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Royal Hold'em Poker

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Royal Hold’em

Basically Royal Hold’em follows the same rules as Texas Hold’em; with the sole exception, that only the cards between 10 and Ace are used. For this reason only up to 6 players can participate in a game of Royal Hold’em, in this case the remaining 20 cards are used up as a whole and divided amongst the players or used for community and burn cards.

This poker variant obviously produces a lot of very strong hands – a fact that makes tactics a lot more important here; when there are 6 people seated around a poker table, all cards are in the game and any player can figure out quite easily who might have which hand. The rules of Texas Hold’em – and thus also of Royal Hold’em are listed below.

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The course of the game:


At the very beginning of each game, the two players who sit next to the dealer (the person marked with the dealer button) have to place their blinds. This happens before the cards are dealt. The blinds are there to make sure that there is money in the pot so every winning hand can actually win money. Since the dealer button moves on clockwise from player to player with each round of the game, every player has to pay a blind at some point during the game. The player to the left of the dealer places the ‘Small Blind’, the player to his left has to place the ‘Big Blind’ which is usually twice the amount of the small blind.

Pocket Cards/Hole Cards

After the blinds, the first cards are dealt. Each player, starting with the one to the left of the dealer (the small blind), is dealt two cards face down. These cards are called ‘Pocket Cards’ or ‘Hole Cards’.

First betting round

The first betting round is started by the player to the left of the big blind, using poker language, this player is ‘under the gun’, since he is the one who has to act first. Now this player may fold his cards, call or raise.

  • Fold: This means the player discards his hands and may also lose the bet he has already made.
  • Check: This means a player does neither bet, nor fold his cards. He passes on the action to the player next to him. (This is only possible as long as no player has placed a bet yet.)
  • Call: To place a bet equal to that of the last remaining player before you.
  • Raise: To place a higher bet than the last remaining player before you.

The Flop

After the first betting round the first three of maximum five community cards (these cards are the same for all players and players can use them to build their hand) are dealt face up on the table. These three cards are called the flop.

Second betting round

Now the first remaining player to the left of the dealer button (i.e. a player who has not already folded before the flop) starts the second round. The second betting round follows the same rules as the first one.

The Turn

Another card is dealt face up next to the flop, this card is called ‘the turn’. Now there are four community cards on the table and another betting round begins, starting with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer button.

Third betting round

Depending on whether you are playing a game of Royal Hold’em limit, pot limit or no limit, the rules are changing now. Please find more detailed explanations for the specific game type below.

The River, Fourth betting round and Showdown

The last community card is dealt face up next to the flop and the turn, which makes the community cards a total of five cards. A last betting round is started; again the first remaining player to the left of the dealer button has to begin. The last betting round works just like the one before. As soon as all the betting rounds are over, the so-called ‘Showdown’ begins. The showdown is the final phase of a game where remaining players have to show their cards. The player, who has managed to build the best hand out of his two pocket cards and three of the community cards, is the winner of the pot. Should two players have the same hands, they share the pot. In the rare case that the best hand is made up entirely of the community cards, all players that are still in the game share the pot. Should you, upon seeing one of your opponent’s cards, note that you have the losing hand, you can choose to discard it face down (‘muck’). Obviously you can always reveal your cards to the other players to maybe compare your hand with those of the others. The last player who bet or raised during the last betting round has to be the first to show his cards, should there be no player who bet or raised during the last round, it depends on the casino or poker room, who has to show his cards first. After every played hand the dealer button is moved on clockwise and the next hand can start.

Betting basics

The first one to act in every round – after the cards were dealt or revealed – is always the first player to the left of the big blind, or in the first round, the player to the left of the dealer. Every one of the other players may now decide on the size of his bet, basing his decision on his cards. Depending on the number of players whose turn it is to bet after him, this gets more or less complicated. If you had a rather mediocre hand and five other players after you, the decision whether you should bet, raise or rather fold would undoubtedly be a difficult one.

