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The player who has the best hand and has not folded by the end of all betting rounds wins all of the money bet for the hand, known as the pot.
In Texas hold 'em, as in all variants of poker , individuals compete for an amount of money or chips contributed by the players themselves called the pot.
Because the cards are dealt randomly and outside the control of the players, each player attempts to control the amount of money in the pot based either on the hand they are holding,  or on their prediction as to what their opponents may be holding and how they might behave.
The game is divided into a series of hands deals ; at the conclusion of each hand, the pot is typically awarded to one player an exception in which the pot is divided between two or more is discussed below.
A hand may end at the showdown , in which case the remaining players compare their hands and the highest hand is awarded the pot; that highest hand is usually held by only one player, but can be held by more in the case of a tie.
The other possibility for the conclusion of a hand occurs when all but one player have folded and have thereby abandoned any claim to the pot, in which case the pot is awarded to the player who has not folded.
The objective of winning players is not to win every individual hand, but rather to make mathematically and psychologically better decisions regarding when and how much to bet, raise, call or fold.
Winning poker players work to enhance their opponents' betting and maximize their own expected gain on each round of betting, to thereby increase their long-term winnings.
Although little is known about the invention of Texas hold 'em, the Texas Legislature officially recognizes Robstown, Texas , as the game's birthplace, dating it to the early s.
The game became popular and quickly spread to the Golden Nugget , Stardust and Dunes. This is when "ace high" was changed from the original form in which aces were low.
Draw poker , you bet only twice; hold 'em, you bet four times. That meant you could play strategically. This was more of a thinking man's game.
At that time, the Golden Nugget's poker room was "truly a ' sawdust joint,' with…oiled sawdust covering the floors.
This prominent location, and the relative inexperience of poker players with Texas hold 'em, resulted in a very remunerative game for professional players.
After a failed attempt to establish a "Gambling Fraternity Convention", Tom Moore added the first ever poker tournament to the Second Annual Gambling Fraternity Convention held in This tournament featured several games including Texas hold 'em.
After its first year, a journalist, Tom Thackrey, suggested that the main event of this tournament should be no-limit Texas hold 'em.
The Binions agreed and ever since no-limit Texas hold 'em has been played as the main event. After receiving only eight entrants in , the numbers grew to over one hundred entrants in , and over two hundred in It was one of the first books to discuss Texas hold 'em, and is today cited as one of the most important books on this game.
Alvarez's book is credited with beginning the genre of poker literature and with bringing Texas hold 'em and poker generally to a wider audience. Interest in hold 'em outside of Nevada began to grow in the s as well.
Although California had legal card rooms offering draw poker , Texas hold 'em was deemed to be prohibited under a statute that made illegal the now unheard of game " stud-horse ".
But in Texas hold 'em was declared legally distinct from stud-horse in Tibbetts v. Van De Kamp. Texas hold 'em is now one of the most popular forms of poker.
During this time hold 'em replaced seven-card stud as the most common game in U. Hold 'em's simplicity and popularity have inspired a wide variety of strategy books which provide recommendations for proper play.
Most of these books recommend a strategy that involves playing relatively few hands but betting and raising often with the hands one plays.
Prior to poker becoming widely televised, the movie Rounders , starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton , gave moviegoers a romantic view of the game as a way of life despite the poker portrayed being often criticized by more serious players.
A clip of the classic showdown between Johnny Chan and Erik Seidel from the World Series of Poker was also incorporated into the film.
This film is unique in that it deals with the darker, more addictive elements of the game, and features Phil Hellmuth and Brad Booth. Hold 'em tournaments had been televised since the late s, but they did not become popular until , when hidden lipstick cameras were first used to show players' private hole cards on the Late Night Poker TV show in the United Kingdom.
A few months later, ESPN 's coverage of the World Series of Poker featured the unexpected victory of Internet player Chris Moneymaker , an amateur player who gained admission to the tournament by winning a series of online tournaments.
Moneymaker's victory initiated a sudden surge of interest in the series along with internet poker , based on the egalitarian idea that anyone—even a rank novice—could become a world champion.
In , there were entrants in the WSOP main event,  and triple that number in The winner, Joe Hachem of Australia, was a semi-professional player.
