Texas Holdem is not so mush about the cards that you are dealt in a hand, itīs more about what you do with tme and how you read other players to make the most of what you have. It is very much a strategy game, of course luck does come into it, but the key is knowing when and how to bet.
Players can be termed as "tight", "loose", "aggressive" and /or "passive". Typically the best method for Texas Holdem is thought to be Tight Aggressive. This means that you play tight i.e. you donīt play too many hands (only the best ones) but when you do you are very aggressive and will raise big.
Texas Holdem is played with normally 2 to 10 people round the table. It is determined who is the dealer for the round and the action moves clockwise. The first action is the posting of antes (if there are any) and blinds. Think of an ante as a small entrance fee. All players in the hand will pay their entrance fee to play in the game. The blinds are posted by the first 2 players clockwise from the dealer. There is the small blind and the big blind. The small blind is half the minimum bet and the big blind is the minimum bet. Player 1 posts the small blind and player 2 posts the big blind. The blinds are there to start the betting off and encourage better game play. Once the antes and blinds are posted the game begins.
You are first dealt 2 "hole cards". These are personal to you and are the basis of a first round of betting. Texas Holdem follows the standard rankings of 5 card poker hands as shown below. With your 2 hole cards the best combination you can get is a pair of Aces.
The big blind has been posted by player 2 so next to act is player 3. Player 3 gets to look at his cards and make a decision on whether to bet. The choices available are Call (bet), Raise (bet) or Fold. A call is when you match the previous persons bet. In this case the previous persons bet is the big blind (or minimum bet) and by calling this you are known as "limping in". If you feel you have a good hand, or are playing loose and aggressive you may want to raise. The typical raise amount is normally a minimum of twice the current bet (in this case the big blind). If you feel your cards are of no use you can fold meaning that you do not pay any money into the pot but your cards are "mucked" and you are out of the current hand.
This continues round the table with players calling, raising and folding. Before the next round of betting all remaining players at the table (those who have not folded) must have bet the same amount into the pot. When it comes round to the players that previously posted the blinds they need to decide whether to continue or not. If there has been no raise from around the table the small blind can double the small blind bet to match the large blind amount, and the player who posted the large blind can "check" as he is not required to put any more money in. If there has been a raise then the players on the blinds will need to put more money into the pot to match what has been bet by the other players. This continues round the table until everyone has put in the same amount.
Next the first 3 community cards are dealt into the middle of the table. This is called "The Flop". Remaining players will use these cards with their 2 "hole cards" to make a five card poker hand. The action starts with the players to the left of the dealer. This first player can "check", "bet" or "fold". There is no reason to fold at this stage because no bet has been made to the player can simply "check". To check means to stay in the hand without having to bet any money. This can only be done if no other player has bet or you have the same amount in the pot as the other players. Betting will continue round the table.
Players will bet, raise and fold until those left in the hand have all bet the same amount into the pot. At this stage the 4th community card is dealt into the middle of the table. This is known as "The Turn". Another round of betting commences in the same way as the previous round.
When all remaining players have bet the same amount the 5th and final community card is dealt into the middle of the table. This is called "The River". Remaining players will bet until all but 1 has folded or all players have the bet the same amount into the pot. In the case of the latter the showdown will happen.
The showdown is when remaining players turn over their 2 hole cards to reveal what hand they have. The person with the highest hand will win the pot. The pot can be split if there is a tie.
Watch this tutorial video to see a Texas Holdem Poker hand in action.
So this is how to play the game, there are other items such as side pots and strategies detailed on the Poker Rules page.