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East Coast Poker Rules
Poker is a card game, one of the most popular card games played across the world today. Poker is called a vying game, in which player with fully or partially concealed cards make wagers into a central pot, this pot is then awarded to the remaining player or players with the best combination of cards. Poker is also referred to video poker or "Pokies" seen in clubs and pubs across Australia. In order to play, one must learn the basic poker rules and procedures of the game, the values of various combinations of cards and the rules about betting limits. Knowledge of the equipment used to play is also handy. Poker itself has variety of different ways it can be played, these are: Draw poker, Stud poker, Manila, Omaha and other miscellaneous poker games. Most common are five card draw, seven card stud and Texas Hold'em, each of these being a common starting point on playing poker.
East Coast Poker will bring to you the most popular form of poker, Texas Hold'em, and you will find concise and clear step by step instructions, rules and regulations on how to play Texas Hold'em, covering every aspect of the game. East Coast Poker is here to help you learn to play, and understand the game in full, helping you to enjoy yourself and join the millions of others across the world who love to play this exciting game.
Guidelines, Rules and Etiquette
- Proper Behaviour
- House Policy
- General Poker Rules
- Texas Hold'Em
Code of Conduct
East Coast Poker will attempt to maintain a pleasant environment for all players and staff members, but is not responsible for the conduct of any player. We have established a code of conduct, and may deny participation of offending players, if one of the following occurs:
- Collusion with another player or any other form of cheating
- Verbally or physically threatening any patron or staff member
- Verbally or physically assaulting, or intimidating any patron or staff member
- Using profanity or obscene language towards any patron or staff member
- Creating a disturbance by arguing, shouting, or making excessive noise
- Throwing, tearing, bending, or crumpling cards
- Destroying or defacing property
- Using an illegal substance
- Be polite
- English only to be spoken at the table, with players and spectators
- No headpones to be worn at the table
The following actions are improper, and can be grounds for a warning, suspension, or barring a player:
- Deliberately acting out of turn
- Deliberately splashing chips into the pot
- Players agreeing to continually check a hand, until hand is played out, whilst another player at the table is all-in
- Reading a hand for another player at the showdown before it has been placed face-up on the table
- Telling anyone to turn a hand face-up at the showdown, until all betting has finished, and all final betting has been met by participating players (A player who has not had their bet matched, does not need to show their cards, unless there is a player who is all in participating in hand)
- Revealing the contents of a live hand in a multi-handed pot before the betting is complete. Revealing the contents of a folded hand before the betting is complete. Do not divulge the contents of a hand during a deal even to someone not in the pot, so you do not leave any possibility of the information being transmitted to an active player
- Needlessly stalling the action of a game. This also includes unnecessary chatter that disturbs play of hand
- Deliberately discarding hands away from the muck. Cards should be released in a low line of flight or slid across table, at a moderate rate of speed into the middle of the table (not at the dealer's hands or chip-rack). These cards are not to be viewed or touched at all throughout play of hand
- Stacking chips in a manner that interferes with dealing or viewing cards
- Players' cards and chips should be kept on the table at all times (unless being moved to another table), and in view of all players participating in hand
- Making statements or taking action that could unfairly influence the course of play, whether or not the offender is involved in the pot
- Using a mobile phone at the table
- Smoking is not permitted at all within the playing area. This includes players as well as spectators
- East Coast Poker will decide when to start or close any game
- Cash is not permitted on the table. Any chips from another establishment are not permitted on the table, and do not play in the game
- Chips are to remain on the table at all times, unless a player has been allocated a seat at another table, and is moving to this position
- Awareness of the amount being in play for each opponent is an important part of poker. All chips must be kept in plain view. Higher denomination chips should be easily visible
- Only one person may play a hand
- No one is allowed to play another player's chips. Posting for another person is not allowed
- Permission is required from tournament host (staff member of East Coast Poker) before commencement of game, and in particular after each break
- If a table is asked to stop play by either the tournament host or staff, and play continues, management reserves the right to stop play, and return blinds and bets to respected players. This point also applies to the stopping of play before the break, and upon the moving of players to other tables
- Players must keep their cards in full view. This means above table-level and not past the edge of the table. The cards should not be covered by the hands in a manner to completely conceal them. Please refrain from lifting cards off the table