Beyond the series, other television shows—including the long running World Poker Tour —are credited with increasing the popularity of Texas hold 'em.
The English journalist and biographer Anthony Holden spent a year on the professional poker circuit from — and wrote about his experiences in Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player.
The follow-up book, Bigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker Boom covers the period — and describes a poker world "changed beyond recognition".
Twenty years after the publication of Alvarez's groundbreaking book, James McManus published a semi-autobiographical book, Positively Fifth Street , which simultaneously describes the trial surrounding the murder of Ted Binion and McManus's own entry into the World Series of Poker.
Michael Craig 's book The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King details a series of high-stakes Texas hold 'em one-on-one games between Texas banker Andy Beal and a rotating group of poker professionals.
The ability to play cheaply and anonymously online has been credited as a cause of the increase in popularity of Texas hold 'em.
The and winners Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer, respectively of the World Series no-limit hold 'em main event qualified by playing in these tournaments.
Although online poker grew from its inception in until , Moneymaker's win and the appearance of television advertisements in contributed to a tripling of industry revenues in Hold 'em is normally played using small and big blind bets — forced bets by two players.
Antes forced contributions by all players may be used in addition to blinds, particularly in later stages of tournament play.
A dealer button is used to represent the player in the dealer position; the dealer button rotates clockwise after each hand, changing the position of the dealer and blinds.
The small blind is posted by the player to the left of the dealer and is usually equal to half of the big blind.
The big blind , posted by the player to the left of the small blind, is equal to the minimum bet. After one round of betting is done, the next betting round will start by the person in the small blind.
When only two players remain, special 'head-to-head' or 'heads up' rules are enforced and the blinds are posted differently.
The dealer acts first before the flop. After the flop, the dealer acts last and continues to do so for the remainder of the hand.
The three most common variations of hold 'em are limit hold 'em, no-limit hold 'em and pot-limit hold 'em. Limit hold 'em has historically been the most popular form of hold 'em found in casino live action games in the United States.
In the next two rounds of betting turn and river , bets and raises must be equal to twice the big blind; this amount is called the big bet.
No-limit hold 'em has grown in popularity and is the form most commonly found in televised tournament poker and is the game played in the main event of the World Series of Poker.
In no-limit hold 'em, players may bet or raise any amount over the minimum raise up to all of the chips the player has at the table called an all-in bet.
The minimum raise is equal to the size of the previous bet or raise. If someone wishes to re-raise, they must raise at least the amount of the previous raise.
If a raise or re-raise is all-in and does not equal the size of the previous raise or half the size in some casinos , the initial raiser cannot re-raise again in case there are other players also still in the game.
In pot-limit hold 'em, the maximum raise is the current size of the pot including the amount needed to call.
Some casinos that offer hold 'em also allow the player to the left of the big blind to post an optional live straddle , usually double the amount of the big blind.
This causes that player to act as the big blind and the player has an option to raise when it comes to their turn again. Some variations allow for straddle on the button.
No-limit games may also allow multiple re-straddles, in any amount that would be a legal raise. Following a shuffle of the cards, play begins with each player being dealt two cards face down, with the player in the small blind receiving the first card and the player in the button seat receiving the last card dealt.
As in most poker games, the deck is a standard card deck containing no jokers. These cards are the players' hole or pocket cards.
These are the only cards each player will receive individually, and they will possibly be revealed only at the showdown , making Texas hold 'em a closed poker game.
The hand begins with a "pre-flop" betting round, beginning with the player to the left of the big blind or the player to the left of the dealer, if no blinds are used and continuing clockwise.
A round of betting continues until every player has folded, put in all of their chips, or matched the amount put in by all other active players.
See betting for a detailed account. Note that the blinds are considered "live" in the pre-flop betting round, meaning that they are counted toward the amount that the blind player must contribute.
If all players call around to the player in the big blind position, that player may either check or raise. After the pre-flop betting round, assuming there remain at least two players taking part in the hand, the dealer deals a flop : three face-up community cards.
The flop is followed by a second betting round. This and all subsequent betting rounds begin with the player to the dealer's left and continue clockwise.
After the flop betting round ends, a single community card called the turn or fourth street is dealt, followed by a third betting round.
A final single community card called the river or fifth street is then dealt, followed by a fourth betting round and the showdown, if necessary.
