Texas Hold'em poker guide

Playing online poker is quite easy, thanks to the growth of mobile casinos. The feeling of holding a royal or straight flush never gets old as you drop the winning hand. With the correct deposit, you can enjoy a round of the Texas Hold’em game on your mobile phone or PC.

Texas Hold’em is the most popular online poker game among players across the globe, including South African poker players. Other poker games include Caribbean Stud Poker, Hi-Lo Poker, Pot Limit Omaha Poker, Pot Limit Texas Hold’em, etc. These casino games have similar basic gameplay with slight rule and bet variations.

Poker is among the big cash games in online casinos. Players in land casinos will grab poker chips to hit a betting round in the poker game. This guide will explain the Texas Hold’em poker rules, gameplay, hand rankings, and everything you need to ace a betting round.

By Adiela de Bruyn - Updated 2024/02/08 - Estimated reading time: 12 minutes.

Table of contents

Texas Hold'em poker guide
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What is Texas Hold’em Poker?

Today, casinos feature an online poker room because of how prominent the game has become. Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variant. Each player holds one pair of face-down cards (hole cards or pocket cards).

As the poker betting rounds continue, the dealer deals five more face-up cards in the middle of the table. No player is dealt face-up cards. Instead, those in the middle of the table are called the community cards, and each player is free to use them.

You’ll have seven cards (five community cards and two private hole cards) to form a five-card poker hand. The highest five-card poker hand wins the betting round.

While submitting their poker hands, each player can form a hand in any of the following ways:

  • Two hole cards and three community cards
  • One hole card and four community cards
  • Five community cards

One exciting aspect of Texas Holdem Poker or other poker games is the opportunity to bluff. You can get other players with better poker hands to fold, leaving you as the winner. That poker strategy will not work with the table game version because you can’t see the random number generator.

A Texas Hold’em poker game with two players is called Heads-up Poker. Notwithstanding, the standard Texas Hold’em variant often has two to ten players at a single table. This applies to the live Texas Holdem.

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Texas Hold’em Poker Hand Rankings

Hand rankings are the winning factor in Texas Hold’em. The higher your poker hand is, the better your chances of winning. You don’t need the highest poker hand to win a betting round, provided other players don’t have stronger poker hands.

There is no control over how the cards are dealt. Hence, you can’t tell which hole cards or community cards will be dealt.

The player with the dealer button does not deal with the cards in online Texas Hold em variants. Instead, the casino hires someone to do that. A random number generator deals the cards in table Texas Hold em games.

Cards are dealt in such a way that each player will have a five-card hand to play. However, playing that poker hand depends on whether you are convinced of winning.

Different Poker Hands

The following are the poker hand rankings, from the strongest to the weakest:

  • Royal Flush: A royal flush is a five-card poker hand of five consecutive cards of the same suit, from 10 to ace. The best other players can do is have the same rank, as they cannot beat this poker hand.
  • Straight Flush: A straight flush is formed by five consecutive cards of the same suit of any successive value. For example, you can have 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 hearts to form a straight flush.
  • Four of a Kind: A four-of-a-kind contains the same card in four different suits. For example, the four aces.
  • Full House: A full house consists of three cards of the same rank and one pair of different values, for example, J-J-J-4-4.
  • Flush: A flush consists of five cards of the same suit in no particular order.
  • Straight: A straight contains five cards of consecutive value, which don’t have to be the same suit. Two cards can be in the same suit.
  • Three-of-a-kind: A three-of-a-kind consists of three cards of the same rank in different suits and two additional cards.
  • Two pair: A poker hand containing two pairs of the same rank each, for example, 8-8-5-5-A.
  • One pair: a poker hand with a single pair and three other random cards.
  • High card: If a player has none of the other poker hands, the player has a so-called ‘’high card’’. The highest card is the ace, with the lowest card being the 2.
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Texas Hold’em Poker Gameplay

You can learn how to play poker in a few minutes. Like most poker games, the Texas Hold’em rules are easy to understand. You don’t need to do much, but keep your pocket cards and compare them with the community cards to get your poker hand.

Every round of poker gets played in the same order, whether you are in a poker tournament or having a private gaming session. The betting structure remains the same, starting at the pre-flop and ending at the river. In some cases, the round or hand will already be over before the next stage of the game has started.

Remember, if one player succeeds in all other players folding, this person wins the hand, and a new game round starts. We won’t count on this happening often during your live sessions.

Dealing the Cards

To learn how to play poker, you must begin with how the cards are dealt. The preflop betting round begins the main game, but cards are dealt before that. Here’s how cards are dealt if you are just joining a Texas Hold’em table:

  • A new player becomes the dealer with every hand.
  • The dealer button indicates which player serves as the dealer. Remember, in live online Texas Hold’em games, the casino employs a live dealer who remains the same throughout.
  • The player to the left of the dealer button is the small blind.
  • The next player to the left of the small blind is the big blind.
  • The player in the small blind position must place an ante-bet to begin the betting round. This ante-bet is called the small blind.
  • Then, the big blind player must double the small blind to place a big blind bet.
  • If you join a Texas Hold’em table after the small blind is placed, you must wait for the round to end. Once the dealer receives the small and big blind bets, the first round of betting commences.
  • The big and small blind bets already have money in the pot and are more likely to call hands pre-flop because of this. However, we won’t cover more advanced aspects of the game, such as position play, in this beginner Texas Hold’em poker guide.
  • Once the big and small blind bets are in, the dealer deals two private cards (hole cards) to each player. The game begins. Get ready because it might intensify before you know it.


At this stage, you must have seen your private cards. Betting in Texas Holdem proceeds clockwise from the left player closest to the dealer.

