Poker is one of the most popular games in the world. There is no wonder why many of us want to know how to play poker. Though playing this game is easy to learn, mastering it can be challenging. Poker is not just a card game. This is a game of strategy that will require a constant reading of the other players so you can decide when is the best time to fold, to bluff, and call someone else’s bluff. You may have heard a lot of variations of poker, but there is the most popular, which is the Texas Hold’em. Different variations of the Poker games comes with its own rules. However, the basics of Poker are always the same. The most important thing to do is mastering the basics as well as the rules so you can develop your own winning strategies.
Every Poker game is using the regular 52-card pack. However, there are games where one of the two jokers are being used, depending on the rules of the game. For the past years, Poker is known as a game that is one-pack for those who want to know how to play poker. However, today, it is being played with two packs of different colors so the round can speed up. The one pack is dealt, while the other pack is being readied for the succeeding deal. This is how the procedure of the two packs works: When one deal is in course, the former dealer will be assembling all the cards that were used from the previous deal. The dealer will shuffle and put the cards to the left. As soon as the following deal is about to do, the deck that has been shuffled will be handed to the following dealer.
When Poker is being played in a club, it is very important that the cards are being changed regularly so any player can be prevented from calling for unused cards anytime they wish. Every time the new cards will be used, it must be introduced to the gamblers while the two packs will be replaced. The cards’ seal, as well as cellophane wrapping, must be broken in front of the gamblers.
Card Values or Scoring
Though Poker comes in many forms, a person who wants to learn how to play poker must have a clear knowledge and understanding of the values of Poker hands, as well as the betting’s principles, can easily play Poker game of any type. Except with the game’s few versions, a hand is composed of 5 cards. The different combination of hands ranks from no pair or nothing (the lowest) to five of a kind (the highest).
The Five of a Kind
Known as the highest potential hand in when you want to know how to play poker. It happens when at least one of the cards is wild, like the joker, the four deuces, or the two jacks that are one-eyed. The basic example of this highest Poker hand is four 9s together with a wild card, or it could be two queens together with 3 wild cards.
The Straight Flush
Straight flush hand can be considered as the most powerful achievable hand when the round is using the regular pack and no wild cards are being used. This Poker hand comes with five cards that are on a similar suit in order like 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 of hearts. For the straight flush, the highest-ranking is A, K, Q, J, and 10 of a single suit. This combination comes with a specific name which is the royal straight flush or royal flush.
The Four of a Kind
People who are interested on poker how to play knows that this hand comes behind the straight flush hand or royal flush, which makes it the second-highest Poker hands when using the standard pack. An example of this is four 5 or four 10. The first, unmatched card will not affect the round.
The Full House
The one colorful Poker hands and it happens when three cards of one rank are combined with two cards of different rank. For example, three 4s and two 8s, or three 6s and two aces.
The flush hand is when the five cards belong to the single suit, but the sequence does not matter. An instance is Q, 8, 5, 3, and 1 of the heart.
The five cards that the Poker player has been in order, but they don’t share the identical suit. One good example is 10♥, 9♣, 8♠, 7♦, 6♥.
The Three of a Kind
This Poker hand is a combination of three cards of a similar rank, and two cards with different rank. An example is 3 seven, a jack, and a three.
The Two Pairs
A Poker hand that happens when the player has a couple of single ranks together with another couple of a different rank. The fifth card is on different ranks as well. One great example is 8, 8, Q, Q, 4.
The One Pair
This is a frequent combination when you are playing Poker. Your five cards are consisting of one pair while the other 3 cards are of various rank. Example, K, K, 10, 5, 4.
The No Pair
This is a prevalent Poker hand that leaves you with “nothing.” Your cards have no pair, or the five cards come off the same suit, or they are on a consecutive rank. When all the gamblers have the same card combination which is No Pair, the hands will be rated using the most powerful card of every player, which means the player who has an ace-high hand wins the player with king-high hand.
The Basics of Poker
Betting’s known as the key to the Poker game, which in essence, is a chip management game.
During every Poker deal, 1 or more intervals take place where every player gets the chance to bet on their hands. To minimize the losses if they have bad hands and maximize winnings of the pot if they have good hands is the most important skill that you will need in Poker. Before dealing the cards, one of the rules when playing Poker is every player needs to put an opening contribution, which is called an “ante”. They need to put a single chip or more into the pot before the cards will be dealt with.
