A Typical Game

You should now have a basic understanding of Texas Hold ’em Game Play and are a little more familiar with the various poker hands, so we can now move on to an example of the way a typical Texas Hold ’em poker game might flow.

In this chapter we will expand on what we already know about the way the game is played and follow our five players through a hand of poker.

LET’S PLAY

Our five players are seated at the table and ready to play. We have a professional dealer to deal our cards for us as this will be the way that it is laid out both at a casino and when playing online.

We are playing a $20-$40 limit game, which means that the lower betting limit is $20 and the higher limit is $40.

The person to the immediate left of the professional dealer is the Dealer. This is who the professional dealer is dealing on behalf of. The professional dealer places the Dealer Button in front of this player, so that all players know who is the active Dealer.

THE BLINDS

The player to the left of the button pays the Small Blind into the pot by pushing his chips towards the centre of the table. Being half of the lower betting limit, the small blind at this stage of the hand is set at $10.

It is the player to the left of the small blind that is responsible in paying the Big Blind. Being an amount exactly equal to the lower betting limit, this player pushes their $20 worth of chips towards the centre of the table and into the pot.

Remember that the Blinds are forced bets and must be paid. Once each person at the table has been the dealer, all players would have had their turn in playing the blinds.

The pot currently holds $30.

DEALING THE POCKET CARDS

The professional dealer shuffles the cards and then takes the top card and places it face down on the table next to them. This will be the Burn Pile. Nobody is allowed to see these at any stage during the game.

The first player to be dealt their first pocket card is the player to the immediate left of the Button. Moving in a clockwise direction, each player is dealt their first pocket card. Starting from the same player as before (to the immediate left of the button) another card is dealt to each player giving them their two pocket, or hole, cards.

Now that the small blind and the big blind has been paid, the first round of betting takes place.

Let’s have a look at what each of our five players has in the hole…

Player’s Hole Cards

Now that all the players have their pocket cards, the betting rounds can now commence.

FIRST BETTING ROUND

The betting Action for the first round of betting starts with player 4. Player 1 is playing on the button and player’s 2 & 3 have paid the blinds.

Player 4 has been dealt A♦-J♣, a high card with a high kicker. This is a good hand and it could be that another player holds A-Q or A-K and wants to see what the flop brings to his hand. He will be looking for another Jack to make a pair with a high-kicker, or another Ace to give him

top pair with a medium kicker. Playing in early position he is fairly confident that his hand may stand a good chance and he raises. There was no previous bet as he was first to act after the big blind, therefore he has to place the same amount as the big blind into the pot, plus the raise. The raise amount is the lower betting limit amount and so he pushes his $40 ($20 bet plus $20 raise) towards the centre of the table and states that he is raising by saying “Raise $20”. The bet amount is now $40.

Player 5s pocket cards of 2♥-7♦ are not up to much so he announces that he is folding by saying “fold”, and pushes his cards, face-down towards the dealer. The dealer takes these cards and places them on the burn pile. At no stage are these cards shown to anyone, not even the dealer.

The action now moves to Player 1 who is playing on the button. She has 8♣-9♣ in the pocket. These medium cards are suited and in sequence, meaning that if the flop produces more of the same suit then she will have a good chance of making a flush. Being in sequence also brings the possibility of a straight. She decides to call and pushes $40 in chips towards the centre of the table saying “call” ($40 is now the lower bet amount having previously been raised by Player 4).

Player 2 holds 7♥-Q♦ as their pocket cards and although the Queen is a high card, the lower 7 is too low for a kicker if another Queen is dealt on the flop and is too far away from the Queen to make a straight. The cards are unsuited so a flush is out of the question. They fold.

Player 3 holds K♦-4♦, a high card with a low kicker. If they were of a different suit, then player 3 may have indeed folded similar to Player 2, but seeing as the cards are suited, he fancies his chances in hitting another King or more of the same suit on the flop. He calls to see the flop and has to place a bet equal to the previous bet. He pushes $40 of chips towards the centre of the table.

All players have placed their bets and all bets are equalised meaning that each player has put the same amount of chips in the pot. They can now see the Flop.

At the end of the first betting round the pot total is $150.

THE FLOP

The dealer takes the deck and burns the top card, placing it on the burn pile.

Three cards are dealt face down on top of each other on the table. The deck is put aside and the three cards turned face-up and spread out side-by-side. This is The Flop.

The flop is the first of the three community cards to be seen by the players and it is where hands are either made, or broken.

Let’s take a look at the cards in the flop. together with the hands of our remaining players…

The Flop & Remaining Player’s Hole Cards

The flop has given the players A♠-J♥-J♦. Remember that these cards belong to all players and this needs to be taken into consideration when betting.

