Texas Hold’em Basics
(As applicable to SEH rules)
Texas Hold’em is a community card game, meaning that some cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table and shared by all players. Each player is dealt two pocket or hole cards which they consider with the five community cards to make the best possible five-card hand.
The person who is dealt last is regarded as the dealer and as such is marked with a dealer button. At the end of the hand the button is passed clockwise to the next player.
Most hands of poker begin by some form of forced betting. This is to ensure that there is action with every hand. Hold’em is played with two blinds (a bet before the pocket cards are received). The two players to the left of the dealer start with placing blind bets. The small blind is posted by the first player and the big blind by the second. The big blind is always the minimum bet at the table and the small blind is half. During a betting round, each player in turn takes one of the following actions:
|Bet||Put money in the pot|
|Call||To match/equal another player’s bet|
|Fold||Forfeit cards and your chance of winning the pot|
|Check||Passing on making an action(if no bet is in play)|
|Raise||To increase another player’s bet|
|Re-Raise||To increase another player’s raise|
First Round – The Pre Flop, Dealing The Cards
When the blind bets are placed, the dealer gives out two cards to each player. The dealer deals clockwise. The two cards are called “hole cards” or “pocket cards”.
After this the players choose if they would like to make a bet. The person after the big blind starts. In the first round you cannot “Check”, but you can do any of the following: Bet, Call, Raise or Fold. All players shall put the same amount in for the game in order to continue. So if one player raises, the other players must either call or re-raise, or fold (drop out of the round).
Second Round – The Flop
Dealer turns three cards on the table – the Flop. These three cards are community cards and can be used in combination with the two hidden cards each player has in his/her hand.
The remaining players now start the second round of betting. The first player to the left of the dealer button starts the betting round. The following actions can now be taken: Check, Bet/Raise, Call or Fold.
All players must put the same amount into the pot, or fold before the round has ended.
The same rules apply for both the betting and the raising in each round from now on.
Third Round – The Turn
The dealer now displays the fourth community card on the table, so all players have six cards to play with. Another round of betting now takes place.
Fourth and Final Round – The River
The fifth and last community card on the table is displayed. Another round of betting now takes place.
In all, five of the seven cards can be used. This means that each player can form the best possible five-card hand from their two hole cards and the five community cards on the table. You don’t even have to use any of your own cards if you don’t want to. You can “play the board” if the best hand is shown there. The remaining players now show their cards, and the winner is found. If a player shows his/her cards and you are not able to beat these cards, you choose yourself if you want to show your cards or not. Unless it is an all in situation. All cards must be shown on all ins.
Starting Hand Value
Your two pocket cards, or hole cards, are the only factors that separate your hand from the other players’ hands. So learning how to play them is vital. An AA (ace-ace) combo simply has a much greater chance of winning than say a 7-3 combo. Play the good starting hands. Fold the bad. Combinations can, however, change between good and bad (and back) according to your position in the game.
General Poker Terms and Lingo
act – Bet , call ,fold, check , or raise in turn.
action – The need for a player to do something in turn.
ante – A payment into the pot by each player before cards are dealt for the purpose of stimulating action.
ATC – Short for “any two cards”
bad beat – A bad beat is a loss in which the losing player had the better odds on the winning player earlier in the hand. In general, the term is used when all the chips go in the pot when the losing player had odds. To take a bad beat means to be on the losing end of a bad beat; to lay a bad beat means to be on the winning end of a bad beat. Some SEH divisions have a bad beat (ex. Aces full get beat by something better) for points.
belly-buster – This is also known as an inside straight draw or gut shot. Sometimes called double belly-buster.
bet – Wager or The action required of a person whose turn it is to bet.
betting round –The period of time in a given round during which each active player has the option, in turn, of folding, betting, or raising, that is, from the first to the last bet in that round.
big blind – Prior to cards being distributed, the player to the left of the small blind puts in chips equal to the minimum bet for the game. These chips considered as a group are called the big blind.
big slick – In hold’em, A-K as one’s first two cards.
blind – Either of the two preliminary bets made by two players before cards are dealt for the purpose of stimulating action. The two are the big blind and the small blind.
