How to Play No Limit Texas Hold 'Em
Knowing how to play no limit Texas Hold 'Em is important for any poker player since it is the "Cadillac of poker games." Learning all of the subtle intricacies of the game takes experience and patience. The basics of how to play No Limit Texas Hold 'Em, though, don't take long to master. The game bears a lot of similarity to other poker games in terms of the ranking of hands, with one key difference being that because it is "No Limit," any player can bet his or her entire chip stack during a round of betting. This adds excitement and strategy to the game.
To know how to play No Limit Texas Hold 'Em, simply follow these steps:
- Post Blinds. Each hand a different player will be the dealer. The person to the dealer's immediate left is the small blind, and the next player to the left is the big blind. The big blind must make a minimum bet before the dealer deals the cards, and the small blind makes a smaller bet, usually half the big blind. These bets are called the "blinds" since the players have to make these bets without seeing their cards first.
- Deal the cards. The dealer deals two cards face down to each player. These are the "hole cards" that a player will use to make their hand as the game progresses.
- 1st round of betting. Starting with the player to the left of the big blind and moving clockwise around the table, each player must decide to either call the big blind, fold, or raise.
- The flop. Once the first round of betting is complete the dealer puts down the flop, which means that he "burns" the top card of the deck (basically discards it face down) and then places the next three cards face up in the middle of the table. These are the community cards - players will combine the community cards with their own hole cards to make a five card poker hand.
- 2nd round of betting. After the flop, the first player to act is whoever is sitting closest to the dealer's left. Action then moves clockwise around the table, with each player having the option to check or bet if there has not already been a bet, or to fold, call, or raise if there has.
- The turn. After the second round of betting the dealer burns another card and the places one card face up so that the community cards now consist of four cards.
- 3rd round of betting. Another round of betting ensues, just like the last one.
- The river. The dealer burns another card and then places one more card face up with the other community cards. This is the last of the communty cards.
- 4th round of betting. There is one final round of betting.
- Showdown. Any players still remaining must now turn over their cards and whoever has the best hand wins the pot.
- Next hand. Whoever was the small blind in the previous hand becomes the dealer in the next hand, and the play resumes from the first step.
There are a few things to note. First, not every hand will go through all of these steps. If, at any point, only one player is left (because all of the others decided to fold), then the hand ends and the remaining player wins the pot. Also, while there is a minimum bet (all bets must be at least the size of the big blind, and all raises must be at least the size of the previous raise), there is no maximum bet. A player can bet all of his chips whenever it is his turn to act. Finally, if the hand does result in a showdown, the players will make the best five card hands that they can using the seven cards available - they do not necessarily have to use their hole cards.