Juan:'I understand the basic rules of poker, the player with the highest hand, the best five cards wins the game, but I am bit confused about the type of poker called Texas Hold'em. When I've played poker before with friends, each player had five private cards that only the player could see. But from what I've seen with Texas Hold'em, each player only has two private cards and there are five shared card in the middle of the table that are face up and all the players can use them to get the best hand/five cards.'
Peter:'Like any type of poker, the player with the best hand or five cards wins. With Texas Hold'em, the players use their two private cards and any three of the five shared cards (which are also called community cards) to make their hand/five cards. '
Juan:'So how do you play it?'
Peter:'With Texas Hold'em poker, each game starts with two of the players putting their chips/money into the pot before they are dealt their two cards and seeing if they have the possibility of having a good hand. This is called to start the pot.'
Juan:'It doesn't seem fair that the other players can see their cards before deciding if they want to play in the game and putting their chips/money into the pot.'
Peter:'It is fair because the players who have to make this blind bet (which is called 'blind' because they don't know how good their hand or cards could be) change every game. It rotates round all the players in a clockwise direction (the direction a clock moves) each game.'
Juan:'So, how do you know or remember whose turn it is to make the blind bets?'
Peter:'In a casino, there are three different plastic discs/buttons which are placed/put on the poker table in front of three different players sat next to each other (one button/disc placed in front of each player). These discs/buttons each move to the next player on the left at the start of every new game.
The first disc is called the dealer button (a white disc with the word 'dealer' written on it). By the way, the player with the dealer button doesn't deal the cards in a game in a casino, the dealer does. The player with this button goes last in each round.
The two players who sit to the left of the player with the dealer button are the ones who have to make the blind bets. The first player to the left of the player with the dealer button has a plastic disc/button called the small blind button (a purple disc with the word 'small blind' written on it) and the player sat to the left of him or her has a plastic disc/button called the big blind button (a yellow disc with the word 'big blind' written on it).'
Juan:'So, how much money do the two players making the blind bets have to put into the pot?'
Peter:'The big blind of a Texas Hold'em game is the minimum bet, which is the lowest amount of money that a player can put into the pot during any round of the poker game. The small blind is half of this minimum bet. So, if the minimum bet is $4, the player who has the big blind button has to put $4 into the pot and the player with the small blind button has to put $2 into the pot before they receive their cards.'
Juan:'So, what happens next?'
Peter:'The first round of the poker game starts when the blind bets are put into the pot. After the blind bets are given, all the players are given/dealt their two hole cards to look at by the dealer. These are the two private cards that the players receives face down and hide from the other players.'
Juan:'I didn't know they were called hole cards. So what is the name for the cards which are dealt face up in the the middle of the table which all the players can use? Are they called shared cards?'
Peter:'They can be called shared cards, but more commonly they are called community cards. Community cards are the cards which are dealt face up in the middle of the table and are used by all the players to make their hand (best 5 cards) in combination with their 2 private or hole cards at the end of the game.'
Juan:'One of the things that I don't understand about poker is how does the casino or online casino make money from poker. All the money/chips which are gambled in a poker game are won by one of the players. So how can a casino earn money from poker?'
Peter:'The casino do make money from poker games (they wouldn't do it if they didn't). They normally make money by taking a small percentage of the money/chips that have been gambled by all the players in each game. This is called the rake or the pot rake. The rake is normally between 5 and 10 percent of the pot (the total amount of money/chips which have been gambled in a game). So the winner's winnings will be total amount gambled in a game minus the rake the casino takes.'
Juan:'So, a rake is used in every type of casino poker game?'
Peter:'In most poker games, yes. But if you play in a poker tournament, the casino normally doesn't take a rake from each game. They often make their money by charging all the players an entrance fee at the beginning of the tournament. This is called a tournament fee and the amount a player has to pay to the casino depends on the type of tournament (the tournament fee can range from $5 to thousands of dollars).'