bubble – The bubble refers to the placings in a tournament that are close to winning a prize but do not receive any prize. For example, if 100 people enter a tournament and the tournament pays out money to the top 15 players, someone busting out around 16th or so would be said to have busted out on the bubble.When the tournament is at the stage near the bubble, players tend to tighten up a lot because they do not want to bust out and not receive any prize. Aggressive players often take advantage of this situation and steal a lot of pots.
button – The disk or other marker that indicates the dealer position in a game dealt by a house dealer. Also known as dealer button. The position from which the dealer would distribute cards if the dealer were one of the players.
call – Match a bet (rather than fold or raise).”I call.”
check – Make no bet, but still hold your cards. You can check, and then call a later bet, fold when the action gets back to you, or raise.You can check in most games in any round after the first. Technically, to check is to make a bet of nothing.
check-raise – Check, often with a good hand, and then, when someone bets and it returns to you, raise.
checked around – The situation in which no one bets in a particular round. In hold’em, it is possible in every round except the first for no betting to occur. If no one raises or calls on the first round, the big blind gets the pot,but this is not the same as being checked around because, technically, the blinds are bets.
chip –a disk-shaped marker, usually about the size of a silver dollar, used to represent various monetary betting units;such as a 50-cent chip, or a $5 chip. Chips are the score-keeping units of poker.
chip dumping – Chip dumping is a collusion tactic were one player deliberately funnels chips to another player through under-handed maneuvers.
chips – The total money you have in play (represented by the chips in your possession while seated at a table).
community cards – In hold’em, the up cards dealt to the center of the table that are part of each player’s hand. Also called the board.
counterfeited – In high (either straight high or the high half of high-low),having a probable winner turned into a probable loser by the appearance of another card on the board. For example, you have two low spades in hold’em, and three medium spades appear on the flop. Your hand is very likely the best. If another spade appears on the turn or river, anyone holding one spade higher than your two will beat you. Or, you hold 4s 5s, and the flop is 6s 7d 8c. You have a good hand at this point, because, while possible, it is not likely that another player holds 9-10. If a 5 or 10 falls, anyone with a 9 beats you. If a9, anyone with a 10 beats you. In all of these cases, you have been counterfeited.
deal – Distribute the cards to the players.
deal position – The position at the table from which the cards would be dealt if there were no house dealer.
dealer – In a brick-and-mortar card room or a home game without a house person to run the game and deal the cards, the dealer is the person who physically distributes the cards. 2. In a game with a house person to run the game, the dealer is both the house person and the position from which the cards would be dealt if there were no house dealer.Although this sounds confusing, you can tell by context which is meant. To further avoid confusion, the term button (definition 2) is usually used for the deal position
draw – 1. A particular hand you are trying to make, as, a flush draw, which is four cards to a flush. This usage is common in stud and hold’em-type games. 2. Specifically an unmade hand
flop– In hold’em-style games, the three community cards turned face up after the first round of betting.
flush – Five cards of the same suit, not in sequence.The hand ranks above a straight and below a full house. A flush is often specified by its top one or two cards.
full house (or Boat) – A poker hand,consisting of three of one rank plus two of another. Beats a flush and loses tofour of a kind. Often identified by the three of a kind. For example, three kings and two threes is a full house, often known as kings full, and sometimes more specifically as kings full of threes.
good buddy – Hold’em starting hand nickname: 10-4. Comes from trucker’s CB code, which came from the police “10-code,” where it signifies affirmation or confirmation. Truckers say “10-4, good buddy.
gut shot – The card that makes an inside straight, or, more commonly, the making of a straight by catching a card inside. If you have4-5-7-8 of mixed suits in hold’em, and catch a 6, you have made a gut shot.
hand – The cards in the possession of one player. For example, your two hole cards in hold’em constitute your hand.Similarly, your first three cards in seven-card stud constitute your hand, as well as all the cards up to any given point.
hold’em – A form of poker that originated in the Southwest,moved to Nevada casinos, and then expanded almost universally, with two cards dealt face down to each player, and five community cards dealt face up in the center of the table. These community cards are part of each player’s hand, so each player has access to seven cards.The game has four betting rounds, one after the first two down cards, one after the first three of the community cards (called the flop) are simultaneously dealt, one after the next up card (called the turn or fourth street), and one after the fifth (called the river or fifth street). At the showdown on the end,the player holding the best five-card combination among his hole cards and the community cards wins the pot. The “official” name of the game is Texas hold’em, but just hold’em is the more common name.
