In Hold’em, all players receive two downcards as their personal hand, after which there is a round of betting. Three boardcards are turned simultaneously (called the “flop”) and another round of betting occurs. The next two boardcards are turned one at a time, with a round of betting after each card. The boardcards are community cards, and after the final round of betting, a player may use any five-card combination from among the board and personal cards. A player may even use all of the boardcards and no personal cards to form a hand. This is called “playing the board.”
Hold’em uses a flat disk called a dealer button to indicate the player who is in the dealer position for that hand (even though a non-playing casino employee actually deals). The dealer button rotates clockwise. The player with the dealer button is last to receive cards on the initial deal and has the right of last action after the first betting round.
One or more blind bets are used to stimulate action and initiate play. Blinds are posted before the players look at their cards. Blinds are part of a player’s bet, unless the structure of a specific game or the situation requires part or all of a particular blind to be “dead.” Dead chips are not part of a player’s bet. The small blind is posted by the player immediately clockwise from the button, and the big blind is posted by the player two positions clockwise from the button.
The player to the left of the blinds initiates action on the first betting round. On all subsequent betting rounds, the action begins with the first active player to the left of the button.
In non-tournament play, the button rotates one position clockwise after each deal. The button must move forward, and the blinds adjust accordingly.