How to play Texas Hold'em

The fundamentals of how Texas Hold'em tournaments work

Over recent years Texas Hold'em has become one the most popular cards games around.

The basics

In Texas Hold'em, each player is dealt two cards, face down. After a round of betting, three cards are dealt in the centre of the table face up. This is followed by another round of betting, before another card is dealt face up, then another round of betting and then a fifth face up 'community' card.

Unless all but one player has folded, the winner of a hand in Texas Hold'em, as with most forms of poker, is the player with the highest ranking hand, made up of 5 cards. If you're new to Texas Hold'em you first need to understand what constitutes a player's hand.

Each player can use any combination of the 5 face-up cards on the table and the 2 cards they hold, to construct a 5 card hand. I.e. you can use both of the cards you have been dealt and 3 of the 3 community cards, or 1 of your cards and 4 of the community cards, or all 5 of the community cards on their own.

Hand rankings

The best hand in Texas Hold'em is a Royal Flush, (Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten, of the same suit), and the lowest hand is a '7 high', (2, 3, 4 ,5 and 7 accross two or more suits).

Royal Flush - Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace all of the same suit.
Straight Flush - Five cards in a row, of the same suit.
Four of a Kind - Four cards that are the same.
Full House - Three of a kind, along with two of a kind.
Flush - Five cards of the same suit.
Straight - Five cards in a sequence.
Three of a Kind - Three cards that are the same.
Two Pair - Two separate pairs.
Pair - Two cards that are the same.
High Card - No matching pairs and no 5 cards the same suit or in sequence.

You don't always need the best hand to win

Part of the fun of poker is bluffing - making other players think you have a great hand by the way you bet or act. If all the other players at your table fold their hand then you win, no matter what hand you have.