Playing the turn overview.
If two or more players remain after the final betting round, a showdown occurs. On the showdown, each player plays the best poker hand they can make from the seven cards comprising their two-hole cards and the five community cards.
A player may use both of their own two hole cards, only one, or none at all, to form their final five-card hand. If the five community cards form the player's best hand, then the player is said to be playing the board and can only hope to split the pot, because each other player can also use the same five cards to construct the same hand. If the best hand is shared by more than one player, then the pot is split equally among them, with any extra chips going to the first players after the button in clockwise order.
It is common for players to have closely valued, but not identically ranked hands. Nevertheless, one must be careful in determining the best hand; if the hand involves fewer than five cards, such as two pair or three of a kind , then kickers are used to settle ties see the second example below.
The card's numerical rank is of sole importance; suit values are irrelevant in hold 'em. If the first or second card dealt is exposed, then this is considered a misdeal. The dealer then retrieves the card, reshuffles the deck, and again cuts the cards. However, if any other hole card is exposed due to a dealer error, the deal continues as usual. After completing the deal, the dealer replaces the exposed card with the top card on the deck, and the exposed card is then used as the burn card.
If more than one hole card is exposed, a misdeal is declared by the dealer and the hand is dealt again from the beginning. Each player plays the best five-card hand they can make with the seven cards available. In this case, Ted's full house is the best hand, with Carol in second, Alice in third and Bob last. Here is a sample game involving four players. The players' individual hands will not be revealed until the showdown, to give a better sense of what happens during play:.
Alice is the dealer. Alice deals two hole cards face down to each player, beginning with Bob and ending with herself. Ted must act first, being the first player after the big blind. Carol's blind is "live" see blind , so there is the option to raise here, but Carol checks instead, ending the first betting round.
On this round, as on all subsequent rounds, the player on the dealer's left begins the betting. Alice now burns another card and deals the turn card face up. Bob checks, Carol checks, and Alice checks; the turn has been checked around. Because of the presence of community cards in Texas hold 'em, different players' hands can often run very close in value.
As a result, it is common for kickers to be used to determine the winning hand and also for two hands or maybe more to tie. A kicker is a card which is part of the five-card poker hand, but is not used in determining a hand's rank.
The following situation illustrates the importance of breaking ties with kickers and card ranks, as well as the use of the five-card rule. After the turn, the board and players' hole cards are as follows.
Bob and Carol still each have two pair queens and eights , but both of them are now entitled to play the final ace as their fifth card, making their hands both two pair, queens and eights, with an ace kicker. Bob's king no longer plays, because the ace on the board plays as the fifth card in both hands, and a hand is only composed of the best five cards.
They therefore tie and split the pot. However, had the last card been a jack or lower except an eight or a queen which would make a full house, or a ten which would give Carol a higher second pair , Bob's king would have stayed in the game and would have won. Most poker authors recommend a tight- aggressive approach to playing Texas hold 'em.
This strategy involves playing relatively few hands tight , but betting and raising often with those that one does play aggressive. Almost all authors agree that where a player sits in the order of play known as position is an important element of Texas hold 'em strategy, particularly in no-limit hold'em.
As a result, players typically play fewer hands from early positions than later positions. Because of the game's level of complexity, it has received some attention from academics.
One attempt to develop a quantitative model of a Texas hold'em tournament as an isolated complex system has had some success,  although the full consequences for optimal strategies remain to be explored. In addition, groups at the University of Alberta and Carnegie Mellon University worked to develop poker playing programs utilizing techniques in game theory and artificial intelligence.
Although it does not win every hand, it is unbeatable on average over a large number of hands. The program exhibits more variation in its tactics than professional players do, for instance bluffing with weak hands that professional players tend to fold. Because only two cards are dealt to each player, it is easy to characterize all of the starting hands. Because no suit is more powerful than another , many of these can be equated for the analysis of starting-hand strategy.
Because of this equivalence, there are only effectively different hole-card combinations. Thirteen of these are pairs, from deuces twos to aces.
There are 78 ways to have two cards of different rank 12 possible hands containing one ace, 11 possible hands containing one king but no ace, 10 possible hands containing one queen but no ace or king, etc. Both hole cards can be used in a flush if they are suited, but pairs are never suited, so there would be 13 possible pairs, 78 possible suited non-pairs, and 78 possible unsuited "off-suit" non-pairs, for a total of possible hands.
Because of the limited number of starting hands, most strategy guides include a detailed discussion of each of them. This distinguishes hold 'em from other poker games where the number of starting card combinations forces strategy guides to group hands into broad categories.
Another result of this small number is the proliferation of colloquial names for individual hands. Texas Hold'em is commonly played both as a "cash" or "ring" game and as a tournament game. Strategy for these different forms can vary. Before the advent of poker tournaments , all poker games were played with real money where players bet actual currency or chips that represented currency. Games that feature wagering actual money on individual hands are still very common and are referred to as "cash games" or "ring games".
The no-limit and fixed-limit cash-game versions of hold 'em are strategically very different. Doyle Brunson claims that "the games are so different that there are not many players who rank with the best in both types of hold 'em.
Many no-limit players have difficulty gearing down for limit, while limit players often lack the courage and 'feel' necessary to excel at no-limit.
Because one is not usually risking all of one's chips in limit poker, players are sometimes advised to take more chances. Lower-stakes games also exhibit different properties than higher-stakes games. Small-stakes games often involve more players in each hand and can vary from extremely passive little raising and betting to extremely aggressive many raises. This difference of small-stakes games has prompted several books dedicated to only those games. Texas hold 'em is often associated with poker tournaments largely because it is played as the main event in many of the famous tournaments, including the World Series of Poker 's Main Event, and is the most common tournament overall.
