Rules and How To Play Texas Hold´em Poker

The rules to Texas Hold’em poker are fairly straight forward and simple.

The number of players in a game can range from 2 to 10. Each player takes a turn at dealing the cards. The two players to the left of the dealer must put in blind bets. The first player puts in what is called the small blind and the second player puts in double that amount and this is called the big blind. The size of these can be anything from £0.05 /£0.10 and up. These ensure that there is always money to be won.

First Deal - First Bet

After the blinds have been placed in the betting circle, the dealer gives each player two cards face down. Each player then views the cards and decides whether or not to bet. These two cards that each player is dealt must be combined with the cards that will shortly be dealt into the middle of the table to make a hand. Eventually there will be a total of 5 cards in the middle of the table giving each player a total of 7 cards to choose from. The strength of each players hand is dependant on the following hierarchy.

Poker hands from best to worst are:

Royal flush

Royal flush
The strongest poker hand is the royal flush. Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace all of the same suit, e.g. spades.

Straight flush

Straight flush
The second strongest hand in poker is the straight flush. It is composed of five consecutive cards of the same suit. If two players have a straight flush, the one with the highest cards wins.

Four of a kind

Four of a kind
A four of a kind is four cards of the same rank, e.g. four Kings. If two players have four of a kind, then the one with the highest four of a kind wins. If they have the same, then the player with the highest fifth card wins, since a poker hand is always composed of five cards.

Full house

Full house
A full house is a combination of a three of a kind and a pair. If two players have a full house, then the one with the highest three of a kind wins. If they have the same one, then the pair counts.

Flush

Flush
Five cards of the same suit make a flush. If two players have a flush, then the one with the highest cards wins.

Straight

Straight
Five consectuvie cards are called a straight. If two players have a straight, the one with the highest cards wins.

Three of a kind

Three of a kind
A three of a kind is composed of three cards of the same rank. If two players have the same three of a kind, then the other cards, or both cards, determine the winner, since a poker hand is a always composed of five cards.

Two pair

Two pair
Two pair hands are, of course, composed of two pairs. If two players have two pairs, the rank of the higher pair determines the winner. If they have the same higher pair, then the lower one counts. If it is also the same, then the fifth card counts.

Pair

Pair
A pair is composed of two cards of the same rank. Since a poker hand is always composed of five cards, the other three cards are so-called "kickers". In case two players have the same pair, then the one with the highest kicker wins.

High card

High card
If you don´t even have a pair, then you look at the height of your cards. If there are two players at showdown who don´t have a pair, or better, then the one with the highest cards win.

A player essentially has three options each time cards are dealt: bet, raise or fold. Betting begins to the left of the big blind player, and each bet must be at least as much as that placed by the "big blind." For example, in a €1/€2 round, the first bet must be at least €2. If the player chooses to bet, he can place €2 in the betting circle. If he chooses to raise, that raise must be in increments of €2. If the player is unsatisfied with his cards, he folds and waits for the next hand. If the little blind or the big blind choose to fold, they automatically lose their initial contributions. The little blind must match the big blind, or any subsequent raises, to continue playing.

Flop Cards - Second Bet

After all bets are in, the dealer discards the top card in the deck, known as the burn, and turns over three cards in the middle of the table. All players have an opportunity to use those three cards to get the best possible hand, along with the two cards they each have. Betting begins to the left of the dealer in increments of whatever the big blind was for that round. During this round, players can still fold, bet or raise. However, this round also introduces the option to "check," where no bet is made in the hope that better cards will turn up in the next flop. If all players say, "check" no bets are made, but the check option is null and void once a player lays money in the betting circle.

The Turn

After all betting has finished another card is dealt to the middle of the table. This next card is referred to as the Turn. Bets begin again to the left of the dealer. This process is repeated for a last time with burning, turning and betting until five cards are out on the table. Players once again have the option to bet, check or fold and the winner is the one with the best hand among the remaining players on the table.

Tournament Rules

Texas Holdem poker tournaments might be the greatest innovation in poker in the past half-century. With a small (and pre-determined) investment poker players can experience the unique thrill of running deep, stacking up chips and ultimately playing for both a life-changing payday and the title of sole survivor.

It's poker at its most scintillating and every single day thousands of poker players try their luck against friends, family and strangers in both online and live Texas Hold'em tournaments. Want to learn the ins and outs of Texas Holdem Tournaments so you can play a few yourself? Read on below for a full walkthrough of all the most important Texas Holdem tournament rules!

What is a Texas Holdem Tournament?

