Poker is a popular game that’s easy to learn but difficult to master. Although it’s a card game, poker is also a game of strategy, and you’ll need to constantly read the other players to decide when to fold, when to bluff, and when to call someone else’s bluff. There are many variations of poker, but Texas Hold’em is the most popular. While each variation has its own rules, the basics of the game are always the same. All you have to do is master the basics and then you can start developing your own winning strategy!
In this following guide we’ll provide you with the basics, how to play, and some tips and tricks to Poker.
There are 13 ranks from high to low starting with — Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, in 4 suits i.e. Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, and Hearts in a standard deck of 52 cards. All suits are equal in value that means Ace of clubs is equal to Ace of diamonds. To win in poker, you need to form a hand according to the hand ranking rules.
Regardless of the variant, the betting rules remains the same. In Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Crazy Pineapple, and Hold’em ++ games, there are following betting rounds —
- Pre-Flop: After cards dealing, the first betting round (pre-flop) begins clockwise starting from the player sitting immediate left to the big blind (Under The Gun). He makes his move (call the big blind, fold his cards, raise the bet) on the basis of the strength of his hole cards. After his turn, the player left to him acts. The betting round continues the same way and ends when everyone has either put equal chips in the pot or folds. In the pre-flop round, only the player at the big blind position can ‘check’.
- Flop: After the pre-flop round, 3 community cards are dealt face-up on the table and the next round of betting commences.
- Turn: One more card is dealt and the third round of betting begins.
- River: The final community card is dealt and the final round of betting starts.
Anytime during the game, if all but one player fold their cards, the remaining player becomes the winner. At the Showdown, all active players reveal their cards and the best five-card combination wins the pot.
The 10 Basic 5-Card Hands
No matter what type of poker you play, the hands will always be the same. To start familiarising yourself with the different hands, print out a “cheat sheet” and study it. Then, memorise the different hands so you can easily recognise them.
Here are the winning poker hands, from highest to lowest:
- The highest-ranking hand is a royal flush (the royal straight flush). This hand includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit, one kind (all clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades). It can only be tied but not beaten by the royal flush of another suit.
- A straight flush is made up of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit.
- 4 of a kind means you have 4 cards of the same rank (but different suits, of course) and a fifth card of any rank (such as 4 aces and a 9). If you have 4 aces, then no one can have any hand with an ace, so that no royal flush is available.
- A full house contains 3 matching cards of 1 rank and 2 matching cards of another rank.
- A flush contains any 5 cards of the same suit. These skip around in rank or sequence, but are from the same suit.
- A straight contains 5 cards of consecutive rank but from more than one suit.
- 3 of a kind means you have 3 cards of the same rank, plus two unmatched cards.
- 2 pair is made up of two cards of one rank, plus two cards of another rank different from the first pair, plus one unmatched card.
- Pair means you have 2 cards of the same rank, plus 3 other unmatched cards.
- High card is the lowest-ranking called a “nothing” hand, when no two cards have the same rank, the five cards are not consecutive, and they are not all from the same suit.
Note: Keep in mind that if two people face off with the same type of hand, the hand with the higher-ranking cards wins. If the hands have the exact same ranks of cards (suit does not matter), it is a tie and the prize, if any, is split evenly.
How to Play Poker — Play like a Pro
- Place the blinds (starting bets) or “ante up.” In poker, bets are placed at the beginning of the game in one of 2 ways. In Texas Hold’em, the player next to the dealer typically places a small blind bet that’s half of the usual minimum bet, while the player to that person’s left places a big blind that’s at least the minimum bet. As another option, each player can “ante up” the minimum starting bet, which means placing a minimum starting bet into the pool.
- Aside from Texas Hold’em, most poker variants use an “ante up” system.
- Look at the 2 cards the dealer gives you, which is your hand. The dealer will “burn” the first card on the deck, which means placing it out of play. Then, they’ll pass out 2 cards to each player. Check your cards to see what you’re holding.
- In poker, the dealer will burn a card every round of dealing. That way, it’s harder for players to anticipate what card is coming up and the game becomes more of a gamble.
- The dealer will always pass out the cards in a clockwise direction, starting on the left.
Pointer: Players don’t show their hands to anyone else until they reach the showdown. Even if another player is out, it’s best to keep your cards a secret. You don’t want them to accidentally or purposely reveal the value of your cards.
- Bet, call, or raise after each round is dealt if you want to. Every time the dealer puts out new cards, you’ll make a bet, with the first bet being made solely based on the two cards the players have in their hands. Betting happens in a circle when it’s your turn to bet, you have a few options.
- Place an initial bet if no one else has yet.
- Say,”check” to avoid betting.
- Say,”call” to match the bet someone else has made.
- Say,”raise” to add more money to the betting pool. If you “raise,” the other players will go around in a circle and choose to either “call” your new bet or fold.