- Looking through the discards or deck stub is not allowed
- After a deal ends, dealers are asked to not show what cards would have been dealt. This is commonly referred as "Rabbit Hunting"
- The cards must not be washed or shuffled until all disputes have been resolved, or clarification of the winning hand has been made and understood by all participating players
- A player is expected to pay attention to the game and not hold up play. Activity that interferes with this such as reading at the table is discouraged, and the player will be asked to cease if a problem is caused
- A non-player may not sit at the table
- You may have a guest sit behind you if no one in the game objects. It is improper for a guest to look at any hand other then your own
- English is to be the only spoken language at the table during play. This also includes communication between players and spectators
- You must be present at least 15 minutes prior to game commencing to register for a seat to play
- It is the player's responsibility to be in the playing area 5 minutes before game is to commence. A player who intends to leave the playing area, or will not be present during this time, is to inform East Coast Poker staff of time that they will be able to commence. Players must return before the end of the second blind to be seated, and must acknowledge that reserves, if available, will take their seat in their absence
- When closing a table, the house will control the seating of new players to best preserve the viability of existing games. A player will be sent to the table most in need of an additional player, and seated in the most appropriate, available seat corresponding to the position they were about to play. If a player refuses to move to the table, for any other reason than to avoid conflict with another player or players, the player will be forced to quit. If a player is not in a blind position, but there are only blind positions available to be moved to, the player will be forced to play the blind
- The house reserves the right to require that any two players, may not play at the same table (husband and wife, relatives, business partners, and so forth)
- Upon commencement of game, active players will draw a card for the button position (Dealer position). First card will be dealt to position 1, and all cards will be dealt face-up. The button will be awarded to the highest card. If two players receive cards of the same value, each player will be dealt another card until the highest card is given
- East Coast Poker may reserve a certain seat for a player for a good reason, such as to assist reading the board for a person with a vision problem, or a person with physical disabilities
- If a table has 5 players or less, and there are not enough available seats to close the table, the table with the most players will be asked by the tournament director to deal a high card. This will be similar to the establishment of the button, where the highest card will be asked to move. See procedure 3 for seating the player appropriately
- All players must remain in the same numbered position as they first sat at the table, until the table is closed, and the players are moved
- The button position will be re-established on commencement of the final two tables, as well as the final table
- East Coast Poker reserves the right to make decisions in the spirit of fairness, even if a strict interpretation of the rules may indicate a different ruling
- Decisions of the tournament hosts are final
- The proper time to draw attention to an error or irregularity is when it occurs or is first noticed. The tournament hosts are to be called over, or spoken to discreetly by a player immediately. Any delay may affect the ruling
- If an incorrect rule interpretation or decision by a host or staff member is made in good faith, East Coast Poker has no liability
- A ruling may be made regarding a pot if it has been requested before the next deal starts. Otherwise, the result of a deal must stand
- If a pot has been incorrectly awarded and mingled with chips that were not in the pot, and the time limit for a ruling request given in the previous rule has been observed, management may determine how much was in the pot by reconstructing the betting, and then transfer that amount to the proper player
- If a decision by a tournament host or staff exceeds 5 minutes, and blinds have increased within this time, at the discretion of the tournament host, the table in question may play a hand using the previous blinds
General Poker Rules
Poker is played in hundreds of variations, but most follow the same basic pattern of play.
East Coast Poker tournament is a live competition in which 8 or less participants play Texas Hold'em Poker per table.
The right to deal each hand typically rotates among the players and is marked by a token called a button or buck. In a casino a house dealer handles the cards for each hand, but a button (typically a white plastic disk) is rotated among the players to indicate a nominal dealer to determine the order of betting.
For each hand, one or more players are required to make forced bets to create an initial stake for which the players will contest. The dealer shuffles the cards, he or another player cuts, and the appropriate number of cards are dealt to the players one at a time. After the initial deal, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins. Between rounds, the players' hands develop in some way, often by being dealt additional cards or replacing cards previously dealt. At the end of each round, all bets are gathered into the central pot.
