Online Texas Holdem Poker


Learn how to play Texas Hold'em Poker

Hold'em is the most popular and well-known variant of poker. It is the most famous of the flop-based games, and the easiest to learn. It's the game you've seen on TV in the Poker Million and the game that made the likes of ‘Isildur1' and Phil Ivey the household names you see today.

Our how to play Texas Hold'em Poker guide will show you how to be a pro. A player is dealt two ‘hole' cards, and then 5 community cards that all players share, and which arrive in a specific sequence: the ‘flop' (3 cards at once), the ‘turn' (or ‘fourth street') and the 'river' (or ‘fifth street'). A round of betting ensues after each of the four rounds: pre-flop (when each player has only their two face-down pocket or hole cards), post-flop, turn and river. Once all betting is completed there is a "showdown" where the best hand tabled by a player will win the pot.

The idea is to make the best five-card poker hand from the seven available in any combination of community and hole cards. With 4 betting rounds there is a lot of room for Texas holde'm strategy  and information to come to the fore (compared to a game like, say, 5 Card Draw) that the game has become the game of choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

"Texas Hold'em poker takes a minute to learn but a lifetime to master", goes the saying, and maybe this is the reason that "The Cadillac of Poker" has become the signature poker game of the World Series of Poker.

Many other top line events have sprung up around the massive influx players to the game that has been created by T.V. and the Internet. Competitions like the WPT and the European Ladies Championship further show the popularity of the game. You can even sail away on the Ladbrokes Poker Cruise and play Texas Hold'em Poker while sailing the Caribbean, such is the diversity of events and experiences available to the modern poker player.

The popularity of the game has spawned numerous forums, books, TV shows and movies. Titles such as Rounders, Late Night Poker, The World Poker Tour, Super System and Ghosts at the Table have become synonymous with the poker industry. Indeed, no other poker variation has had so many strategy and advice books written on it than Hold'em - it seems that every professional and pundit has written a book on Texas Hold'em poker strategy, with some of the most popular written by the likes of Doyle' Texas Dolly' Brunson, T.J. Cloutier and Dan Harrington. Poker luminaries such as Phil ‘Poker Brat' Hellmuth and Mike ‘Mad Genius of Poker' Caro hold regular coaching seminars on Texas Hold'em strategies.

Helped by the internet phenomenon, the ability to play anytime, anywhere and the relatively cheap cost of playing satellites to enter big tournaments (Chris Moneymaker paid $40 to enter a Texas Hold'em online poker satellite to the WSOP main event and won $5,000,000!) has made the game accessible to all. Celebrities such as Matt Damon, Toby Maguire, Michael Jordan and even Montell Williams have featured in many events – always followed by a big crowd of onlookers!

If you want a fast-paced, exciting game that you will forever be finding new strategies and puzzles for, then Texas Hold'em is the game for you. Here at Ladbrokes Poker, you'll get all the help you need with our how to play Texas Hold'em Poker guide to get you started on the road to the WSOP Final Table!

How to play Texas Hold'em Poker: Step-by-step Guide

In this guide we will detail all the necessary steps to help you feel at home on the tables. We have even enlisted the sage advice of some proven and accomplished players whose results and experience here at Ladbrokes Poker speaks for itself, and they have generously given their time to provide some helpful strategies, hints and tips.

If you wish to practice what you will learn below, but want to feel your way a bit further into the game, then we have a vast selection of free money poker tables available for you on the site.

At the start of every Texas Hold'em poker hand there are two things that are a constant: The button and the blinds.

The button is a disc placed in front of a player, and signifies who is the dealer for that hand.

The blinds are forced bets (so called because the players have to post them ‘blind' before they see any cards) placed by the two players to the immediate left of the button. The first player posts the small blind and the second player posts the big blind. The small blind is generally half the number of chips of the big blind. After each hand the button progresses one place to the left, and so do both the blinds.

Pre-Flop Action

Once a player has received their pocket cards (hole cards), they are faced with their first decision: to play or not to play. A player must decide if they are in or out of the hand, and do this by matching the bet that stands when the action reaches them (or indeed raising that amount if the feeling takes them). Betting will go in sequence starting from the first player to the left of the dealer, and continue round the table sequentially in a clockwise fashion until all bets have been matched.

The possible actions available to any player are: Fold, Call or Raise.

As the action moves around the table pre-flop, players wishing to remain in the hand will have to at least call (match) the big blind bet, OR if a previous player has raised (increased the bet) then that bet will have to be at least called to remain in the hand. A player always has the option to fold any time the action is on them (it is their turn).

If there has been no raise when the action (betting round) returns to the big blind player, that player will still have the option to raise if they so desire. Any money put into the pot by a player before any cards are dealt counts as part of their overall bet. So if the blinds are $1 (sb) and $2 (bb) and there is no raise before the action gets to the small blind, then he or she will only have to put an extra $1 into the pot to match the $2 as they already have $1 invested prior to the dealing of the cards.

Once all bets are matched the flop is dealt.

The Flop

The flop consists of three cards being dealt face up in the middle of the table. These are community cards, meaning that they are shared by all the players and may form part of anyone's hand.

A round of betting will now follow, starting from the player to the immediate left of the button and continuing clockwise around the table.

Once again any player will have the option to Fold, Check, Call or Raise.

A check is a situation where there is currently no bet that stands which a player would have to match, so a player may decide to continue that by checking (essentially calling a bet of zero). Betting will continue as detailed above until all bets are matched.

Once this happens the next card is dealt.

The Turn

The turn card (or fourth street) is dealt face up in the middle of the table and becomes another community card. A round of betting then ensues in the same fashion as detailed above. The players who remain after this round of betting will then see the final card.

The River:

The final card is the River (or fifth street); this is dealt face up in the middle of the table and is also a community card. Players now have all the cards they can. The idea is to make the best five-card poker hand from the seven available (the two pocket or hole cards and the five community cards).

The final round of betting now follows in the same fashion as previous rounds. Those players that still remain after the completion of the betting then go to the showdown.


The Showdown

Once all betting has been completed the players who remain show their cards.

If there was betting on the last round then the player who made the last positive action (last player to make a bet – not to call one) will show first, if the last round of betting involved all players ‘checking' then it will be the player to the immediate left of the button who will show first then clockwise from there.

In Texas Hold'em Poker a player may use any combination of their two hole cards and the five cards on the board (the community cards). A player may even simply ‘play the board' and only use the community cards to form their hand (this differs from other forms of poker).

The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. In the event of player's poker hands being the same, the poker pot will be equally divided between the players.

The rules of how to play Texas Hold'em give no differentiation between suits so split pots can be common.

The button now moves clockwise to the next player and a new hand begins.

Now you know when to raise, fold and call after reading through out how to play Texas Hold'em Poker, put your new skills to the test at one of our Texas Hold'em tables. To try out this exciting variant of online poker, sign up and download our online poker tables today.