You wouldn’t think that any game in which you only get two cards of your own would be very difficult or challenging, but until you’ve played Texas hold’em you can’t imagine its permutations and complexity. To the uninitiated, hold’em looks like seven-card stud with a few differences. In the end, however, the only thing that’s the same is that the hands are made up of the best five of seven cards. The critical differences begin with the starting hand. While this is always an important decision, it is not nearly as critical in hold’em as it is in seven-card stud. The decisions you make on the later streets make much more of a difference in your overall success in hold’em. The most important difference between seven-card stud and Texas hold’em is the use of community cards, which are dealt face up in front of the dealer. These cards all play a part in the development of each player’s hand.
Before any cards are dealt in Texas hold’em, the first player to the left of the button must post a “small blind” which is a percentage of the minimum bet. The second player to the left of the button then posts a “big blind” which is usually equal to the table minimum. After these bets are posted, the dealer distributes two cards to each player, beginning with the player who posted the small blind. Then the player to the left of the big blind has the option to fold, match the big blind, or raise. The betting then moves clockwise until all players have exercised their options. The players who posted the blinds have only to match the difference between the largest bet and the blinds to stay in the game. On subsequent betting rounds, the first active player to the left of the button initiates the betting.
After the first round of betting is completed, the dealer lays out three cards face up simultaneously in the middle of the table. This is called the “flop”. Another round of betting takes place at that time. Betting also takes place between each of the next two face-up cards, called fourth street and fifth street. Once again, these cards are all community cards that belong to all the active players.
When it’s time for the showdown, the player with the best five cards using his two downcards and the five community cards is the winner. In Texas hold’ em, there are frequently situations where players have the same hands. In this case, the pot is split.
Limits in Texas hold’em are similar to the situation mentioned in seven-card stud. The only difference would be the blinds. In a £2-£3 hold’em game, the first player would ante a small blind of £1, and the big blind would be £3.