hole card – Hole cards are dealt face down and can be seen only by the individual player.
inside – Pertaining to an inside straight. To catch inside means to make an inside straight. An inside straight card is often called a gut shot.
inside straight – Four cards to a straight with one”hole,” as 4-5-7-8 of mixed suits, which becomes a straight by the addition of any 6, or A-2-3-4, which becomes a straight by the addition of any five, or J-Q-K-A, which becomes a straight by the addition of any 10. (The last two are sometimes called by the special name one-ended straight.) An inside straight or the making of one is often called a gut shot.
inside straight draw – Similar to a straight draw, except you are trying to catch an inside straight card. For example, if you start in hold’em with 10s Js and the flop is 8h 7d 2d, you have an inside straight draw.
kojak – Hold’em starting hand nickname: K-J. Named because it sounds like the old television show.
kicker – In hold’em, the unpaired card that goes with a player’s pair or three of a kind. Often, the rank of the kicker determines the winner of the pot. For example, if you have Ac Kh, and I have Ks Qd, and the board is Kc Jd 7s 5h 2d, you win; your pair of kings with an ace kicker beats my pair of kings with a queen kicker.
late position – In a poker game, positions to the right of the dealer button, that is, those that make their decisions after the first few players have acted. Late position is advantageous, because players get to see what the other players have done before they have to act, that is,they have more information than those who act before they do.
level – The period of time in a tournament during which the betting stays at the same limit or the blinds remain the same. For example, a tournament might start out at $10/$20 limit for the first half hour,then go to $15/$30 for the next half hour, and so on.
limp – Calling the big blind pre flop. Not raising.
main pot – When there is a side pot , that part of the pot all of the players have action in.
misread – Not realize the value of your hand, or overlook a possible winner. For example, in seven card stud, you may have been concentrating so hard on making a flush that you don’t see that,while you missed the flush, you actually had a straight. You can also misread another player’s hand.
muck – Get rid of one’s cards; fold. You can muck your cards when presented with an option of calling (or raising) a previous bet. You can also muck your cards in turn at the showdown (as opposed to electing to show your cards). However, in all in situations all cards must be shown. You also may not muck if the action is checked to you.
no-limit game – The form of poker in which,on his turn, a player can bet any amount from the minimum to all of his chips(or of his opponent’s, if the bettor has more), as opposed to a limit game, in which all bets and raises are in multiples of the betting limit. The only restriction on a raise is that it must either equal or exceed the previous be tor raise. The size of a no-limit game is usually expressed as two numbers that represent the sizes of the two blinds. For example, a $5/$10 no-limit game has a small blind of $5 and a big blind of $10. The first player to bet can open for the minimum, which is the size of the big blind (in this case, $10), or raise to any amount up to the size of his stack. Also called no-limit poker.
nut flush – The best possible flush for a given situation.For example, if the flop in hold’em is 8s 7h 6s 5d Ks and you have As Js, you have the nut flush.
nut straight – The best possible straight for a given situation. For example, if the flop in hold’em is 8s 7h 6s 5d Qd and you have 9-10 (any suits), you have the nut straight.
nuts- The best possible hand for a given situation. For example, if the flop in hold’em is 8s7h 6s 5d Ks and you have As Js, your ace-king flush is the nuts.
odd chip – When splitting a pot, the “odd chip” goes to the first player after the button who is in the hand.
off suit – In hold’em or seven-card stud, descriptive of the first two cards being of different suits, as opposed to suited. Sometimes shortened to just off.
open-ended straight – Four cards to a straight with no “holes” and with “room” at both ends, such that it can be made by eight cards, as 2-3-4-5 or 7-8-9-10 of mixed suits; the first can be made by any ace or 6 and the second by any 6 or jack.
option – If there have been no raises when the bets gets to the big blind in a blind game, that player has what is called the option. He can opt to raise, in which case each active player in turn is offered a choice of calling the raise or re-raising-or folding. The big blind can also choose not to raise, which stops the betting for that round. The big blind in this option situation is known in poker parlance as a live blind.
pair – Two cards of the same rank, either in a player’s hand or on the board. Two aces in your hand constitute a pair of aces or, simply, a pair.