In the third and fourth betting rounds, the stakes double. In all casinos, the dealer will burn a card before the flop, turn, and river.
Because of this burn, players who are betting cannot see the back of the next community card to come. This is done for traditional reasons, to avoid any possibility of a player knowing in advance the next card to be dealt due to its being marked.
If a player bets and all other players fold, then the remaining player is awarded the pot and is not required to show their hole cards. If two or more players remain after the final betting round, a showdown occurs.
On the showdown, each player plays the best poker hand they can make from the seven cards comprising their two-hole cards and the five community cards.
A player may use both of their own two hole cards, only one, or none at all, to form their final five-card hand. If the five community cards form the player's best hand, then the player is said to be playing the board and can only hope to split the pot, because each other player can also use the same five cards to construct the same hand.
If the best hand is shared by more than one player, then the pot is split equally among them, with any extra chips going to the first players after the button in clockwise order.
It is common for players to have closely valued, but not identically ranked hands. Nevertheless, one must be careful in determining the best hand; if the hand involves fewer than five cards, such as two pair or three of a kind , then kickers are used to settle ties see the second example below.
The card's numerical rank is of sole importance; suit values are irrelevant in hold 'em. If the first or second card dealt is exposed, then this is considered a misdeal.
The dealer then retrieves the card, reshuffles the deck, and again cuts the cards. However, if any other hole card is exposed due to a dealer error, the deal continues as usual.
After completing the deal, the dealer replaces the exposed card with the top card on the deck, and the exposed card is then used as the burn card.
If more than one hole card is exposed, a misdeal is declared by the dealer and the hand is dealt again from the beginning. Each player plays the best five-card hand they can make with the seven cards available.
They have. In this case, Ted's full house is the best hand, with Carol in second, Alice in third and Bob last. Here is a sample game involving four players.
The players' individual hands will not be revealed until the showdown, to give a better sense of what happens during play:.
Compulsory bets: Alice is the dealer. Pre-flop: Alice deals two hole cards face down to each player, beginning with Bob and ending with herself.
Ted must act first, being the first player after the big blind. Carol's blind is "live" see blind , so there is the option to raise here, but Carol checks instead, ending the first betting round.
On this round, as on all subsequent rounds, the player on the dealer's left begins the betting. Turn: Alice now burns another card and deals the turn card face up.
Bob checks, Carol checks, and Alice checks; the turn has been checked around. Because of the presence of community cards in Texas hold 'em, different players' hands can often run very close in value.
As a result, it is common for kickers to be used to determine the winning hand and also for two hands or maybe more to tie.
A kicker is a card which is part of the five-card poker hand, but is not used in determining a hand's rank. The following situation illustrates the importance of breaking ties with kickers and card ranks, as well as the use of the five-card rule.
After the turn, the board and players' hole cards are as follows. Bob and Carol still each have two pair queens and eights , but both of them are now entitled to play the final ace as their fifth card, making their hands both two pair, queens and eights, with an ace kicker.
Bob's king no longer plays, because the ace on the board plays as the fifth card in both hands, and a hand is only composed of the best five cards.
They therefore tie and split the pot. However, if the last card is a jack or lower except an eight, which would make a full house, or a ten, which would give Carol a higher second pair , Bob's king stays in the game and Bob wins.
Most poker authors recommend a tight- aggressive approach to playing Texas hold 'em. This strategy involves playing relatively few hands tight , but betting and raising often with those that one does play aggressive.
Almost all authors agree that where a player sits in the order of play known as position is an important element of Texas hold 'em strategy, particularly in no-limit hold'em.
As a result, players typically play fewer hands from early positions than later positions. Because of the game's level of complexity, it has received some attention from academics.
One attempt to develop a quantitative model of a Texas hold'em tournament as an isolated complex system has had some success,  although the full consequences for optimal strategies remain to be explored.
In addition, groups at the University of Alberta and Carnegie Mellon University worked to develop poker playing programs utilizing techniques in game theory and artificial intelligence.
Although it does not win every hand, it is unbeatable on average over a large number of hands. The program exhibits more variation in its tactics than professional players do, for instance bluffing with weak hands that professional players tend to fold.
