How To Play Texas Hold'em Poker 2024

If you want to learn how to play Texas Hold'em and find the best online casinos in Ireland to play poker, then you have come to the right place. In this article, you'll learn all about the aim of this casino game and the basic rules, hands and strategies you need to ace to achieve your first online poker success. 

While Texas Hold'em is a simple game, it can be overwhelming if you're a beginner. Keep on reading to learn more!

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According to our Editorial Guide
This page is written by
Dermot Heathcote
Dermot HeathcoteOnline Casino Specialist
Fact checked by
Rebecca Mackay
Rebecca MackayHead of Content

Play Texas Hold'em For Free

Before we get down to business, it's important to understand the value of free games. In many casino sites, you can play various games, including Texas Hold'em, for free before you bet any real money on the game. The free version of any game will help you practice your strategies and make a plan so that you limit things going south. 

Here at IrishLuck, you can free-play Texas Hold'em in demo mode at any of our recommended casinos.

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What is Texas Hold'em?

Texas Hold'em is one of the world's most popular card games so most online casinos will have this version of poker in their games lobby. The game uses a standard 52-card deck, starting by shuffling all the cards. 

The dealer starts the game by handing everyone two 'hole' cards, face-down. This is followed by the possibility of receiving up to three rounds of 'community' cards, dealt face-up so that all players can see. 

Betting can now begin. 

Using a combination of 'hole' and 'community cards', the player with the best hand is the winner and wins the pot. Learning how to play Texas Hold'em is not a difficult task. Its simplicity and friendly game rules and gameplay attract many gamblers to this version of poker. However, do not let this simplicity fool you! 

The game features many possible situations and combinations that can make the game complex at higher levels. If you are considering playing Texas Hold'em for the first time, it is advisable to start grasping the basic rules first since they are essential for gameplay. Then, you can take a look at strategies to perfect your skills. We'll explore all this and more in this guide. 

Rules of the Game

The aim of the game is to make the finest five-card poker hand possible with your 'hole' cards and 'community' cards. While Hold'em is comparable to other poker variants, such as Five-Card Draw, players will build their hands a little differently in this version of online poker. 

  • The game starts with each player receiving two face-down cards, the 'hole' cards. 
  • During many betting rounds, five more cards are dealt face-up at the centre of the table. We refer to these face-up cards as 'community' cards. 
  • Every player can construct a five-card poker hand by combining their 'hole' cards with the 'community' cards.

Although every betting round and step that makes up a complete Texas Hold'em hand will be demonstrated, you should be aware that the five community cards are dealt in three stages:

  • The Flop: the initial three community cards
  • The Turn: the fourth community card
  • The River: The final community card

You must make out your five-card poker hands using the best five cards available from the seven total cards—your two 'hole' cards and the five 'community' cards.

You can accomplish your ideal hand by combining one hole card and four 'community' cards or both of your 'hole' cards combined with three 'community' cards or none. It is also possible to play all five 'community' cards and disregard your own if the cards on the table make a stronger combination. In a Texas Hold'em game, you can use any strategy to get the best five-card hand possible. 

Three card poker 1

In the event that every player folds because of the betting, the last player standing wins the pot without revealing their cards. Players don't always need the greatest hand to win the pot. A player can always attempt to 'bluff' and force other players to fold better hands.

After all betting has been completed and the final 'community' card is dealt, the only chance for two or more players to win the pot is to have the best five-card poker hand.

Now that you are familiar with the fundamentals of Texas Hold'em, it's time to go into the specifics to start understanding how the game functions.

Roles in Texas Hold'em

There are three types of roles in Texas Hold'em that will rotate clockwise after each round:  

The Dealer / The Button

The dealer position, the person with the highest card in the game, must be selected before the game begins. This is accomplished by giving each player a card from a shuffled deck. The player will cut the cards clockwise once the dealer has shuffled. Before the hand begins, the acting dealer is given a physical button known as the dealer button; for this reason, he is called the 'Button.'