The idea behind tournament poker is simple: Every player puts up a buy-in and gets a set number of tournament chips. Unlike a cash game, where players can buy in for different amounts and leave the table at any time, Texas Holdem tournaments have a set beginning and end. holdemtournamentrules Players can only buy in to the tournament over the first few levels (up to the end of the "late registration period," as determined by the tournament organizers) and receive the same starting stack. A single table tournament is called a "Sit-and-Go" (SnG) and begins when all the seats at a single table have been occupied. A Multi-Table Tournament (MTT) spreads the tournament players over multiple tables and gradually consolidates the field down to fewer and fewer tables as players are eliminated A Texas Holdem tournament is over when one player has acquired all of the tournament chips and is declared the winner. All of the buy-ins for the tournament are collected into a total prize pool which is then paid out according to a pre-determined schedule of rising payments. Usually around 10-20% of the field "makes the money" in a tournament with a "min-cash" being the smallest amount a player who cashes can win. It's typically a little more than the original buy-in while the prizes for the players at the final table make up the majority of the payouts. The winner of a Texas Holdem tournament takes home the largest share of the prize pool. In most tournaments this is hundreds to thousands of dollars; in the bigger buy-in events the winner's share can be well into the millions!

When players sit down for a cash game they pick a table with a set blind level (eg $1/$2 or $2/$5). Those blind levels don't change as play goes on. For a change in blind levels, players have to get up and move to a different table with different limits. In a Texas Holdem tournament, the blinds (required bets from two players before the start of each hand) increase at set intervals to both force the action and adjust for players accumulating chips by eliminating other players. Play in a Texas Holdem poker tournament proceeds hand-by-hand with the blinds going up in small increments in regular pre-determined intervals (anywhere from minutes to hours). Players can't then just sit around and wait for big hands as they will run out of chips as they pay higher and higher blinds. When you've run out of chips, you're out of the tournament. Where you are eliminated is where you finish in the tournament and determines if you win money and how much. In a standard Hold'em tournament, as mentioned, 10% to 20% of the field is paid out with most of the money reserved for the top spots. Because you can win so much more than your initial buy-in, big tournaments attract both pros and amateurs trying to make a big score. Each Texas Holdem tournament's rules vary slightly so it's always a good idea to brush up before the tournament starts. Standard Texas Holdem Tournament Rules Each poker tournament has its own set of rules that will govern play.

Tthe tournament rules will be prepared by the Tournament Director beforehand and posted/distributed for all to see.  It is VERY IMPORTANT before you sit down in a Texas Holdem tournament that you read the local rules beforehand. These will guide you to all the standard rules that will apply in the tournament. While a lot of the rules will be consistent across venues and TDs, minor variations will always exist and it's important to know how rulings will be made. Different types of tournaments - eg Bounty Tournaments, Heads-Up Tournaments, Freezeout Poker Tournaments - will all have different rules variations as well so it's critical to know exactly what type of tournament you're playing in. Here are some of the most standard rules that will apply when paying most Texas Holdem tournaments. Entrance Fees - All entrance fees are usually paid before play begins. Generally the house takes a 5%-10% fee for providing the tables and dealers and administering the game. This is true both live and online. For example in a $200+$20 tournament, $200 goes to the prize pool and $20 would go to the house.

Seat Assignment- Your seat will randomly be assigned to you. You will usually be given a card with your table and seat number on it. That is your seat until a tournament director tells you otherwise. Unlike in cash games, there are no seat changes until your table is "broken" as players are eliminated and the remaining players are consolidated.

Starting Stacks- When you arrive at the table your starting stack will be at your seat. Tournament chips have no cash value and you cannot cash out at any point during the tournament. It's always a good idea to double check your chips against the posted starting stack to make sure you have the correct amount of chips. The total amount of your starting stack varies from tournament to tournament.

Blind Levels - The way tournaments differ from cash games is that the blinds increase at regular intervals. This is to force play and get the action going. You can usually get a sheet from a floor person that tells you the schedule of blind increases and what the blinds will be. Online you can find this information in the tournament lobby. It's a good idea to get familiar with the blind structure before playing. If the blinds increase and your dealer has already cut the cards, the blinds will increase on the next hand.

The Deal - The deal proceeds exactly as it does in a cash game. The two players to the left of the button are the small blind and the big blind. After each hand the button moves one seat to the left. The button is determined in the first hand completely randomly. Absent Players - All players must be dealt into the hand and their blinds/antes forced into the pot whether they are at the table or not. If the player is not present by the time his second card is dealt, his hand will be ruled dead.

