Texas Hold'em Poker is the most popular version of poker played in poker rooms around the world and online.
Many of the poker variations played today (eg. Omaha) are based on Texas Hold'em so learning to play Texas is probably the best way to start.
Due to movies and popular culture you will probably be more familiar with draw poker where each player is dealt 5 cards but Texas Hold'em variations are different. Each player is dealt a 'pocket hand' and then a set of community cards is dealt face up. These community cards are used by all players in order to create a 5 card poker hand - in Texas Hold'em you get 2 pocket cards and 5 community cards.
There is a marker (normally a small plastic disc) called the dealer button that indicates which player is the dealer. Action is always initiated to the left of the dealer and continues in a clockwise manner.
At the end of each hand the button is moved clockwise to the next player, who then becomes the dealer.
Before the cards are dealt the two players to the left of the dealer place initial bets called the 'small blind' and the 'big blind' in order to create a pot to play for.
The small blind (to the dealers left) places a bet equal to half the smallest structured bet, and the big blind (to the small blinds left) places a bet equal to the smallest structured bet.
Each player is dealt two cards called 'pocket cards' which should not be revealed to other players. At a later stage five community cards will be dealt face up in the center of the table - each player must make their best possible 5 card poker hand using any 5 of the 7 cards they can see (their 2 pocket cards and the 5 community cards).
Because the small & big blinds have already started the pot, the player to the left of the big blind is the first to bet. Each player has these options:
FOLD - Throw in their hand and forfeit the game.
CALL - Make a bet equivalent to the last bet - at the start of the game the 'last' bet placed was by the big blind.
RAISE - Make a bet equivalent to the last bet plus an additional bet.
Betting continues in a clockwise manner until all players remaining in the hand have an equivalent stake in the pot.
After the initial betting round three community cards are dealt face up in the center of the table - this is called the 'flop' and can be used by all players to make up their hand.
The second betting round is now started by the player to the dealers left. Players now have another betting option called 'check'
CHECK - If no bets have been made then the player can opt to make no bet and control is then passed onto the player to their left.
At the end of the second betting round the fourth community card is dealt which is called the 'turn'.
The third betting round is now started by the player to the dealers left.
After the third betting round is finished the fifth and final community card is dealt, this is called the 'river' or 'fifth street'.
A final betting round is now initiated by the player to the dealers left.
Once the final betting round is complete the remaining players must show their cards to see who wins the pot. The player to the dealers left must first show their cards and then the remain players, in order, can opt to fold or show their cards.
The player with the highest 5 card poker hand made up from their 2 pocket cards and the 5 community cards wins the pot. In the event of 2 or more players having equivalent high hands the pot is split equally.