How to play Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em’s fame soared with televised poker. This variant is globally acclaimed, reigning supreme in both physical and online arenas.

Get a comprehensive game overview here, along with pivotal insights to enhance your gaming journey with YourPokerDream. Equip yourself with knowledge and confidence for your next game.

Texas Hold’em Basic Rules

Poker’s essence: easy to learn, challenging to master. Here’s a swift rundown:

Players receive two ‘hole’ cards (face down). Over three betting rounds – Flop, Turn, and River – the dealer reveals five ‘community’ cards (face up). The Flop showcases three cards, the Turn adds another, and the River completes with the fifth.

Aim: Craft the best 5-card hand from seven available cards – combining hole and community cards. If the top hand uses all five board cards (like 10c Js Qd Kh Ac), every participant employs those cards. Betting begins immediately post starting hands allocation and continues at every stage. Players must bet chips equivalent to the current amount to stay in the game. The eventual champion claims all chips.

Origins of Texas Hold’em Poker

Despite its global fame, many might be unfamiliar with the roots of Texas Hold’em. As poker’s most celebrated variant, No Limit Texas Hold’em enjoys unrivaled popularity in both physical and online casinos. Originating in Robstown, Texas in the early 1900s, it’s evident how the game got its name.

Its true rise to stardom began in the 1960s when poker legend Corky McCorquodale brought it to Las Vegas. Initially, the Golden Nugget stood alone in offering Texas Hold’em. However, its integration into the World Series of Poker in the 1970s solidified its iconic status in the poker world.

Texas Hold’em Rules: A Simple Explanation


Poker-CardsTexas Hold’em utilizes a conventional 52-card deck, dealing two hole cards (face down) to each player.


Poker chips, varying in value, represent a player’s stake. In tournaments, players pay a buy-in and receive a starting stack of chips. Regardless of being real or virtual, poker uses chips.


Poker-PlayersAt least two players start the game. The term for a two-player game is ‘heads-up’ – now a common term in English. Typically, tables can have up to 10 players. More players mean more possibilities in betting rounds, making strong hands more vulnerable. 6-max tables have become popular in online poker.


The dealer handles card distribution. While actual poker rooms require skillful dealers, online platforms utilize software to expedite this process.

Blinds and Betting

In Texas Hold’em, Blinds are minimum bets, with players’ stack sizes determining maximum bets. The Dealer button travels clockwise so that every player makes both Small and Big Blind bets.

Objective of Texas Hold’em

Poker aims to win chips by having the best hand or forcing others to fold. In Cash games, players aim for profit, while in tournaments, they aim for top prizes.

Mechanics of Texas Hold’em

  • Firstly, identify the player with the Dealer Button.
  • Next, the Small Blind (SB) places half of the minimum bet.
  • Followed by the Big Blind (BB), placing double the SB.
  • Each player then receives two ‘hole’ cards.


Players view their hole cards and decide to Fold, Call, or Raise.


Three community cards, called the Flop, are revealed, followed by betting.

Turn and River

The Turn adds one community card, and the River adds the final one. Betting follows each.


Players reveal their best hands combining their hole and community cards. If all community cards form the best hand, it’s called playing the board.


Antes, smaller than blinds, boost the pot pre-flop in tournaments.

Variations of Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em, as a form of poker, primarily remains consistent in its basic structure: players receive two hole cards and use them in combination with five community cards to make the best hand. However, there are variations in betting structures and some additional rules that have been introduced in different games or formats. Here are some of the most common variations:

