Learning how to deal limit Texas Hold’em is the first step in your Las Vegas dealing school poker course. See the diagram below for a big picture presentation.
Here is a play-by-play from the dealer’s point-of-view of a 2/4 Limit Hold’em game. The rake is 10% up to $4 and a maximum of one bet and three raises each round. If there is any terminology you do not understand, ask your poker instructor for clarification.
The button is correct. Small blind ($1) and big blind ($2) are posted. Deal two cards to every player, beginning with the small blind. The first betting round begins with the player under the gun, sitting to the left of the big blind. Players act in turn, as they’re supposed to. Players have the option to call, fold, or raise. The player to the left of the player under the gun limps in. The other players call. The small blind adds $1 to his blind to call. The big blind is offered the option to check or raise. He checks. All 10 players are in, so this is a family pot. There is $20 in the pot, so the dealer takes $2 out for the rake and sets it on top of the drop slot.
Dealer burns a card, deals three face down, the reveals the flop. The first card visible on the flop, the ten of clubs, is the door card. The flop is 10c-3d-2h, all different suits, so it’s called a rainbow. There’s not a big card or an apparent flush or straight draw, so the player on the button lets out a “groan” complaining about the ragged flop.
The action is on the player to the left of the button. He checks. The next player in turn bets $2. From this point, the players have the option to call, fold, or raise. A couple players call the bet and a couple others fold. No player raises, so the player who originally checked is the last to act, since the player to his left made last action. This player calls the $2. 7 players total, so $14 extra dollars goes into the pot. The dealer inconspicuously takes another $1 out of the pot to add to the rake.
The dealer burns and turns. The turn card is 7h.
The player under the gun (the first to act) is happy because he has a 6c-9d, giving him a gut shot straight draw (10 – 9 – __ – 7 – 6). He bets $4, which is allowed on this betting round. (In a 2/4 limit game, the first two betting rounds are in $2 increments and the next two rounds are $4 increments.)
The player to his left who originally bet on the previous round has 2c-2d, so he flopped a set. It’s considered a made hand as it doesn’t need other cards to improve. If the board paired he’d have a full house, so it could improve, but at this point the player is confident he has the best hand. He considers the 8h on the turn a scare card, because other players could be on a flush draw. He wants to play the hand fast, so he bets aggressively, putting $8 in the pot, which is a raise in the allowed increment.
The next player folds, but the player after has Ah-Ac, and makes a cold call. By calling a bet and a raise in a single action, he’s calling two bets cold. A-A is a strong hand Pre-Flop and he was trying to slow play it. With all of the action on this round, he wonders if it was a mistake. Maybe he should have pushed some players out with a bet Pre-Flop and given them a free card on the turn by not betting after he saw the rags.
The next player thinks everyone is bluffing and although he doesn’t have a good hand, he decides to buy the pot. He figured if he puts enough money in, it will scare everyone into folding. He puts $8 out as a bet then goes back to his pile to pull $4 more to make a raise. This is a string bet, as all money in the pot must either be verbally announced or put in the pot in one motion. The dealer doesn’t allow this bet, so the player who was bluffing is only allowed to call $8.
The next two players fold. The player on the button has a flush draw and he raises to $12. The player with the gut shot straight draw decides too many people are betting, so he folds. The player with the pocket 2s raises to $16. Pocket aces folds. The previous bluffer folds. The flush draw on the button attempts to raise to $20. The dealer stops him, reminding him that the betting is capped after four rounds. So he simply calls. There is more than $40 in the pot, so the dealer takes the final $1 for the rake.
Now the game is down to two players. The pocket 2s who flopped a set is heads up against the button on the flush draw. Pocket 2s decides to check-raise if the board pairs. He will check-call if there’s a scare card. And if there’s a blank, he will bet.
The dealer burns and turns. The river card is Qh. Pocket 2s checks then calls the flush’s $4 bet. The flush was runner-runner. Pocket 2s is upset because the button backdoored a flush and he feels it was a bad beat.