Because only two cards are dealt to each player, it is easy to characterize all of the starting hands. Because no suit is more powerful than another , many of these can be equated for the analysis of starting-hand strategy.
Because of this equivalence, there are only effectively different hole-card combinations. Thirteen of these are pairs, from deuces twos to aces.
There are 78 ways to have two cards of different rank 12 possible hands containing one ace, 11 possible hands containing one king but no ace, 10 possible hands containing one queen but no ace or king, etc.
Both hole cards can be used in a flush if they are suited, but pairs are never suited, so there would be 13 possible pairs, 78 possible suited non-pairs, and 78 possible unsuited "off-suit" non-pairs, for a total of possible hands.
Because of the limited number of starting hands, most strategy guides include a detailed discussion of each of them. This distinguishes hold 'em from other poker games where the number of starting card combinations forces strategy guides to group hands into broad categories.
Another result of this small number is the proliferation of colloquial names for individual hands. Texas Hold'em is commonly played both as a "cash" or "ring" game and as a tournament game.
If there have been no raises when the bets gets to the big blind, that player has what is called the option.
He can opt to raise, in which case each active player in turn is offered a choice of calling the raise or reraising or folding.
The big blind can also choose not to raise, which stops the betting for that round. The big blind in this option situation is known in poker parlance as a live blind.
Once the betting for the round is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to fold or match the total betting, the dealer deals three cards face up in the center of the table.
These first three of the community cards are called the flop. The second round of betting takes place. In this round, the betting starts with the first active player one who still has cards to the left of the button.
If the small blind called on the first round, that player would be first to act, even though he was next-to-last on the first round of betting.
Only in the first round sometimes called the preflop round does the betting start elsewhere. In all rounds after the first, the first player has two choices:.
If no one bets, each player in turn has the same choices. It is possible in every round except the first for no betting to occur. No betting in a round is called being checked around.
A player who checks retains his cards. If someone bets, when the action returns, a player who checked has the preceding three choices.
To check and then raise when the betting returns is known, reasonably enough, as check-raising. If you check with the intention of raising, you of course risk the possibility that no one will bet.
Once the betting for the second round is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to check or match the total betting for the round, the dealer deals one more card face up in the center of the table.
This fourth of the community cards is called the turn. The third round of betting takes place. Again, the betting starts with the first active player to the left of the button.
The betting proceeds exactly the same as the second round. In a limit game, in the third round and fourth rounds the betting usually proceeds in increments twice the size of the first two rounds.
Once the betting for the third round is equalized, the dealer deals a fifth and final card face up in the center of the table.
This last community card is called the river. The fourth and final round of betting takes place. The betting proceeds exactly the same as the two previous rounds.
Once the betting for the fourth round is equalized, the betting is over, and there is a showdown. Remaining active players show their cards and the best hand, comprised of the best five cards from among each player's combination of two hole cards plus the community cards, wins.
The holder of the winning hand is awarded the pot. If there is a tie for the best hand, the pot will be split equally among the tied players.
If the betting is not equalized on the final round, that is, one player bet or raised and no one called, there is no showdown, and the software awards the pot to the player who made that uncalled bet.
This is the case on any previous round, as well. If it happens on earlier rounds, no further cards are dealt, because the hand is over.
Sometimes a player runs out of chips before all the betting is over. In such case, one or more side pots are created, and the software awards appropriate main and side pots.
When a player is all in, a bet or raise can be made that is not called, but a showdown still takes place. Players often do not show losing hands.
You are entitled, however, to see any cards that were active at the showdown even if they were not shown. In determining the winning hand, the combination of five best cards sometimes includes both a player's hole cards.
Sometimes it includes only one of a player's hole cards. Sometimes, rarely, no hole cards are used. In such a case, the board would contain some combination better than any hand that can be made using any player's hole cards.
This is called playing the board. When all players play the board, the pot is split equally among all players remaining in the hand at that point.
The best 5-card hand using any combination of the five community cards and two hole cards wins.If you've never played this table game before, watch this Casino Hold'em video tutorial to learn more about this great game. Sometimes, rarely, no Furry Frenzies cards are used. Once the betting for the second round is equalized, that is, once everyone Sandra Naujoks had an opportunity either to check or match the total betting for the round, the dealer deals one more card face up in the center of the table.