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Coral’s Poker Guide Part 1: Order of play in Texas Hold’em

The order of play in Texas Hold’em Poker

Before we get started on learning about hands, bluffing, check-calling and all the advanced stuff, you need to know how to play poker – it’s a simple as that.

As the old saying goes, ‘learn to walk before you run’ – or something like that.

In this section we’re going to get you started on your poker journey by discussing the order of play.

This guide will take you through the three key components of poker:

The blinds system
Order of play
Calculating who wins

If you’ve never played poker before this guide is perfect for you! Remember, this is the first stage of becoming a poker legend so don’t get complacent too early! Read everything and take it all in!

The blinds system…

Imagine if nobody placed a single bet during a round of poker; things would get rather dull indeed. To keep everybody betting, most online poker halls adopt a big blind/small blind system, where every round at least two people have to put a large sum of money into the game.

The big blind increases over time, as a way of weaning out players with a short stack (a stack being the amount of chips a player has). The big blind is predetermined before the game, with the small blind always being half of the big blind.

Blinds generally increase every fifteen minutes, but this can depend on the size and length of the tournament. Online poker tournaments generally increase the blind every fifteen minutes. If you’ve been playing online for a couple of hours and you’ve not built up your stack, it’s not uncommon to be taken out of the tournament by the blinds.

The dealer chip is passed around clockwise after every round, so eventually everybody pays the blind. The dealers left pays the big blind, while two to the left pays the small blind. Everybody else pays a small bet called the ante bet.

Once this is over the poker can begin!

When you’re low on chips it might seem logical to bet on the first good-ish hand you get. Remember, the key to surviving is by staying calm and waiting for that golden opportunity!

The order of play…

After the blinds have all been paid, the cards are dealt. Each player receives two cards face down, and remain that way throughout the whole round. After this occurs, a first round of betting happens, where players need to put in as much as the big blind as a minimum. In limit-hold’em players can only bet up to the big blind limit, then pre-set limits throughout the rest of the hand. In no-limit hold’em players can place bets of unlimited amount, but cannot raise again after somebody has called them.

‘Calling’ is when a player matches a bet, ‘raising’ is betting higher than somebody has called and ‘checking’ is not playing a bet, with the intention to check the next cards. If a player checks and another person bets, the player who checked needs to match this bet to remain in the game.

Once all bets have occurred, and players have either folded  (‘Folding’ is the phrase for when somebody drops out of a round), or they have placed their bets, the flop is dealt. Then another round of betting occurs and after that has finished the turn card is dealt. The same happens again and the river is revealed. One last round of betting occurs, and then, if more than one play remains the showdown occurs. The player with the highest hand after all of this wins the pot.

Calculating who wins what in Texas Hold’em

Once all cards have been dealt and all the stages of betting are over, the cards are shown and the dealer determines the winner.

If you are playing in a real tournament then you must not touch the chips in the centre of the table before the dealer confirms you have won! This doesn’t really apply if you’re playing poker online. 

If players have the same value hand the pot is split down the middle, with each player getting an equal share.

A player with a more powerful hand than the other, then that player receives all the pot.

The player with the highest chip stack towards the end wins – hopefully that’s you!

That’s pretty much everything you need to know when it comes to the stages of a game of Texas Hold’em.

>> Next: Part 2 – Poker Hands