At any time during a betting round, if a player makes a bet, opponents are required to match it or to surrender their cards and forfeit their interest in the pot. If one player bets and no opponents choose to match the bet, the deal ends immediately, the bettor is awarded the pot, no cards are required to be shown, and the next deal begins. The ability to win a pot without showing a hand makes bluffing possible. Bluffing is a primary feature of poker, one that distinguishes it from other vying games and from other games that make use of poker hand rankings.
"At the end of the last betting round, if more than one player remains, there is a showdown, in which the players reveal their previously hidden cards and evaluate their hands. The player with the best hand according to the poker variant being played wins the pot." - Wikipedia
- In button games, if it is discovered that the button was placed incorrectly on the previous hand, the button and blinds will be corrected for the new hand in a manner that gives every player one chance for each position on the round (if possible).
- You must protect your own hand at all times. Your cards may be protected with your hands, a chip, or other object placed on top of them. If you fail to protect your hand, you will have no redress if it becomes fouled or the dealer accidentally kills it.
- If a card with a different colour back appears during a hand, all action is void and all chips in the pot are returned to the respective bettors. If a card with a different colour back is discovered in the stub, all action stands.
- If two cards of the same rank and suit are found, all action is void, and all chips in the pot are returned to the players who wagered them (subject to next rule).
- A player who knows the deck is defective has an obligation to point this out.
- A card discovered face-up in the deck (boxed card) will be treated as a meaningless scrap of paper. A card being treated as a scrap of paper will be replaced by the next card below it in the deck, except when the next card has already been dealt facedown to another player and mixed in with other down-cards. In that case, the card that was face-up in the deck will be replaced after all other cards are dealt for that round.
- A joker that appears in a game where it is not used is treated as a scrap of paper. Discovery of a joker does not cause a misdeal. If the joker is discovered before a player acts on his or her hand, it is replaced as in the previous rule. If the player does not call attention to the joker before acting, then the player has a dead hand.
- If you play a hand without looking at all of your cards, you assume the liability of having an irregular card or an improper joker.
- One or more cards missing from the deck does not invalidate the results of a hand.
- Before the first round of betting, if a dealer deals one additional card, it is returned to the deck and used as the burn-card.
- Procedure for an exposed card varies with the poker form. A card that is flashed by a dealer is treated as an exposed card. A card that is flashed by a player will play. To obtain a ruling on whether a card was exposed and should be replaced, a player should announce that the card was flashed or exposed before looking at it. A down-card dealt off the table is an exposed card.
- If a card is exposed due to dealer error, a player does not have an option to take or reject the card. The situation will be governed by the rules for the particular game being played.
- If you drop any cards out of your hand onto the floor, you must still play them.
- If the dealer fails to burn a card or burns more than one card, the error should be corrected if discovered before betting action has started for that round. Once action has been taken on a board card, the card must stand. Whether the error is able to be corrected or not, subsequent cards dealt should be those that would have come if no error had occurred. For example, if two cards were burned, one of the cards should be put back on the deck and used for the burn card on the next round. On the last round, if there was no betting because a player was all-in, the error should be corrected if discovered before the pot has been awarded, provided the deck stub, board cards, and burn cards are all sufficiently intact to determine the proper replacement card.
- If the dealer prematurely deals any cards before the betting is complete, those cards will not play, even if a player who has not acted decides to fold.
- If the deck stub gets fouled for some reason, such as the dealer believing the deal is over and dropping the deck, the deal must still be played out, and the deck reconstituted in as fair a way as possible.
Button & Blind Use
In button games, a non-playing dealer normally does the actual dealing. A round disk called the button is used to indicate which player has the dealer position. The player with the button is last to receive cards on the initial deal and has the right of last action after the first betting round.