As players are eliminated the tournament director will start breaking tables in a pre-determined order. If your table breaks, you will be assigned randomly to an empty seat at one of the remaining tables. All-in Bets - A player who declares himself all in plays for all of the chips in front of him. If the other player has more he is only entitled to an amount equal to his own stack. The same goes for an all-in player that has less than his required blind. He is only entitled to what he put in.

All-in confrontations - When two players are all in and the action is completed, both hands must be exposed face up before the rest of the board is run. Calling the Clock - A player can request the pit boss to force a player to choose an action in a set amount of time (typically 90 seconds). If the player fails to act in that time, his or her hand is folded. Only a player seated at the table at the time the current hand was dealt can call the clock.

Multiple Busts - If two players go broke on the same hand the player with the greater amount of chips at the start of the hand finishes in the higher position. Showing Cards - Intentionally exposing a card is illegal in tournament play and a hand can be ruled dead as well as a time penalty issued. Inappropriate play- Inappropriate play such as swearing and or throwing cards is punishable by a penalty. Coloring up - The lowest chip denomination in play will be removed from the table when it is no longer needed in the blind or ante structure. All lower-denomination chips that are of sufficient quantity for a new chip will be changed up directly. I.E if you have five $25 chips you would get one $100 chip and have one odd chip. The method for removal of odd chips is as follows: Starting at seat 1, (if there is a professional dealer, this will be the player directly to the dealer's left) deal this player one card face up for every odd chip they hold. Continue clockwise around the table until all players have one card for each of their odd chips. Add the $ amount of all odd chips together. You want to replace the odd chips with chips of the next lowest denomination. For example: If there are eight $25 chips, you want to replace them with two $100 chips. If there are an odd number of odd chips on the table: If the amount of the final chips is equal to half, or more, of the value of the next lowest chip, these chips are replaced by the higher value chip. If the total value is less than half, the odd chips are simply removed from the table. Give the first replaced chip to the player with the highest value card by rank. With every player only eligible to receive one chip, continue giving a chip to the player with the highest value card until all chips are gone. This is known as a chip race.

Hand-for-hand play - As play approaches the bubble (when the money starts) play may go hand for hand. This means that all tables will deal a hand and the next hand will not be dealt until all tables have completed their hand. Heads up - When two players are left you have reached heads up play. In this scenario the small blind is the button and acts first before the flop but last on all ensuing streets.  Total payouts are divided entirely at the players' discretion so a player who finishes third or fourth can feasibly take home more money than the eventual tournament winner. It is up to you to know the basic Texas Holdem Tournament Rules when playing in a tournament. Not properly educating yourself can cause you to unknowingly commit an infraction and get penalized or even disqualified!

Texas Hold'em Sit-and-Go (SnG) Tournament Rules A Texas Holdem Sit & Go tournament (SnG) is a tournament that is typically played on a single table. Play begins when all seats at the table are full. Players pay a fixed buy-in and get the exact same amount of starting chips. holdemtournamentrules Play proceeds hand-for-hand with the blinds rising incrementally at set intervals. When a players loses all of his or her chips, he or she is out of the tournament. Play proceeds until one player is left with all the chips. The top 3 players are usually the only players paid with the winner getting the majority of the prize money.

Tips and strategies

There are a myriad number of books that have been written on this topic. Confidence plays as big a part in the game as luck. Some people would say more. The money you have on the table can be considered your most important tool. The size and method of your betting sends signals to the other players. The signals may not represent the true strength of the hand you have. This is called bluffing. You can’t bluff too often though because people will come to realize this is a common method of yours. Generally speaking, a good solid player will wait for the good hands and back them heavily. This pushes the players who don’t initially have good hands out of the game in which case disallowing them from building a good hand. When a player thinks they have an excellent hand that can beat anyone else on the board, they will push all their chips to the center and declare that they are "all in." This can have the effect of intimidating everyone else at the table into folding, but it can also backfire if the bet is called and another player has the higher hand.

Folding a bad hand may seem like giving in or losing, but it is actually the best way to stay in the game. Since only the little blind and the big blind have to pay money into each hand, and these positions rotate, a player can save considerable money by folding bad hands.

Watch tells. Novice players think poker is all about luck, but while the hands cannot be predicted the use of them can be as noted previously. Watch other players to see how they react when they get strong hands or weak hands, and make sure your own face does not show the famous "tell." No one wins every hand of poker, and not every hand should be played. In poker, the object is to win as much as you can on a good hand and lose as little as possible with a bad deal. A good idea is to play in the fun money games initially until you are confident with game play and have mastered a few of the basic strategies. There is more information on how to develop your game in the Articles section here.

Good luck!

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