Every betting interval, or also known as round, will start when a player who is in turn, will bet a chip or more. Every player to the left, as they take their turn, may choose to “call” the best by placing the equal number of chips into the pot; or they may also “raise” where they put their desired chips that is higher from the previous call; or they can “drop” or “fold” where the player does not add any chip into the pot, surrender their hand, and they will not be included on the current betting round. Choosing to drop your hand means you are losing any chips that you have put into the pot.
An interval of betting round will end when the gamblers’ bets have been balanced. This is when every player has put the same amount of chips as their predecessors or most of them have dropped and only a single player remained. Every Poker deal usually comes with two or more intervals. Once the final interval has been done, there will be a “showdown” which means every player who stays in the similar will have to show their hand on the table with a position that is facing up. During this face-up, the best hand will be determined and the player gets the pot.
A player who made a bet or raised with no other gamblers who made a call, he or she will get the pot and he does not need to show off his or her hand. Bluffing is one of the skills that you need to learn in Poker. Having the best card combination does not guarantee that you can win the pot. A good card will be useless if you don’t know how to play your game. Bluffing is one of the top factors behind the popularity of Poker.
Another choice that a player can have during an interval is to “check”, which means that the Poker player wishes to stay in the round while doing a “bet of nothing.” Poker players can do the “check” as long no previous players have made a bet during that interval of betting. When a bet has been made by one or more players, “check” is no longer an option. They can either bet or drop their hand. For players who want to check, they have the freedom to increase the bet that been increased by a different player. In the Poker game, this is called “sandbagging.” This will be allowed in every Poker game, but in some cases, it can be forbidden when it is decided beforehand. When all the person who play choose to check during a round of play, that is the end of the betting, while all the player remains in the game together with the pot.
According to the game’s rules, one of the gamblers will be assigned as the initial bettor in every betting round. When it comes to the turn of the bet, it must always move to the left, one player after another. The gamblers must wait for their turn before they can check, bet, or drop.
Knowing When to Bet
Poker hand rankings are depending on mathematics. When a player is less likely to get a particular hand, the higher it ranks, and the more possible it is to get the pot. One good example is a player must not foresee to be dealt a straight flush in every 65,000 hands, but they can look forward to a deal with two pairs one in every twenty-one hands.
Players who are keeping a hand that may not be the best should never make a bet unless they are planning to do a bluff. The best way to bet intelligently is to determine when you have a bad hand, a fair hand, and a good hand.
“Kitty” is a special fund that can be established by those people who play through a collective or majority agreement. During the usual game, a kitty is made by cutting or taking one low-denomination chip from every pot where there are two or more raises. Every player will have the equal right of the kitty, and it can be used in paying new decks of a card or when buying foods as well as drinks. When the round is over and there are chips left in the kitty, all the people who play will divide the chips equally.
A Poker game must be played with Poker chips. If the round has 7 or more players, at least 200 chips must be prepared beforehand. Most of the time, the white chip (or any chip with the lightest color) is the unit or the chip with the lowest value that is work whatever the minimum bet or ante; the red chip (or any other colored chip) has the same value as five whites; and lastly, the blue-chip (or any other chips with dark color) has the value of 10, 20, or 25 whites or 2, 4, or 5 reds. Before the round officially starts, those people who play must “buy-in” by buying a particular amount of chips. In most cases, all the players are buying in the same amount of chips.
One of the players must be assigned as the banker. She is responsible for keeping the stock of chips while recording the number of chips that have been issued to every player or the amount of cash that every player has paid for the chips. No player will be allowed to make special transactions or to exchange chips among them. When those people who play have surplus chips, they must return their chips to the banker and get credit cash in exchange. While those players who want to have more chips must get them from the banker alone.
Fixing a betting limit can be done in different ways. The limit must be set in some Poker games, like Texas Hold’em, so that players who have a lot more money will never have an unfair advantage among the other players. As soon as the limit has been fixed, it cannot be changed throughout the round, unless those people who play will unanimously agree to alter the stakes. Here are some of the popular limit systems in Poker.
- Fixed Limit – no player will be allowed to bet or raise higher than the stipulated number of chips, such as two, five, or ten. Most of the time, this limit changes with the stage of the game, especially in Texas Hold’em. For example, it Draws Poker, 5 will be set as the limit before the draw, but it can be changed to 10 after the draw. While for Stud Poker, the first four bettings will have the limit of five, then for the final betting interval, it will be increased to ten.
- Pot Limit – the bet or raise that can be done by those people who play will be limited to the number of chips that can be found in the pot at that time. With this betting limit, the player who raised must be counted as part of the pot and the total number of chips must be counted for the next call of the player. For example, if the pot currently has six chips and a player made a bet of four, there is not a total of ten chips. The next player must need four chips to make a bet, making it a total of 14 chips. However, though the pot limit is established during the game, a maximum limit must still be made like 50 chips for every game.
