Texas Holdem is currently "the" game to play in the poker world. The rules are fairly simple and so with relatively little information even the newest of players can win a pot or two.
The game works as follows:
Each player is deal 2 cards face down. Then there's a round of betting where you can either fold (cast out) your cards believing that they are not good enough to win, calling which means placing the appropriate minimum bet into the pot, or raising if you think your hand has a good chance of winning. Once everyone at the table has bet the dealer will place 3 cards face up in the middle of the table. These cards are called "the flop" and are the first of 5 community cards that all players will be able to use in combination with their original cards to make the best possible hand.
Once the flop is shown, there is another round of betting where some players will fold because the flop has meant their hand is not as strong as they thought it was, and others will raise as they'll now have a better hand than they were originally dealt with. Again, there's always the possibility to "check" which at this stage means you do not need to place any more money into the pot, but as with the first round of betting, this is only possible if no-one else at the table has during this round of betting. If someone has raised, then you will need to either fold your hand or "call" which means matching the amount of money placed by the person who raised – or you could raise again if you're confident that your hand is best.
When betting is completed, then the 4th card, known as "the turn" is placed face up on the table, followed by another round of betting as in the one following the flop. Finally the 5th card, "the river" is deal face up by the dealer followed by a final round of betting. Once the bets are complete, whoever is still left in the game turns over their cards and the winning hand gets all the money in the pot.
One of the most important things to learn in how to play Texas Holdem is which hand out racks another from a 3 high to a royal flush, so in order from least to best the hands are:
Single Card High – you have no pair, no nothing, but you have the highest card of the players left in the game. It's not unheard of to win with a King or Ace high.
One Pair – a pair of anything, but highest pair wins the hand – your pair of 8s wins over my pair of 4s.
Two Pair – 2 pairs, that could have paired up your clearance (hole) cards with 2 of the community cards, or if you already have a pair, you could make 2 pair if a pair is deal in the community cards.
Three of a Kind – also known as a set or trips, you could have 1 or 2 of them in your hand and the others are in the community cards – remember that if you only have 1, it's possible someone else also has one in which case the other card in your hand (the kicker) will have to be higher than the ones in order for you to win.
Straight – 5 cards in consecutive numerical order of any suit. If there's more than one person with a straight, then the person who has the highest straight wins – but if both straights are the same, then the pot is split between the players who have the straights.
Flush – 5 cards of the same suit. Simple as that. If more than one person has a flush in any one hand however, it's the person with the highest ranking flush card that takes home the pot – my Ace high flush will win over your 9 high flush.
Full House – If you get a pair, plus a set – that's 2 of one card and 3 of another, that's a full house. It's a pretty good hand!
Four of Kind – also known as quads – unless there's a straight flush possibility, or someone else who has a higher set of 4, you are guaranteed to win with this hand.
Straight Flush – 5 consigned numbered cards of the same suit.
Royal Flush – this is also a straight flush, but it's as high as it gets (10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace qualified) – get this, and you bought to take home the money!
In simple terms Texas Holdem is a poker game where you make the best hand you can from up to 7 cards available – 2 you are dealt with, plus 5 community cards available for use by all players.