How to Play Texas Hold'em Poker

New to poker, need to learn how to play? Don’t worry – we’ve got a quick introduction to Texas Hold’em, the most common form of poker, right here!

In this first episode, Rich and Tikay show you what actions are available to you when playing poker, and how to communicate them.



Before any cards are dealt, one player is given the ‘dealer button’ – a small disc which shows the nominal dealer for the hand. The person directly to the left of the dealer puts in the small blind. The person two to the left of the dealer puts in the big blind. These are mandatory and ensure that there is always some money to be won in the pot. This action happens every hand and goes in a clockwise direction.

In Texas Hold’em each player is then dealt two cards face down - 'hole cards.' Players can look at their own cards and then the action begins with the player to the left of the big blind. Action then continues around the table in a clockwise direction.

Player Actions

When it's your turn, you have to decide what you want to do based on the actions that have already been made before you.

Fold - You don't want to put any more money in the pot. You pass your cards back to the dealer face down and they are discarded. The pile of discarded cards is known as the 'muck.' You are not able to retrieve your cards at any time once you have 'mucked.' You also cannot win any money in the pot once you have folded. 

Call - You want to stay in the hand and are willing to match the last bet. This could be the amount of the big blind or a new higher amount if someone raised before you.

Bet - This is when you want to increase the size of the bet. You have to bet at least double the size of the big blind. So, if you are playing 10p/20p blinds, the minimum bet would be 40p. The most you can bet is all of your chips, known as going 'all-in.' No extra money or chips that are not already in play can be added to the table, it is just what you have in front of you.

Raise - You want to increase a previous player's bet further still. You can raise a minimum of the difference between the big blind and the first bet. For example the blinds are 10p/20p and a player makes it 40p. They have bet 20p on top of the big blind. You can then raise by a minimum of 20p, so you could make it 60p. With the game being 'No Limit' there is no limit to the amount of chips in your stack that you wish to bet, therefore the 'all-in' option is also available here.

Check -  If the action comes around to you in the big blind and nobody has bet, you have the option to check. Since you have already posted the chips required to enter the hand before it started, and nobody decided to raise the bet, you can see the flop for free.

Community Cards & Betting Rounds

Part two of Sky Poker School: Back to Basics covers what each community card is called and what betting action happens on each round.



Before any community cards come down, player's choose whether or not they would like to play the hand. After all bets have been matched the three rounds of community cards are dealt.

Flop - The first three cards that are dealt onto the board. Betting starts in a clockwise direction from the player to the left of the dealer.

Turn - The next single card to be dealt. Also known as 'fourth street.' Another round of betting occurs.

River - The final card to be dealt onto the board. Also known as 'fifth street.' The final round of betting happens. Then when all bets are matched players must reveal their cards in order to determine who has won the pot. 

Before each 'street' is dealt the first card on top of the deck is 'burned.' Not literally! This simply means that the card is discarded and isn't used, the next one is instead. This is to ensure that no cheating can occur, and randomises the outcome further. 

So now you understand the flow of action in poker, why not head check out the starting hands page to develop your knowledge of the game a little further.

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