Texas Hold ’em

Texas Hold ’em is a community card game. Each player has two cards and can use any of five community cards to make a hand. See Texas Hold ’em rules for details of how play is structured, and Texas Hold ’em strategy for tips on how to play well.

The popularity of Texas Hold ’em exploded in the 2000s, outstripping seven-card stud and other popular variations to become the most played poker game across North America and Europe.

Widely televised Texas Hold ’em tournaments, including the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and the World Poker Tour (WPT), have caught the imagination of both professional and amateur players around the world. Also adding to the popularity of the game has been the huge rise in online poker.

Both on and off the Internet, Texas Hold ’em is popular as the "thinking person’s" poker of choice. Despite its apparaent simplicity, it provides players with ample opportunity for strategic analysis – of the cards and of the players.

Texas Hold ’em Variations

There are three common variations of Texas Hold ’em, each defined by different rules governing the allowed value of bets and raises. They are

  • Limit Hold ’em – bets and raises during the first round and during the flop must be equal to the *big blind; bets and raises in the turn and river rounds must be twice the value of the big blind.
  • No-limit Hold ’em – no limit is placed on the value of bets or raises, although a minimum raise value is set. A re-raise must be to at least the same value as the previous raise.
  • Pot-limit Hold ’em – the maximum raise is the current value of the pot

* In Texas Hold ’em, the player to the left of the dealer starts any round by placing a forced small bet known as the small blind. The next player to the left places a forced big blind; typically twice the value of the small blind.

Many casinos give the player to the left of the big blind the option to post an additional blind bet known as a "straddle". A straddle is typically twice the value of the agreed big blind, and automatically becomes a substitute for it.

The no-limit betting form of Texas Hold ’em is the poker game played during the main events of both the WSOP and the WPT, and is the variation most often televised. Limit Hold ’em is very popular at casinos.