- Table Stakes – the number of chips that players have in their front will their limit. For example, if a player has 10 chips as he plays the Texas Hold’em, he will only be allowed to bet up to 10 chips and call another player’s bet to that amount. During the game where table stakes are used, no player will be allowed to withdraw his chips from the table or return his chips to the banker, unless he leaves the game. The players will be allowed to add more chips to their stack, but it can only be done when a deal has been completed or they are preparing for the next new deal.
- Whangdoodles or Roodles – during a fixed limit game, is usually decided that following any good hand – like a full house hand or a better hand like royal flush – there will be a single deal by every player of Jackpots, in which the antes of everyone will be doubled, as well as the betting limit.
- Poverty Poker – there will be a maximum limit on the number of chips that a player may lose. Everyone takes out one stack at the beginning; when they lose that stack, the game’s banker gives the player another with no charge for it. In most cases, a player can have the third stack with no charge before he drops out of the game.
- No Limit – no limit simple means that every session of the game will have the “sky is the limit” bet. However, these games are not commonly played today, especially with Texas Hold’em.
- Limit on Raises – almost all games that are being played today have the limit of the number of raises for every betting interval. This limit is regularly in three raises.
Draw and Stud Poker
The first thing that the Poker players must do is to decide what form of Poker they wish to play. Draw Poker and Stud Poker are the two main forms of Poker. When the game is Draw Poker, every card that will be dealt with must be facing down to the players. While with Stud Poker, some of the cards that are dealt with during the game are face up while the betting takes place, so every player will get the chance to examine a part of the other players’ hands.
Deciding what form of Poker to play is very important unless the rule of the club or the host had already determined the game. Two factors can influence the player’s decision: the total number of players and if the group is composed of experienced players alone or some amateur players must be considered. Here are the selections that can be recommended:
- 2, 3, or 4 players. Any form of Stud Poker. With the limited number of players, the very experienced Poker players can play the Draw Poker, and they are commonly using a stripped deck and the pack with cards are eliminated, like the deuces (twos) as well as treys (threes).
- 5 to 8 players. Whatever form of poker can be played, either Draw Poker or Stud Poker.
- 9 to 10 players. The highly recommended type of game to play is Five-card Stud Poker.
- More than 10 players. The recommended form of games is those that have fewer than 5 cards are being dealt with. Some examples are Three-Card Mote or Spit-in-the-Ocean. There is another good alternative when it comes to a lot of players which is to just arrange two tables and hold two different games.
Under the session that is the Dealer’s choice, every dealer will have the privilege to choose the form of Poker that will be played, as well as to assign the wild cards, the ante, and the chips’ maximum limit that can be wagered through every round. But the dealer does not need one person who plays to ante more than another. When the selected game is Jackpots and no one is opening the betting, the same dealer will have to deal again and all the player’s ante again.
Although may Poker purists prefer playing without wild cards, some games, like Dealer’s Choice, may need to designate a wild card from various cards that are being used. The holder specifies the wild card as a card of any suit or rank, like a fifth queen, or the card must be combined with the other 4 hands of the player to form a flush or straight hand. In the Poker game, the wild cards are adding variety and they extremely boost the chances of making an uncommon combination like a straight flush hand or full house hand.
Play a Round of Poker
Now that you have learned the basics and other important things about play Poker, it’s time to learn how to play Poker, especially the most common type which is the Texas Hold’em. This will give you a step by step rules on how you can play Poker.
1. You need to learn the 10 basic five-card hands and their respective hand rankings. Regardless of the type of pokers that you are playing, whether it is the Texas Hold’em or another type, the 10 basic hands as you play will stay the same as well as the high card. The best way to be familiar with the different hands, if you want to know how to play poker, is to print out or have a copy of a “cheat sheet” and make sure to study it. Afterward, you need to memorize these hands so you can easily recognize them as you are playing. We have mentioned the 10 basic hands of Poker and gave some examples for each hand. This is the most important thing that you need to learn if you want to start playing Poker.
2. Start betting or place the blinds or “ante up”. Part of the Poker rules of Texas Hold’em and other types of Poker, is the initial bet that players must give as the game starts. This is called “ante”. In most Poker games, the ante will be the minimum bet in every interval and it is decided before the start of the game. However, any player will have the chance to raise the ante, depending on his judgment with his hand. When this happens, the next player to the left can decide whether to call the raised bet or just settle with the minimum ante. But choosing the latter means that the Poker player must be dropped out of the game.
