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Poker Basics 05: How to Play Limit Texas Hold'em

Limit Hold'em, No Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Hold'em are much the same game. The only difference is the betting structure. For more information about betting structures go here. If you are having difficulties with the poker terminology described below, please visit our glossary.

The following information will provide the rules and the structure of the game. There will be graphics and text to walk you through terminology and step by step play of a round of Limit Texas Hold'em. Once you have developed a feel for the game, the subsequent rounds will be much easier.

The Dealer

The Dealer's Button

When the table is full, there will be 9 or 10 players. These seats are randomly selected by the computer when online.

There is a person (or computer when online) who does the physical dealing of the cards and is not one of the players. On the table is a small round disc called the button. This button is placed in front of the person who is the theoretical "dealer" to indicate where the dealing should begin. The button will say 'D' on it. See picture above.

After every hand, the button moves clockwise as if each player at the table were getting a turn to deal.

Within the PokerPages' software, the dealer's button is always placed in seat 10 at the start of a game/tournament for the first hand and the small blind will be in seat 1 and the big blind will be in seat 2. Now the game begins.

The Blinds

 

The Blinds

 

Always moving clockwise, the player to the immediate left of the dealer is called the small blind. This player places 1/2 of the structured bet in front of him or her. To the small blind's left is the big blind. This player places one full structured bet in front of him or her.

For example, in a structured $10-$20 game of Limit Texas Hold'em, the small blind would post (place in front of him or her) $5. That's 1/2 of the structured bet. The big blind would post $10. That's one full bet.

The small and big blinds are compulsory bets. These two players are in actuality betting their first bet "in the blind." The motive for forcing these players to bet in the blind is to create action. Creating action gets money in the pot. This way no one can play for free (without folding) during the first round of betting.

When the next new hand is played the small blind then moves around to the player who was the big blind in the last hand, and the big blind moves to the player to his left. This movement of the small and big blinds continues throughout the game.

Pocket or Hole Cards

 

Hole Cards

 

Limit Texas Hold'em uses all 52 cards in the deck. The dealer begins the deal with the small blind. There will be 2 unique cards called Pocket or Hole cards dealt face down to each player. The hole or pocket cards are exclusive to each player. Each player will view these cards and no other player will see the other players 2 cards.

Round One Betting

After the pocket or hole cards are dealt, the first round of betting begins. There are several actions a player who is involved in the hand can take.

The player may CALL the bet by matching the amount of the first bet (the amount of the big blind.) In the example, that would be $10.

The player may RAISE the bet by matching the amount of the first bet and adding an equal amount to it thereby making it 2 bets. In the example, that would be $20 ($10 + $10.)

Finally, the player may FOLD. When a player folds, the action taken is one of passing and the player will not enter the hand by placing any money in the pot. This player will place his cards face down in front of him and the dealer will take them and place them in the discard pile. When online, the player will click on the fold button and his cards will automatically go into the discards.

The first person to start the betting in the first round of Limit Texas Hold'em is the player to the left of the big blind. stated before, the big blind has already made one complete bet.

The betting will continue until everyone in the pot has bet the same amount. That means that whenever there is a raise all the players still in the pot must call it, raise it or fold their hand. For example, if seat 5 raises then all the players behind him that want to stay in the pot will have to call the new amount or fold or re-raise.

The small blind must add their other half of the structured bet in order to call or the other half plus one full bet in order to raise. Otherwise, the small blind folds.

 

Round One Betting

 

In this example seat 3 and 4 folded. Seat 5 called $10 and raised $10 (making the total bet $20). Seat 6 folded. Seat 7 called the $20 bet. Seat 8,9,10 folded. The big blind called the $10 raise and the small blind folded. See picture above.

Notice when the betting passed seat 10 the small blind folded and the big blind had the option to re-raise during this round of play. He chose to call only.

During the first round of betting, the big blind will have the OPTION to raise. the action moves around the table and comes back to the big blind, the dealer will ask if they would like to exercise their option to raise. If they do, they may raise. If they do not, they will just check. In a way, they are raising themselves. This OPTION only happens during the first round.

Note: In limit hold'em there can only be one bet and three raises. If there is a third re-raise, its called a cap.

