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Hold'em 101

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Excerpt from:

Texas Hold’em 101

How To Play

From Bill Burton, About.com Guide

The Start
To start a new hand, two "Blind" bets are put up or "Posted." The player immediately to the left of the dealer puts up or "posts" the small blind which is half the minimum bet. The player to the left of the small blind posts the big blind which is equal to the minimum bet. The rest of the players do not put up any money to start the hand. Because the deal rotates around the table, each player will eventually act as the big blind, small blind and dealer.

The Opening
Each player is dealt two cards face down with the player on the small blind receiving the first card and the player with the dealer button getting the last card. The first betting round begins with the player to the left of the big blind either putting in the minimum bet to "Call" the blind bet, or putting in twice the minimum bet or more to "raise" the big blind or folding his hand. The betting goes around the table in order until it reaches the player who posted the small blind. That player can call the bet by matching the big blind that was already posted. The last person to act is the big blind. If no one has raised, the dealer will ask if they would like the option. This means the big blind has the option to raise or just "check." By checking the player does not put in any more money. A rookie mistake sometimes occurs here. Because the blind is a live bet live, the player with the big blind has already put his bet in. I have seen some players throw their cards in not realizing that they are already in the hand. Another rookie mistake is betting or folding your cards when it is not your turn. You must wait before you act.

The Flop
After the first betting round is completed, three cards are dealt and turned face up in the middle of the table. This is known as the "Flop." These are community cards used by all the players. Another betting round begins with the first active player to the left of the dealer button. The minimum bet remains the same.

The Turn
When the betting round after the flop is completed, the dealer turns a fourth card face up in the middle of the table. This is called the "Turn." The minimum bet after the turn remains the same in "No Limit" Hold'em and begins again with the first active player to the left of the dealer.

The River
Following the betting round for the turn, the dealer will turn a fifth and final card face up. This is called the "river," and the final betting round begins.

The Showdown

To determine the winner, the players may use any combination of their two hole cards and the five cards on the "Board" (Table) to form the highest five-card hand. In some rare cases the best hand will be the five cards on board. Don’t count on this happening too often. In that case the active players will split the pot. A sixth card is never used to break a tie.