TIPS | How to Deal in a Poker Home Game

Texas Holdem How to Deal | SLOWPLAYThe dealer is not only responsible for shuffling and dealing the cards. They are also the person who supervises the game, manages the pot and bets, ensures that every player follows the rules, and that the winner's pot is allocated properly.

In a professional setting such as a competition or at a casino, there are usually special machines or dealers responsible for shuffling and dealing the cards, but for a home game, players take turns being the dealer. 

Therefore, if you want to ensure your home games run swiftly and smoothly from one hand to the next and every player enjoys the process, it is necessary to be familiar with the basic rules of card dealing. But don’t worry, because SLOWPLAY has already prepared this thoughtful guide for you. All you need to do is to review it before your game begins.


Shuffle & Deal

It is important to shuffle the cards before each hand to make sure all the cards are in a random order. Generally speaking, before a hand is dealt, all the cards need to be shuffled at least 4 times, plus at least one cut. When shuffling the cards, be careful not to let any player see what the bottom card is. Otherwise, they might be able to guess the approximate location of other cards in the deck.

In Texas Hold’ em, the dealer button rotates clockwise after every hand. Each player’s position in relation to the dealer button determines when it is their turn to act. The Small Blind (the first player to the left of the dealer) and Big Blind (the next player to the left of the small blind) are mandatory bets that are placed into the pot before any cards are dealt.

Blind Position Guide | Poker Table Position | SLOWPLAY

After that, starting with the player to the left of the poker dealer button, each player is dealt one card at a time, until 2 hole cards are dealt to all of the players at the table. 

How to Deal in Poker | Texas Holdem | SLOWPLAY


Now, all players have 2 hole cards. Thus, the pre-flop betting round begins. The first player clockwise from the Big Blind has the option to call (matching the amount of the Big Blind), raise (bet at least 2x the amount of the big blind) or fold (“mucking” their hand by pushing their cards into the middle). In this round, the player who has the Big Blind is the last to act.

If any player raises, when it is the Big Blind’s turn, he can only choose to call or fold. But if no other player raises, then the Big Blind can choose to wait and see (Check) and enter the next round without putting in extra chips.

If all other players fold, then the player with the Big Blind will naturally win all the chips in the pot.

Question 1: When is the time for next round?
Answer: In order to proceed into the next betting round, every player needs to be folding, putting in chips to match other players still in, or deciding to go all in.
Question 2: How should the dealer manage the chips and folded cards on the table?

Answer: Before the end of the game, discarded cards and chips that have been bet should be placed in the center of the table. The chips should always be placed opposite of the muck pile.

Dealer - Manage Discarded Cards | Texas Holdem | SLOWPLAY


Players who have not folded in the pre-flop betting round enter the flop stage. To deal the flop, the dealer needs to discard the top card (burn card) on the deck into the muck pile facing down. The top three cards on the remaining deck are then placed face-up in the middle of the table. Now the players remaining in the hand can commence the next betting round.The Flop | Texas Holdem | SLOWPLAY

Tip: From this round on, betting starts from the small blind. If small blind has folded then the first player who has not yet folded to the left of the small blind will be the first to act. The betting goes on clockwise. The player on the dealer button is always last to act.


Turn & River

Turn&River | Texas Holdem | SLOWPLAY

After the flop betting round ends, just as done previously, the dealer needs to burn a card. Then another community card, which is called the "turn card", is turned over and placed in the middle of the table to start the third round of betting.

The same process goes for the last community card, the River card. After betting on the turn, the dealer burns a card and turns over the river card to start the fourth round of betting.

Question: What else does a dealer need to do beside dealing the cards?
Answer: As the game proceeds, it is the dealer’s responsibility to guide the game, manage the pot, count the chips, confirm the bet with players to avoid confusion, and raise the blinds on time to ensure the game goes smoothly.

Awarding the Pot

In any of the betting rounds, if there is only one player at the table that has not folded, he naturally wins all the chips in the pot.

If the river betting round is over and there are still 2 or more players who have not folded, then they are required to have a showdown. The dealer declares who is the winning player and pushes all the chips in the pot toward the corresponding player.

Dealer | Award the Winning Pot | Texas Holdem

In the event of a tie, the pot will be split between the winning players equally. When the number of chips in the pot cannot be evenly distributed, an extra chip will be obtained by the player closest to the left of the dealer.

The final showdown is very important and the dealer must make sure that it’s completely clear to all the players who won the hand, and what their final hand was.

Nash Clay Poker Chips

To Sum Up

As we have mentioned in our post ("HOW TO DISTRIBUTE CHIPS FOR A HOME GAME"), a Texas Holdem home game is more relaxed and fun to enjoy with friends and family. But in order to make sure the game is as enjoyable as it can be, dealing is a very important part. Our guide offers a good, fundamental understanding of what you should do as a dealer. Have fun and enjoy your game!

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