How to Deal in Texas Hold’em

If you’re planning to put together a Texas Hold’em poker game for your buddies, then you need to understand the basics of poker dealing. After all, there are quite a few things to think about when dealing poker games, and you need to ensure you know what’s expected of you before taking a seat at the table. Poker is an old game, and there are quite a few variations nowadays.

So, in this article, we run through the basics you need to be aware of to ensure you can host a successful game of Texas Hold’em with your friends.

If you are new to poker or Hold Em, make sure to head to our beginner’s guide to the game.


When you’re playing a game of Texas Hold’em, the deal, as well as the big and small blinds (mandatory bets, moves from player to player after each hand. This means you will inevitably be the dealer during one of the hands. You want to make sure you know exactly what to do and how to arrange the cards properly for each round. You might have a good poker strategy as a player but have never been a dealer before. 

As the dealer, you are also keeping track of the bets placed during that hand. So, it is important to be paying attention. This ensures a fair game for everyone playing.


To create the fan, take the deck and spread the cards out in an arc. This lets you and the players count and see that all the cards are present and there are no extra cards that might have made their way into this deck. This only needs to be done at the beginning of the game. However, some dealers tend to do it a few times throughout the game just to give everyone peace of mind. You should also do it every time you use a new deck.


Texas Hold'em dealer

Shuffling the cards is a crucial first step when dealing a Texas Hold’em poker hand, as it randomizes the order of the cards and prevents players from knowing which cards will show. There are many different shuffling techniques, and you should choose the one that feels the most natural to you. However, most people go with the riffle shuffle. Performing a riffle shuffle might take some practice before you can execute it perfectly. 

When shuffling at home, you should hide the bottom card and perform at least four riffle shuffles and a cut before dealing a new hand. During this time, the players can put in their antes and blinds. 


You deal the cards to the player to the left and move around the table. You should deal one card at a time and go around twice so each player has their two hole cards. These are the cards the players will keep hidden until the end, and they are trying to match the cards with the community cards. 

Make sure you place two cards down in front of each player without the other players seeing them and you have done your job correctly. 


texas holdem betting

Now that all the players have their Hole cards, the betting can begin, starting with the player clockwise of the big blind. Each player has three options:

  • Call – This is matching the bet set by the big blind.
  • Raise – This is upping the bet to double the amount set by the big blind.
  • Fold – This is pushing their cards away to show they “give up” and are out of the hand.

Once this round of betting is over collect all the cards of those who folded. You add all these cards to the “muck pile.” Keep the muck pile to the side and away from the cards you are dealing with. 

Check out our guide on poker betting rules for all the ins and outs of betting in poker games.


With bets placed and the game in motion, it’s time to deal the community cards. But first, you need to burn or discard the top card of the deck before revealing three community cards. The reason for this is to ensure that players can’t identify card values by recognizing markings on cards. It also prevents marked cards from becoming an issue during home games. Buring and turning is standard poker practice and something you should always remember to do.


Now that you’ve burned the top card, you can deal out the flop. These are three community cards facing up next to each other in the center of the table. This lets all players see the cards, and now they have their first full hand, consisting of their two-hole cards and the three community cards.

The next round of betting begins with all the players who are still in the game. Once the bets are done, you take those bets and add them to the pot.


After the flop betting round, you burn a card and deal the turn card for another betting round. If no one has yet won the pot and at least two players remain involved, you burn and produce the river card.


After the final betting is complete, all remainging players (those who haven’t folded) must show their cards. This is called the showdown. The dealer can now announce the winner based on the Poker hand rankings. As the dealer, only you touch the wagers so you can push the pot in their direction.

Of course, in a home game, players are likely to award themselves the pot on a winning hand practically, but to save any disputes, you should make sure that you announce the winner at the end of every hand.

Once the hand ends, place the cards together in the deck and pass them to the next dealer, and your job is done. You’ll feel like an expert who deals at the World Series of Poker or WPT World Championship.


When it’s your first time dealing it can seem a bit daunting, especially if you’re playing with more experienced players. Here are a few tips you can use to improve the way you deal.


This is such an important tip. Doing everything slowly at first will ensure you do everything correctly. Speed with come over time, but it is much better to deal slow and accurately than fast and sloppy. There’s nothing worse than trying to shuffle the cards too quickly, and then they go flying all over the table. Take things slowly. As you master the actions, you will get much faster and smoother when dealing.


This is another obvious tip, but it’s just as important. As the dealer, you are in charge of making sure all the bets are correct and also that the game is being played fairly. Essentially, you are in charge of everybody while you are in the hand, so keep your eyes peeled and keep your head on a swivel. 


Since the dealer is essentially in charge of the poker table, it is important for you to keep things moving. During a game, especially when many people are involved, the players will chat and might not pay attention. As the dealer, you have to be firm but polite in asking the blinds to place their bets in a timely manner. Keeping things moving will keep all the players happy.


This always seems like an obvious tip, but that’s because it always helps. The best way to get better at dealing is to practice. Host some Texas Hold’em games at home with friends. If you can, play some games with more experienced players and watch each player as they deal. You can also go to a casino and watch how professional dealers work. This will all improve your dealing.


If you’ve never dealt a poker hand before hosting a poker game at home, it’s a good idea to practice before hosting your friends, as it’s important not to make any mistakes when people are playing for money.

The above steps should be enough to get you started and ensure that your game of poker flows well around the table.

If you’re looking to diversify your gambling, check out Blackjack vs Poker.


Do You Deal to the Left or Right in Poker?

In poker dealing, it should always go to the left and rotate clockwise around the table.

Do You Burn a Card Before Dealing in Poker? 

When playing Texas Hold’em and any other games where cheating could be a concern, you always burn a card before dealing the flop, turn, and river. So you will burn a total of three cards.

Do Dealers Always Cut Cards in Poker?

The dealer is not required to cut the deck, but they will cut the deck if someone requests it.

Alan Lemus
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