As many have said, Texas Holdem is one of those games that take mere minutes to learn, but you can spend a lifetime mastering. Typically any hand will start with the two players to the left of the dealer posting the small and the big blind. The big blind is twice the size of the small blind and both of these bets are used to induce some action into the pot. After the blinds have been placed, two cards are dealt to each player around the table at which point players are forced to make their first decision in the hand. When the action reaches you there are three options that any player can take, either calling, raising, or folding.
If a player is going to call, they must place at least the size of the big blind in the pot or if someone has raised, at least the size of the raise. If a player chooses to raise, they must raise at least twice the action in front of them, either the big blind or raise from another player. However it is typical beneficial if a player raises more than the minimum allowable as players will be more likely to concede their hands to a more powerful raise. In No Limit Texas Holdem forms of poker a player may raise up to their entire stack at any moment when the action is on them in the hand, whereas in limit poker a player may only raise the dictated amounts at the table. Lastly, a player may choose to fold when the action is on them and takes no further part in the hand nor is required to place in any more money.
Once the players have placed in as much money as they would like after the two cards have been dealt, three cards are placed on the community, referred to as the flop. The players attempt to make the best five card hand by using either zero, one, or both of their dealt cards with a combination of cards on the community. After the flop has been dealt, the remaining players again are given the option to check, an action that is used to pass the action to another player when there is no bet in front of you, bet, or fold if a bet has been placed out that they do not wish to call. If a player chooses to bet here, they must bet at least the size of the big blind though it is advised that they bet an amount that is related to the size of the pot. As always, if a player chooses to bet everything they have they can go all in, and will not have to take action in the rest of the hand if they are called. Likewise if a player does not wish to continue in the face of a bet, they can fold and will take no further action in the hand.
After the action on the flop has been settled a single card is placed onto the community, called the turn card or fourth street. There is another round of action for any players that are still left in the hand. Once the action has been settled on the turn, if there are still at least two players left in the hand a fifth and final card is turned over, known as the river or fifth street. A final round of action occurs between any players which are left in the hand. If the pot is settled and two or more players are still involved, all remaining players are required to show their cards, at which point the player with the best five card hand will be given the pot. At the conclusion of the hand, another hand will be dealt and the blinds will move over to the next two players as a dealer button symbolizes the dealer around the table. Any player who has lost their entire stake will either be eliminated if it is a tournament setting or will be forced to get more money if they choose to continue in a cash game setting.
There are a few different ways to win the pot in Texas Holdem, either by making the best five card hand or by forcing out your opponent by making a wager that they cannot call. The majority of the hands played do not end up reaching the showdown stage after the river, so betting is especially important in this game. It becomes very important for players to learn the right amounts to bet and the right cards to play as both of these lessons can turn a player from a losing player to a winning player on any given night. Of course no matter what ones skill level is, the element of luck can provide an equalizing factor on any given hand. As the players do not know what cards will be dealt on to the community or what cards their opponents have, frequently the winner of the hand will be decided by what cards fall, something that is both exciting and maddening depending on how well your cards are holding up.