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How a game plays out

Things you will learn:

What happens during a poker hand

The most exciting and ultimately profitable forms of poker around are the No-Limit Hold'em cash games. However, playing without proper preparation can prove quite costly, so we would like to go over the basics of No-Limit Hold’em below.

Hold'em basics

No-Limit Texas Hold'em is similar to Limit Hold'em in most respects.

In the first stage of the game, called the “pre-flop,” every player is dealt two cards placed face down (the “hole cards”). A round of betting follows.

Once all the betting has finished, three shared cards are dealt. Placed face up and in the middle of the table, they are called “the flop.”

After the flop, another round of betting takes place. Then a fourth shared card — the “turn” — is dealt. Another round of betting takes place before the final shared card the “river” — is dealt, followed by a final round of betting.

The player’s final hand is made by using one or both of their two hole cards with the five cards in the middle to make the best possible five-card poker hand. So, for example, if a player has 9-9 and the shared cards are 10-J-Q-K-2, the player has a “straight,” meaning five cards in a row.

If the shared cards were J-Q-K-7-2, the player would only have two nines.

On occasion, the best hand is made by the shared five cards – the river. So if, for example, the river consists of 10-J-Q-K-A and the player has 9-9, the hole cards would not play since there is a straight of higher value already showing. This is called “playing the board.”

How a hand Ends

A hand can end in two ways.

One is when the players in a hand turn over their hole cards and the player with the best hand wins. This is known as a “showdown.”

The other is that one player bets so much that everyone else folds. Most hands in No-Limit Hold’em end this way. The fact that one doesn’t always need to hold the best hand in order to win is part of the appeal of the game.

Now, let's go over how a hand works using only poker jargon and see if you have it figured out.

First, players are dealt their hole cards, after which the first round of betting takes place. Next, the remaining players see a flop, followed by another round of betting. Next, a turn card is revealed. A round of betting follows before the final river card and the final round of betting. The best five-card hand wins.