If you are somewhat familiar with poker, you will know that there are different variants of the game depending on the area of the world where it is played and the predominant modality in the region. Among the most popular are Omaha Hold’em, predominant in Europe in the past, and Chinese Poker, whose dynamics are based more on points than on hands. But the queen par excellence is the Texas Hold’em variant, very popular nowadays all over the world and used both in informal games and in world tournament series.
Poker rules in Texas Hold’em mode
Friendly games, world championships, online games… Texas Hold’em has been the most popular type of poker for several decades. Its rules are very simple, based on four basic actions.
First, each player is dealt two cards. Only the player to whom they have been dealt can see them. Then, the dealer will deal five cards in three moves: three at a time (flop), then he will add one (turn) and one round later he will add another one (river). These five cards can be used by all players to make the best hand.
In the moments before and after the revelation of each of the cards, the players have their turn to bet. Each player who wants to stay in the hand and see the next card, will have to add, at least, the same amount of chips to the pot. The premise is simple: the best hand wins.
Although the fundamentals are simple and all Texas Hold’em poker games are governed by these principles, it can be played in many different ways. There are many different strategies that can be applied to deceive the opponent or discover the opponent’s game, as well as many nuances in the plays that differentiate the good players from the legendary ones.
Within the Texas Hold’em modality there are a series of variants that define the type of game and the strategies to be used to get the best hand. The best known are Limit Texas Hold’em, No Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Texas Hold’em and Mixed Texas Hold’em.
In Limit Texas Hold’em there is a limit on the bet per round, something that disappears in No Limit Texas Hold’em, which allows players to bet any amount as long as they have chips available. In Pot Limit each player can bet any amount, with the limit defined by the pot itself, and in the mixed variant several rounds are played, both limit and no limit, alternating them.
Limit Texas Hold’em
In this mode, bets are placed within the stipulated limit. Before and during the flop, each bet and raise must be identical to the big blind. During the turn and river, all bets and raises multiply their value by two. Since there is a limit, a maximum of four bets are allowed per player, including the raise, the re-raise and the cap, the final bet.
No Limit Texas Hold’em
Here the minimum bet is the same as the big blind, but the difference is that players are free to bet all their chips at any time. The minimum bet and raise here must be at least equal to the bet and raise made in the previous hand of the same round. That is, if the player who speaks first bets 20 euros, the next player must at least match the raise to that amount to continue.
Texas Hold’em Pot Limit
Here the minimum bet is equal to the big blind, but players can bet, at any time, whatever is in the pot at that moment. The minimum raises must at least equal the amount of the player who has started playing and only the amount that defines the pot is the limit. In addition, in this variant there is no limit to the number of raises allowed, which makes it much more interesting.
Texas Hold’em Mixed
Rounds with and without limit alternate, which requires great versatility from the players. Normally, the blinds are raised when the game goes from no-limit to limit, in order to ensure that a more or less constant pot is maintained. However, it is necessary to keep the rules regarding increments and bets according to the mode of the current round.
Texas Hold’em basics
They are not exclusive to Texas Hold’em, but it is convenient to keep in mind the following concepts to learn how to manage with ease in a poker game, since some of these terms have an enormous incidence in the course of the game.
The blinds. Before the game starts, the player sitting after the dealer has to bet an amount. This is the small blind. The next player in position is the Big Blind, who usually bets twice as much as the Small Blind. The blinds may vary depending on the poker variant being played and the limit rules set.
For example, in limit games, the Big Blind is a small bet, and the Small Blind is equal to half the Big Blind, but this need not always be the case. In fact, in Pot Limit games and in some no-limit games, the amounts refer to the size of the blinds, so there is no need to be confused in order to make the correct calculations.
The preflop. Once they have seen their cards, players have the option to play their hand by calling or raising the big blind. It all starts to the left of the big blind, which is often called the “live bet” of the round. The player can choose to call, raise or fold. After deciding, play proceeds clockwise.
The flop. The dealing of the three community cards face up on the table is known as the flop. All players can use them to make the best hand, following betting rules very similar to those of the preflop. In case no player has bet, it is possible to check and give the turn to the next player, always following the clockwise direction.
The turn. The turn is taken when the flop bets have been completed. The turn is the fourth community card that is added to the other three, and can be used to bind the best hand after betting. Players who have folded during the flop are discarded.
The river. The river is the last card that the dealer deals and adds to the community cards. The same betting rules apply as during the flop and turn. After the betting round, the players move on to the showdown, the final showdown, where the cards are dealt and the player with the best hand is revealed.
The showdown. The decisive moment. It occurs when the river bets are finished and the cards are revealed. The dynamic is simple: the turn follows clockwise and each player can use the five community cards to make the best possible hand. The top, a five-card straight flush, is the highest hand. The pot goes to the player who manages to bind the best hand with the five community cards.