Texas hold’em is definitely the most popular online poker variant. It can be played with anywhere from 2 to 10 players. One player acts as dealer. This position is called the “button” and it rotates clockwise after every hand.
The two players to the left of the dealer are called the small blind and the big blind: these two positions require forced bets of a pre-determined amount. Each player receives two cards face down, called hole cards.
The object of the game is to combine their hole cards with the community cards to make the best possible 5-card poker hand. At the end of the hand, the player with the highest ranking combination wins the pot that has increased in the meantime due to the blinds plus the other players’ wagers.
The Pre-flop is the first round of bets. The player to the left of the big blind acts first before the flop; he can choose to either accept the same amount of the big blind, make a raise or surrender the hand. The next player does the same: he can choose to accept the amount of the big blind or the relance, make a raise himself or surrender the hand. And the same goes on with the other players.
After the first round of bets, the dealer discards (burns) a card and turns three cards over (the so-called flop) and places them in the middle of the gaming table. The second round of bets then takes place, with the first player in the little blind position (once again, the first seat to the left of the dealer), who can chose to check if he doesn’t want to bet or raise; the same goes on with the other players who may choose to either surrender or stay in. If a player has too few chips to cover the bet, he may call an “all in” move, that is, he can put down his entire bankroll. In this case, players create “side pots” which are separate from the “main pot“. The player can be active in the side pot but he may not win any more money from any player above the amount of his bet.
After the second round of bets, the dealer again discards a card from the deck and places a card face up (called turn) in the middle of the table. There is another round of betting, but this time, the dealer turns over the fifth and last community card, called the river, to be added to the other four cards on the table. The final round of betting is now ready to take place.
At this point, showdown occurs, that is, a player is called after the River and may involve anywhere from two players to the entire table, depending on how many players stayed in to this point. All players still in the hand show their cards. The player holding the highest ranking combination wins the pot; otherwise, if the highest five card combination scores the same total, the pot is chopped.