The Flop

 

The Flop

 

The first round of betting is now complete. The dealer will burn (place face down in the discard pile) the top card of the deck and deal the next 3 cards in the middle of the table.

These 3 cards are known as the flop. These are the first 3 of 5 community cards (cards accessible to all players to use with their hole cards) to be dealt face up in the middle of the table. These 3 cards may be used by all the players in the game by combining them with the two unique cards held in their own hand to form the best possible hand.

The second round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer (the person with button.) This player may CHECK, which is deferring the first action to the next player or choose to bet. The amount to bet in this round of betting is the same as the first round, one structured bet.

It is of interest to note that after the flop, the players have seen 71% of all cards to be used.

The third round of betting is complete after every player at the table has acted and placed the same amount in the pot, checked or folded.

 

Flop Action

 

In the example the big blind will be the first to act. The big blind checks. Seat 5 bets $10. Seat 7 calls $10 and raises $10. The big blind calls the $20 bet. Seat 5 calls the $10 raise. All three players have acted and placed the same amount in the pot. See picture above.

The Turn

 

The Turn

 

The second round of betting is now complete.

The dealer will burn the next card and place a 4th card face up on the table. This card is known as the turn or 4th street. This round of betting will begin again with the player to the left of the dealer. If this player decides to bet, the amount of the bet in this round will be 2 structured bets, which, in this example would be $20 (equal to double the original structured bet.) Just as with the flop, the turn card may be used by all the players in the game by combining them with the two unique cards held in their own hand, to make the best hand out of 5 cards only.

The third round of betting is complete after every player at the table has acted. They will all have either, checked, placed the same amount in the pot, or folded.

 

The Turn Action

 

In the example, the big blind checks. Seat 5 bets $20 (2 structured bets). Seat 7 calls $20 and raises $20. The big blind folds. Seat 5 re-raises $20 and seat 7 caps the betting with the last $20 raise. Seat 5 calls the $20 raise. See picture above.

The River

 

The River

 

The third round of betting is now complete.

The dealer will burn the next card and place a 5th card on the table. This card is known as the river or 5th street. This round of betting will begin again with the player to the left of the dealer. If this player decides to bet, the amount of the bet in this round will once again be equal to 2 structured bets. Just as with the flop and the turn, the river card may be used by all the players in the game by combining them with the two unique cards held in their own hand.

A player may use 5 of the 7 cards to make the best hand possible. It may be the 2 unique cards in his or her hand combined with 3 from the board (table where community cards are located,) 1 unique card combined with 4 from the board or the 5 cards on the board. This is called playing the board.

The fourth and final round of betting is complete after every player at the table has acted and placed the same amount in the pot, checked or folded.

 

The River Action

 

In the example, seat 5 bets $20. Seat 7 calls $20 and raises $20. Seat 5 calls the $20 raise and re-raises $20. Seat 7 completes the betting with a $20 cap. See picture above.

Completion of Hand

The first person left in the hand to reveal his or her cards will be the one that made the last bet during the 4th round of the hand. If no bet was made and all the players checked, then, in order from the left of the dealer to the last player will show his or her hand.

When a player has a better hand, it must be revealed in order to win. If the player elects to throw the cards away because of it being of less value than any other revealed hand, he or she may muck the cards (place the cards where they will be discarded.)

When a player is sure that he or she is beaten, he or she may or may not elect to show his or her hand (because it gives information about what hand he or she held.) The dealer will identify who has the best hand and the pot will be given to this player.

Because the hand went to a showdown, the winning player has the right to request to see the losing hand even if the losing player mucks his hand.

 

The Completion

 

In the example, seat 5 reveals his hole cards to be the King and Queen of Hearts giving him the nut flush. Seat 7 turns over the Ace and King of Diamonds and wins the hand with Aces full of Kings. The dealer shoves the pot to seat 7.

End of Hand and on to the Next

 

Next Hand

 

All cards are returned to the dealer. The cards are shuffled and/or scrambled in preparation for the next hand. The dealer button is moved one position clockwise, indicating the new dealers position. The blinds are also moved one position clockwise and the blind bets are posted and a new hand begins.

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