Texas Holdem is the most popular casino card game
by far. Texas Holdem is a "community card" game, meaning
that some cards are dealt face-up in the middle of the table
and shared by all the players. Each player has two down cards
that are theirs alone, and combines them with the five community
cards to make the best possible five-card hand.
Play begins by dealing two cards face down to each player;
these are known as "hole cards" or "pocket
cards". This is followed by a round of betting. Most
Holdem games get the betting started with one or two "blind
bets" to the left of the dealer. These are forced bets
which must be made before seeing one's cards. Play proceeds
clockwise from the blinds, with each player free to fold,
call the blind bet, or raise. Usually the blinds are "live",
meaning that they may raise themselves when the action gets
back around to them.
Now three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table;
this is called the "flop". A round of betting ensues,
with action starting on the first blind, immediately to the
dealers left. Another card is dealt face up (the "turn"),
followed by another round of betting, again beginning to the
dealer's left. Then the final card (the "river")
is dealt followed by the final round of betting. In a structured-limit
game, the bets on the turn and river are usually double the
size of those before and on the flop.
The game is usually played for high only, each player making
the best five-card combination to compete for the pot. Players
usually use both their hole cards to make their best hand,
but this is not required. A player may even choose to "play
the board" and use no hole cards at all. Identical five-card
hands split the pot; the sixth and seventh cards are not used
to break ties.