Texas Hold ’em Rules

Texas Hold ’em is typically played with a table of nine or ten players, and uses a standard deck of 52 cards (no jokers). See the introduction to Texas Hold ’em for three variations on the basic rules.


In Texas Hold ’em rules, the two players to the left of the dealer are required to make small and big blind bets respectively. Blind bets are forced bets made before any cards are dealt. The small blind comes from the player to the left of the dealer and is usually equal to half of the big blind. The big blind is posted by the player two to the left of the dealer, and is usually equal to the minimum bet for a round. Antes – forced contributions by all players – may be used in addition to blinds, particularly in later stages of tournament play.

Because blind bets are forced, the bettors can choose to raise once it is their turn to act again, but only on the first round.

Round 1

Two cards are dealt face down to each player. On the first round, players can either call or raise the blind bet, or fold. Generally, Texas Hold ’em rules allow a bet and three or four raises per betting round. There’s just one exception – if only two players are competing for the pot, there’s no limit on the number of raises.

Round 2 – The Flop

After the first round, three community cards – called "the flop" – are placed in the centre of the table. In the second round, each player can check if nobody else has placed a bet or, if there is a bet in place, fold, call, raise, or add a new raise. See Texas Hold ’em: playing the flop for tips on how to play this round.

Round 3 – The Turn

A fourth community card, known as "the turn", is added, and another round of betting takes place. For strategic considerations, see Texas Hold ’em: playing the turn.

Round 4 – The River

The fifth and final community card, known as the "river", is exposed before the last round of betting. See Texas Hold ’em: playing the river.

Any hand ends either after a showdown – when remaining players compare their hands – or after all players but one have folded. In a showdown, the winner is the one with the best five cards, including any combination of the two dealt cards and the five community cards on the table. After each hand, the pot is won by a player or, in the case of a tie, shared between players.

Heads Up Texas Hold ’em Rules

If only two opponents remain, "heads up" rules apply. The person with the dealer button posts the small blind and the other player places the big blind. The dealer acts first before the flop, but last for the remainder of the hand.