Let the Church of Texas Holdem begin your poker instructionwith the basics

Allow the Church of Texas Holdem to begin your poker instruction with the basics of the game.

Texas Holdem is, like most poker games, a card game where the best five cards available win the pot. In the case of Holdem, this includes any combination of the two 'hole' cards (dealt face down to each player) and the five 'community' cards (the 'Flop' or 'Board'), dealt in the centre.

The game may be played at fixed limit, pot limit or no limit. There are usually two 'blinds' (forced preflop bets) which are determined by the dealer button. Play always begins at the dealer button on each round of betting. The player to the left of the dealer puts in the small blind and the player to his left puts in the big blind.

The player to the immediate left of the dealer button is known as being under the gun, because he must act first on every round, before he can gauge what his opponents are going to do.

Once the hole cards are dealt, preflop betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind. Play moves clockwise.

To call, players must match the big blind exactly. Players may raise the blind by at least the same amount again, or fold, throwing their hands into the centre. The big blind is the last to act ONLY on the preflop round of betting. He is virtualy under the gun for all other rounds.

After the preflop round of betting, the dealer 'burns' one card (disposes of the top card) and deals the flop, the first three community cards.

Then there is another round of betting. The dealer burns and deals the turn (fourth community card). Another round of betting occurs. The fifth, or river, card is dealt, there is a final round of betting and any players left in the hand must show their hole cards to claim the pot.

The winning hand is determined by the best five from the seven available cards: each player's hole cards and the five on the board.


Your best hand might involve only one, or none, of your hole cards.

Example: You are dealt:

And the board looks like this:

In this case, you (and any other player still in) have a flush in Hearts. Everybody is entitled to "play the board" (use the five community cards as their best hand). If any opponent has a Heart in his hand, you would lose.

The dealer pushes the pot to the winning player and moves the dealer button one place around the table, clockwise. Then the new small and big blinds are posted and the next hand begins.

Need more poker instruction? Click here for part two of the series