Learning Texas Holdem: A Beginners' Guide

Dennis  «Dennis_Stets» 
20 Feb 2024
Holdem Poker Basics
20 Feb 2024

Nowadays there is a huge number of opportunities to get to the poker table. But the competition among players has increased more than ever. The reason lies in the fact that beginners in 99% of cases begin their acquaintance with poker with this discipline and rarely anyone radically changes their preferences. In this article we'll provide comprehensive information for those who want to learn Texas Holdem with ease. First of all, in the next paragraph we’ll start with its’ a historical background.

Origin Story of the game

Texas Hold'em is the #1 most popular card game in the world. Where, when and under what circumstances this particular type of poker originated, hardly anyone can say. Even the global site Google keeps quiet about the exact date. We can only rely on a number of historical facts that took place. It is generally believed that the first game was held in the early 1900s in the town of Robstown, Texas.

In 1925, the game of Holdem found its roots in Dallas.

However, it wasn't until the latter half of the 20th century that it gained prominence in the renowned gambling hub of Las Vegas, culminating in the inaugural World Championship held in 1970. The rules of Holdem evolved as a fusion of various popular poker variations prevalent at that time.

The widespread American fascination with Holdem played a big role in shaping key milestones in the game's development. Before we move on to learning Texas Holdem rules, let's delve into some of the significant moments of its brief history.

Timeline of events

Now let’s take a look at chronology of the events:

  • 1900-1920’s: somewhere in this time period, the first game was played, which was destined to become the most famous game on the planet, the "Cadillac of poker", as it is fondly called in its homeland.
  • 1967: poker fever swept across Texas, and Holdem became crowded in his home state. Americans started playing card games in Las Vegas, where it was delivered by a group of local gamblers. Among them were figures like Crandall Eddington, Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim.
  • 1968: Holiday Hotel and Casino owner Tom Moore organized the first live tournament called The Texas Gamblers. It was won by Crandell Eddington.
  • 1970: Benny Binion organized the first ever official poker championship called the World Series of Poker. At that time only seven people participated in the tournament. The winner was Johnny Moss, who won the title of World Series of Poker Champion.
  • 1975: The 6th season of WSOP attracted more than twenty people. The tournament was won by Brian Roberts, who received $210,000 for his first place finish.
  • 1978: For the first time in history, a player openly admitted that he won more than a million dollars playing for money. The name of this guy was Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson — of course you’ve heard of him. The same year revolutionized the world of poker by publishing his work "Super System", in which he shared his understanding of the different types of game, including Holdem and Stud.

In fact, it was with the publication of Brunson's book that poker ceased to be just a game and began to be seen as an alternative and quite profitable way of earning money. The first poker pro's appeared, and poker schools began to open, where people were taught how to earn money from the card game.

A new round of history began with the invention of the World Wide Web and access to it by the general public. Holdem acquired a twin — an online version of itself. It is hard to say whether this is good or bad, because poker is first of all psychology, and therefore implies the presence of a real opponent. But nevertheless, the appearance of Holdem and other variations on the Internet is the newest history of the game.

With the development of technology, poker online has become more accessible, and therefore, immediately acquired a huge number of fans. It is not surprising — you can download the application and start playing online for free. Poker always gives a lot of new opportunities — it’s only important to know how to use them wisely. What else beginners need to know at first, we will tell you in the following sections.

Texas Holdem tutorial — poker variations

As the name implies, this type of Holdem does not set any limits. On the one hand, it gives a chance to win an unlimited amount of money. But on the other hand — it can be a similar amount to lose. In no-limit cash games, the psychological component of poker plays an important role.

In each new game you will have to deal with new opponents, which means that it is impossible to study this type thoroughly.

Unlimited cash games are very popular, however, it is not the best choice for a beginner.

First of all, the lack of a limit may not be affordable. Secondly, in case of a serious loss (and it is quite real here) a player may lose the desire to return to the table at all. The lack of theoretical base also makes it difficult for beginners to master this type of poker.

In order to get used to the rules of Hold'em, we recommend that you spend some time playing at the free chip tables. Good news is that most online rooms offer this option. However, you should not stay long in such a game, because here you are just playing for fun. With this kind of approach you can acquire many bad habits that will prevent you from playing for real money.

Speaking about Limit Holdem, it has become rather an entertainment for a narrow circle of gamblers.

Now professionals turn to Limit Holdem less and less often. Is Limit suitable for a beginner? In principle, not so much. The thing is that the majority of Limit Hold'em players have a relatively high level of professionalism. This type is not for those people who just started learning to play Texas Hold ‘em.

Firstly, because of the fact that Limit Holdem was once extremely popular, you can find a huge amount of educational literature online. Secondly, the psychological side of the game is not so important. Here it’s much easier to understand math than psychology. In Limit, players can rely on a basic knowledge of mathematical calculations.