play the board – In determining the winning hand in hold’em,sometimes the board contains some combination better than any hand that can be made using any player’s hole cards. When players form their best hand using no hole cards, this is called playing the board. When all players play the board,the pot is split equally among all players remaining in the hand at that point.For example, with an ace-high straight of three different suits on the board,it would be impossible for any player to produce a five-card combination better than an ace-high straight. If three players remained, the software would split the pot equally among the three because they would all be playing the board.This situation also arises when no player can form a hand better than what is on the board, even if such a hand is possible. For example, if the board is As Ah Ks Kh Qd, and the two remaining players have 9s 9d and Ts Td, each would play the board, even though any player holding any ace, king, queen, or the hand J-10, would have them beat. Any of those hands would beat either player,but since none is out, the two players play the board and split the pot.
pocket –The first two cards in hold’em,that is a player’s “private cards” (as opposed to the community cards or flop );hole cards
pocket rockets – A pair of aces as one’s first two cards in hold’em.
poker table – A table used in brick and mortar card rooms especially for the play of poker. Most poker tables have a felt cover. Poker tables for draw or stud games generally accommodate eight players, with an extra place for the house dealer, if there is one. Poker tables for hold’em games can accommodate as many as 11 or 12 players, although nine or 10 is more common.
position – 1. Where a player sits in relation to the others at the table. 2. Where a player sits in relation to the button, or, sometimes,in relation to the blinds. Position 1 is generally the position to the left of the button, although, in a blind game, position 1 could be the position to the left of the big blind, that is, position 1 is three positions to the left of the button. Also see early position, late position. 3. Where a player sits in relation to a particular player. Sitting to someone’s left is generally termed good position, and to his right bad position. 4. Good position with respect to the other players at the table. “You can open with a worse hand when you’ve got position.” 5. Sitting in good position with respect to a particular player, usually sitting one or two seats to the player’s left.”I had position on the live one all night, but I never held any hands.”
post – In a game with blinds, to get dealt in immediately when you first sit down and you are not in the big blind position, put in a blind the same size as the big blind
pot – 1. The chips in play on a particular hand. “They both had straight flushes and the pot was over $1000.” 2. The interval of time from the deal of cards until the showdown. “I was able to play in only three pots all night, and both of those were small.”
price of poker –What it costs to play,usually with reference to the increase of blinds in a tournament, sometimes as a remark accompanying a raise. When the blinds increase (usually only at a point that their size is significant compared to the stacks of most players),someone providing running commentary on the tournament might say, “The price of poker just went up”. When someone makes a significant raise in a big-bet game, you might also hear that comment.
quads – Four of a kind.
raise 1. (v)Increase the bet. In a limit game, this means add a bet equal to the betting limit; in a no-limit game, this means increase by anything equal to or greater than the previous bet or raise. 2. (n) The act of increasing the bet. “Is that a raise?” 3. The money, in the form of chips, that constitutes this bet. “He put in a $100 raise.”
rank – The denomination of a card, In order from Ace down to 2. However, in Texas Hold’em an Ace can be played as the lowest card for a straight.
river card – In hold’em-type games, the fifth of the community cards (that is, the fifth card dealt to the center). Following this card is the third round of betting. This card is sometimes (rarely) called fifth street. 2. In seven-card stud, the last card,delivered on seventh street.
rocket – ace; usually used in the plural. Often part of the phrase pocket rockets.
short stack – 1. The player at a table or in a tournament having the fewest chips. “John is the short stack. He’ll have to make his move soon.” “I doubled up the short stack.” 2. The actual chips involved. To say “The short stack is $850” refers both to the player possessing those chips and to the chips themselves. 3. Less often, anything under a full stack, that is, fewer than 20chips.
showdown – The point in a hand, after all the betting is over, at which the players turn their cards face up for comparison with all active hands, to determine which hand (or hands in a split-pot game) wins the pot (and, if there are one or more side pots, which hand or hands win which side pots).
side card – 1. The fifth card in a hand consisting of two pairs. 2. The card that decides the winner between two otherwise tied two-pair hands (sometimes the one or more cards-in which case the term is pluralized-needed to resolve a tie between two one-pair hands). For example, in the two hands As Ah Kd Kc Qd and Ad Ac Ks Kh Js, the first wins because its side card, Qd, is higher than the side card, Js, of the second.Sometimes called kicker in this sense. 3. A card that has no worth to a hand.
