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No Limit Texas Holdem - The Rules and Hand Rankings

Updated on October 21, 2011

No-Limit Texas Holdem

Some say that No-Limit Texas Holdem is the Cadillac of poker. It is an extremely exciting game to play, once you learn the rules. Texas Holdem is played using a standard 52 card deck. Each player is dealt two cards, face down. These cards are called "hole cards". The first 3 community cards that come out are called "the flop". The next community card is called "the turn". The last community card is called "the river". The object of Texas Holdem is to make the best 5 card hand pairing your two hole cards with the 5 community cards.

Texas Holdem Hand Rankings (From best to worst)

Royal Flush ( Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten All of the same suit)

Straight Flush ( 5 Cards in a row all of the same suit)

Four of a Kind ( 4 of the same card, for example, 5555)

Full House (3 of a kind as well as 2 of a kind, for example: 22444)

Flush (5 cards of the same suit)

Straight (5 cards of sequential rank)

Three of a Kind ( 3 of the same card, for example: 888)

Two Pair ( two pairs of cards, for example: Queen Queen and 10 10)

One Pair ( ex. Ace Ace)

Hi card ( when not even a pair is present, the hand with the highest card, Ace, or whatever hand has the highest card, wins)

Some of the top tier hands are rare to come across. For example, I have been playing poker for four years and I have only had a royal flush twice!

Royal Flush
Royal Flush

The Gameplay:

There are three different varients of Texas Holdem: No limit, pot-limit, and fixed limit. The most basic game is fixed limit, so if you are new to the game, I suggest you start there, especially if playing for money. Holdem can be played with no money, however that eliminates any skill whatsoever from the game. If you don't have money, at least play with poker chips and pretend. This guide will focus on the No Limit game. In a standard no-limit game, each player at the table will have his own poker chips. The actually poker chips/ whatever you are betting with-- is what controls the flow of the game.

A typical six handed ( 6 players ) game would operate as follows:

To induce betting/actual poker playing, each no-limit game will have blinds. Blinds are automatic bets put into the pot ( what is being wagered on the hand) by two players every hand. Blinds work like this:

There is 1 small blind and 1 big blind. The $ amount of the blinds depends on whatever poker stake you are playing at. For example, if you are playing in a $1/2 game, the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2. These blinds rotate around the table clockwise. Also important to mention are the other positions at the table. Each player in the game is in a different position at the table every hand. The positions around the table are: under the gun, middle position, cut off, dealer button, small blind, big blind -- in order. The cut off position is always the person to the right of the dealer button. The dealer button is always to the right of the small blind. Etc...

After the blinds have been posted and players have been dealt their two hole cards, the betting begins with the person sitting under the gun, and action continues clockwise until the big blind. Each player not in the blinds can choose to fold, call (limp), or raise. In this situation, folding would entail mucking your cards, calling would entail putting $2 into the pot, and raising would entail putting more than $2 into the pot. Whatever the bet gets raised to is what the next person must at least call to see a flop.

Once the flop comes out, there is another round of betting before the turn comes. Then there is another round of betting before the river card. And, finally there is the last round of betting after all 5 community cards are being shown. A "showdown" occurs when there are at least two players still in the hand after the last round of betting is done. Whoever has the better hand is the winner of the hand and the pot.

Good Luck, and may the best hand win !

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