How to Play Small and Big Blind Texas Hold 'em

By Anthony King

This article explains how to play small- and big-blind Texas Hold 'Em. Quickly becoming the most popular card game, Texas Hold 'Em is played all across the globe. Most people have heard of this game, but not everyone knows the proper rules for Texas Hold 'em. This guide will teach you the correct way in which Texas Hold 'em is played in casinos, which use the small- and big-blind format.

How to Play Small- and Big-Blind Texas Hold 'Em

Go over the values for which hands are the best before you begin to play. Hand rankings increase from high card, one pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, and straight flush to the best hand, a royal flush.

Hand out chips to each player. You can do a tournament-style game where each player gets the same amount of chips, or an individual buy-in, where a player buys as many chips as he wants. Make sure everyone agrees on the format before you start to play.

Deal one card to each player to see who deals first. High card is the beginning dealer.

Determine what the starting ante value (number of chips or dollars) will be.

Assign the small blind and big blind to the two people to the left of the dealer. The person sitting directly to the left of the dealer is the small blind. The person sitting directly to the left of the small blind is the big blind.

Place the bets, or antes, in the center of the table before the cards are dealt. The only people who have to bet before the deal are the small and big blinds. The big blind must place the total value of the ante in the center. The small blind only has to bet half of the big blind before the deal.

Deal every player two cards, one at a time, face down. Players then look at their cards and decide if they wish to fold (not play the hand), "call" by matching the big blind or the current bet so they can play their hand, or raise the bet.

Start with the person directly to the left of the big blind, also known as "first to act." Each player, going left from the "first to act," must decide whether to fold, call or raise until the betting gets around to the small-blind player.

If every player only "called," or matched what the big blind put in, the small blind only owes another one half of the big blind to continue playing in the hand. If the bet was raised, the small blind must match that new high bet, minus what's already in the center as their small blind, or fold.

Allow the big blind to act. If no new raise occurred, the big blind can check, or continue to play the hand without putting any more money in, or raise the bet. If a raise was made, the big blind must match that bet, fold or reraise.

Discard one card after all the bets have been placed. The dealer then turns three cards face up in the center of the table. This is known as the "flop."

Have the players still in the hand go through another round of betting, starting with the player directly to the left of the dealer. There are no blinds anymore, but if players wish to bet, they are usually required to bet at least the amount of the big blind.

Go around the table and have the player decide to either check, bet, or fold until all betting has stopped.

Discard one card again and then turn one card face up. This is known as the "turn."

Go around the table for another round of betting.

Discard one last card and turn one more card face up. This is known as the "river" card.

Go around to the players who have yet to fold for a final round of betting.

Flip all remaining players' cards over. The player who can make the best five-card hand out of their own two cards and the five cards in the center is the winner of that round and collects all the chips that were bet in the hand.

Continue this sequence to play more hands. If playing a tournament-style game of Texas Hold 'em, the game is over once one player has all of the chips. If buying into a game for an undetermined amount of money or chips, a player may choose to leave the game whenever she would like.

About the Author

Anthony King is a freelance writer and amateur filmmaker. His work has appeared in various online publications. He is currently working toward graduating with a B.A. in English-writing.