- Say,”fold” if someone else has bet and you don’t want to match their bet. If you fold, turn your cards into the dealer face-down to avoid giving the other players any advantages!
- Look at the “flop” to see if you have a good hand. After the first round of betting, the dealer will “burn” the top card on the deck. Then, they’ll put 3 cards face-up on the table, which is called the “flop.” These are the community cards that every player can use to build their hand. Compare these cards and the cards in your hand, then place a bet, call a bet, or fold.
- In total, the dealer will reveal 5 cards. You will have 7 cards total to use to create your best hand of 5, your two personal cards in your hands, and the five community cards on the table. While your luck can turn later on in a game, take some time to analyse the table after the “flop” are you well-positioned to end the game with a good hand?
- Depending on the rules where you’re playing, you can also draw replacement cards for the cards in your hand. This is usually done during or just after the betting round.
- Check the “turn” card after the second round of betting. The dealer will “burn” the top card, then they’ll place 1 card face up next to the flop. This is called the “turn” card or the “fourth street” card. Check all of the cards on the table and the cards in your hand to see if you want to bet, call, or raise.
- Your game may also allow a card exchange at this point, but this isn’t typical in professional games.
- As you look at the cards, think about the possible hand’s other players might have. For instance, if all 4 cards on the table are spades, then any player who has a spade in their hand will have a flush, which means they have 5 cards from the same house.
- Similarly, if the cards on the table are 5,6,7, and 8, then anyone with a 4 or 9 will have a straight.
- If you have nothing good in your hand but the cards on the table make for an easy winning hand, then you may want to fold, as it’s likely another player has a winning card.
- Examine the “river” card and decide on the hand you’ll play. After the dealer “burns” the top card on the deck, they’ll put 1 last card face up next to the “turn” card. This final card is called the “river.” Check your hand and the community cards to decide on your best 5-card hand. Then, bet, call, or fold.
- If the rules allow it, you may be able to exchange your hand 1 final time before or after betting. However, this isn’t common in professional games.
- Reveal each player’s hand clockwise in the final “showdown,” After each player calls, folds, or bets in the last round, each remaining player will participate in the “showdown,” Starting to the left of the dealer, all players involved will reveal their cards face up. Then, everyone looks at the turned over hands to see who has the highest value hand to win the entire pot.
- If there is a tie, the tied players split the pot.
- If you fold your hand, then you don’t have to show your cards.
- In Texas Hold’em, there are 5 cards on the table and 2 cards in your hand. You can create any 5-card combination using these 7 cards. The remaining cards aren’t counted.
- If you want to play the cards on the table only, this is called “playing the board.” However, it’s an option that everyone has, so it may not be the best strategy.
Poker Game Variants
Poker can be played in a lot of different ways. With time, It has evolved itself into numerous forms all over the world. Here are the world of some of the most scintillating and best-loved poker games.
Texas Hold’em Poker
The most popular variant of poker is Texas Hold’em in which you need to form the best five-card combination out of the two hole cards dealt with you privately and five common cards dealt on the table.
Pot Limit Omaha
Omaha is a community card game in which you need to form the winning five-hand combination by using exactly 2 of your hole cards in hand with 3 of the community cards dealt on the table. In the pot limit version of Omaha, the betting amount is capped to the money already present in the pot.
Hi/Lo version of Omaha is a split pot game in which a player forming the best high hand wins half of the pot and one who forms the best qualifying low hand as per a set of rules wins the other half of the money in the pot.
Its simpleness is deceptive. Crazy Pineapple is the game with a ‘crazy’ twist. Here, the player is dealt three hole cards instead of two and he needs to discard 1 hole card after the flop round and play the next rounds with the other 2 cards. He has to make the decision which card to throw and which to keep to form the best hand without seeing the board. Other than that, the rest of the rules are pretty similar to Texas Hold’em.
Hold’em ++ is a relatively new poker variant introduced by Adda52 that is rapidly gaining popularity among Indian poker lovers. In this format, instead of one card each at the fourth and fifth street, the player receives 2 cards each. The rules to play and betting format is similar to Texas Hold’em. You need to create the best five-card hand as per the hand ranking rules. The player with the best hand wins the pot.
Looking for online casinos that provide Poker? Here’s a list below, and also make sure to check our reviews on online betting —
- Royal Panda
- Pure Casino
- Casoola Casino
- Voodoo Dreams
- Paddy Power Casino
- 888 Casino
If you are a beginner with no experience of playing the Poker, then simply find an online casino that offers this game to play for free to learn the rules and get expert before playing it for real cash. Consider vital things in your mind while picking any site including online casino bonuses and promotions, licensing and regulation, reviews and ratings, banking methods, game selection, and software providers.
We hope this article was helpful to you!
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