Hold'em or Texas Hold'em currently most popular poker game in the world. There are three variations of Hold'em, distinguished by their betting limits:
- Limit Hold'em which has a specified betting limit in each game and on each round of betting.
- Pot Limit Hold'em where players can bet what is in the pot.
- No Limit Hold'em where players can bet all of their chips at any time.
Each of these variations are available at most online poker rooms.
Hold'em uses a "dealer button" to indicate who is the theoretical dealer of each hand. After a hand is completed, the dealer button is moved clockwise to the next active player who will be the dealer for the next hand. This insures each player will have equal opportunities to play in the early, middle and late positions.
The First Round
The two players immediately to the left of the dealer button place blind bets to start the pot. The player to the left of the dealer button posts the "small blind" which is usually half the value of the lower stake limit. The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the "big blind" which is equal to the lower stake limit. All the blinds in Hold'em poker are considered live bets and the players who posted may check, call, raise or fold when the betting returns to their position.
Once the blinds have been placed, each player is dealt two secret or "hole" cards and the first betting round starts. The player to the left of the player who placed the big blind starts the betting for this round.
Each player may now place bets at the lower limit of the stakes for the game. So in a $10/$20 Hold'em game, each bet would be $10 for the first round. Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. These options are available depending on the action taken by the previous player. Each player always has the option to fold. The first player to act has the option to bet, call or raise while players after him/her have the option of calling or raising. To call is to bet the same amount as the previous player has bet. To raise is to match the previous bet and increase the bet.
Every player in the hand should have the same amounts of money bet as the previous players, including bets, calls and raises. Until all the players have placed equal amounts in the pot, betting will continue. There is a limit of four bets per player in limit games.
After the first round of betting is over, the Flop, or the first three community cards, is dealt. All players in the hand can use the community cards in combination with their two hole cards.
The Second Round
After the Flop, the first active player to the left of the dealer button is first to act. The second betting round also limits the value of bets and raises to the lower limit of the stake structure, same as in the first round. Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. These options are available depending on the action taken by the previous player. Each player always has the option to fold. The first player to act has the option to bet or check. Checking means not making a wager at this point. If other players bet after someone checks, the player who checked will get then get the option to call or raise. Once a player has bet, players after him/her only have the option of calling or raising, but until the first bet any player can check.
After wagering has finished, the fourth community card or the Turn is dealt.
The Third Round
The third betting round starts again with the player left to the button, but bets and raises are now limited to the upper limit of the stake. Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player depending on the action taken by the previous player.
After wagering has finished, the fifth and final community card, called the River, is dealt
The Fourth Round
The fourth and final round of betting starts again with the player left to the button, and bets and raises are again limited to the upper limit of the stake. Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player depending on the action taken by the previous player.
Once all the bets have been made, a winner will be decided. If all players but one have folded their hand, the remaining player is the winner no matter what cards he/she hold. If more than one player remains active, all players reveal their hands and the best hand wins the pot.
The game play remains same for both No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold'em game with a few exceptions. In limit Hold'em a maximum of four bets is allowed per player during any betting round, however in No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Hold'em there is no limit to the number of raises that a player can make. The only limit is that you cannot raise yourself. If all the other players in the hand only call or fold, the player would not get an option to raise, because the last raise was done by him.
Betting Structure for No-Limit Hold'em Poker
Minimum raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round.
Maximum eligible raise: The total number of chips you have on the table.
The Betting Rules for Pot-Limit Hold'em Poker
Minimum eligible raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round.
Maximum eligible raise: The size of the pot, which is defined as the total of the active plus all bets on the table plus the amount the active player must first call before raising.