At the beginning of a new game, each player is dealt two cards face down. (Hole Cards)
Each bet of the first two rounds of betting is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. For example in a $5/$10 game, all bets and raises are $5 for the first two rounds (after hole cards are dealt and once the flop is spread in center of table).
The last two rounds of betting (turn card and river) are set at the higher limit of the stakes structure. For example in a $5/$10 game, all bets and raises are $10 for the last two rounds.
One bet plus three raises (four total bets) are the maximum amount of bets allowed per betting round. This would consist of (1) a bet, (2) a raise, (3) a re-raise, and (4) a cap. The term cap is used to describe the 3rd raise in a round since betting is then capped and cannot be raised anymore. Once any player has made the third raise (capped the pot), then players will have only the option of calling or folding.
Check-raising is allowed in all online poker games.
In order to designate which player is the theoretical dealer in Texas Hold em games, a round disk is used. This disk is called the dealer button or simply “the button”.
After each hand is completed, the button moves clockwise to the next active player and this player will be considered to be the dealer, and will act on his/her hand last on each betting round. This is also termed playing the button for that game.
The player to the left of the button is first to receive a card and is required to post a small blind. The small blind is equal to half the lower limit bet rounded down to the nearest dollar. The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the big blind. The big blind is equal to the lower limit bet. These bets are referred to as blinds because players must post them before the dealer deals any cards to the players. These blinds are similar to the ante that is required in other games such as 7-Card Stud.
Both the small and the big blinds are considered live bets. They have the option of calling, raising or folding when the betting action comes back around to their position. After the flop and after each subsequent betting round, the first active player left of the button is first to act.
When players first sit down to play, they will be required to post the equivalent of the big blind only once or they have the option to “sit out” until it is their natural turn to post the big blind. This rule is in place to ensure game fairness to all players. The rule prevents the possibility of players entering games in late position and then leaving before they are required a post the big blind.
HOW TO PLAY
The dealer deals players their own two private cards face-down.
First betting round
The dealer spreads three-community board cards face-up on the table. This is commonly called “the flop”.
Second betting round
The dealer turns over a fourth board card face-up commonly called “the turn card”.
Third betting round
The dealer turns over one final community board card commonly called “the river card”.
Fourth and final betting round
Players show their hands. This is commonly called “the showdown”.
At the showdown, players may use a combination of both, one, or none of their hole cards to make their best five card hand:
If a player uses both of their hole cards, they will use three of the community board cards; or one hole card and four of the five board cards; or all five board cards, which is commonly called “playing the board” betting.