How to Play Texas Hold em

By Robin Matteri

Texas hold 'em is poker game where a players use a combination of their hole cards and the cards on the board to make the best possible five card poker hand. Here is an introduction to the game that will teach you how to play step by step.

Each player is dealt two cards that are referred to as the hole cards or your starting hand. Once each player has received his starting hand, in succession every player will determine if he wants to stay in and continue the hand or not. If your cards are good and they are playable, then you opt to call the blind. If the cards are not to your liking then you will "muck," or throw your hand away at no cost.

Once you have decided to call the original bet, the dealer will then turn up three cards on a "community" board. This is called the flop. Another round of betting will begin and this is where a player will decide if her hole cards plus the community cards have the potential to make a winning five card hand.

When the betting round is over on the flop, the dealer will then add another card to the board. This card is called the turn. On the turn, the betting doubles and players are given the option of continuing to play, calling the bet, or mucking. This card is used in conjunction with the players' hole cards and the flop to still try to make the best possible five card poker hand.

The final round of betting takes place on what is known as the river. This is the last card put on the community board. This is the player's last card with which to make the best poker hand. In this round the betting is still double what the opening blinds were and players still have the option to call any bets or muck their hand.

After all the cards are on the board and all the betting is over, the dealer will then ask the players to open their cards or showdown their hand. At this time, the dealer will read the hands, determine the winner and award the pot accordingly. All cards are then returned to the dealer who will then shuffle up and deal again.

About the Author

Robin Matteri is a freelance writer currently residing in central California. She has been a published freelance writer since January 2006 with work appearing online and in print. She has had a personal essay published in "Parents to Parents" magazine and at