The Blinds

These forced bets allow wagering to begin; otherwise, participants would wait for a favourable hand. The blinds ensure that "action" comes from every player and on every hand. When you play tournaments, the blinds increase at regular intervals. The blinds in a cash game remain constant.

The blinds (similar to the ante in other poker variations) are divided into two categories: Left/Big and Right/Small.

The Right/Small Blind 

The player is seated clockwise from the dealer; he will place the first bet to begin the game.

The Left/Big Blind

This player is seated clockwise from the Right Blind. They must place at least half of their money on the Left Blind.

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The Pre-flop: First Betting Round

The first betting round begins immediately after each player is handed two 'hole' cards. The player to the left of the big blind is the first to take action. This is known as the 'under the gun' position since the player must act first. The first player has three possibilities:

  • Call: match the number of the big blind

  • Raise: increase the bet within the particular limits of the game

  • Fold: throw the hand away

If the player decides to fold, he or she exits the game and is no longer eligible to win the current hand. The maximum amount a player can increase depends on the game being played.

A rise in fixed-limit hold'em (or simply "limit hold'em") is always exactly twice the big blind. Pot-limit hold'em (which is played much less frequently than the other versions) allows players to bet anything from the large blind (the smallest bet allowed) up to the total amount in the current pot.

After the first player ('under the gun') acts, the action moves clockwise around the table, with each player having the same three options: call, raise, or fold.

The preflop round is over once the last bet is called and the action is 'closed,' and play continues on to the 'flop'.

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The Flop: Second Betting Round

Following the completion of the first preflop betting round, the first three 'community' cards are dealt, followed by a second betting round including just the players who have not already folded.

The action in this betting round (and the following ones) begins with the first active player to the left of the button. 

Along with the options to bet, call, fold, or raise, a player can now 'check' if no betting action has occurred previously. A check merely signifies that the action is passed on to the next player in the hand. Again, betting continues until the last bet or raise is called (which ends the action).

It is also possible that every player chooses not to be present and checks around the table, effectively ending the betting round.

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The Turn: Third Betting Round

Following all betting action on the flop, the fourth 'community' card, the turn, is dealt face-up. After that, another round of betting takes place, similar to the previous street of play. Players might check, bet, call, fold, or raise once more.

The River: Final Betting Round

Following all betting action on the turn, the fifth 'community' card, known as the river, is dealt face-up. After that, another round of betting occurs, similar to what happened on the preceding street of play.

Once again, the remaining players can check, bet, call, fold, or raise.

The Showdown

The remaining players reveal their hole cards, and a winning hand is established with the dealer's help. According to the official poker hand rankings, the player with the greatest five-card combination wins the jackpot.

The Different Hands in Texas Hold'em

These hand rankings aren't particular to Texas Hold'em, but they apply to many other variations of poker games.

Royal Flush

This is the most coveted hand, consisting of the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten of the same suit. If played right, this hand is guaranteed a win.

Straight Flush

A powerful hand consisting of five consecutive cards of the same suit offers a strong chance of victory.

Four of a Kind 

It is a rare and formidable combination of four cards of the same rank. 

Full House 

A strong hand comprises three cards of one rank and a pair of cards of another rank. 


A solid hand where all five cards are of the same suit, offering a competitive chance of winning, especially if the highest card in the Flush is strong.


A hand consisting of five consecutive cards of any suit, making it a valuable hand with the potential for a strong win if played strategically.


This hand consists of three cards that are in the same rank.

Two Pair 

Consists of two sets of pairs, making it a respectable hand with decent winning potential in the game.

One Pair 

A modest combination comprising two cards of the same rank, offering a chance to win if complemented by the right 'community' cards and strategy.

High Card

This is the weakest possible hand, relying solely on the highest-ranked card in the player's hand. This hand typically requires a favourable flop and strong strategic play to secure a win.

