When you sit down at a poker table for your first game of Texas Hold’em, you might wonder what determines which player goes first. There are a few factors that determine who is first to act in a game of poker.
For example, the preflop betting round plays out with a different player order than all postflop betting rounds. The number of players seated at the table can also change the betting order.
Let’s take a look at how Texas Hold’em rules determine who goes first:
Who Goes First Poker?
In games that include the blinds and a button (like Texas Hold’em), the player to the direct left of the big blind always goes first in the preflop betting round. The action then moves clockwise around the table, with the player in the big blind the last to act preflop.
The order of betting changes after the preflop betting round. In all rounds after the flop, the small blind player acts first if they’re still in the hand. If the small blind isn’t involved in the hand after the flop, the next player to the left of the small blind starts the action.
The Button, Small Blind, and Big Blind rotate around the table, with all of those positions shifting one spot clockwise after each hand. The small blind is always to the direct left of the button, and the big blind is always to the direct left of the small blind.
Generally, the preflop and postflop betting order rules apply no matter how many players are seated in a game. In a heads-up poker game, which pits two players against each other, the small blind and the button are always assigned to the same player.
Heads-up play is the only exception to the postflop betting rules, as the player in the big blind acts first in all betting round after the flop. Preflop, the button/small blind position starts the action in a heads-up poker game.