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Texas Hold’em Poker
Texas Hold’em Poker

How to Play Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em Poker is a popular variation on poker that is played in casinos around the world. Not only is it a game of chance, it’s also one that requires skill and strategy to beat the other players at the table.

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Object of the Game

The object of the game is to win the pot. Players can do so by creating the best 5-card poker hand using any combination of the one or both of the cards dealt to the player and 3 or 4 of the 5 community cards on the table, as applicable.

Alternatively, players can use a combination of skill, strategy and bluffing to win the pot by making the other players at the table believe they have the best hand.

How to make a hand

A single 52-card deck is used in Texas Hold’em Poker. Aces may be high or low depending on which creates the better hand. All suits are considered equal in value. The best 5-card hand is made using a combination of the best 5 community cards and the two “hole” cards dealt to the player.

Two playing cards, face down on the table.

Hole Cards

Each player is dealt 2 “hole” cards at the beginning of the game, face down. These cards belong to the individual players and are revealed to the table only in the event of a showdown. Players combine either one or both of their hole cards with the community cards to make the best 5-card high hand, unless the community cards alone make the best hand.

Five playing cards face down on the table in a semi-circle.

Community Cards

These cards are dealt in the centre of the table, face up and belong to everyone at the table. A total of 5 community cards are dealt in a round of play. The “flop”, or first three cards, are dealt followed by a fourth card, and then a fifth, each after a completed round of betting.

Get started in 4 easy steps

  • Dollar signs signifying expense level next to the middle option $$.

    Start with a game plan. Texas Hold’em is a game where players play to win. And if you’re not winning, you’re losing. Set a budget before you play and stick to it.

  • A chair with a reserved sign resting on the seat.

    Reserve your seat. Before you can sit down at a table, you’ll have to visit the poker room reception area, sometimes known as the brush station. If there is a spot available, you can play. If not, you will be called when a seat becomes available.

  • A dollar bill.

    Pay the rake or session fee. This is a commission paid to the House that allows you to remain in the game.

  • Get started in 4 easy steps

    Start playing. The dealer begins the round by dealing two hole cards to all players at the table.

    Be sure to have fun!

1. Start with a game plan

Illustration of a table

Pick your table

A typical buy-in is 10x the minimum bet. At a table with a $2/4 bet limit, that is a minimum bet of $2 and a max bet of $4, the minimum you need to play is $20. Every casino has its own minimum and maximum buy-ins so be sure to stick with one that fits your budget.

Une carte de crédit est traversée par une ligne.

Don’t bring credit cards

Avoid spending more than you intend to. It’s easy to think your luck can turn around in a poker game, but you can never predict the outcome of the next hand. Use cash only and leave your cards at home.

Un crochet est apposé sur un trophée.

Set a win limit

Being up and then losing it all is no fun. Decide in advance when it’s time to walk away by setting a win limit – the point at which you plan to walk away, even if you’re on a winning streak.

2. Reserve your seat

A person stands behind a podium.

Before you can play Texas Hold‘em, you’ll have to tell the poker room supervisor at the entrance of the Poker Room what game you would like to play. If space is available, you will be seated immediately. If not, you will be placed on a waiting list and notified of an opening on a first-come, first-served basis.


Some casinos allow you to call ahead to put your name on the list. You then have a window of time in which you’ll have to check in to the poker room to keep your reservation.

3. Pay the rake or session fee

: A chair with a dollar bill resting on the seat.

Because you are playing against other casino guests and not against the house, you will need to pay a commission known as a “rake” or “session fee”. A session fee is like rent you pay for your spot at the table. This is how the House makes money on poker games. Depending on the casino, you will be asked to pay either a rake or a session fee, but never both.

  • A “rake” is often 10% of the pot, up to a maximum amount.
  • A session fee is a pre-determined amount paid every 30 minutes. In games where players are required to pay a session fee, the dealer is responsible for collecting the session fee and keeping the game moving.

4. Play Poker!

A player sits at the poker table with chips, cards and the dealer puck on the table in front of him.

The game begins with one player being designated the Dealer. This person does not have to deal the game, but it is important that a symbolic dealer position rotate around the table. A “button” or small round puck is used to mark the dealer. The first of the hole cards are dealt to the player to the immediate left of the “dealer” who is the “small blind” bet. The player left of the small blind must make the “big blind” bet. Once the hole cards are dealt and the blind bets are in the pot, the game is off and running.

Playing a hand

There are a number of steps to playing a round of Texas Hold’em Poker. These include four betting rounds that occur as new cards are dealt.

Learn more about playing a hand

How to bet

Four players sit at a poker table. A speech bubble with an exclamation mark appears above the group, while pointing to the player to the far right.

The actions you can take during each round of betting will help you stay in the game when your hand is good, or get you out before you lose more money than you intended. Each action is usually paired with a verbal statement that clarifies the action to the rest of the players at the table.


When playing poker in casinos, verbal statements are binding. If you make one that doesn’t match your hand gesture, you must proceed with the action that was spoken.

See all betting actions