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Texas holdem

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Texas Holdem is a variant of community card poker, in which a series of community, or shared, cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table and shared by all the players. Each player is dealt two cards, face down, and these so-called ‘hole’ cards are combined with three community cards to make a complete, five-card hand.

At the start of each hand, before any cards are dealt, the two players to the left of the dealer - or dealer button, in games with a non-playing dealer - are required to place compulsory or ‘blind’ bets to seed the pot. The first round of betting proceeds to the left; each player may bet the same amount as most recent bet or raise (‘call’), increase that amount (‘raise’) or lay down his hand and forfeit all chance of winning the pot (‘fold’).

Once the first round of betting is complete, as a security measure, the dealer discards the top card from the deck, face down - technically known as ‘burning’ - and deals the first three community cards. The ‘flop’, as the first three community cards are collectively known, is followed by another round of betting. Thereafter, the dealer burns the top card from the deck again and deals a fourth community card, or ‘turn’ card. After another round of betting, the dealer repeats the process for fifth community card, or ‘river’ card. After a final round of betting, last player to bet reveals his hole cards, as do any other remaining players and the highest five-card hand wins the pot.

The highest ranking hand in Texas Holdem poker is the elusive Royal flush - that is, A, K, Q, J, 10 all of the same suit - which you can expect to hit just once in every 650,000 or so hands you play. At the other end of the scale, the lowest ranking hand that can be categorised is one pair - that is, two cards of the same rank - which you can expect to hit once in every 1.37 hands. Failing that, you will be relying on a ‘high card’ or ‘no pair’ hand. In the event of a tie the winners split the pot and in the unlikely event that the five community cards - a.k.a. ‘the board’ - constitute the highest hand all remaining players split the pot.

Thanks

Gareth the Gambler



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