A form of poker in which each player is dealt two cards face down, called hole cards. The player may then use none, one, or both of his hole cards, in combination with five board cards or community cards dealt face up, to make the best possible five-card hand. ‘Community Cards’ are cards dealt face up in the middle of the table and all the players share their rankings.
Play begins by dealing two cards in the Hole (face down) to each player. A round of betting follows this. Most hold’em games get the betting started with one or two ‘Blind Bets’ to the left of the dealer. These are forced bets, which must be made before seeing one’s cards. Check and raise are allowed.
Play proceeds clockwise from the blinds, with each player free to fold, call the blind bet, or raise. Usually the blinds are ‘Live’, meaning that they may raise themselves when the action gets back around to them.
Now three board cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table; this is called the Flop. A round of betting takes place, with action starting on the first blind, immediately to the dealers left. Another card is dealt face up called the Turn, followed by another round of betting, again beginning to the dealer’s left.
Then the final card, the River, is dealt followed by the final round of betting. In a structured-limit game, the bets on the turn and river are usually double the size of those before and on the flop.
The game is usually played for high only, and each player makes the best five-card combination to compete for the pot. Players usually use both their hole cards to make their best hand, but this is not required. A player may even choose to ‘Play the Board’ and use no hole cards at all. Dead hits or identical five-card hands split the pot; the sixth and seventh cards are not used to break ties.
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The ranking of poker hands based on probability starting from the highest are shown below. There are 2,598,960 possible combinations of cards in a poker hand you can be dealt. In brackets below next to the ranking of hands, are 1st the number of possible hands of that rank in 2,598,960 possible combinations, and 2nd your chances of getting one in percentage probability:
The game is played exactly like Texas Hold’em, except the best High hand splits the pot with the best Low hand. However, to win the Low half pot, the player must qualify; he must have a hand with an 8 highest card or better (lower), or the high hand wins the entire pot. Any hand qualifies for High.