The first player has three options in this first round of betting, as follows:

  • The player can call, matching the big blind bet
  • The player can raise, exceeding the big blind but staying within the limits
  • The player can fold, throwing their poker hand away and waiting for the next round

Players can fold for various reasons. Notwithstanding, each player can call, raise, or fold as the play progresses in a clockwise direction.

The first round of betting ends once the last player on the Texas Hold'em table calls. This is your chance to review your hole cards and be sure of a fighting chance before progressing.

The Flop

Players can decide whether to see the flop. Once that happens, the dealer burns one card. Three community cards are dealt face-up to start the second betting round.

You can start calculating your hand, whether you have a straight flush, three-of-a-kind flush, or royal flush. A royal flush with your hole cards is enough confidence to raise for a higher payout.

Players can bet, call, raise, or fold in this betting round. However, you can check and pass the action on to the next players. The round ends when all players have made their decisions.

All players can check and pass the round. The dealer will end the round as we draw close to the final round.

The Turn

A few players may have folded before entering the third betting round. We expect the stakes to be higher, even as players employ proper play strategies.

The “turn” is the fourth community card (fourth street) dealt face up. It’s up to you to decide whether the fourth community card gives you enough leverage to increase your current bet. You won’t do that if you have a three-of-a-kind.

Players will compare the new community card dealt face-up with their hold cards. Then, they can check, bet, call, raise, or fold. The game moves into the next round once all players have had their go.

The River

This is the final betting round, allowing you to stick to your previous bet or increase it. The river is the fifth community card dealt face-up. It is also the final community card in the session.

Once the card is dealt, the last round begins. The betting action continues until all the players have made their inputs. Then, the game heads into the showdown.


This stage is where we’ll see if a four-of-a-kind can yield a winner. Most players that stay up to this point have good hand rankings.

The showdown is where all the players show their hands. You don’t have the option to fold again. The player with the highest hand wins the Texas Holdem session.

Texas Holdem SG

Example of Texas Hold'em Poker game offered by SG gaming.

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Texas Hold’em Poker Tips for Beginners

You can load and play Texas Hold’em with ease by following this guide. However, you will sell yourself short without strategies as a beginner.

A player can have the minimum bet to start the game but is inadequate to finish the betting rounds. Hence, you should review your bankroll to ensure sufficient cash when playing the live dealer variant. Sometimes, you could be the big blind.

Don’t let Texas Hold em’s simplicity sway you. Play Texas Hold’em with free money before using real cash. Some casinos refer to the mas free rolls.

YouTube and other social media sites are excellent places to learn. Understand the concept of the hands, like the full house, straight flush, two pair, one pair, etc. Know what is needed if you are the big blind for a session.

Maximize your chances by picking up free tutorials and guides, like this one, to learn the basics. Some channels offer advanced lessons for intermediate players.

Advanced elements include bluffing, bankroll management, and implied pot odds. These shouldn't be used in lower hands like two-pair or one-pair.

The Special Use of Bluffing

You can get other players to fold their hands even when yours is not the best. The bluffing technique can be helpful but also self-destructive. This strategy involves raising the big blind even when your hand isn’t the best.

Raising the big blind sends a message that you have a strong hand. However, most experienced players will waive it. Gullible ones will respond and fold.

If bluffing doesn’t work, you have just increased the bet you will lose. Here are a few things to note when using bluffing:

  • It is best applied in live dealer variants where you can see other players
  • Continue the first round with the big blind
  • Avoid bluffing if you have a two-pair or other lower hands
  • Maintain eye contact with your opponents.

Other Variants You Can Play

Pot Limit Texas Hold'em is one of the exciting variants you can play. However, this version requires a forced bet from all the players besides the blinds. Other limit games are available.

You can also play Seven Card Stud. The game can accommodate up to eight players, each receiving one face-up and one face-down card. While Texas Hold'em requires a blind bet, this variant requires a bring-in from the lowest-ranking face-up card.

Poker Tournaments

Besides playing in online casinos, you can also participate in a Texas Hold'em tournament. The World Poker Tour is prominent among pro players but requires a high buy-in of at least R66,300. Other tournaments, like the World Series of Poker and the European Poker Tour, require lower buy-ins.

The no-limit betting structure is prominent in the widely televised main event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP). You might find slight variations in other tournaments.

Casinos can also host exclusive Texas Hold'em tournaments. It's time to warm up your five-card hand with some free limit games.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Hold'em Poker

When can I use a bluff in poker?

Only bluff in Texas Hold'em when you have a sufficiently strong hand. Although not ideal, a full house might be enough to bluff. Don't use this tactic if you have a two-pair or less.

Is the table game better than live Texas Hold'em?

Both use the same rules and gameplay. However, the table variant depends on a random number generator, while the live variant brings in real players.

How do I calculate pot odds in Texas Hold'em?

To calculate pot odds, divide the current size of the pot by the cost of your contemplated call. This will help you determine whether the potential payoff justifies the risk.

What is the best starting hand in Texas Hold'em?

The best starting hand in Texas Hold'em is considered to be a pair of aces (two aces in your hand), also known as "pocket rockets." It is statistically the strongest starting hand in the game.

How do I improve my poker skills in Texas Hold'em?

Improving your poker skills in Texas Hold'em requires practice, study, and experience. Consider reading books, watching tutorials, and playing regularly to gain a better understanding of the game's strategies and nuances.

Author: Adiela de Bruyn

Adiela de Bruyn

Adiela de Bruyn, our founder, launched this site in 2016. Since then, she's written over 100 pages filled with crucial info to enhance your gaming experience. Her goal? To provide you with the best, most reliable online casino knowledge.

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Article published 2017/05/22