The Basics of Limit Texas Hold’em

When talking about Limit Texas Hold’em there’s a few important things to be covered.

First, we start with the blinds. The two players who sit to the left of the dealer are the small blind and the big blind. The small blind is to the left of the dealer and to his left is the big blind. Blinds are basically an ante bet that must be placed before the dealer dishes out the cards. The small blind is half as much as the big blind (Example: if the small blind was $3 then the big blind would be $6).

After the blinds are out, the cards are dealt one at a time starting with the small blind and continuing to each player to the left until all players have 2 cards face down (also known as “hole cards.”) Then the person to the left of the big blind gets to call, fold or raise. In limit Texas Hold’em you may only raise the amount equal to the big blind. As for raises, you may pre-flop raise the big blind, someone else may raise it again and it may be raised one last time (Example: if the blind was $6 it would be 6, 12, 16, 24 before the flop.)

As soon as that betting cycle is over, one card off the top of the deck is placed face down on the table, then three cards are placed face up in the center of the table (the 3 cards placed face up are called community cards.) Now there is a change, the person that was the small blind is now the first person to either check, bet, or fold (this is different from the last round because the first action was to the left of the big blind not the dealer) so it is clear the betting can only be bet, raised, re-raised and capped. This is called “the flop.”

During the next phase, another card is burned (placed face down on the table/discarded) and another card is placed face up on the table then another betting phase begins with the first person with cards remaining (still in the game/not folded) to the left of the dealer. This round of betting is called “the turn.”

The next round of betting is called “the river.” Another card is burned and another card is placed face up, followed by another betting sequence. All players still in the game during the last phase are in what is called “the showdown.” In the showdown the remaining players starting with the last bet/raise turn their cards face up and the person with the best hand wins the pot.

It should be noted that in Hold’em you can use 1, 2 or NONE of the cards in your hand to compete vs. other players. Hands are made out of the best five cards between the community cards and the 2 you have in your hand. We note this because in rare occurances the nuts are on the table in the form of a high straight or flush or even a full house and a novice player may not recognize this thinking that they have to use some or both of the cards in their hand.