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Poker Rules

Poker is a card game that blends skill, strategy, and a bit of luck. It’s played in various styles around the world, but this article focuses on Texas Hold’em, the most popular version. Here, we’ll break down the basic rules, procedures, and etiquette to help you get started.

The Basics of Texas Hold’em

The Objective

The main goal in Texas Hold’em is to create the best five-card poker hand or to convince other players to fold their hands.

The Setup

Texas Hold’em can be played with anywhere from 2 to 10 players at a table, using a standard deck of 52 cards.

Key Procedures and Rules

  1. Blinds
    • Before the cards are dealt, the two players to the left of the dealer post the “small blind” and “big blind” to initiate the betting. This ensures there’s always money in the pot.
  2. Dealing the Cards
    • Each player receives two private cards known as “hole cards.”
  3. Betting Rounds
    • Pre-Flop: After receiving hole cards, players act in turn, deciding to fold, call the big blind, or raise.
    • The Flop: Three community cards are dealt face up on the table.
    • The Turn: A fourth community card is added to the board.
    • The River: The final, fifth community card is dealt.
  4. Betting Options
    • Call: Match the current bet.
    • Raise: Increase the bet amount.
    • Fold: Withdraw from the hand and forfeit any placed bets.
    • Check: Pass the action to the next player without betting (only available if no bet has been placed in that round).
  5. The Showdown
    • If more than one player remains after the final betting round, a showdown occurs. Players reveal their hands, and the best hand wins the pot.

Important Rules

  • The Dealer Button: Rotates around the table to represent the nominal dealer for betting purposes.
  • All-in Rules: A player can bet all their chips at any time.
  • Side Pots: Created when one or more players are all-in.

Table Etiquette

  1. Act in Turn: Always wait for your turn before making any action.
  2. Protect Your Hand: Keep your cards in view and protected at all times.
  3. Avoid “Splash the Pot”: Place your bets in front of you, not directly into the pot, to keep the action clear.

Poker Hand Rankings

Here is a brief recap of poker hand rankings from highest to lowest:

  1. Royal Flush
  2. Straight Flush
  3. Four of a Kind
  4. Full House
  5. Flush
  6. Straight
  7. Three of a Kind
  8. Two Pair
  9. One Pair
  10. High Card

Each hand’s strength is crucial to playing effectively and understanding how it stacks up against competitors’ hands.


Understanding the rules of poker is fundamental to playing the game well. With practice, you can develop strategies that improve your chances of winning. Remember, poker is not just about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play them. Happy playing!