The button moves clockwise after a deal ends to rotate the advantage of last action. One or more blind bets are usually used to stimulate action and initiate play. Blinds are posted before the players look at their cards. Blinds are part of a player's bet (unless a certain structure or situation specifies otherwise). A blind other than the big blind may be treated as dead (not part of the poster's bet) in some structures, as when a special additional "dead blind" for the collection is specified by a tournament's procedure. With two blinds, the small blind is posted by the first player clockwise from the button, and the big blind is posted by the player two positions clockwise from the button. With more than two blinds, the smallest blind is normally left of the button (not on it). Action is initiated on the first betting round by the first player to the left of the blinds. On all subsequent betting rounds, the action begins with the first active player to the left of the button.
Rules for Button & Blind use include:
- The minimum bring-in and allowable raise sizes for the opener are specified by the poker form used and blind amounts set for a game. They remain the same even when the player in the blind does not have enough chips to post the full amount.
- Each round every player must get an opportunity for the button, and meet the total amount of the blind obligations. Either of the following methods of button and blind placement may be designated to do this:
- Moving button - The button always moves forward to the next player and the blinds adjust accordingly. There may be more than one big blind.
- Dead button - The big blind is posted by the player due for it, and the small blind and button are positioned accordingly, even if this means the small blind or the button is placed in front of an empty seat, giving the same player the privilege of last action on consecutive hands.
- A player posting a blind in the game's regular structure has the option of raising the pot at the first turn to act. Although chips posted by the big blind are considered a bet, this option to raise is retained if someone goes all-in with a wager of less than the minimum raise.
- In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button.
- A new player cannot be dealt in between the small blind and the button. You must wait until the button passes.
- When you post the big blind, it serves as your opening bet. When it is your next turn to act, you have the option to raise.
- A player who "deals off" (by playing the button and then immediately getting up to change seats) can allow the blinds to pass the new seat one time and enter the game behind the button without having to post a blind.
Betting & Raising
- Check-raise is permitted in most poker games.
- In no-limit and pot-limit games, unlimited raising is allowed.
- Any wager not all-in must be at least the size of the previous bet or raise in that round.
- The smallest chip that may be wagered in a game is the smallest chip used in the antes, blinds, rake, or collection. (Certain games may use a special rule that does not allow chips used only in house revenue to play.) Smaller chips than this do not play even in quantity, so a player wanting action on such chips must change them up between deals. If betting is in dollar units or greater, a fraction of a dollar does not play. A player going all-in must put all chips that play into the pot.
- A verbal statement denotes your action and is binding. If in turn you verbally declare a fold, check, bet, call, or raise, you are forced to take that action.
- Tapping the table with your hand is a pass.
- Deliberately acting out of turn will not be tolerated. A player who checks out of turn may not bet or raise on the next turn to act. An action or verbal declaration out of turn may be ruled binding if there is no bet, call, or raise by an intervening player acting after the infraction has been committed. A player who has called out of turn may not change his wager to a raise under any circumstances.
- To retain the right to act, a player must stop the action by calling "time" (or an equivalent word). Failure to stop the action before three or more players have acted behind you may cause you to lose the right to act. You cannot forfeit your right to act if any player in front of you has not acted, only if you fail to act when it legally becomes your turn. Therefore, if you wait for someone whose turn comes before you, and three or more players act behind you, this still does not hinder your right to act.
- In most poker games, if you make a forward motion with chips and thus cause another player to act, you may be forced to complete your action.
- A player who bets or calls by releasing chips into the pot is bound by that action and must make the amount of the wager correct. (This also applies right before the showdown when putting chips into the pot causes the opponent to show the winning hand before the full amount needed to call has been put into the pot.) However, if you are unaware that the pot has been raised, you may withdraw that chips and reconsider your action, provided that no one else has acted after you.
- String raises are not allowed. To protect your right to raise, you should either declare your intention verbally or place the proper amount of chips into the pot. Putting a full bet plus a half-bet or more into the pot is considered to be the same as announcing a raise, and the raise must be completed. (This does not apply in the use of a single chip of greater value.)
- If you put a single chip in the pot that is larger than the bet, but do not announce a raise, you are assumed to have only called. Example: In a $3-$6 game, when a player bets $6 and the next player puts a $25 chip in the pot without saying anything, that player has merely called the $6 bet.