side pot – An auxiliary pot generated when one or more players run out of chips, and which those who ran out cannot win. This can lead to a situation in which the holder of the second-best (or worse) hand can win more money in a pot than the holder of the best hand.
slowplay – To play a strong hand weakly so more players will stay in the pot.
slow roll – Taking a long time to showdown the winning hand, usually to set off one’s opponent.
small blind –1. Prior to cards being distributed, the player to the left of the button puts in chips equal to (usually) half the size of the minimum bet for the game. These one or more chips considered as a group are called the small blind. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game, the small blind would be $1.
smooth call -To call. Smooth call often implies slow playing a strong hand. Example: “I flopped the nut flush but just smooth called when the guy in front of me bet — I didn’t want to scare anybody out.”
soft-play-To go easy on another player at the table (e.g., not betting or raising against him). Suppose you and your brother are the last two people left in a hand. On the river, you have the nuts, but he bets. If you don’t raise, you are”soft-playing” him. Please note that soft-playing is prohibited in tournaments and can result in penalties, up to and including forfeiture of winnings.
splash the pot – To toss chips directly into the pot rather than put them in a stack in front of you.Don’t do it.
split – Half of the pot in a high-low split game or the situation of taking half of the pot in a high-low split game. “I had a draw at small straight flush, but the best I could manage was a split
straight –The poker hand consisting of five cards in a row, of mixed suits, as A-2-3-4-5 or8-9-10-J-Q.
straight draw – Similar to a flush draw. For example, if you start in hold’em with 10s Js and the flop is 8h 9d 2d, you have a straight draw.
straight flush – The poker hand consisting of five cards in a row all in the same suit, as As 2s 3s 4s 5sor 8h 9h 10h Jh Qh. An ace-high straight flush, as 10d Jd Qd Kd Ad, is given the special name royal flush. A straight flush ranks above four of a kind.
String Bet – A bet (more typically a raise) in which a player doesn’t get all the chips required for the raise into the pot in one motion. Unless he verbally declared the raise, he can be forced to withdraw it and just call. This prevents the unethical play of putting out enough chips to call, seeing what effect that had, and then possibly raising.
suck out – meaning someone hit a draw against you to win the hand… also see bad beat
suit – One of the four groups of 13 cards into which a deck is divided:
spades , hearts , diamonds , and clubs .
suited – In hold em or seven-card stud,descriptive of the first two cards being of the same suit, as opposed to off suit.Sometimes the term applies to more than two cards, as, for example, you can start with three suited cards in seven-card stud, or four suited cards can appear among the community cards in hold’em.
telegraphing – displaying what your action will be prior to your turn
tell – A clue or hint that a player unknowingly gives about the strength of his hand, his next action, etc. May originally be from “telegraph” or the obvious use that he “tells” you what he’s going to do before he does it.
three of a kind –1. A poker hand, three cards of the same rank, plus two other unrelated cards. Ranks above two pair and below a straight. Often called trips.2. Specifically, just the three cards, without referring to other cards. Often called Trips or a set. Trips if 2 of the cards are on the board, and a set if 2of the cards are in your hand.
tilt – To play wildly or recklessly. A player is said to be “on tilt” if he is not playing his best, playing too many hands, trying wild bluffs, raising with bad hands, etc.
turn – With respect to a particular player, the point at which the action is on him, that is, the time when he is faced with the choice of folding, calling, or raising. “Whose turn is it?
turn card –In hold’em-type games, the second of the community cards (that is, the fourth card dealt to the center). Following this card is the third round of betting. This card is sometimes (rarely) called fourth street.
two pair – Two cards of one rank,plus two of another rank, plus an unrelated card; in high poker this hand beats one pair and loses to three of a kind. For example, A-A-K-K-Q is two pair,known variously as two pair, aces and kings; aces up; aces over; aces over kings;aces and kings;
walking sticks – Hold’em starting hand nickname: 7-7.
wheel – 1. The best low hand possible in a high-low split game, A-2-3-4-5 of various suits. Often also called a bicycle. 2. In high games, a 5-high straight