Community card poker games comprise all the poker variants that include community cards, also referred to as the board. Essentially, the dealer places them on the table for all the players to see and share since they are all dealt an incomplete hand. The point of the game is to form a high hand by combining cards you have (hole cards) and the ones from the board. The ratio between hole cards and community cards in a hand depends on a particular variation.
When you play one of these games as a home game, it is common to place ante bets. However, community card games at gambling venues use blind bets made before the first dealing round. They are usually played with fixed limit and no limit, whereas pot-limit and spread-limit games are not that common.
As for the arrangement of community cards, which connect all the variants, diverse as they may be, they are usually placed on the table so that they form a certain shape. Depending on the game, the cards can converge with one another. If that is the case, the one that intersects with both the column and the row becomes the wild card and gets to be the final one to be revealed.
Once you comprehend the betting order and the purpose of community cards, you have acquired the basic knowledge of community card games. However, that is where the similarities amongst them stop as each individual game has certain rules that characterize it. In the following lines, we will focus on the course of the game of Texas Hold’em. You will realize that it is the most prominent variant out of them all.
Texas Hold’em: The Course of the Game
As opposed to the majority of community card games, the board in Texas Hold’em does not assume any shape in particular.
Once the game commences, every player is dealt two hole cards, and the initial round of betting takes place. Afterward, the dealer (button) places three community cards on the table, assembling the flop. Later in the game, the dealer adds the turn and the river, which are the remaining two community cards, to the flop. Prior to every community card round, the dealer burns a card from the top of the deck. They do it in order to prevent players from cheating.
Once the flop is on the table, the second betting round commences. It goes clockwise, the same as the previous one and the following ones, starting with the player to the left of the dealer (the small blind). They are followed by the big blind, who doubles their wager.
When you reach the showdown, the point is to form your final hand using five cards in total. You can assemble it any way you want — there are no restrictions in terms of the ratio between hole cards and community cards. The ones to participate in the showdown are the remaining players, thus, those who have not folded. They reveal their cards, just like in every other poker variant, comparing them to determine who has the highest hand.
Regardless of the poker variant you play, hand ranking remains the same. The point is to form a hand as strong as possible using five cards. In some variations, you are dealt all of them (stud poker), whereas, in others, you combine the ones you have got with the ones from the board. The winning hand is usually the highest-ranking one. Nevertheless, in games played hi-lo style, the point is to have the lowest-ranking one possible.
The strongest poker hand is always a royal flush. It contains the highest five cards from the deck, but it is essential that they are all of one suit.
The next one is a straight flush, which has a similar concept. The only difference is the ranking of the cards. While it is crucial that they are all in successive order, their rankings are irrelevant.
Four of a kind includes four cards of one rank and an additional one.
A full house comprises three cards of one rank and a pair of cards of a different rank.
You form a flush with any five cards of one suit, regardless of their ranking and order.
Alternately, forming a straight requires having five cards in successive order, regardless of the suit.
Three of a kind requires three cards of one rank and two cards that match neither the previously described three nor each other.
Two pair contains two pairs of matching cards (a pair of tens and a pair of fours, for instance) in addition to a card that matches neither of those four.
Pair requires having two equally ranked cards.
High card fulfills none of the previously cited requirements and thus is the lowest-ranking poker hand.
Make Your Move
Community card games imply the same moves as any other poker game, meaning that you have four options — checking, calling, raising, and folding. However, certain community card games have rules against checking, although Texas Hold’em is not one of them.
Once the game commences, you can bet if nobody has already done it, or check in order to avoid wagering. In case one of the other players has already bet, you can call to wager the same amount of money as they have or raise their bet by increasing the sum. In case you choose the latter option, players following you will either call your bet or fold. Speaking of folding, it suggests staying out of the round in progress by placing your cards on the table face-down.
Since community card poker games imply a vast selection of variants, it is possible to establish only a few ground rules that are applicable to each of them. Texas Hold’em differs from the majority of them mainly because it allows checking. Additionally, it does not imply any pattern regarding the arrangement of community cards, nor does it have specific rules in terms of the ratio between hole cards and community cards in a player’s final hand.