How to Play No-Limit Hold’em

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Learn Texas Hold'em Online at Ignition Casino

Poker has existed in some form or another since medieval times. There have been many variations along the way: Ganjifa, As-Nas, brag, and poque for starters. Then came the games we’re more familiar with today: stud poker, lowball, and eventually, Texas Hold’em. This is the game just about everyone’s playing right now, specifically the no-limit version. It’s been this way ever since Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event at the 2003 World Series of Poker.

This is a very good time to jump on board. You might not be one of the very early adopters who was able to scoop up some of that “easy” money in the early days of the poker boom, but you’re just in time to catch the next wave of new players from Asia and South America. With a little know-how and some practice, you can become a winner at no-limit Hold’em – at least at the smaller stakes, which is where most people play. The higher the stakes, the more talent and know-how you need. So let’s get cracking with a quick introduction to No Limit Hold'em: the Cadillac of poker.


I Go Blind

Like most poker games, you start with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Before the action begins, two of the players are forced to throw some chips into the pot, to keep the game going. The big blind posts a certain amount, and the small blind posts a smaller amount, usually half. The size of the blinds corresponds to the stakes of the game; for a cash game (as opposed to a tournament), the blinds might be 1c/2c, or they might be $100/$200. The blinds move one seat to the left with every turn, so each player ends up contributing the same amount during one orbit of the table.

Then it’s time for the deal. Each player receives two cards, face down, and that’s followed by a round of betting. The player to the left of the big blind starts, and since this is no-limit Hold’em, she can bet anywhere between the size of the big blind and her entire stack. Or she can fold and wait for the next hand. Action continues clockwise around the table; if someone has already opened, other players can call, raise or fold, then it goes back to the original bettor, who can do the same. If someone raises at any point (including the original bettor’s open-raise), and everybody else folds, there’s your winner. Should nobody open the betting and the turn gets passed all the way to the big blind, that player takes the pot uncontested.

A Colossal Flop

If someone goes all-in during this preflop round and gets called, we go to showdown. The dealer lays out five community cards, face-up – the first three come out together as the flop, then the turn and the river are dealt individually. Whichever player makes the best five-card poker hand, using the community cards in addition to any (or none) of his own cards, wins the pot. If it’s a tie, the pot is split among the winners.

But what if nobody goes all-in? Then once the raising stops, it’s time for the next round. The flop is dealt, and another round of betting ensues. Still no winner or all-in? Lather, rinse and repeat with the turn and the river. Normal poker rankings apply, from the dreaded High Card all the way to the mighty Royal Flush. That’s no-limit Hold’em in a nutshell; to learn more, check out our strategy and news articles here at Ignition Poker, read the detailed game rules and FAQ, and try some play money games to get your feet wet. Everything after that is up to you.