Chapter 3. Texas Hold’em Rules & Odds

One of the first things you will see when setting foot in a casino is the sight of people huddled around a poker table, eyeing their hands, and keeping an eye on their chips. In both land-based and online casinos, the most common variant of poker that is most likely being played is Texas Hold ‘Em.

It is also the poker variant that many are already likely to be familiar with from popular culture. Countless movies, TV shows, books, songs, and graphic novels have all paid homage to this classic card game, which is believed to have first been invented in Robstown, Texas, in the early 1900s.

Today, it is the game of choice in many of the world’s largest international poker tournaments, being widely enjoyed by career poker experts and beginner players alike. If you’re interested in playing casino poker and pursuing jackpots, then learning the ropes of Texas Hold ‘Em is could come in very handy.

Luckily, we’re here to tell you everything there is to know about Texas Hold ‘Em, including the rules, odds, terminology, and how to play at an online live casino. Read this complete beginner’s guide to Texas Hold ‘Em to find out more.

What you’ll find on this Page

Texas Hold ‘Em Terminology

All-In

This is a term used to describe when a player bets all of their remaining chips, often illustrated by pushing all chips into the middle of the table.

Ante

This is the initial bet that must be made by all players sitting at the table in order for them to participate in the round of Texas Hold ‘Em. 

Angle Shooting

This describes any act in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em in which a player cheats to win a play or obtain information about another player’s cards. Doing this will get you banned from the casino.

Bad Beat

This describes a phenomenon when a weak hand ends up beating a much stronger hand, often achieved through successful bluffing.

Bankroll

This can describe the set amount of cash that a poker player has to wager with. If a bankroll is depleted, the player should stop playing and walk away from the table. 

Bluff

Using a variety of tactics and skills to convince an opponent to raise or fold, depending on whether or not you think you have a better or weaker hand than them.

Boat

This is a slang term that is often used in Texas Hold ‘Em to describe a full house. 

Broadway

This describes a poker hand that is straight from a ten to an ace. 

Bullets

A ‘bullet’ in Texas Hold ‘Em simply means a pair or pairs of aces in a hand. 

Call

When you ‘call’ another player, you are matching their bet in order to continue playing to see the next card in their hand, or showdown to win the jackpot. 

Calling Station

This is used to describe a certain type of Texas Hold ‘Em casino player that simply keeps calling other player’s bets without ever raising or folding. 

Dealer

In Texas Hold ‘Em, this is the casino or the person who simply deals the cards and plays the game. In online poker, this can simply be the dealer ‘button’ that can be clicked to deal out a new hand.

Deuce 

A poker slang term for two. 

Draw

The act of drawing new cards. This often happens when a player is close to having a strong hand and only needs one or two extra cards in order to complete it.

Fish

This term is used to describe a poker player that is either inexperienced or simply not very good at the game. 

Flush

A winning poker hand consisting of five cards that are all of the same suit. 

Fold

This is the action that players take when they think they cannot win the round. To fold is to throw your current hand away and surrender all claims to the jackpot.

Four of a Kind

A hand consisting of four cards that are all the same number or value, such as four eighths or four jacks. 

Hands History

At a casino online, the ‘hands history’ function allows a player to see every hand they have thus far held in the gaming session. 

No Limit

A popular genre of Texas Hold ‘Em in which there are no limits on the amount that players can wager, often meaning higher stakes and higher jackpots. 

Pair 

This is simply a pair of matching cards in a hand that both have the same value, such as two fours.

Poker Face

This is the neutral emotional expression that Texas Hold ‘Em players try to perfect in order to conceal from other players what kind of hand they have.

Pot

The pot is the money that all players in a game are competing for. It consists of the ante and all subsequent bets, raises, and calls. 

Quads

A poker slang term for a four of a kind hand. 

Raise

To raise is to respond to a player’s bet with a higher bet, thus raising the stakes for everyone at the table. 

Royal Flush

The strongest possible hand you can have in Texas Hold ‘Em, consisting of a ten, an ace, a jack, a queen, and a king, all of the same suit.

Stack

This is the number of poker chips a player has at the table. It is essentially the amount of bankroll and winnings that each player has. 

Straight

This is a strong poker hand that consists of five cards in chronological, sequential order. Aces can be high or low in Texas Hold ‘Em. An example of a straight would be an ace, a two, a three, a four, and five. 

Straight Flush

Similar to a straight, but with the difference being that all cards are of the same suit. This is one of the strongest poker hands you can have in Texas Hold ‘Em.

Three of a Kind

A hand in which there are three cards all of the same value, such as three queens. 

Two Pair

A hand in which there are two pairs of cards, such as two nines and two aces. 

Whale

A Texas Hold ‘Em slang term for a high-roller player, or someone who bets big and plays to win big. 

