How The Betting Works
There are four rounds of betting in Texas Holdem. Round one occurs after the players receive their hole cards. Round two after the flop, round three after the turn and round four after the river. Once the fourth and final round of betting has been completed, all remaining players in the hand turn over their cards and the best five card poker hand wins. Here are the poker hand ranks.
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Please note that this page covers the very basics of texas holdem betting, this is not texas holdem betting strategies and tips, although we do offer those poker strategy articles as well. Just click the links there and you can read through our free poker strategy articles, videos and links to tons of tips and bonuses.
Here is a list of Texas Holdem Poker variations to give you a better understand of the games we will be talking about.
Texas holdem betting works like this:
- On the Flop
- On the Turn
- On the River
We’ll start by explaining how the betting works pre-flop and go from there. The first thing you need to do is locate the dealer button and the dealer.
Locating The Dealer (aka who’s got the button)
The first step in understanding the betting in Texas Holdem is to understand the role of the dealer position. Whether a dealer is provided or not, it is standard to use a dealer button to mark which player is or would be in the dealer position.
A round plastic marker called the dealer “button” is placed in front of the player who is or would be dealing. In a casino or Atlanta Poker Club bar tournaments, a house dealer is provided, so the button is used to mark the player who would be dealing.
In games where the players deal themselves, it’s not necessary, but still good practice to use a dealer button. Most still like to use it, because the dealer position may affect how you play your hand, so knowing where the dealer is at all times is important. If the player sets the cards down after dealing, it’s hard to tell which player is the dealer. Use the dealer button to remove any doubt. The dealer position is the most important position at the table because it designates which players post the small blind and big blind, it designates which player receives the first dealt card and it designates which player bets after the flop and when.
The button is moved one seat clockwise after each hand has been completed.
The first dealt card goes to the player one position to the left of the dealer. This player also posts the small blind and is the first player to act after the flop, turn and river (if still in the hand). The big blind is posted by the player two positions to the left of the dealer. See blinds below.
Instead of using an ante where everyone puts money into the pot before the hand starts, Texas Hold Em uses a small blind and a big blind. Only two players contibute to the pot before the deal. Each player will have their chance to post the blinds, as the dealer button moves one seat clockwise after the completion of each hand in Texas Holdem.
The Small Blind is the smaller bet (normally half the big blind) posted by the player one position to the left of the dealer.
The Big Blind is the bigger bet (normally twice the small blind) posted by the player two positions to the left of the dealer
The betting process goes like this…
Assume a $1 small blind and a $2 big blind.
Post the Blinds – before each player is dealt their two down cards, the player to the immediate left of the button, called the Small Blind (sb), is forced to bet $1. The player to his left and two seats to the left of the button, called the Big Blind (bb), is forced to bet $2.
Pre Flop – Betting Round 1 - each player is then dealt their two hole cards, the small blind receives the first card off of the deck. After all players receive their cards, the action is on the player to the left of the big blind, they are first to act. If this is you, you can either call the $2 big blind, raise or fold. Your betting options are
The betting action continues around the table clockwise. Normally the action will end on the big blind. The blinds money does count in the pot already so if it is not raised the small blind only owes half a bet to call and the big blind may simply tap the table and check to see a flop.
The blinds can can also call, raise or fold. They already have money in the pot, so if they decide to fold, they lose that money. If they decide to call or raise, their blind counts towards their bet. The big blind is then the last to act. They also have the ‘option’ to to call any bet, raise or fold.
Keep in mind that in the event of an early position limper (someone who calls the big blind but does not raise pre-flop), if someone after him raises, then the betting is re-opened to him and he will have to act again in the same betting round.
The Flop – Betting Round 2 – the dealer turns three cards up in the center of the table. This is called the Flop. Now, the first player to act is the first player to left of the dealer button They can either check, bet or fold meaning you do not have to bet if you are first to act after the flop. You can check and keep your cards and see what everyone else does first. We see rookies all the time mucking their hand if first to act after the flop, when no bet is on them.
If a bet occurs, all other players can call, raise or fold. If no bet occurs, the remaining players can check, bet or fold. Action continues around until everyone has the opportunity to call bet raise or fold.
The Turn aka Betting Round 3 – the Turn card is dealt. Betting follows the same process as in Round 2, action starts to the left of the button.
Betting Round 4 – finally the river card is dealt. Betting follows the same process as in Rounds 2 and 3.
After all bets are placed, the players still in the contest reveal their hole cards and the highest 5 card poker hand wins the pot. The hand can end at any time if everyone folds except one player. The one player still in the hand wins the pot.
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These are just the basics. Betting will differ slightly based on the different Texas Holdem game variations. Be sure to also read through all of the Texas Hold Em Rules to get a better feeling for all the different nuances that are involved in this great game.
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Thanks and we’ll see you at the tables!