HOw TO PLAY HOLD ’EM

THE GAME: Hold ’em is a form of poker played with a 52-card deck.
THE RANKINGS: Standard values of hands are used—if you’re unsure of what they are, review

Appendix B.

BUTTON: A button representing the dealer is randomly placed in front of one of the players and moves clockwise one spot after every hand.

BLINDS: Two blinds or starting bets are placed into the pot in front of the button to create action. ANTES: Every player also puts up an ante when most tournaments have run for a while. How much and

when this happens varies, so consult the structure sheet.

PLAYERS: There are usually 8, 9, or 10 players at the table. When fewer than half the chairs are filled, the game is short-handed.

SHUFFLE: The standard shuffle gives a random mixing of the cards. DEALING: The dealer now delivers two cards to each player, face down.

PRE-FLOP: After all players get their cards, they have the opportunity to fold, call, or raise, in turn, starting one spot in front of the big blind and moving around the table in a clockwise fashion. A fold is releasing the cards face down, in a forward fashion. A call matches the biggest blind and is a minimum bet. A raise is double the biggest blind, or previous raise, or more. The maximum raise is to move all- in, in other words to bet all the money and chips in front of one immediately. Any raise between the minimum raise and the all-in is still a raise.

BURN: The top card of the deck is placed aside after each betting round before community cards are turned up.

THE FLOP: The dealer brings turns three cards up in the middle of the table. These are community cards and can be used by anyone that still has a live hand after the first round of betting. This event is commonly called the flop.

A ROUND OF BETTING AFTER THE FLOP: Now that three-sevenths of your hand has arrived in one bundle, you have to decide whether or not to continue. The second round of betting ensues.

THE TURN: After the second round of betting is completed, the dealer delivers one community card face up. It’s commonly called the turn.

ROUND OF BETTING AFTER THE TURN: The third round of betting takes place.
THE RIVER: The dealer now turns the final community card face up in the center of the table. It’s

commonly called the river.

FINAL ROUND OF BETTING OCCURS AFTER THE RIVER: Possibly using their own hole cards, available only to them, all players choose their best five-card hand and bet one last time.

SIDE POT: This happens when there are three or more players and at least one of them is all-in. An all-in player can only be involved for as much as he has in front of him. When the other players bet more than the all-in player has, a side pot is formed. only those players involved in the side pot can win what’s in it. Sometimes, the amount in the side pot exceeds what’s in the main pot.

SHOwDOwN: Players with live hands now turn them up.
ELIMINATION: When someone is all-in and loses, he has busted out of that event and must

leave the table.

Signing up on the Internet at Pokerstars is free, after which you can play for free or watch live games for real money. I recommend that you do this in order to gain familiarity with how the hands occur and what you’re likely to see.

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