Standard poker moves

  • Fold. If you do not like the cards you were dealt, you have the opportunity to discard (fold) them and thus leave the current round of the game. Should you be big or small blind or should you have called someone’s bet already, you lose the money. Apart from that though, since you have folded, you cannot lose any more money during this round.
  • Check. If you want to keep your cards and stay in the game, you can, for example, check. This means that nobody before you has placed a bet yet and that you do not either. Now the player after you has the opportunity to check himself, or to bet. If any of the players in the round bets, you need to – as soon as it is your turn – decide whether you fold, call or raise.
  • Call. To call means that, in case a player before you has placed a bet, you bet the same amount as he does; you call his bet.

Bet and raise/re-raise – according to the limit

If you find you have been dealt decent cards, you can bet a certain amount of money on your hand being the winning hand. If a player before you has already placed a bet, you can raise his bet. Depending on the betting structure the amounts you can bet or by which you may raise, are fixed by the poker casino

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  • Fixed limit: On a $ 5/$ 10 table you may bet $ 5 in the first two betting rounds and up to $ 10 in the last two. In each round players may bet once and raise three times (bet, raise, re-raise and again re-raise or ‘cap’). After three rounds of betting the so-called cap is reached, this means that in this betting round, no more betting can be done. In this case the next card is dealt – or if it was the last round – the showdown begins.

  • No limit: Here the betting structure follows these rules: Each player may bet all the money he has on the table, regardless of the size of the pot. As a rule, the minimum bet has to at least equal the amount of the Big Blind and if you decide to raise, your raise does at least have to equal that of the player before you.

  • Pot limit: In a pot limit game a player may bet a sum between the minimum bet and the total size of the pot. In a $ 5/$ 10 pot limit game the small blind is $ 5 and the big blind $ 10. The first player could call the big blind (i.e. $ 10 in this case) or raise to any amount up to the total pot size. The raise has to either equal or exceed the previous bet. So in this case, the maximum possible raise would be $ 25 ($ 5 small blind, $ 10 big blind and $ 10 the call) which means that player #3 may actually bet a total of $ 35. So should player #3 raise the pot limit, the total amount in the pot would then be $ 50.
    Now if the next player (let’s say player #4) wants to go on playing, he at least has to call the $ 35, i.e. the bet player #3 has made. Should player #4 want to raise (up) to the pot limit he would have to put $ 120 into the pot. That is the total pot size ($ 50) plus the maximum raise of $ 70 ($ 35 call + $ 35 raise). The number of betting rounds per hand is not limited and in each round calling and raising continues until every player has either called, or folded his cards.


Primarily, players decide to go ‘All-In’, when they have a particularly good hand. This is because: when one or more other players call this move and the player who went all-in wins anyway, his winnings in this round increase considerably. Another possibility would be, that a player goes all-in to bluff and merely signal that he has a good hand, in order to make the other players fold and win himself the pot. (What the precise rules for an all-in situation are is described in the following paragraph.) Apart from the situation described above, players could also go all-in for the following reason: In case a player lacks the necessary amount of chips to call or finish a hand but has nice cards and wants to stay in the game anyway, he does not have to fold. The player can also go ‘all-in’; so he bets all of his chips (even if they are not sufficient to cover the sum he would actually need to call) and can stay in the game without being able to act any further though. All the money that is in the pot up until the point when he goes all-in, is what the player can win. All money put into the pot after he went all-in is put in a separate pot (‘side pot’). Should the player who is all-in, win the showdown, he wins the main pot, whereas the side pot goes to the player with the second best hand. When a player goes all-in and his fellow players decide to call his bet, they obviously have to call the sum he bet.

Learning by doing

Even after the best of explanations, you still need to practice. We have created reviews of the best poker schools such as the Pokerstars poker school because playing at regular tables can be quite tough and challenging at the beginning.

Short history of Royal Hold’em

Just like its famous relative, Texas Hold'em, Royal Hold'em seems to be a relatively new development in the world of poker. Unfortunately we cannot make any specifications as to when and where this variant was created. This new poker variant has unfortunately not yet had the chance to conquer the poker tables of famous events but of course there are many professional players who enjoy this game more and more. Pro player Antonio Esfandiari - this is just an example - loves to play Royal Hold’em in his spare time because for him it constitutes a welcome change from Texas Hold’em.


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