The Rules of Texas Hold ‘Em Explained 

As with many poker games, Texas Hold ‘Em comes with a fair amount of rules. However, they are easy to learn and follow, once you know the basic structure. Here’s what you need to know about the rules of Texas Hold ‘Em. 

The Basics and Betting Rounds

The goal of Texas Hold ‘Em is to construct a winning five-card hand using the cards you are dealt with in conjunction with ‘community cards’, which are the five face-up cards that are dealt in the middle of the table.

The two cards that each player has, which should always remain face down so that only you can see what they are, are the ‘hole cards’.

Before any cards are dealt, the first two players to the left of the dealer must put down ‘blind’ bets to ensure there is money in the pot. The players that post the ‘blinds’ always rotate, to ensure fair positions across the board. 

The minimum bet typically rises with each level in order to eliminate players. 

During the first round, all players have the option to either check, fold, or raise. After this first round, the dealer advances to the second round, ‘burning’ the card at the top of the deck (removing it from the game) and then placing a card face-up in the middle of the table. This is known as the community card. 

As each of the five rounds progress, players will always have the option to either remain in the game, stay on with their hand, or raise the stakes.

If they choose to fold, they are out of the game. As each round progresses, another card is ‘burned’ by the dealer and a new card is added to the community cards.

The fifth and final round, when all five community cards are on the table (known as the ‘river’), it is time for the ‘showdown’. This is when any players who have not folded will have to show their hands.

During the showdown, a player can use any combination of hole cards and community cards to construct a winning hand. They can use their two hole cards and three community cards.

They can use one hole card and four community cards. They can even use none of their own cards and all five community cards. If another player chooses to do this, then the pot is split evenly between the two. 

Remember, much of Texas Hold ‘Em is psychological warfare. The goal is to convince other players to fold, even if you don’t have the strongest hand so that you can win the jackpot. If multiple players have made it to the final round, it is simply the strongest hand that wins. 

Essential Rules to Follow 

There are a few extra Texas Hold ‘Em rules to remember if you want to put together a winning casino poker strategy. These are: 

  • In a situation where two players have the ‘same’ hand i.e. a straight flush, the player with the highest-ranking cards wins outright.
  • All players in the showdown must have wagered the same amount of money.
  • In the showdown, the player who bet on the ‘river’ must be the first to show their hand.
  • If no-one bet on the river, then the player to the immediate left of the dealer must show their hand first, continuing clockwise around the table.
  • If a player in the showdown has a losing hand and they know it, they can choose whether to show their hand or to simply fold and concede the pot.

Texas Hold ‘Em Odds

As you might have guessed, different poker hands have different odds of being drawn. The strongest hands are, naturally, the ones with the lowest odds. However, some winning hands actually have quite high odds of being drawn in each round. Here are the odds for each of the Texas Hold ‘Em hands. 

odds of a pair in poker
  • Royal Flush: The odds of drawing a royal flush are 649,739 to one, equal to a 0.000154% chance. 
  • Straight Flush: The odds of drawing a straight flush are 37,260 to one, equal to a 0.0279% chance. 
  • Four of a Kind: The odds of drawing a four of a kind are 4,165 to one, equal to a 0.024% chance. 
  • Full House: The odds of drawing a full house are 693 to one, equal to a 0.1441% chance. 
  • Flush: The odds of drawing a flush are 509 to one, equal to a 0.367% chance. 
  • Straight: The odds of drawing a straight are 253 to one, equal to a 0.76% chance. 
  • Three of a Kind: The odds of drawing a three of a kind are 46 to one, equal to a 2.1128% chance. 
  • Two Pair: The odds of drawing a two pair are 20 to one, equal to a 4.7539% chance. 
  • One Pair: The odds of drawing one pair are 1.366 to one.
  • High Card: As this is the lowest possible hand you can get in a poker game, the odds are fairly likely. 

Live Casino Texas Hold ‘Em 

live casino poker vs video poker

When playing Texas Hold ‘Em at a live casino as opposed to playing standard online Texas Hold ‘Em, things are slightly different. Since live casino poker involves a real-life dealer in an immersive casino lounge, the rules more closely resemble real casino rules.

The dealer does not play, therefore the players who must make the initial blinds are selected via the rotating ‘dealer’ button that moves around the table in a clockwise sequence with each round.

You will also be playing at the table with real players from around the world, often with an option to communicate with them via live chat. This could be a way to incorporate some of your poker strategies into the game with some clever bluffs.

The community cards will be visible on the table in front of you via a live-stream, but you will also be able to view them via the digital interface. Essentially, live casino Texas Hold ‘Em brings the most immersive elements of casino gaming straight into your living room. 

Now that you know the essential rules and odds of Texas Hold ‘Em poker, you’re ready to start playing. Bring your best poker face, and don’t forget those winning hands.