Texas Hold'em Poker rules explained

Texas hold'em is the most popular online poker game by far. The game, which is also known simply as ‘hold'em’, is now a staple requirement for any casino or gambling establishment worldwide, whether online or land-based.

International events such as the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker have increased the popularity of this beautiful game beyond all recognition. Many people know the rules of this game, and millions of people worldwide play it.

The arrival of online poker in the late Nineties was a major boost for the popularity of Texas hold'em poker. It was actually the first poker game to be offered by online poker sites. These days, there is a huge variety of poker-games available. But no game has proven more popular than Texas hold'em.

Texas Hold'em Poker is played in three different forms: limit Texas hold'em, no-limit Texas hold'em and pot limit Texas hold'em.

Before you start playing Texas hold'em, we suggest you take some time to familiarize yourself with the game rules using the guide below. For those who wish to learn other poker variants, you will find rule guides for Caribbean stud poker, three-card poker and pai gow poker in our rules section.

Play Texas hold'em at Party Poker!

Limit Texas hold'em

When playing limit Texas hold'em, only a fixed number of bets and raises is permitted. For instance, a maximum of four bets is allowed per betting round. In the two other Texas Hold'em variants (no-limit and pot limit) there are no rules that limit the numbers of raises/bets possible.

No-limit Texas hold'em

The maximum bet is determined by the number of chips you have. Players can raise and bet any amount, at any time they wish. The raise amount must be equal or higher than the previous bet in the same round.

Pot limit Texas hold'em

This game is similar to no-limit Texas hold'em. There is only one difference between the rules: the maximum bet is determined by the number of chips currently in the pot, and not the number the player has available to them.

Posting the blinds in Texas hold'em

A game of Texas hold'em poker starts with the blinds. These are two forced bets made by the two first players to the left of the dealer. These two players put a predetermined amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt. The blind ensures that there's something to play for on every hand. The first player on the left side of the dealer puts up the bet that we call the small blind. The small blind is often half the minimum bet. The player to his left will place the big blind, which always matches the minimum bet. This is called posting the blinds.

Dealing the cards in Texas hold'em

In Texas hold'em, a little disk called ‘the button’ indicates which player is the nominal dealer for the current game. Every player will be dealt two cards, face down. These two cards are called the hole cards. Players keep their cards secret.

Texas Hold'em rules regarding the hand ranking

Cards Hand rankings (from high till low)
Texas hold'em poker rules 1

Royal Flush

An Ace, King, Queen, Jack and ten in the same suit

Tie: splits up the pot.
Texas hold'em rules 2

Straight Flush

Five sequenced cards of the same suit

Tie: highest ranked sequence wins.
Texas hold'em poker rules 3


Four identically ranked cards, plus one side card.

Tie: highest four-of-a-kind wins.
Texas hold'em rules 4

Full house

Three cards of the same rank, plus two different cards of the same rank.

Tie: highest three cards of the same rank win.
Texas hold'em poker rules 5


Five cards of the same suit.

Tie: the highest-ranked card wins. After that, it's the second highest, third highest, etc.
Texas hold'em rules 6


All five cards in sequence.

Tie: highest-ranked card wins. An Ace won't count.
Texas hold'em poker rules 7


Three cards of the same rank, plus two side cards.

Tie: highest three-of-a-kind wins.
Texas hold'em poker rules 8

Two pair

Two cards of the same rank, plus another two cards of matching rank, and a side card.

Tie: highest pair wins. Same highest pair? Highest second pair wins. Identical pairs? Highest side card wins.
Texas hold'em rules 9


Two cards of the same rank and three unrelated side cards.

Tie: highest pair wins. Same pair? The highest side card wins after that the second-highest and third-highest side card will be used.
Texas hold'em poker rules 10

High card

Any other hand!

Tie: second highest card is compared, then the third highest card, etc.

Complete rank of cards, from Ace high (Ace), through until low (two):

Texas hold'em poker rules 11


After the hole cards are dealt, the first player on the left side of the big blind has to speak. As the first one to speak, he has the option to become the third blind by doubling the bet of the big blind (raise). He has to do so before the cards are dealt. All players can choose to call, fold or raise (again).

The flop explained

Three cards are dealt face-up on the table. This is called the flop. The three cards on the table can be used by all active players. These are known as the community cards.


When all bets have been placed for the flop round, the fourth community card is dealt. This card is dealt face-up. In a game of Texas hold'em, the fourth community card is called the turn. The game begins with the active player sitting to the left of 'the button'. In the turn round, betting doubles from the small blind to the big blind. When you're in a $2/4 game, betting on the turn is raised to $4.


After all bets have been placed in the turn round, the final community card (the river) is dealt. Betting starts with the player sitting left to 'the button' again. Here, the same rules apply as in the turn round.

The showdown

If more than one player remains in the game left after the last betting round, it's time for the showdown. The last raiser or bettor has to show his or her cards first. If there wasn't a bet/raise in the final round, then the player sitting to the left of 'the button' has to show his or her cards first. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot.

In a game of Texas Hold'em all suits are equal. So when two hands are ranked identical, the pot is shared. After awarding the pot, a new round can begin. The button then moves clockwise to the next player.

Decision to equal the bet of the previous player/bettor.
Forced bet, made by the 2 players to the dealer's left
Dropping a hand, declining a call. This means that you don't bet anymore and quit playing the current hand. By doing so you have no more chances on winning the pot.
First 3, faced up, community cards in a game of poker.
Bet made by the player in second left position to the dealer button. This is a forced bet and is made before any cards are dealt. The big blind always matches the minimum bet.
The total of the bets from all the players during a round of poker.
Forced bet by the first player on the left side of the dealer during a poker game. The small blind most often is half the minimum bet.
The first two players left to the dealer making a forced bet before any cards are dealt during a poker game.
Small disc indicating which player is the dealer during a round of poker.
The first two cards every player receives during a round of poker.
Optional bet made by the third player left to the dealer during a game of poker.
Decision to bet extra money during a poker game. This means that you bet more money than the previous bettor did. The other players now have to equal your bet if they want to keep playing the current round.
The fourth card that is dealt face-up during a poker game.
The fifth card that is dealt face-up during a poker game.
The moment at which the players have to show their cards at the end of a round during a game of poker.

We hope that our explanation of the Texas hold'em poker rules will contribute to your future success when playing this magnificent game in online casinos. We recommend you visit Party Poker to play Texas Hold'em!

Learn rules of other casino games: Three Card Poker
+30 #2 james 2011-12-05 13:57
I think you refer to a situation where the other players A, B and C already have betted 20 in total and player D goes all in, but puts in only 15 because that is all he has.
If this is the case, I believe player E would have to match the total of 20 , so that he bets the same as the other players (A B and C).

any more thoughts on this?

+3 #1 ben 2011-11-29 22:45
Texas Hold em Situation:
Small/big blinds  are 5/10
After all cards are out:
Player A bets 10
Player B calls 10
Player C calls 10
Player D goes all in for 15
What is Player E minimum bet?
Is it 15 or 20?
(There are still players F & G yet to play)
In other words, does he have to increase the
Previous bet by 10 to a total of 20?
Or can he just match the 15 all-in?
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