HOLD'EM (also known as Hold'em) is the most popular poker game in the world. There are three variations of Hold'em, distinguished by their betting limits:
- Limit Hold’em (there is a specified betting limit in each game and on each round of betting)
- Pot Limit Hold’em (A player can bet what is in the pot)
No Limit Hold’em (A player can bet all of his chips at any time )Each of these Hold’em variations are available when you play poker online and you can play for free (play money) or play for real.
Hold’em: The Rules
Hold’em uses what is called a “dealer button” (a small disc) to indicate the theoretical dealer of each hand. After each hand is completed, the dealer button moves clockwise to the next active player. This player will be considered “the dealer” for that hand. In this way each player has equal opportunities to be in early, middle and late position.
Before the start of the game, PartyPoker.com generates a fresh deck of cards for the hand. We use a single deck of cards for each hand of poker, where a deck refers to 52 cards (excluding jokers). PartyPoker.com uses a Random Number Generator (RNG) to shuffle each deck of cards for the hand.
The First round of Hold’em:
The two players immediately to the left of the dealer button place blind bets to start the pot (similar in principle to an ante). The player to the left of the dealer button posts the “small blind” (usually equal to half the lower stake. At many online poker websites the small blind is rounded down to the nearest dollar. However, as it is just a guideline, the amount of the small blind could be set slightly differently).
The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the “big blind,” equal to the lower stake limit. All the blinds in Hold’em poker are considered live bets and the players who posted them will have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting returns to their position. Remember, the dealer button (and therefore the small blind and the big blind) move around the table clockwise after each hand, so each player will post the blind bets over time.
Once the blinds have been placed, two secret cards are dealt to each player (“hole cards”), after which the first betting round starts. The player to the left of the player who placed the big blind starts the betting for this round.
Each player now has the option to place his bets in the first round, which is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. (For example in a $10/$20 Hold’em game, the value of each bet is $10 for the first round. Therefore, when a user makes the move “bet,” this is equal $10, and “raise” is $20…a raise includes a call on the previous bet placed and one additional bet.)
Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. These options are available depending on the action taken by the previous player. Each player always has the option to fold. The first player to act has the option to bet, call or raise. Subsequent players have the option of calling or raising. To call is to bet the same amount as the previous player has bet. To raise is to match the previous bet and increase the bet.
Every player participating in the hand should have equal amounts of money bet as the previous players (includes bets, calls and raises). Until the time all the players have placed equal amounts in the pot, the betting will continue. There is a limit on the amount and the number of bets a player can place during a betting round (four bets for limit games).
After the first round of betting is over, the Flop (the first three community cards) is dealt. The community cards are common to all the players participating in the hand.
The Second Round of Hold’em:
After the Flop (and in each subsequent betting round), the first active player left of the dealer button is first to act. The second betting round also limits the value of bets and raises to the lower limit of the stake structure. So in a $10/$20 game, the value of each bet is $10 for the second round.
Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call and Raise. These options are available to each player depending on the action taken by the previous player. The first player to act in this round (the player left to the button) gets the option to bet or to check (to refrain from betting…this is only available if no bet has yet been made in the betting round). Once a player has bet, subsequent players will get the Call and Raise options only.
After this the fourth community card is dealt; this is known as the Turn.
The Third Round of Hold’em:
The third betting round starts again with the player left to the button, bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stake structure (in a $10/$20 game, $20 is the upper stake…therefore, a single bet in this instance is $20, and a raise is $40 – includes a call on the previous bet and one additional bet). Bets can be placed by playing any of the following options – Bet, Call and Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player depending on the action taken by the previous player.
After this the fifth and final community card is dealt; this is known as the River.
The Fourth Round of Hold’em:
The fourth (and final) betting round starts again with the player left to the button, bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stake structure (in a $10/$20 game, $20 is the upper stake). Bets can be placed by playing any of the following options – Bet, Call and Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player depending on the action taken by the previous player.
Once all the bets have been made, there are two possible outcomes: either all the players but one have folded (and hence that person wins the pot), or the remaining players reveal their hands and the best hand wins the pot.
The game play remains same for both No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em game with a few exceptions to the rules mentioned above:
In limit Hold’em a maximum of four bets is allowed per player during any betting round. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap, but in No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Hold'em there is no limit to the number of raises that a player can make. The only limit is that you cannot raise yourself. If all the other players in the hand only call or fold, the player would not get an option to raise, because the last raise was done by him.
The betting structure is the same at the play for free tables.
Betting Structure for No-Limit Hold’em Poker
Minimum raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the first player to act bets $100 then the second player must raise a minimum of $100 (total bet of $200).
Maximum eligible raise: The size of your stack (your chips on the table)
The betting structure is the same at the play for free tables.
The Betting Rules for Pot-Limit Hold’em Poker
Minimum eligible raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the first player to act bets $100 then the second player must raise a minimum of $100 (total bet of $200).
Maximum eligible raise: The size of the pot, which is defined as the total of the active pot (which can be either the main pot or the side pot depending on whether anyone has gone “all-in”) plus all bets on the table plus the amount the active player must first call before raising.
As an example, if the active pot is $200 and the first player to act in the round bets $150 and the next player calls $150, the third player has a maximum eligible total bet of $800. The $800 total is made up of the $150 call and $650 raise.
The $650 max raise portion is equal to the pot of $200 + first player's $150 + second player's $150 + his own call of $150.