How To Play Texas Hold'em Online

Now that you understand how Texas Hold'em works, it's time to put your knowledge into action and play your first games. The ideal approach to getting started with Texas Hold'em is to start with the free poker games accessible online and then go to the real money action only when you feel comfortable.

Most top poker sites have designated 'poker rooms', allowing you to practice your poker game skills for free. You should start with play money if you are brand new to the game. These risk-free games with fictitious money are a fantastic way to become acquainted with the various play and betting rounds stages.

Playing money games is an excellent way to learn more about hand rankings and to develop the ability to read the board quickly enough to make all the appropriate decisions at the right moment.

Following that, you should devote more time to playing poker freerolls. These are free tournaments featuring real-world poker tour prizes ranging from free money to free entry into more expensive real-world games.

Three card poker 2

Texas Hold'em Strategy

After getting through all the information and rules of the game, Texas Hold'em may be learned in a couple of rounds. There are a few key elements to note in terms of strategy:

  • The two hole cards you are dealt are all that distinguishes you from your opponent.
  • The community cards, which are always face up, are essential for figuring out what your opponents are up to. As a result, examine them not only in terms of their importance to you but also in terms of their consequences on the other players.
  • The majority of your strategic choices will be focused on your two-hole cards.
  • Don't squander your money chasing losses.
  • Just be patient if you experience a string of bad luck. Things will improve.
  • Don't be hesitant to cut your losses if you see a flip.

IrishLuck's Expert Opinion

Texas Hold'em has been my go-to card game for years, and there's something uniquely thrilling about it keeps me, and so many other people, coming back for more. The game is a perfect blend of strategy, psychology, and chance. Whether I'm holding a pair of aces or scraping by with a high card, the possibilities are endless, and that's what makes Texas Hold'em such an intriguing game.

But it's not just about the cards; it's also about reading my opponents. The way they bet, their expressions, and their tendencies all provide vital clues. Bluffing is an art in itself, and when executed perfectly, it can turn the tide of a game in your favour. 

When played responsibly, Texas Hold'em can teach anyone patience, observation, and the importance of calculated risks.

Why You Should Trust IrishLuck 

The protocol at IrishLuck is to conduct considerable research. As seasoned casino and sportsbook content professionals, it is my and the team's responsibility to earn the trust of players and readers by offering well-researched information. 

When doing such reviews, the staff adheres to precise rating rules. These rating requirements include checking for licensing, terms and conditions, and more. Before publishing, everything and anything is taken into account.


Why is Texas Hold'em popular? 

Texas Hold'em is popular because it combines skill and strategy with an element of chance, making it accessible to beginners and experienced players. Additionally, its prominence in televised poker tournaments and its social aspect of playing with friends or at casinos have contributed to its widespread popularity. 

What is the best card to start with in poker? 

The best card to start with in poker often depends on various factors, including your position and playing style. However, a pair of aces is widely regarded as the best-starting hand in Texas Hold'em and many other poker variants.

Is Texas Hold'em more luck or skill? 

Texas Hold'em is a game that combines both luck and skill. While luck plays a significant role in the cards you are dealt, skill comes into play in managing those cards, making strategic decisions, and reading your opponents, ultimately influencing the game's outcome.

How long does a game of Texas Hold'em take? 

This can vary widely depending on factors such as the number of players, the betting structure, and the speed of play. A typical poker session at a casino or home game might last 1 to 3 hours, while a larger tournament can extend over several days.

Is Texas Hold'em better than blackjack? 

This all depends on personal preferences and the type of gambling experience you seek. Texas Hold'em offers a social and strategic element where you compete against other players, while blackjack is a faster-paced game against the dealer with more straightforward rules. It ultimately comes down to individual tastes.

Casino Expert

Online casino expert of 9 years. Dermot provides quality and in-depth online casino reviews for Irish casino enthusiasts and the latest iGaming industry news. One of his best works, our ...continue reading

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