Texas Hold ‘Em Poker

Texas Hold ‘Em is a popular version of poker where each player makes the best five card hand possible, using two cards dealt to him personally, and five “community” cards, which are dealt face-up onto the table for all players to use. Before any cards are dealt, the players pay their blind bets, or “blinds”. The number of blinds may vary, but two blinds are common. The player to the left of the dealer is known as the “small blind.” He pays half of the ante into the pot, without seeing his cards. The second player to the left of the dealer is the “big blind.” He is required to pay the full ante without seeing his cards. In some games, the blinds increase at regular intervals throughout the game. It is entirely possible for a player to find himself “all in” – that is, with all of his money in the pot – without ever seeing his cards. Where one player is “all-in,” all players turn their hand face up. Players may establish a side pot, where they play against the “all-in” player for the main pot, and play as normal against each other for the side pot.

After the blinds round, the dealer deals two cards face down to each player, clockwise. These cards are the “hole” cards. There are many names given to hole card combinations, such as “pocket rockets” for two Aces. The player left of the big blind opens the betting by paying the ante or folding. Play moves around the table, with each player matching the bet, increasing the bet, or folding. The small blind may stay in the game matching the current bet to stay in the game. He may also raise, if he would like. The big blind also must match or raise the bet. The round continues until all players have matched the bet or folded.

Once all bets have been placed, the dealer places five cards face up in the middle of the table, in the following order: First is “the flop,” three cards dealt together. The dealer then “burns” one card, which means playing it into the discard pile. The dealer plays a fourth card face-up, called the “bridge”, then burns another card. Then, the “river”, or final card, is played face-up. A round of betting occurs after the dealer reveals the flop, the bridge, and the river. After the final round of betting, all remaining players reveal their hands. The player with the best five card hand created from the seven cards available to him wins the hand.

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