The Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of the game of poker.
It’s played through four sequential rounds of betting: pre-flop, on the flop, the turn and the river.
Before starting the hand, the deck is shuffled, the blinds are posted and each player receives two cards face down (hole cards).
Once the pot is awarded, the dealer button is moved one position in a clockwise direction, the blinds are posted and another hand begins.
When a table opens for the first time a position is drawn from which the game will start. A ‘marker’ called dealer button is placed in front of the player sitting at the drawn position. The button moves around the table in a clockwise direction at the end of each hand, so that every player, in turn, can take the advantage to have the last action.
When the action is to a certain player it means it’s his turn to act. He can bet, check, raise or fold.
The blinds are two forced bets that begin the action in Texas Hold’em. The player to the left of the button places the small blind (SB), the one to the left of the SB posts the big blind (BB). The BB is exactly twice the size of the SB. Blind increase every level according to the established structure of the game.
The cards are distributed clockwise around the table, face down, starting from the SB and until each player receives two. These are called hole cards and are visible exclusively to player.
After seeing his cards each player has a decision to make. The player to the left of the BB, called under the gun (UTG), has to decide first. He can call (betting the same amount of the BB), raise (betting at least twice the size of the BB) or fold (abandon the hand without betting and without showing his cards). Betting continues clockwise: each player can call (matching the last bet to continue), re-raise (betting at least twice the previous bet) or fold. All players that fold at this stage, are no longer involved in the game till the end of the hand. The BB has the last action: he has the option to check (if none of the players has re-raised ad he doesn’t want to raise), call (if there was at least one raising bet and he wants to match it) or re-raise. If the BB re-raises, a new round of betting starts and every player still in the hand has the chance of a new action.
When the first round of bets is placed, three community cards, called flop, are dealt on the table. The cards are available to all players still in the hand to be combined with their hole cards to achieve the best possible combination. The second round of betting begins with the first active player still in the hand, starting from the left of the button. His options are the same as pre-flop, plus a check option (pass the action to the next player without betting). If there has been no bet by the player to your right, you can choose to check and remain in the hand without the need to risk more chips. If a player decided to bet, a new round of actions starts, until all the bets are matched.
It’s a forth community card, also called ‘fourth street’, dealt face up next to the flop. The betting round is the same as on the flop.
A fifth card is dealt as community card. Afterwards there comes the fourth and final betting round; the betting round here is the same as on the flop and on the turn. All players that remain in the hand after the final bet has been called, will have a chance to win the pot at showdown.
Once the final bet has been placed, if there is more than one player in the hand, the hole cards will be revealed to determine the winner of the hand.
The Omaha is a poker variation played with 4 hole cards (also called pocket cards) and 5 community cards. It’s rules are extremely similar to Texas Holdem. The main difference, beside the number of the hole cards, is that the hand at the showdown must combine only two of the four pocket cards and three community cards.
As for the Texas Hold’em variation, the blinds are placed by the two players seated to the left of the dealer at the beginning of each hand, before the cards are dealt. In fixed-limit games the Small Blind is 50% of the small stake, and the Big Blind is 100% of the small stake.
The Actions – Preflop
After the Blinds are posted, each player receives four cards face down to his pocket. The first player to act is the one seated to the left to the Big Blind. He can call, raise or fold as he wishes. A betting round is held. In fixed limit games, the first two betting rounds use the lower game stake for all raises.
The dealer deals three cards face up (flop) to the middle of the table. Afterwards, players make their bets. This betting round still uses the low game stake for all raises and bets. For instance, in a 2/4 game, the lower stake amount is, of course, 2.
The dealer deals the fourth community card face up. A new betting round begins and it uses the high game stake amount. The betting action takes place until all players’ bets are matched (called).
The dealer finally deals the fifth and the last community card face up. The last betting round takes place. This betting round also uses the high game stake amount for all bets and raises.
After the bets are called, all players must reveal their hands to determine the winner. The strongest five-card hand wins the pot. (The hand rankings are the same as in most poker games).
Seven Card Stud
Seven Card Stud
Unlike the Texas Hold’em or Omaha variation, in Seven Card Stud there are no community cards. Each player is dealt 7 cards, three face down (only visible to the player) and four face up. All players can see your four face up cards, but they are only available to you to make your best poker hand. As well you cannot use other players face up cards to improve your own hand. In 7card all players that wish to be dealt into a hand must post a small bet called ante.
Dealing begins left of the button and continues clockwise until each player is dealt three cards: two face down and one face up. The player with the lowest face up card value is the first in the hand. He must make a forced bet. The only option available to this player is to choose the size of the bet, either ½ or the full max bet allowed. Betting continues clockwise: each player can call the total bet made by the player to their right, fold or raise. In limit game there can only be a maximum of three raises per betting round.
Each player in the hand is dealt a second card face up. This card is also known as “Fourth Street”. From this moment and until the final betting round, every action starts with the player showing the highest poker hand. The betting continues as at Third Street. However if a player shows a pair, then he can make a bet that is twice the maximum or check.
Each remaining player receives a fifth card face up. Betting continues as before, but the betting increases are the higher than the two limits.
Each remaining player receives a sixth card face up. Betting continues as before.
Seventh Street and Showdown
The last card is dealt face down to each player still in the hand. A round of betting follows and if there is more than one player remaining at the end of the hand, players will expose their hand to determine the winner.