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No Limit Texas Holdem Rules

Page summary: A review of the rules of No Limit Texas Holdem. The strategies used for No Limit Texas Holdem.

No Limit Texas Holdem Rules - How to Play No Limit Texas Holdem

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No Limit Texas Holdem is the most popular poker format. Events such as the World Series of Poker have taken the poker world by storm with even places such as Wal-Mart selling Texas Holdem accessories today. Party Poker even advertised No Limit Texas Holdem during the Super Bowl. No Limit Texas Holdem is a game of skill and some luck but it puts players to the ultimate test. Are you willing to put all of your chips on the line for one hand? That pressure is seen frequently in the aggressive poker format of No Limit Texas Holdem.


The rules of No Limit Texas Holdem are fairly simple. One player will be assigned the dealer position and this position will rotate clockwise around the table after each hand concludes. The player that is the dealer is often referenced to as the button.

The small blind is the player to the left of the dealer with the big blind sitting immediately to the left of the small blind. The small blind is half the size of the big blind. The next player to the left is often referred to as under the gun. This player is under the gun because he is first to act once the cards are dealt.

Once the blinds have been posted, the dealer will deal each player two hole cards. Hole cards means that the cards are face down and only to be viewed by the player they belong to. The first betting round will begin with the player under the gun.

After the first round of betting, the dealer will burn a card and deal the flop. The flop is three community cards that are shared by all of the players in the hand. There is a second betting round and the dealer burns another card and deals one more community card. This is called the turn.

There is a third betting round and a the river is dealt. The river is the fifth and final community card. There is one more betting round after the river and the hand is over. The hand either results in all of the players folding leaving one player or the hand goes to a showdown. The showdown reveals the hands and the dealer determines the winner.

Hand Ranking

No Limit Texas Holdem uses the standard poker hand ranking. However, if you are unfamiliar with this ranking system, it is as follows:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four Of A Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three Of A Kind
  • Two Pair
  • Pair
  • No Pair - High Card Hand


In No Limit Texas Holdem, the rules are simple but the strategy is difficult to master. Knowing position play, table selection, bankroll management and hand selection are all key concepts to mastering No Limit Texas Holdem. In No Limit Texas Holdem, you need to learn what hands to play in what position. For example, how would you play QJ from the button versus under the gun?

You need to be able to calculate odds to determine whether a hand is worthwhile or not. If you have 8 outs, you roughly have a 32% chance with two cards to come (the turn and the river). There's roughly 4% for each out. So, if it's $20 to call and the pot is at $100, this is a good bet to call. $20 is 20% of the pot and there is a 32% chance to win the hand. This is an example of how to calculate pot odds. After the turn, if you don't hit your hand, the odds obviously worsen.

Below is a chart that should help with hand selection from each position. The chart will give the position such as under the gun and tell how many people are left to act in the hand. This is referring to pre-flop starting hands. Remember, pre-flop, the last person to act is the big blind. This is the only stage where that is the case.

Position - Pair Hands: (Ex: 99 and higher) - Non-Pair Hands: (This and better)

  • Nine - Under The Gun - 9,9 - A,K
  • Eight Players - 8,8 - A,Q
  • Seven Players - 7,7 - A,Q
  • Six Players - 6,6 - A,J Suited
  • Five Players - 5,5 - A,T Suited
  • Four Players - 4,4 - A,9 Suited : K,Q Suited
  • Three Players - 3,3 - A,? Suited : K,J Suited
  • Two Players - Button - 2,2 - A,? Suited : K,T Suited : Q,J Suited : J,T Suited
  • One Player - Small Blind - 2,2 - A,? Suited : K,9 Suited : Q,T Suited : J,9 Suited
  • Big Blind Checks - This starting hand chart gives the starting hands based on calling the big blind, not taking into account raises and re-raises.

Playing position is very important in Texas Holdem and can be quite advantageous if used correctly. The player with the best position (the later position) has the advantage because they get to act last in each of the betting rounds. Acting last allows you to raise and try to take down the pot if everyone checks around.

You can balance your position play to where you can make position bets and draw callers because they may just think you're making a position bet with nothing. However, this time you have the nuts. Using position to your advantage is key in No Limit Texas Holdem.


No Limit Texas Holdem is an exciting poker game that is aggressive. At any moment, a player can go all-in and put you to the test. Any two cards can take a pot on a coin-flipped all-in pre-flop moment. The key is to know proper hand selection based on position and calculate odds. The pot needs to be right to make certain calls or it's simply not worth it. Be patient and don't be afraid to fold.