  1. No-Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE): This is the most popular form of Texas Hold’em. Players can bet any amount of their chips at any time. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is a No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament.
  2. Limit Texas Hold’em: Here, bets and raises are limited to a predetermined amount. For instance, in a $2/$4 Limit game, bets and raises would be $2 for the pre-flop and flop rounds and $4 for the turn and river rounds.
  3. Pot-Limit Texas Hold’em: Players can bet or raise any amount up to the current size of the pot. This variation has a risk level between No-Limit and Limit games.
  4. Mixed Limit Texas Hold’em: This less common variation combines elements of both No-Limit and Limit Texas Hold’em. Betting might be no-limit before the flop and then switch to limit after, or vice versa.
  5. Speed/Preflop variations:
    • Turbo and Super Turbo: These are tournament variations where blind levels increase more quickly than standard tournaments. This results in faster-paced games.
    • Zoom or Fast-Fold Poker: After a player folds, they’re quickly moved to another table with a new hand. This format increases the number of hands a player sees in a given time.
  6. Deep Stack: Players start with a larger number of chips relative to the blinds. This allows for more play and strategy, especially in the early stages of tournaments.
  7. Short Stack: The opposite of Deep Stack. Players start with fewer chips, making decisions more critical and often leading to faster-paced games.
  8. Heads-Up Texas Hold’em: This is a one-on-one format of the game. Some tournaments are entirely heads-up, while other tournaments end in a heads-up phase when only two players remain.
  9. Six-Handed (6-max) or Shorthanded: Tables have six or fewer players. This variation requires a different strategy due to the increased frequency of hands played and positions changing.

Texas Hold’em Strategy

Texas Hold’em strategy is complex and multi-faceted, drawing on mathematics, psychology, and situational awareness. While it’s impossible to encompass all aspects of the game’s strategy in a single response, here are some fundamental concepts that players should understand:

  1. Starting Hand Selection: Not all hands are worth playing. Strong starting hands like high pairs or suited connectors have a better chance of winning, especially in early positions. Players often utilize hand charts to determine which hands to play based on their position at the table.
  2. Position: The order in which you act in a betting round is crucial. Players in later positions (closer to the button) have more information about how others are playing, which is advantageous.
  3. Pot Odds and Expected Value (EV): Pot odds are the ratio of the current size of the pot to the cost of a contemplated call. Expected value helps players determine if a decision will be profitable in the long run.
  4. Implied Odds: This concept considers not only the money currently in the pot but also potential future bets. A hand like a small pair might not have good pot odds to call a raise, but if you believe your opponent will pay you off big if you hit a set, the implied odds might justify a call.
  5. Tight-Aggressive Play (TAG): This is a common style recommended for beginners. It involves playing fewer hands (tight) but betting and raising with them aggressively. This approach reduces the number of tricky decisions you’ll face and takes advantage of weaker players who play too many hands or don’t bet aggressively enough.
  6. Reading Opponents: Observing betting patterns, timing, and physical tells (in live poker) can provide insight into the strength of an opponent’s hand. Over time, you can categorize players (e.g., tight-aggressive, loose-passive) and adjust your play accordingly.
  7. Bluffing: Misrepresenting your hand to make opponents fold can be a powerful tool. However, successful bluffing requires an understanding of the board, your opponent’s potential hands, and their perception of your playstyle.
  8. Bankroll Management: It’s essential to play stakes that align with your bankroll to withstand the natural variance in poker. This prevents players from going broke due to a bad run.
  9. Emotional Control: Tilting, or letting emotions dictate decisions, is a common pitfall. Successful players remain emotionally detached from the game, making decisions based on logic and strategy, not emotion.
  10. Continual Learning: The best players are always studying, reviewing their play, and learning from mistakes. They stay updated with evolving strategies and adapt to changing game dynamics.

Conclusion on Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is not just a card game but a cultural phenomenon that embodies the spirit of competition, strategy, and chance. Its allure will likely persist for generations to come, continually drawing in new players and challenging them to perfect their skills in this timeless contest of minds.

Texas Holdem FAQs

Texas Holdem FAQ

We want every one of our players to sit down with confidence when they play Texas Hold’em at our partnered online poker rooms so, with that in mind, here’s our YPD-dedicated Texas Hold’em FAQ section aimed at addressing some of the more common questions we tend to receive. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Support Team, who are always happy to help.

Texas Hold’em, especially No Limit (NLH), remains the top choice for online poker enthusiasts worldwide. While Pot Limit Omaha has gained traction due to its dynamic nature with four hole cards, it often brings heightened volatility. This explains why many players still prefer NLH.

Of course! All of the online poker providers we recommend at YPD provide an array of real money games 24/7, and at stakes to suit every bankroll (see below).

