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How to Play Texas Hold'em in Las Vegas

Learn to play Poker in Las Vegas

Texas Hold'em is a popular poker game and one of the newest table games sweeping across Las Vegas casino floors. Learn how to play Texas Hold'em in Las Vegas. The game is simple and Texas Hold'em rules are easy to follow.

Texas Hold em can be learned in a few minutes by anyone, and you can be playing fairly well within a few hours of practice. No matter your skill level, when you arrive in Las Vegas, we recommend sitting in on one of the free Texas Hold em lessons offered by the casinos.

In Texas Hold'em, two cards are dealt to each player as their personal hand (hole cards), two cards to the dealer and five community cards are dealt face-up in the center of the table. Each player will use his or her two hole cards along with the five community cards to form the best five-card (highest ranked) poker hand.

A dealer button (which is a flat round white disk) moves clockwise from player to player after each round of play. The button marks which player would be the dealer if the deal were advanced from player to player as the game went along. The player with the dealer button is the last to receive cards, and has the right of last action on all rounds of play except for the first round, where the "big blind" will have the right of last action.

Object of Texas Hold'em

The object of the game of Texas Hold'em is to form the best five-card poker hand that ranks higher than the other players’ five-card poker hands, using any combination from the two "hole" cards received, in conjunction with the face-up "community"/"board" cards.

Did you know ..
The first game of Texas hold’em was played sometime in the 1900’s in Robstown, Texas.

Playing the Game of Texas Hold'em

How to Play Texas Hold'em

In Texas Hold'em, the board cards are dealt in three sequences known as the Flop, the Turn, and the River. Players are then allowed to call, raise, or fold when it's their turn to bet.

The Rounds: There are four rounds of betting in Texas Hold'em. Two at the smaller limit and two at the larger limit.
The first round of betting takes place after each player has been dealt his/her initial two-card hand.
The second round of betting takes place after the flop has been dealt.
The third round takes place after the turn card has been dealt.
The fourth and final round takes place after the river card has been dealt.

Pre Flop

1 At the opening of every Texas Hold'em game, all players are dealt one card face-up, starting with the player to the immediate left of the house dealer and continuing clockwise around the table. The player with the highest ranked card will receive the flat white disk with the words "dealer button" on it. Once the dealer button has been distributed by the house dealer, the player to the immediate left of the player with the dealer button will receive the "small blind" button. Then the player to the immediate left of the player who received the small blind button will receive the "big blind" button.

Texas Hold'em Table Layout

2 The game starts with the two players designated as the "small blind" and "big blind" putting a predetermined amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt. This ensures there's something to play for on every hand. This is called "posting the blinds".

In most cases, the the "small blind" puts up half the minimum bet, and the "big blind" puts up the full minimum bet. For example, if the minimum bet was 2 chips, the big blind would place a forced bet of 2 chips and the small blind would put out 1 chip.

Blind: It's called a blind because you haven't seen a card when you put in this bet. You're practically going in without seeing, or blind.

Texas Hold Em 3 Once the blinds have been placed in the pot, every player is then dealt two cards, face down, starting with the player that received the "small blind" button, and continuing clockwise around the table. These are called "hole cards" or "pocket cards".

4 Once each player has received their two hole cards, the first round of wagering will occur. The first move falls on the player to the left of the big blind and continuing clockwise around the table. That player can either:
Texas Hold'em Call the bet: Place a wager that is equal to the amount of the big blind.
Raise it: Place a wager equal to the amount of the big blind as well as an additional amount within the posted table limit.
Fold: Choose to fold their hand and no longer participate during that round of play by placing their two hole cards face-down into the center of the table.
Call the raise, re-raise, or fold their hand:

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The Flop
Texas Hold'em Flop

5 After the first betting round, the house dealer then moves all player wagers into the pot. The house dealer then discards the top card of the deck. This is called burning the card and is done to help prevent cheating by making sure no one accidentally saw the top card.

The house dealer then flips the next three cards face-up on in the center of the table simultaneously. These cards are called the "Flop". These are the first of five "community cards" that all players can use, along with their hole cards, to make the best possible poker hand.

6 Following the Flop, the second round of wagering will occur. Betting begins with the first active player to the left of the dealer button. That player can either:
Bet: Place a wager according to the established table limits.
Check: Do not make a wager with the option to call or raise a wager by another player.
Call Call a wager according to the rules and guidelines used in the previous round of play.
Raise Raise the pot according to the rules and guidelines used in the previous round of play.
Fold Fold their hand according to the rules and guidelines used in the previous round of play.

