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Texas Hold'em rules

Author: Blanche Cook

 So how do you play Texas Hold’em? In Texas Holdem, players try to make the best five card poker hand according to traditional poker rankings. In this regard, Hold’em is no different from other poker games like five-card draw. These face up cards are called “community cards” because each player uses them to form a five card poker hand.

Players build their five card poker hand with the best five cards available from the seven total cards (the two hole cards and the five community cards). This can be achieved by using both hole cards combined with three community cards, one hole card combined with four community cards, or no hole cards and playing all five community cards – whatever works to make the best five card hand to obtain.

If all but one player folds by betting, the only remaining player wins the pot without showing any cards. Because of this , players don’t always have the best hand to win the pot.

Let’s cover a few specifics, including how to deal Texas Hold’em and how the betting works. A great way to explain the order of play is to talk about some of the key positions at the table – the button and the blinds (small blind and big blind).

The button

The game moves clockwise around the table and begins with an action to the left of the dealer button. The button is a round disc that lies in front of a player and each hand is passed one seat to the left. When playing in casinos and poker rooms, the player with the dealer button doesn’t actually deal the cards (the poker room hires someone to do that). In home games with friends, on the other hand, the player with the button usually deals out the hands.

Generally, the first two players immediately to the left of the button must post a small blind and a big blind to initiate the bet. From there, the action takes place on several streets: preflop, flop, turn and river (see below).

While the dealer button determines which players should post the small and big blinds, it also determines where the deal begins.

The blinds

As already mentioned, two players at the table are required to post small and large blinds before each new hand. These are forced bets that start with wagering. Without these blinds, the game would be very boring because no one would be required to put money into the pot. Players could simply wait for pocket aces to be dealt and only then play. However, the blinds ensure that there is “action” in every hand.

In tournaments, the blinds are increased at regular intervals. As the number of players keeps getting smaller and the stacks of remaining players get bigger, it is necessary that the blinds keep increasing during a tournament. In cash games, the blinds are always the same.

 Tournament poker is incredibly exciting. The blinds and ante bets are steadily increasing; the field of participants is reduced until there is only one player – the winner – left. Turbo and hyper-turbo tournaments take the whole thing to the extreme: the blinds and ante stakes rise even faster.


Usually the blind structure of an online tournament is that the blinds increase after 10 to 20 minutes. The actual pace will depend on a number of different factors, including the tournament buy-in chosen.


In turbo tournaments, the blind levels change after about five minutes. And things get even crazier in Hyper-Turbos: Here it takes about three minutes.


These faster structures are ideally suited for amateur players for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it doesn’t take that long to complete a tournament. On the other hand, the playing strength of the field of participants leveled out a little because luck plays a bigger role in the question of who wins.


At first glance, all tournaments are the same. All players start with the same number of chips, the number of players who get into the money does not change, and the really interesting prize money is earmarked for the top three. However, there are crucial differences in the choice of strategy if you want to successfully play Turbo and Hyper-Turbo tournaments. You shouldn’t approach them in the same way as an MTT with a slow blind structure.


At the beginning: “Tight is right”


The first levels of a tournament always play out the same. You start with a large stack, typically 100 to 250 big blinds. So you shouldn’t be fighting desperately for every pot. Arguing for 75 chips with 5,000 chips on the credit side doesn’t pay off in the long run.


“Tight is right” – have you heard that saying before? In tournament poker, the statement is correct: At the beginning of an event, it is more important to keep chips than to accumulate more chips. With your strong made hands, you should definitely rush forward aggressively, but try to build a tight image. This will help you later when you have to go all in with weak hands!


Be aware that mistakes in fast-paced tournaments can have devastating consequences. Even a seemingly harmless mistake can cost you your tournament life. Losing 10 to 20% of your stack after one mistake may seem futile, but after a short while you will end up with a short stack. Always remember: the next blind level is only a few minutes away!


Always keep an eye on your stack and the stacks of your opponents. You should always do this, but it’s even more important in Turbos and Hyper-Turbos. It’s easy to believe you are in a very good position – only to find out minutes later that you have less than 20 big blinds left. This is a difficult stack to play – and many players make serious mistakes by still calling 3-bets and placing continuation bets with weak hands.


Find the opponents who are not adapting properly to new stack sizes and take advantage of the weaknesses.


The middle tournament phase is reached faster


Keep in mind that the middle stages of a tournament are reached faster than normal tournament poker. Prepare to do more steal attempts in late position – with a wider range so you can stay afloat. Many turbo players act too tight for too long and therefore find themselves in push or fold mode too early.