Texas Hold’em Rules

How to Play Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of poker. It is played between 2 and 9 players at a table. In order to win, one must either have the best hand at showdown or bet and get everyone else to fold.

Two Card Each

Everyone is dealt 2 cards face down. You are only permitted to see your own cards and do not share with anyone else what you have in your hand. Texas Hold’em is played with the the typical 52 card deck where an ace can be used for high pair or low straight.

4 Rounds of Betting

PreflopAll players are dealt 2 cards each and a round of betting begins.
FlopAfter the first round of betting is complete. Three community cards are dealt. These cards are used in conjunction with your own 2 cards to make the best possible hand.
TurnA fourth community card is dealt and another round of betting takes place.
RiverThe 5th and final community card is dealt. One more round of betting takes place and the player left wins the pot, or if there is a bet and call – the player with the best 5 card hand.

Hand Rankings

In order to understand the value of your hand, you need to understand the different rankings. Whilst a royal flush and 4 of a kind are amazing hands to have, they are rarely seen in a game of Texas Hold’em. Many pots are won with much weaker hands.

Texas Hold'em Hand Rankings


There are essentially 4 possible actions available to you at any one time in Texas Hold’em. They are to check, bet, call or fold.


A check is when you are already involved in the hand and are checking to the person to left of you. It is neither investing chips or money nor folding.


To bet is to invest chips or money into the pot. If you bet and everyone else folds, you win the pot.


To call is to match the bet of another player. It can also mean to call the blinds before the flop. If you call a bet on the river and there is nobody else in the pot, hands are turned face up to reveal the winner.


To fold is to get out of the hand, throw your cards in the muck and let others battle it out. Folding makes it impossible to win the hand being played.

What are the blinds and the dealer button?

Every hand has a dealer button and a small and big blind. These blinds are forced bets that players have to make. They are the 2 spots to the left of the dealer button. The small blind is 1/2 the amount of the big blind. These forced bets mean there is always something to be won and induce action. The dealer button represents the person last to act on the flop, turn and river. In home games it is also used to designate who is dealing the cards. After each hand is completed, the blinds and the dealer button is moved 1 spot clockwise around the table.

What are the best starting hands?

The best possible hand is two aces aka pocket aces. Pocket aces represent the biggest pair available in Texas Hold’em. They are a mathematical favourite against all other hands. The best possible starting hands are listed below.

  • Pocket Aces
  • Pocket Kings
  • Pocket Queens
  • Ace King suited
  • Ace King off suit
  • Pocket Jacks
  • Ace Queen suited
  • Pocket Tens
  • Ace Queen offsuit
  • Pocket 9s

“It takes five minutes to learn but a┬álifetime to master.” – Mike Sexton

Texas Hold’em rules are easy enough to learn but take a long time to become an expert at. Whether you’re interested in cash games or tournament poker, there are challenges to becoming a winner. No limit Texas Hold’em requires lots of different skills in order to play well. Freepokertips.co.uk is dedicated to helping you learn as many of these skills as possible. The table below highlights skills required to becoming a long term winner at Texas Hold’em.

AttentionIn order to read your opponents and have a good understanding of what is going on, one must have excellent attention and observations skills.
PatienceOne of the biggest reasons people lose at poker is lack of patience. Whether it’s waiting for the right spot to bluff or waiting for good starting hands, one needs patience to win at poker.
AggressionPlaying timid won’t get you very far in poker. You need to be aggressive to win pots and get value. A tight aggressive style works well at low stakes games.
MathsAs you develop as a player you will realise how important maths is in poker. It can be used to calculate the correct odds in a situation or if you a favourite in the hand. Eventually alot of the poker maths will be intuitive.
Bankroll ManagementStaying in the game and practising good bankroll management is necessary to long term winning. There is no point playing above your means as you will quickly go broke. If you are good at keeping to budgets, poker may be for you.
Mental ToughnessEvery poker player will go on a bad run. You need to be mentally tough enough to continue playing well despite bad luck. If you are emotionally weak and give up easy, poker will be very difficult for you.
AwarenessKnowing what is going on and the perception players have of you is a critical skill to learn. Table image and what you project is just as important as the cards you are playing.
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