Poker is played with one deck of 52 cards in four suits - clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades – in the values: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. A game of poker is divided into several betting rounds, during which players contribute to the pot and receive or exchange cards. The number of rounds depends on the type of poker. In casinos and gaming clubs, the dealer does not play. In the case that players deal, the player with the dealer button deals. The dealer button rotates clockwise after each hand.
Texas Hold´em Poker
Texas Hold´em is definitely the most popular type of poker. It is played worldwide and almost all tournaments are played with this type of poker.
No antes (forced contributions) are required in Texas Hold’ em before the game starts, except in later stages of large tournaments. However, every game starts with two forced contributions – blinds (the small blind and the big blind). The game starts when two players to the left of the button place their pre-agreed bet before the cards are dealt.
This ensures that there is money in the game. The size of blinds periodically increases in tournaments, which ensures that players will slowly leave the tournament. In most cases, the player to the left of the button places the “small blind,” which represents half of the minimum bet, and the player to the left of the small blind places the “big blind,” which equals the minimum bet.
Each player is dealt two “closed cards.” Only he must know the value of these cards. The cards must remain on the table during the game and the player can pick them up and look at them at any time. The objective of the game is to combine these cards with five open cards that the dealer puts on the table to create the best five-card combination.
The player can use one or two closed cards; in some rare cases, the player uses only the cards on the table. The player with the highest five-card combination wins the pot, i.e. the amount created by all the bets during the game.
The first betting round
It starts right after the dealing. The first player is the one to the left of the big blind and has three options – to call, (which means to match the amount of the big blind of the player to the right), to raise (to raise the bet) or to fold (to throw away the hand and to wait for the next deal).
The player can raise the bet depending on the type of game. In limit games, the player can raise the bet only by a pre-agreed amount, which is capped (usually after four raises) and cannot be raised anymore.
In pot-limit games, the player can raise the bet only by how much is in the pot at the moment.
In non-limit games, the bet can be raised by any amount; the only limitation is the number of chips or money that the player has on the table at the moment.
Folding means that the player gives his cards face down to the dealer, who puts them in the deck of thrown-away cards. The cards in this deck are considered dead and may not be further used in the game. The player does not play anymore.
The next player to the right has the same options, but he can also re-raise the bet. The re-raise must be at least of the same size as the last raise.
After the first betting round, the dealer first deals the top card in the deck face down on the table, which becomes the “burn card” and then three cards face up. These cards are called the flop.
The second betting round
This round starts with the first player to the left of the button. In addition to call, fold and raise, this player also has the option to check (i.e. to stay in the game with no bet).
In the case that any of the players made a bet, the next player can call or raise. If he does not want any of these options, he must fold. So, at the end of this round, all players put the same amount of money in the pot, except for the players who do not have enough chips on the table to equal the bet.
These players can go “all in” (to bet everything), which means that one or several “side pots” are created to ensure that each player at the table can win only the multiple of the number of chips that he put in the game.
Once the second betting round is completed, the next top card from the deck is burned and the dealer deals the fourth card face up.
The third betting round
In limit games, the size of the minimum bet is doubled in this round.
After the third betting round is completed, the top card of the deck is burned and the dealer deals the fifth card face up.
The fourth betting round
After this round, the players who are still in the game show their cards and the best hand wins the pot.
If two (or more) players have the same combination, the second highest card ("kicker") decides. If this is not possible, the pot is equally split between the players.
The players who decide to play only five cards on the table must say so before throwing away the hand in order not to lose the right to the winnings.