3. Examine your 2 hole cards which are in your hand as you play. This time, you have to wait for the dealer to “burn” or reveal the first card on the deck, which means that interval has been started. Then the dealer will pass out two hole cards to those people who play. You need to check and examine your cards so you can see what you are holding.
- In every Poker game, like the Texas Hold’em, the dealer will be burning a card in during every round of dealing. This means that players will have some hard time anticipating the next card that will be burned, while the game is getting more excited and more of a gamble.
- Remember that the dealer always passes out the game’s cards in a clockwise direction, beginning on the left.
4. After every round, you can bet, call, or raise as much as you want. Each time a new card will be put out by the dealer, you need to make a bet, while the first bet that must be made will solely depend on the players’ two hole cards that they have. The betting will take place in a circle, and if it is your turn to bet, you have various options which are the following:
- If no one else has made the bet, you can place an initial bet.
- If you want to avoid betting, you can say “check.”
- If another player has made a bet and you want to match it, you can say “call.”
- If you want to add more money to the betting pool since you can see that your hand has a high card, you can say “raise.” When a “raise” has been made, the other players who will have their turn will choose to “call” the new bet or fold.
- If you don’t want to match the new bet or someone else’s bet, say “fold.” Players who choose to fold must turn their cards into the dealer in a face-down position so other players who are still on the game won’t take advantage.
5. Check out the “flop” so you can determine whether you have a good hand or not. As soon as the first betting round is over, the dealer will eventually “burn” the top card on the deck. Afterward, the dealer will place three cards on the table that are facing up, and this is called “flop.” The cards are known as community cards that players can use in building their hands. You need to carefully compare these cards to the cards that you have in your hand. When you are done with this step, you can decide whether to place a bet, call a bet, or you should fold your cards.
- In every interval, the total number of cards that the dealer will reveal is 5. This means you have a total of 7 cards in creating your best hand of 5 – the five community cards on the table, and the two hole cards that you have in your hands. Though your luck may come later on in a game, you need to give some time when it comes to analyzing the table after the “flop” has been revealed. Do you think you are in a good position for this interval? This time, trust your judgment.
6. You need to check out the “turn” card once the second betting round is done. After the dealer has “burn” the top card, he will place one card in a face-up position that is next to the flop. This card is called the “turn” card or also known as the “fourth street” card of the five community cards. You need to check every card that you can see on the table as well as those cards that you hold in your hands so you can determine whether you will bet, call, or raise.
- Looking at the community cards on the table and the two hole cards that you have, think of the possible hands that the other players may have aside from what you can have. A good example is when the four cards that were placed on the table are spades, a player who has a spade will get a huge chance to have a flush or possibly a royal flush since they have five cards that are from the same house.
- The same thing if the community cards that were placed on the table are 4, 5, 6, and 7, players who will have three or eight will get a straight hand.
- Though the cards on the table can easily make a winning hand, you don’t have anything good in your hand or any high card, it is recommended that you choose fold since there is a great chance that other players have a winning card. You should know when to surrender in the game to minimize your loss.
7. Check the “river” card, then decide the hand that you will be playing. After the dealer has “burn” the top card, he will place the one last card in a face-up position next to the “turn” card. This final called is known as the “river.” You need to check every card that you can see on the table as well as those cards that you hold in your hands so you can determine whether you will bet, call, or raise.
8. In the final “showdown”, the players will reveal their hand in a clockwise way. As soon as every player calls, folds, or bets during the last round, the remaining players will be part of the “showdown.” This showdown will start from the left of the dealer, and every player will reveal or show his cards in a face-up position. Everyone will check the turned over hands to determine which hand has the highest value. The player who has the highest hand will get the whole pot.
- If the game ends up with a tie hand, those tied players will need to split up the pot.
- If you chose to fold your hand, there is no need to show or reveal your cards on the final “showdown.”
- Five community cards will be placed on the table, while each player will have two hole cards on his hand. With these 7 cards, you can create a 5-card combination. The remaining two cards will never be counted when you have created the best hand from the 7 cards.
- Playing the cards that are on the table is referred to as “playing the board.” But this option can be used by all the players, so you cannot think of this as the best strategy when you want to win the game and get the pot.
One of the most important rules from Poker purists on how to play poker is to know when to quit. The best time to quite is either you have won a good amount of money, or you have lost a certain amount of money. When it comes to playing Poker, control and discipline is half the battle. If you are discipline from the beginning of the game, you can separate yourself from the pack. Be a long-term best player by being a disciplined player.