Texas Holdem – Heads Up Rules

Heads-Up Rules for Texas Hold’em Poker

Heads up Texas Holdem is one of the most fun, challenging and misunderstood variations of holdem. The thrill of playing a friend or foe in a battle of heads up holdem is unmatched in all of poker. Is he bluffing? Does he have the nuts? Should I value bet my second pair? Well, I will not get ahead of myself just yet. Before you can play Texas Holdem heads up against an opponent, you have to know the rules, right?

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Texas Holdem Heads Up Rules – Button Position

Without a doubt, the single heads-up rule that creates the most confusion is who has the button and who has which blinds?

The first thing that confuses people is that the rules are different if you are playing at certain online poker site or playing live poker. It doesn’t make any sense, but some online poker rooms started setting the blinds backwards from what was generally accepted in live heads-up poker games for decades. I am going to explain the heads up rules for live poker for the sake of simplicity.  The following Heads-up Texas Holdem rules apply to both tournaments and cash games.

Proper Preflop Head-Up Blinds Setup:

Heads Up Texas Holdem Preflop Setup

Heads-up Button Position and Dealing:

  • The button has the small blind when playing Texas Holdem heads up.
  • The person who is the dealer has the button and also posts his/her small blind. This means that the other player (without the button) is the big blind.
  • The small blind acts first on the first round of betting before the flop (pre-flop).
  • The dealer (button) deals the small blind the first card, and the second card to the other player (big blind). Deal the 3rd (total) card to the small blind and the last card to the other player. This leaves each player with two hole cards and the first round of pre-flop betting can begin.

Heads-up Pre-flop Betting:

  • The small blind can fold, call or raise.
  • If the small blind just calls, then the big blind (non-button player) can either check and see the flop, or raise.

All Other Rounds:

  • The flop is dealt (3 cards).
  • The person who was big blind pre-flop is first to act on the flop. (In case you forgot, this is the player who does NOT have the button – the button acts last on all streets except pre-flop.)
  • The player who is first to act can bet or check. If that player checks, the button can then bet or check.
  • If both players check, then the dealer deals the turn.
  • Repeat the betting sequence for the turn and the river. (the 5th card)
  • After all rounds of betting are complete, both players show their hands and the person with the best hand wins!

Now wasn’t that fun?!? If you think you got the hang of Texas Holdem heads up rules or you would just like to practice for free or for real money, I would suggest downloading Full Tilt Poker. Full Tilt is the poker room I rate the highest for heads up play. There are at least one hundred Texas Holdem heads up tables available 24/7.