- All wagers and calls of an improperly low amount must be brought up to proper size if the error is discovered before the betting round has been completed. This includes actions such as betting a lower amount than the minimum bring-in (other than going all-in) and betting the lower limit on an upper limit betting round. If a wager is supposed to be made in a rounded off amount, is not, and must be corrected, it shall be changed to the proper amount nearest in size. No one who has acted may change a call to a raise because the wager size has been changed.
- To win any part of a pot, a player must show all of his cards face-up on the table, whether they were used in the final hand played or not.
- Cards speak (cards read for themselves). The dealer assists in reading hands, but players are responsible for holding onto their cards until the winner is declared. Although verbal declarations as to the contents of a hand are not binding, deliberately miscalling a hand with the intent of causing another player to discard a winning hand is unethical and may result in forfeiture of the pot.
- Any player, dealer, or tournament host or staff who sees an incorrect amount of chips put into the pot, or an error about to be made in awarding a pot, has an ethical obligation to point out the error. Please help keep mistakes of this nature to a minimum.
- All losing hands will be killed by the dealer before a pot is awarded.
- Any player who has been dealt in may request to see any hand that was eligible to participate in the showdown, even if the opponent's hand or the winning hand has been mucked. However, this is a privilege that may be revoked if abused. If a player other than the pot winner asks to see a hand that has been folded, that hand is dead. If the winning player asks to see a losing player's hand, both hands are live, and the best hand wins.
- Show one, show all. Players are entitled to receive equal access to information about the contents of another player's hand. After a deal, if cards are shown to another player, every player at the table has a right to see those cards. During a deal, cards that were shown to an active player who might have a further wagering decision on that betting round must immediately be shown to all the other players. If the player who saw the cards is not involved in the deal, or cannot use the information in wagering, the information should be withheld until the betting is over, so it does not affect the normal outcome of the deal. Cards shown to a person who has no more wagering decisions on that betting round, but might use the information on a later betting round, should be shown to the other players at the conclusion of that betting round. If only a portion of the hand has been shown, there is no requirement to show any of the unseen cards. The shown cards are treated as given in the preceding part of this rule.
- If there is a side pot, the winner of that pot should be decided before the main pot is awarded. If there are multiple side pots, they are decided and awarded by having the pot with the players starting the deal with the greatest number of chips settled first, and so forth.
- If everyone checks (or is all-in) on the final betting round, the player who acted first is the first to show the hand. If there is wagering on the final betting round, the last player to take aggressive action by a bet or raise is the first to show the hand. In order to speed up the game, a player holding a probable winner is encouraged to show the hand without delay. If there are one or more side pots (because someone is all-in), players are asked to aid in determining the pot winner by not showing their cards until a pot they are in is being settled.
Ties & Split-Pots
- The ranking of suits from highest to lowest is spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs. Suits never break a tie for winning a pot. Suits are used to break a tie between cards of the same rank (no re-deal or redraw).
NB: East Coast Poker will not be using suit rankings to award winners. All suits will be of equal ranking in our tournaments.
- Dealing a card to each player is used to determine things like who moves to another table. If the cards are dealt, the order is clockwise starting with position 1 on the table (the button position is irrelevant). Drawing a card is used to determine things like who gets the button in a new game, or moving of players.
- An odd chip will be broken down to the smallest unit used in the game.
- No player may receive more than one odd chip.
- If two or more hands tie, an odd chip will be awarded as follows:
(a) In a button game, the first hand clockwise from the button gets the odd chip.
(b) All side pots and the main pot will be split as separate pots, not mixed together.
The following general rules apply to evaluating poker hands, whatever set of hand values are used:
- Individual cards are ranked A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A (low).
- Individual card ranks are often used to evaluate hands that contain no pairs or other special combinations, or to rank the kickers of otherwise equal hands. The Ace is ranked low in ace-to-five and ace-to-six lowball games.
- Suits have no value.
- The suits of the cards are mainly used in determining whether a hand fits a certain category (specifically the Flush and Straight flush hands). In most variants, if two players have hands that are identical except for suit, then they are tied and split the pot. Sometimes a ranking called high card by suit is used for randomly selecting a player to deal.
