are exactly equal, the pot is split as equally as possible between the winners.