Standard play allows all entrants to "buy-in" for a fixed amount and all players begin with an equal value of chips. Play proceeds until one player has accumulated all the chips in play or a deal is made among the remaining players to " chop " the remaining prize pool.
The money pool is redistributed to the players in relation to the place they finished in the tournament. Only a small percentage of the players receive any money, with the majority receiving nothing.
As a result, the strategy in poker tournaments can be very different from a cash game. Proper strategy in tournaments can vary widely depending on the amount of chips one has, the stage of the tournament, the amount of chips others have, and the playing styles of one's opponents. In tournaments the blinds and antes increase regularly, and can become much larger near the end of the tournament.
This can force players to play hands that they would not normally play when the blinds were small, which can warrant both more loose and more aggressive play.
One of the most important things in Texas hold'em is knowing how to evaluate a hand. The strategy of playing each hand can be very different according to the strength of the hand. For example, on a strong hand, a player might want to try to appear weak in order to not scare off other players with weaker hands, while on a weak hand, a player might try to bluff other players into folding.
There are several ways to evaluate hand strength; two of the most common are counting outs and using calculators. Such cards are called "outs", and hand strength can be measured by how many outs are still in the deck if there are many outs then the probability to get one of them is high and therefore the hand is strong. The following chart determines the probability of hitting outs bettering the player's hand based on how many cards are left in the deck and the draw type. There are several other poker variants which resemble Texas hold 'em.
Hold 'em is a member of a class of poker games known as community card games , where some cards are available for use by all the players. There are several other games that use five community cards in addition to some private cards and are thus similar to Texas hold 'em.
Royal hold 'em has the same structure as Texas hold 'em, but the deck contains only Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, and Tens. The winner is either selected for each individual board with each receiving half of the pot, or the best overall hand takes the entire pot, depending on the rules agreed upon by the players. Another variant is known as Greek hold 'em which requires each player to use both cards and only 3 from the board instead of the best five of seven cards.
Manila is a hold'em variant which was once popular in Australia. These cards that are dealt face up can be used by all the players in the hand. The turn is the next card dealt after the flop face up as well. Again, all players can use the turn card, along with the 3 on the flop to make the best hand with the 2 in their hand. If you decide to raise, you must raise at least double the big blind.
And, depending on what type of Hold Em you are playing will determine how much you can raise. There are 3 types of betting structures in Texas Holdem Poker: Pot limit only lets you bet up to the amount in the pot.
Limit Holdem has a fixed amount to bet during the hand based on the blinds. Once all the cards dealt, players have their choice to bet, raise, or fold when it is their turn. The player who is immediately to the right of the big blind will be first to act. This position is called under the gun or early position.
This player may elect to fold their hand, call the amount of the big blind or raise. Once the first player makes their decision, the action moves clockwise to the next player.
This player will have the same choices depending on what happened before them. If everyone has folded their hand before you, you may still fold, call the big blind or raise. If someone before you has raised, you must call their bet amount to stay in the hand. You may still fold as well and of course you can raise the bet made. Raising another players bet pre-flop is called a 3 bet in the poker world. You must raise at least amount of the bet that you are raising. Depending on which limit type you are playing will also decide how much you can raise.
This was already covered in the betting structure section. Just to refresh quickly. If it is l, you may only raise a set amount.
If its pot limit, you can only raise up to the amount in the pot. Once all the betting, folding and all players have made their decisions, we will move on to the flop. I would like to note, that not every hand will make it to the flop. Often times, everyone will fold their hand which awards the player in the big blind, who is last to act, with the money from the blinds.
The dealer will deal 3 cards out in the middle all face up that all players still in the hand can use with their own. The player who is closest to the left of the big blind on the flop will act first.
If the player in the small blind or big blind is still in the pot, they will go first on the flop. Whoevers turn it is will have 2 choices-check or bet. You are not folding; you are in sense deferring to the other players left in the pot. You may also bet if you so choose. The amount you can bet must be at least the amount of the big blind.
If the player first to act bets, then all players in the pot can call this bet, fold or raise. If the first player checks, then all remaining players can check themselves, or bet. Say you are first to act on the flop. However, it wouldn't be much of an article if I stopped there, so I will continue. Your biggest asset on the turn is going to be your ability to analyze the situation, and consider how the turn card will have affected the hand for both you and your opponent.
You should ask yourself questions like:. If you can really think about each of these points, you will definitely improve your decision making skills. So the next time you are on the turn, instead of closing your eyes and hoping for the best, grab the bull by the horns and start thinking about the cards and how to best play the hand. In general, if you think you have the best hand you should bet out.
This will build the pot and give your opponent bad odds if they have a drawing hand and you make a decent bet size. Your main plan of action should be to check and fold to any action.
If you fired a continuation bet on the flop it is going to be very tempting to fire another bet in the hopes of winning the pot. However, you need to be very, very confident that this play will work. If not, check and fold to any bet. If you were not the first to bet on the flop with a flush or straight draw , a bet here will look suspicious. So simply check and hope that you have the pot odds to play on if your opponent bets. If you did bet out with your draw on the flop, betting out again is a perfectly viable option.
However, this should only be done if you feel that you could extract a lot more money from your opponent when you flush hits, and that there is a fair chance your bet could force them to fold.
Ouch, never a pretty situation. Betting is too dangerous, so check and hope that you see the next card for free. Having a lack of information on any street in Hold'em is dangerous. Playing big pots with little information on your opponent is going to lose you money over the long run. A point to remember though Try and avoid getting into situations where you are unclear of where you are when possible.