The Basics of Texas Hold’em


This page isn’t going to be about complex maths equations and triple-bluff strategies. Nope, you won’t find any of that here. Instead we’re bringing you the simplest explanations of what the game of Texas Hold’em is and how it’s played.

Think of the information below as the foundation of your poker skills. You can build up from here as much as you like, or you can learn at the school of hard knocks aka the poker tables!

The Aim Of The Game

Texas Hold’em poker is all about creating the top hand possible out of the cards you’re dealt and the shared cards everyone can use in the centre of the table.

What’s A Blind?

Don’t worry, although you may lose your money at the tables, you won’t lose your sight!

Blinds are a compulsory bet that two or three players at the table have to pay up before the cards are even dealt. It’s a financial form of saying ‘I’m in!’ and all the blinds go into the pot in the middle.

Who pays the blind and how much they pay is determined by where the player is sitting on the table. The player to the left right next to the Dealer pays a Small Bling and the player next to them pays a big blind. These positions shift clockwise with every hand that’s played.

How much a player pays for the big and small blinds changes depending on the minimum bet at the table, but the structure is always like this:

Big blind= Minimum bet
Small blind= Half the minimum bet.

In a $4/$8 game, small blind is $2 and the big blind is $4.

What’s The Deal With My Cards?

One of the most annoying aspects of Texas Hold’em for beginners is the actual game structure. A lot of people find it a bit difficult getting to grips with all the cards and the order they are dealt. Add in when you’re meant to bet and things just got messy!

Here’s a rundown of when the cards are dealt, what they’re called and what you’re expected to do:

  • Hole Cards

    These are the cards you are dealt right at the very start of the game, after you’ve paid your blind if you have to. Only you can see these cards.

    Everyone bets for the first time based on just these two cards.

  • The Flop

    These are the first shared cards to be dealt, face up on the middle of the table and they can change the game dramatically.

    The player to the left of the dealer is the first person to act on the flop and they will have two choices:

    Check: Which means the player doesn’t bet anything and waits to see if other players will ‘call’ too.

    Bet: You bet however much you want to.

    If you’re not the first player next to the dealer, these will be your three options:

    Call: This is when you bet the exact same amount as the player before you did.

    Raise: Means you bet more than the previous player

    Fold: You throw your cards away because you don’t want to play the hand so badly that it’s worth spending money on a bet!

  • The Turn
    Following any betting in on The Flop cards, a single card is dealt. This is called The Turn.

    Bets are taken in the same way as they were on The Flop cards.

  • The River
    The River card is your last chance at completing a hand. After The River is dealt the dealing out of cards stops and all that’s left to do is bet on your final hand.

    Once everyone has bet the cards will be revealed and the winner will take the pot.

Prefer A Video?

If you think you’d learn better if you had the visuals in front of you while you heard about how to play, you can check out the video on YouTube below: