At the beginning of a hand, each player is dealt two cards face down (pocket cards). During play of the hand, a total of five additional cards are exposed in the center of the table in three stages, creating the board. Each stage of dealing has a different name, and before each stage is a round of betting. There is a fourth and final round of betting after the last card.

  • The Flop - the first three exposed cards.
  • The Turn - the fourth card.
  • The River - the fifth and last card (also known as "Fifth Street").

A card is "burned" or set aside before each card is exposed. In Hold 'Em, cards on the board are community cards; they are used by all the players in forming their hands. Your hand is the best five card combination possible using your two pocket cards and any of the five community cards. If the best five-card hand consists of the five cards on the board, that is your hand. Your pocket cards only matter if one or both of them improve what is on the board.

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