SECOND BETTING ROUND

For this and for all subsequent betting rounds, betting starts with the first player to the immediate left of the button, in this case Player 3.

Player 3‘s hand has been improved by the flop giving them and A-K. Although not brilliant, if the Turn or the River pulls another Ace or King, then they will have a high pair with a high kicker. Another diamond also appears in the flop. They need two more diamonds to make a flush. They also think that it’s possible for another player to hold Ace with a high card giving them top pair with a high kicker. Player 3 decides to call and places $20 of chips, the lower bet amount, into the pot.

Player 4 has had an extremely good flop and now holds a Full House A-A-J-J-J. Only a higher full house, four-of-a- kind or a flush can beat him. He is extremely confident that he has a winning hand and raises, putting $40 into the pot.

Player 1‘s hand has not been improved at all by the flop and folds.

At this stage, Player 3 has bet $20 and Player 4 has bet $40. The bets need to be equalised to see the Turn and so the action goes around the table a second time. Seeing as only two players remain, the action goes to Player 3.

Player 3 decides that he has quite a strong hand and calls, placing $20 into the pot to equalise the bets.

Both players have now placed the same amount into the pot to see the Turn card.

The pot currently holds $230 by the end of this round.

THE TURN

Once again, the dealer takes the deck and burns the top card, placing it on to the burn pile.

The next card is taken from the top of the deck and dealt face up onto the board, to the right of the flop. This is The Turn and is the fourth community card to be dealt.

Once again, let’s see the community cards and our remaining players hands…

The Turn & Remaining Player’s Hole Cards

For this hand the Turn card is K♠.

THIRD BETTING ROUND

The third round of betting now takes place and the players are now playing Heads-Up (One on One). Of the two players left in the game, Player 3 is again first to act.

From this betting round onwards, the bet amount now increases to the higher limit, in this case $40. The raise amount is also $40.

Player 3 gets what he hoped for in the turn and now holds his best hand of K-K-A, high pair with a top kicker. He could do with another Ace or King on the board, which may come on the River. He decides to raise and puts $80 into the pot ($40 bet plus $40 raise, seeing as the bet amounts have now increased).

Player 4 has not improved his hand but still holds a full house and is confident that he still holds the winning hand, although Player 3‘s raise has made him wonder if his opponent holds K-K which would give them a higher full- house if the River saw another King. He decides to play safe and just calls, placing his $80 into the pot.

Once again, bets are equalised and the final card can now be dealt.

The pot amount now stands at $390.

THE RIVER

Just as before, the dealer burns the top card from the remaining deck. The next card is dealt face up onto the board to the right of the other community cards. This is The River.

The River & Remaining Player’s Hole Cards

For this hand the River card is A♣.

THE FOURTH BETTING ROUND

The fourth betting round now begins and is the final round before the Showdown. Players must bet on the strength of their hands, the strongest of which will take the pot.

It’s Player 3 to bet first. His hand has been much improved by the River and he now holds two top pair, A-A-K- K. He will definitely play his hand, but doesn’t want to come across over eager and wants to see how his opponent acts.

He checks and knocks on the table and says “check” to indicate this. He doesn’t place any chips in the pot.

Player 4‘s full house has changed on the turn. Whereas he previously held A-A-J-J-J he now holds A-A-A-J-J much improving his hand. He thinks that his opponent has pulled a good hand with the turn. If he does hold the other ace, which could be unlikely seeing as the other 3 have already been dealt, that still wouldn’t beat his full house. He calls and places $40 into the pot.

Player 3 thinks that Player 4 could hold a good hand but maybe not as good as his top two pair as they haven’t raised. He raises and places $80 into the pot.

Player 4 calls and his $40 equalises the bets. The winner’s pot now stands at $550.

THE SHOWDOWN

Now that all the bets have been placed it’s time for the players to show their hands. Each player turns their cards over on the table so that each player can see what their opponents hold as their pocket cards and determine the winning hand. This is the Showdown.

The player with the winning hand claims the pot. The dealer pushes the pot towards the winner who rakes in the chips.

Player 4 holds the best hand with A♠-A♣-A♦-J♣-J♥ and wins the $550 pot with his Full house, much to the disbelief of Player 3 who thought he held the best hand of A♠-A♣-K♦-K♠.

THE NEXT HAND

All the cards from the previous hand are collected and added to the deck, which is thoroughly shuffled ready for the next hand.

The Button is moved one player to the left and this player now becomes the effective dealer. Everything moves one player to the left. Dealing will start with the player immediately to the left.

The player who paid the Small Blind in the last hand does not need to pay any blinds this time, while the player who paid the Big Blind in the last hand this time pays the Small Blind and the player to their left now pays the Big Blind.

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