There are varieties of the same Holdem which differ among themselves by betting limits:

  1. Fixed Limit. In all rounds of betting, the bets have a set limit.
  2. Unlimited. You can bet any number of chips, or you can put all chips (all-in).
  3. Pot Limit. The maximum bet is limited to the amount that is already in the pot.
  4. Mixed. Betting limits change periodically (for example, from no-limit to pot-limit or vice versa).

It's necessary to study the rules at the very beginning of the game, as well as to place photos of card combinations in front of your eyes. This will give you the basis for a professional game.

Betting rounds

First thing to remember when you learn how to play Texas Holdem, is that every stage of the game has one or multiple rounds of betting. Each participant can bet or fold cards, bet nothing (check), or level the bet (raise).

All these actions are similar in each stage.

For example, if someone makes a bet, you must support it, otherwise you will have to fold and be eliminated from the current round. If a poker player has bet all chips (all-in), he has no right to bet any more. If he has leveled up, the game will continue only for those who still have chips to raise. The one who bet all-in will just wait for the end of the round, or rather for the cards to be revealed.

Hold'em can be played in the following 5 stages:


The game begins with players being dealt two hole cards each — by live dealer or automatic system (in online rooms). They are not visible to the opponents, so they are also called pocket cards. Based on the seniority of the hands received, players begin to start the action.

The rules of Hold’em imply a certain order of moves: the bidding is opened by the player located to the left of the BB (big blind / SB goes for small blind), then the move is passed clockwise. The bets go into the pot, and the next round begins.


The Flop is the first three cards are dealt. They are placed face down and participate in building potential combinations. Starting from this round, the player sitting to the left of the button makes the first move. Betting opponents on the flop allows you to more accurately analyze the seniority of their hands and make informed decisions.


Another round of betting is made after the release of the fourth common card — turn. From now on, the players have 6 cards at their disposal (including their own and community cards), which can form combinations they need.


The river is the last common card and signals the beginning of the final stage of action. Here remaining players make a choice — to bet and continue participation in battle of the pot, or just fold their cards and wait for another round.


Players show cards and see who has the best hand. The winner takes the entire pot and the next poker hand begins.

As we mentioned, if the game ends in a showdown, the victory is awarded to the strongest of the collected combinations. Otherwise, the player who managed to stay in the game the longest win the pot. If the combinations of two players are the same, the winner is determined by a higher kicker card.

Let’s consider possible player actions again:

  • Bet — wager the chips;
  • Fold — surrender the pot;
  • Call — match the bet amount made before;
  • Check — facing no action;
  • Raise — increase the size of a previous bet.

Poker combinations

For beginners, it’s important not just to learn Texas Holdem poker rules, but also the card combinations. There are only ten of them. Immediately memorizing them is not an easy walk, so it is better to print and keep them in front of your eyes. Especially in the morning or while playing online. Later they will be stored in your memory. For convenience we have attached a clear picture of the hand rankings:

This is what the rules of poker online and card combinations look like. As we see, the main objective of the game is to collect the best five-card combination among the opponents. At first Holdem may seem a little complicated and confusing, but it is worth just a little insight into the essence, as the picture becomes clearer and understandable. 

Learning to play Texas Holdem is not easy walk

For beginners, the rules of Hold'em may seem to you simple or on the contrary — too complicated. In any case, in order to better understand the essence of this card game, you should try to play it, focusing on the above general rules. Obviously, if you are just taking your first steps in poker, the above knowledge is important to put into practice. For example, a week is enough to know all combinations, while the aspects of betting rounds and action may take 3-4 weeks. 

However, on average, one month of active play at the chosen online room will be enough to make you feel like a fish out of water. Also we recommend you do not start playing for real money immediately after you learn to play Texas Hold'em poker and will know how entire combinations work. There’s always a high risk to lose even in the first hands.

It’s way better to start with a free game for play chips or freerolls (tournaments with prize money). But if you want to save a lot of time, ask for help from a specialist — online poker coach. Probably now it's the best way to learn Texas Holdem. You can check full info about them and their services on our site.

Remember that studying the secrets of the game is easy, but putting them into practice is quite another thing.

Work on analytical thinking, constantly analyze everything that happens, behave carefully and be disciplined at the table. With more work you will definitely become a confident and successful player. In the end, enjoy the process and you will succeed in what you are doing!


Are trainers good for beginners?

Of course. On our training site there are specialists for players of different levels of skill. Also you can buy a separate course of how to learn Texas Holdem for beginners or even advanced players.

Should I use software when teaching poker game?

Even the pros use solvers and calculators to evaluate the hands they've played and identify mistakes.

How many bets should I start?

The minimum. It's like in a computer game — the bigger the stakes are, the harder the game is. We recommend you to mix practicing and studying, for example, with the help of Texas Hold Em tutorial.

Do the online rooms have a game for play chips?

Yes, but not in all of them. Usually there are several tables dedicated to this format of Holdem.

What are freerolls?

These are tournaments that do not require payment for participation and offer a prize pool in real money. Not a bad way to get a head — start on practicing.


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