How To Play Texas Hold'em & Hand Rankings

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How To Play Texas Hold'em & Hand Rankings
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Texas Hold'em (or simply, "Hold'em") is the most popular poker game in the casinos and cardrooms of North America and Europe. Each player is dealt two cards ("hole cards") which belong only to that player. Five community cards are dealt face-up on the "board". All players may use these cards in conjunction with their own hole cards to make the best five card hand!

In Hold'em, a disc also known as "the button", serves to indicate which player is the nominal dealer for the current game. Before the game begins, the player immediately clockwise the button posts the "small blind", typically half a small bet. The player immediately clockwise the small blind posts the "big blind", which is always a full small bet. Now, each player receives his or her two hole cards. Betting action proceeds around the table, starting with the player immediately clockwise the big blind.

Now, the "flop" is dealt face-up on the board. The flop is the first three community cards available to all active players. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button. All bets and raises occur in small bets.

When betting action is completed for the flop round, the "turn" is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card in a Hold'em game. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button. On this round, betting doubles from the small bet to the big bet.

When betting action is completed for the turn round, the "river" is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in a Hold'em game. Betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise the button.

If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round is complete, the last bettor or raiser shows his or her cards. If there was no bet on the final round, the player immediately clockwise the button shows his or her cards first. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. In the event of identical hands, the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands.

After the pot is awarded, a new game of Hold'em is ready to begin. The button now moves clockwise to the next player.

Card Ranking/ Hand Rankings

Royal Flush
: The highest possible poker hand, a royal flush combines an Ace high straight and a flush. Made up of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten, all of the same suit. If two players hold a royal flush, they split the pot.

Streight Flush:
A straight flush is like a royal flush, with five cards forming a straight and flush, but not an Ace high. An example of a straight flush is, a nine, eight, seven, six and five all of the same suit. When two players hold a straight flush, the player whose hand starts with the highest card wins. When both hands contain the same high card, they split the pot.

Four of a Kind:
A hand containing four cards of the same rank, like four Aces or four Jacks. When two players each have a four of a kind, the highest ranked hand wins. In the event that both players hold the same four of a kind, the player with the highest fifth card, often called a kicker, wins the pot.

Full House:
Three cards of one rank and two of another rank form a full house. Examples of full houses include three Kings and two tens or three fours and two Aces. When two players have a full house, the player with the highest three of a kind wins the pot. In the two examples, the hand with three Kings is the higher hand.

Flush:
A flush is a hand with all five cards of the same suit, either five Hearts, Clubs, Spades or Diamonds. When two or more players each have a flush, the hand with the highest card wins. If two hands have the same highest card, the next highest card is compared, and so on, until one hand is determined to be higher than the other.

Streight:
Five cards in numerical sequence form a straight, like six, five, four, three and two. When two or more players have a straight, the one with the highest card wins. If two players have straights with the same highest card, they split the pot. Suits do not matter when determining the strength of a straight. An Ace can play as the highest card, in Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, or the low card in five, four, three, two, Ace. The Ace is the only rank that can be used this way.

Three of a Kind:
Three cards of the same rank, like three Jacks or three eights. When two players have three of a kind, the highest ranked three of a kind wins the pot. If two players have the same three of a kind, the player with the highest fourth card wins.

Two Pair:
A hand consisting of two cards of the same rank, in combination with two other cards of the same rank, like two tens and two sixes. When two players have two pair, the one with the highest pair wins. If two players have the same highest pair, the highest second pair wins, followed by the highest fifth card, or kicker.

A Pair:
Hands that contain only two cards of the same rank, like two Aces or two Jacks, with three unmatched cards have one pair. When two or more players have one pair, the highest pair wins. If two players have the same pair, the highest third card wins.

High Card:
A hand containing none of the combinations listed above ranks as a high card hand. When two or more players have high card hands, the highest card wins, followed by the second highest card, third highest card, etc. in the case of ties. Hands are ranked from Ace down through two.

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