No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker Rules
No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker is one of the most popular versions of the game both online and in "bricks and mortar" poker rooms. Many of the poker tournaments shown on TV are No Limit Texas Hold Em, which naturally makes it a popular choice for beginners to learn as they seek to emulate the play of TV poker celebrities (see our page dedicated to Poker Rules For Beginners if you are totally new to poker). However although No Limit Hold Em is one of the easiest versions of poker to learn, that does not mean that No Limit is easy to play well. For the unskilled player, No Limit Hold Em will drain a bankroll more quickly than just about any other version of poker. The action is fast and furious, and at any time players can commit all of their chips - hence the "no limit" of the game's name. Winning players tend to be aggressive, which means they will commit their chips frequently - and dare their opponent to do the same. If you have nerves of steel, then No Limit Texas Hold Em might be just your game - if not, you are probably better sticking with Limit Hold'Em or Pot Limit Hold'Em.
For those willing to rise to the challenge, here are the basic rules of No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker:
No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker Rules : The Deal
As with all forms of Texas Hold'Em Poker, each player is dealt two cards face down, and there is a round of betting based on these two cards. When the betting is complete, three cards are turned face upwards in the center of the table ("the flop"). These cards are communuity cards, which all of the players can use to help build their hand. Once these cards are dealt, another round of betting commences, at the end of which a further card is turned face-upwards in the center of the table ("the turn card"). Again this is a community card. Another round of betting ensues, and then a final community card is turned face upwards in the center of the table ("the river card"). The "board" (i.e. the five community cards) is now complete, and a final round of betting takes place to establish who wins the "pot" - all of the chips that have been bet in the hand.
No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker Rules : Objective Of The Game
The object of the game is to make the best possible five card hand, using as many of your own cards and the community cards as you wish. You don't have to use both of your own cards to make a hand - you could for example use just one card and four of the cards on the "board" (in theory you could use all five cards, but then your opponent would have a hand at least as good as yours - though you could always try and bluff them out of the pot). It is important to realise that players only have to show their hand if they are "called" by another player (see below for more details). This means that it is possible to "steal" the pot, or win the pot with a bluff, simply by placing a bet large enough to scare other players out of the hand. This technique is probably more important in No Limit Texas Hold Em than in any other type of poker, as at any point you can make a bet which is as large as you like. In other forms of poker you can only bet a fixed amount.
If a player makes a bet and is called by another player (i.e. the second player agrees to match the bet made by the first player) then all players still in the game must show their hands, and the winner is decided according to the poker hand rankings set out below.
No Limit Texas Hold Em Poker Rules : Hand Rankings
(what beats what at No Limit Hold Em,in order from highest ranking hand to lowest ranking hand)
Royal Flush: A "straight flush" (see below) which is ace high : Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, all of the same suit.
Straight Flush: Five cards in a row all of the same suit, but not Ace high e.g. Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, all of the same suit.
Four of a kind: Four cards of the same rank e.g. QQQQ (four queens).
Full House: Three cards of the same rank plus a pair e.g. KKKQQ. (three kings and two queens)
Flush: Five cards all of the same suit, but not consecutive e.g. 4, 7, 9, T and K of spades. The highest card determines who has the highest flush if more than one player has a flush e.g. an Ace high flush beats a Queen high flush.
Straight: Five cards in a row, but not of the same suit e.g. 8,9,T,J,Q.
Three of a kind: Three cards of the same rank e.g. JJJ (three jacks).
Two pair: Two pairs e.g. JJAA (a pair of jacks and a pair of aces).
One pair: Any two cards of the same rank e.g. 44 (a pair of fours).
High card: If no-one has anything, the highest card wins – aces count high in No Limit Texas Hold'Em poker.
No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker Rules : Betting.
Whereas in most forms of poker the betting is limited in some way, in No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker you can bet however much you want, whenever it is your turn to bet. If you bet all of your chips then you are said to be "all in". Once you are "all in" no other player can force you out of the pot by betting more than you can afford. For example if you have $100 and you bet $100, another player cannot force you out by betting $200. Instead, any money over what you have bet is returned to the player (if you are the only player who called) or a "side-pot" is made which matches the amount of your bet. Other players who have bet more money than you then continue to play for the "main pot", which you cannot win if you don't have any more chips. For this reason it is always best to have a large stack of chips when playing No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker. If you make an unbeatable hand such as a straight flush, you want to be able to win as much as possible - and if you only have $2 in chips then you can only win a maximum of $2 off any other player.
At the start of each round of betting, the player to the dealer's left must make an enforced bet called "the small blind", and the player to that player's left must make a second enforced bet called "the big blind" (usually twice the size of the "small blind". The size of these "blinds" is determined in advance. In No Limit Texas Hold Em Poker tournaments, the size of the blinds increases as the tournament progresses, so that it becomes more and more expensive just to see your cards.
Once the blinds have been paid (or "posted") each player takes it turns to bet. A player can either check (pay in no money but reserve the right to bet later), fold (throw away their cards) or bet. Once one player has bet, the following players can either fold, call ( "see" or match the bet) or raise (match the bet and add to it). Betting continues until all player have entered the same amount of money into the pot.
No Limit Texas Hold'Em Poker : Other Resources
Start with out Texas Hold Em cheat sheet for an easy-to-follow run down on hand rankings and suggested starting hands for a beginner to play - or see our page on Poker Rules For Beginners. The easiest way to get to grips with the game is to print out the printer friendly cheat sheets and then practice poker for free at one of the Reputable Poker Sites listed.