Yes. When online poker first arrived a couple of decades ago it was heralded as revolutionising the world of poker. It was no longer necessary to search out a so-called bricks & mortar casino or poker room because, suddenly, we were able to play in the comfort of our homes. Since then the game has evolved alongside technological advances, one of which has been the many ways in which we can use mobile phones. It’s now completely normal to play poker on our phones, and being able to play Texas Hold’em and other poker variants on mobile devices means that online poker today is a truly ‘any time, anywhere’ experience. All of our partners offer a mobile poker app for both Android and iOs devices.

Given that the concept of online poker revolves around connecting poker fans from all four corners of the world, it follows that everyone is afforded the same services, so whether you’re a complete novice with a small bankroll or an experienced high stakes grinder, you’re sure to find games at all limits. So-called micro stakes start with Blinds at a tiny 1/2 cents while, at the other end of the scale, there are nosebleed stakes where life-changing amounts of money can be won and lost – in one session. Essentially, there’s something for everyone, with recreational players usually populating the tables from, say, $10 max Cash games up to $100 max. Of course, as the stakes increase it’s logical to assume that the skill level of the players also increases – this isn’t always going to be the case, but it’s prudent to expect to find the games are tougher every time we switch to a higher limit.

Like many games and sports, it’s easy to learn how to play Texas Hold’em poker. Learning how to understand this fascinating and complex game, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish entirely, and requires effort, time and dedication. Fortunately, poker is so entertaining and rewarding (and potentially life-changing in terms of the money to be won) that a combination of ambition and passion has us striving to improve our game. To this end it’s well worth taking advantage of the vast array of articles, videos and facts freely available on the internet.

While poker could be described as featuring both luck and skill, it’s fair to say that the emphasis is firmly on the latter. It’s no surprise that, over time, the more skilled players end up at the top of the pile. Anyone can have a good result if the poker gods happen to bestow on them a lot more than their fair share of a luck all at once, but it’s impossible to have any genuine success for any length of time without skill. It’s true that we do not have control over the cards we are dealt, but we have complete control over the way we play them and over how we approach a hand in which we get involved.

Check out our article about skill and luck.

Not all poker rooms accept US players, so there is not a huge number of online poker rooms from which to choose. However, there is still a good selection – take a look at YourPokerDream USA for a list of the top poker rooms we feature that accept US players.

Online poker is absolutely not rigged and, as long as you play at the well-known online poker rooms with whom YourPokerDream is partnered you can be totally sure that every hand you play is 100% fair. There are occasional – unjustified – claims from disgruntled players who fail to back up their argument with evidence, but this is because it’s far easier to blame losses on an online poker room being unfair than it is to accept personal responsibility for poor results. There are many reasons why it makes no sense at all to believe online poker is rigged, but the fact that serious, full-time players profit from online poker on a regular basis, year in, year out is one such. Online poker providers do well enough for themselves providing a mutually beneficial service that affords poker fans 24/7 availability to a feast of games and formats without needing to jeopardise a multi-billion dollar industry!

As in life, the more we learn about something, the better we tend to become, and poker is certainly no exception. Books, articles, videos and even watching strong players are all worth investing our time on in order to improve our understanding and appreciation of poker. The more effort we put in, the more we can take out, and the more practice we get, the easier it is to execute this or that play, recognise potentially advantageous opportunities when they present themselves and identify our opponents’ weaknesses and so on. Practice might not make perfect, but it helps us evolve and improve and puts us in a better position to maximise our chances.

How long is a piece of string? A wonderful aspect of poker which of course attracts so many fans is that it has so much more potential to win large amounts of money and to earn glory than other recreational games and sports. Someone who plays golf, for example, for a hobby, might improve their handicap over the years but isn’t going to reach a level that gives them a chance to win massive prizes. The same goes for tennis or football or (for late, adult starters) even chess. But poker has no such practical ceiling – everyone has a chance of attaining success.

Every week sees literally millions on offer in the world of online poker. If you have a go at Spin&Go/Jackpot tournaments you can even become a millionaire within a few minutes…

last updated 24.09.2023