The Turn (Fourth Street)
Texas Hold'em Turn

7 Again after the second betting round, the house dealer then moves all player wagers into the pot. The house dealer burns another card and plays one more face-up onto the table. This fourth community card is called the "Turn card" or "Fourth Street."

There is then another round of betting, exactly as after the Flop. The first active player to the left of the dealer button begins this third round of betting.

The River (Fifth Street)
Texas Hold'em River

8 Once again the house dealer moves all player wagers into the pot and then burns another card before placing the fifth and last community card face-up on the table. This card is called the "River card" or "Fifth Street". Once the fifth community card (which is the final community card) is placed face-up in the center of the table, the fourth and final round of wagering will occur, starting with the first active player to the left of the dealer button.

Showdown
Texas Hold'em Showdown

9 Once the fourth and final round of wagering has been completed, the house dealer will move all wagers into the pot. Then all active players will then enter into a showdown with each other and compare their hands. In a showdown, players can use any combination of seven cards. The five community cards and the two hole cards known only to them to form the highest ranking five-card Poker hand.
Two cards from their hand and three from the board.
One card from their hand and four from the board.
No cards from their hand and all five from the board. This is referred to as "playing the board".
The player with the highest ranking five-card poker hand wins. All other players lose.

Notes:
Anytime before or after the river, if all but one player folds, the last player who didn't fold wins the pot. Preventing a showdown.
In the event there is a tie, the winners split the pot.
In some rare cases also the five cards making up the board will actually be the best hand, in which case everyone left in the hand divides up the pot.

Texas Hold'em Strategy and things you should know

A player may use any combination of five cards to determine his or her best hand.
Two cards from his hand and three from the board.
One card from his hand and four from the board.
No Card from his hand and all five from the board. This is referred to as "playing the board".
Keep your eyes open for your opponents' straight and flush possibilities.
Remember to remain emotionless (Poker Face) when you look at your cards.
After seeing the flop, don't be afraid to cut your losses.
Consider folding before the flop if you have two non-pair cards, both less than 10.
Where you sit at a Texas Hold'em table is a very important factor in how you play. The dealer position is considered the strongest and early position being the weakest.

Texas Hold'em Terms
Term Meaning
BLIND BET In Texas Hold'em, players sitting at certain spots on the table will have to make a wager before seeing any cards
FLOP The three community cards that are dealt face up after the first round of betting is complete.
TURN This is the fourth card dealt after the flop.
RIVER This is the fifth and final card dealt.
CALL To make a wager equal to the amount of the wager made immediately prior, in order to stay in the game.
RAISE To make a wager higher than the last bet, this forces the other players to bet more to stay in the game. Raising the bet.
FOLD To discard or throw away your hand, forfeiting all interest in the current pot.
CHECK To waive the right to start betting, while retaining the right to act if another player begins to betting.
PLAY THE BOARD Using all five community cards for your hand in Texas hold’em.
BLIND A required bet made before any cards are dealt.
HOLECARDS The cards dealt facedown to a player.
Texas Hold'em Tips for Beginners

Knowing when to play certain cards is one of the things that distinguish a skilled poker player from an amateur player. In Texas hold’em, a lot can change with the addition of the community cards. As a beginner, you should remember not every hand is worth playing. There are very few hands you should consider betting on. In Texas Hold’em, those 5 Hands which are considered premium and worth playing almost every time are:

A A
K K
Q Q
A K
J J

In addition to the above 5 Hands, there are 10 more quality hands every beginner should consider playing (listed below). Once you become more comfortable with the game, you can consider adding more to your list.

10 10
A K
A Q
A J
K Q
A 10
K J
A Q
J Q
9 9
Source: ARIA Resort & Casino Las Vegas

Texas Hold'em Hand Example
Your Hand
Your Hand
Your Opponent's Hand
Your Opponent's Hand
The Board (Flop, Turn, and River)
The Board
Your Best Hand
Your Hand

Your best five-card hand is a flush: A, Q, J, 10, 5 of diamonds. You used one card from your hand and four cards from the board to create your best five-card hand, a Flush.

Your Opponent's Best Hand
Your Opponent's Hand

Your opponent’s best five-card hand is three-of-a-kind: J, J, J, K, Q. Your opponent used two cards from their hand and three cards from the board to create their best five-card hand, Three-of-a-kind.

Conclusion: You won this hand, because a Flush beats Three-of-a-kind
credit: The Venetian Las Vegas

Did you know...
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history: Spades = David ; Clubs = Alexander the Great ; Hearts = Charlemagne ; Diamonds = Caesar.

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VegasHowTo.com encourages you to play responsibly by betting within your limits. Know when to stop before you start®. Gambling problems? Call 1-800-522-4700 in NV or 1-800-GAMBLER in NJ.

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