- A hand always consists of five cards.
- In games where more than five cards are available to each player, hands are ranked by choosing some five-card subset according to the rules of the game, and comparing that five-card hand against the five-card hands of the other players. Whatever cards remain after choosing the five to be played are of no consequence in determining the winner. (For example, when comparing identical full houses, there are no "kickers".)
- Hands are ranked first by category, then by individual card ranks.
- That is, even the minimum qualifying hand in a certain category defeats all hands in all lower categories. The smallest Two pair hand, for example, defeats all hands with just One pair or No pair. Only between two hands in the same category are card ranks used to break ties. The highest single card in each flush or straight is used to break ties (the Ace-through-five straight is the lowest straight, the Ace being a low card in this context). Within two x two pair hands, the higher pairs are first compared. If they tie, then the secondary pairs are compared, and then finally the kicker.
For ease of explanation, hands are shown here neatly arranged, but a poker hand has the same value no matter what order the cards are received in. - Wikipedia
The five highest cards, the 10 through the Ace, all five of the same suit. A royal flush is actually an ace-high straight flush. Which suit it is doesn't matter in poker. Two people with royal flushes would tie.
Any five cards of the same suit in consecutive numerical order. This example shows a five-high straight flush.
Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same denomination. This example shows four jacks with a deuce kicker.
Any three cards of the same denomination, plus any pair of a different denomination. Ties are broken first by the three of a kind, then the pair. This example shows sevens full of threes.
Any five non-consecutive cards of the same suit. This example shows a queen-high diamond flush.
Any five consecutive cards of mixed suits. Ace can be high or low. This example shows a six-to-ten straight.
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same denomination. This example displays three of a kind, fours.
Any two cards of the same denomination, plus any other two cards of the same denomination. If both hands have the same high pair, the second pair wins. If both pairs tie, the high card wins. This example shows two pair, eights and fives.
Any two cards of the same denomination. This example displays a pair of nines. In a tie, the high card wins.
If no other hand is achieved, the highest card held wins. This example, the king of hearts is the high card.
Play begins with each player being dealt two cards face down. These cards are the player's hole or pocket cards. These are the only cards each player will receive individually, and they will only (possibly) be revealed at the showdown, making Texas hold'em a closed poker game. The hand begins with a "pre-flop" betting round, beginning with the player to the left of the big blind (or the player to the left of the dealer, if no blinds are used) and continuing clockwise.
After the pre-flop betting round, assuming there remains at least two players taking part in the hand, the dealer deals a flop, three face-up community cards. The flop is followed by a second betting round. This and all subsequent betting rounds begin with the player to the dealer's left and continue clockwise.
After the flop betting round ends a single community card (called the turn or fourth street) is dealt, followed by a third betting round. A single community card (called the river or fifth street) is dealt, followed by a fourth betting round and the showdown, if necessary.
If a player bets and all other players fold, then the remaining player is awarded the pot and is not required to show his pocket cards. If two or more players remain after the final betting round, a showdown occurs. On the showdown, each player plays the best five-card hand he can make from the seven cards comprising his two pocket cards and the board (the five community cards). A player may use both of his own two pocket cards, only one, or none at all, to form his final five-card hand. If the five community cards form the player's best hand, then the player is said to be playing the board and can only hope to split the pot, since the other player can also use the same five cards to construct the same hand.
If the best hand is shared by more than one player (e.g. if no player is able to beat the board), then the pot is split equally amongst all remaining players, with any extra chips going to the person closest to the button in clockwise order. However, it is common for players to have closely-valued, but not identically ranked hands. In particular, kickers are often needed to break ties. Nevertheless, one must be careful in determining the best hand. The goal is to make the best five-card hand; if the hand involves fewer than five cards, such as two pair or three of a kind, then kickers are used to settle ties. Straights sometimes split the pot.
Texas Hold'em is normally played using small and big blind bets. A dealer button is used to represent the player in the dealer position; the dealer button rotates clockwise after each hand, changing the position of the dealer and blinds. The small blind is posted by the player to the left of the dealer and is usually equal to half of the big blind. The big blind, posted by the player to the left of the small blind, is equal to the minimum bet. In tournament poker, the blind structure periodically increases as the tournament progresses.
The three most common variations of Texas Hold'em are Limit Hold 'em, No-limit Hold'em and Pot-limit Hold'em. East Coast Poker hold No-limit Hold 'em tournaments, which is the form most commonly found in televised tournament poker and is the game played in the main event of the World Series of Poker. In No-limit Hold'em, players may bet or raise any amount over the minimum raise up to all of chips the player has at the table (called an all-in bet).
- The two players to the left of the dealer put out blind bets. The player directly to the dealer's left puts out the small blind while the player two to the dealer's left puts out the big blind.
- Every player is dealt two cards, face down. These are called hole or pocket cards.
- The action, or the first move, falls on the player to the left of the big blind. They can call the bet, raise it, or fold their cards. Betting continues around the table, clockwise.
- After the betting is completed, three cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table, which is referred to as the board. The first three cards in Texas Hold'em are called the flop. These cards are "community cards" meaning everyone can (and will) use them in combination with their own pocket cards to make the best hand.
- From the flop on, betting begins with the player to the dealer's left, who can check or bet.
- A fourth card is dealt face up onto the board. This is called fourth street or the turn card.
- Another round of betting.
- The final card is dealt face up. This card is called fifth street or the river.
- A final round of betting occurs. The remaining players show their cards and the person who can make the best five-card hand by combining their pocket cards with the cards on the board wins.
Note: In some rare cases in Texas Hold'em, the five cards making up the board will actually be the best hand, in which case everyone left in the hand divides up the pot.
Rules & Irregularities
- If the first or second pocket card dealt is exposed, a misdeal results. The dealer will retrieve the card, reshuffle, and recut the cards. If any other pocket card is exposed due to a dealer error, the deal continues. The exposed card may not be kept. After completing the hand, the dealer replaces the card with the top card on the deck, and the exposed card is then used for the burn card. If more than one pocket card is exposed, this is a misdeal and there must be a re-deal.
- If the dealer mistakenly deals the first player an extra card (after all players have received their starting hands), the card will be returned to the deck and used for the burn card. If the dealer mistakenly deals more than one extra card, it is a misdeal.
- If the flop contains too many cards, it must be re-dealt. (This applies even if it were possible to know which card was the extra one.)
- If before dealing the flop, the dealer failed to burn a card, or burned two cards, the error should be rectified by using the proper burn card and flop, if no board cards were exposed. The deck must be reshuffled if any board cards were exposed.
- If the dealer fails to burn a card or burns more than one card, the error should be corrected if discovered before betting action has started for that round. Once action has been taken on a board card, the card must stand. Whether the error is able to be corrected or not, subsequent cards dealt should be those that would have come if no error had occurred. For example, if two cards were burned, one of the cards should be put back on the deck and used for the burn card on the next round. If there was no betting on a round because a player was all-in, the error should be corrected if discovered before the pot has been awarded.
- If the dealer burns and turns before a betting round is complete, the card(s) may not be used, even if all subsequent players elect to fold. Nobody has an option of accepting or rejecting the card. The betting is then completed, and the error rectified in the prescribed manner for that situation.
- If the flop needs to be re-dealt for any reason, the board cards are mixed with the remainder of the deck. The burn card remains on the table. After shuffling, the dealer cuts the deck and deals a new flop without burning a card.
- A dealing error for the fourth board card is rectified in a manner to least influence the identity of the board cards that would have been used without the error. The dealer burns and deals what would have been the fifth card in the fourth card's place. After this round of betting, the dealer reshuffles the deck, including the card that was taken out of play, but not including the burn cards or discards. The dealer then cuts the deck and deals the final card without burning a card. If the fifth card is turned up prematurely, the deck is reshuffled and dealt in the same manner.
- You must declare that you are playing the board before you throw your cards away. Otherwise, you relinquish all claim to the pot.
How to Make a Hand
The players must combine their pocket cards with the community cards to make the best possible 5-card poker hand. It is possible to use both pocket cards, one pocket card or no pocket card (play the board), in an effort to make a hand.