If you have been curious about how to play poker, you will happy to know that the basic rules are easy to learn. Once you get a handle on all the poker terminology, preflop and postflop betting, and master the quick decision making necessary for excelling in Texas Hold’em and other poker variants, you will then be able to play poker successfully online or with friends.
If you want to know how to play poker, then you will be happy to know that this card game is at its heart one of the most basic card games. To begin with, you are going to want to get flushes or straights. In other words, you are going to want to get cards in sequence or in all one suit. As you can imagine, the different hands all have different values, so when you bet against other players at the table, you are going to be testing them to find out if their hand is as good as yours. If one folds, the other will win. If you play through until the last round of betting, whoever has the better hand will win (poker rankings are discussed later in this article).
The dealer is determined by a button which is passed around the table after each hand. This can also be used to determine which players are required to make blind bets (in Texas Hold’em, for example). In some poker games, an ante may also be required from players.
After the dealer shuffles, the player to his right cuts the cards. After the cards have been dealt, the first betting round takes place. In some poker games, there may only be one round of betting, while other games may have numerous rounds. In the meantime, players may receive additional cards or discard unwanted cards to improve their hand.
One tricky part about playing poker is the bluffing aspect of the game. You have probably heard the term “bluff” or “semi-bluff” many times before. Basically, this term refers to betting with the intention of getting better hands to fold. This is not against the rules of the game. As a matter of fact, this is a necessary part of the poker game especially in higher stakes games. If you want to earn the pot by convincing your competitors that you have a better hand than you actually do, then this is a legitimate move. As you can imagine, however, you will find it difficult to bluff on the internet.
Another important part of learning how to play poker is learning about pot odds and probability. This goes back to the bluffing. When you want to try and figure out what the other players have, you are going to want to think about what cards you have in your hand versus what has already come out on the table. This is a good way to start narrowing down the cards to the cards most probably held by your competition. This is one of the basic sciences of poker, which will you may even just develop the more you play real money games.
Poker Hand Rankings
Regardless of where you play, it’s always important to know the various poker rankings. Not only does this allow you to know who won the hand, but it’s invaluable when trying to determine a poker strategy. The rankings are, from highest to lowest:
- Royal Flush – The best possible hand in poker, which consists of an ace, king, queen, jack and ten of a suit.
- Straight Flush – Made up of five cards in sequence, all of the same suit. Odds of getting this hand are 0.0015%.
- Four of a Kind – Contains four cards of one rank and one unmatched card. Odds of receiving this hand are 0.024%. Also known as “quads.”
- Full House – Contains three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. Odds are 0.14% Also known as a Full Boat.
- Flush – Contains five cards of the same suit, but not in order. Flushes are compared by the highest card in the hands. If there’s a tie, then the second-highest card is examined (and so on). Odds are 0.20%.
- Straight – Five cards in sequential order, but not of the same suit. Straight are described by the highest card in the hand (Jack-high straight). Odds are 0.39%.
- Three of a Kind – Contains three cards of the same rank and two unmatched cards. Also known as Trips or Set. Odds are 2.1%.
- Two Pair – Two cards of the same rank, plus two more cards of another rank (which do not match the first pair), plus an unmatched card. Odds are 4.75%.
- One Pair – Contains two cards of the same rank, plus three other unmatched cards. High pairs defeat low pairs. If pairs are the same, the highest unmatched card is used to break ties. Odds are 42.26%.
- High Card – Also referred to as Garbage, this hand has none of the above. It’s simply a collection of unmatched cards. Odds are 50.12%.
Online Poker Games
With the increased popularity of Texas Hold’em due to the extensive TV and media coverage, new players are flocking to the online poker rooms in droves. With a little bit of knowledge you will be able to gain a tremendous advantage over these new players even if you are relatively new to Texas Hold’em yourself.
Online poker sites have opened the door to beginning players. It has allowed many players to play without the intimidation factor of playing live in casinos or card rooms. The Internet levels the playing field, as shown by the tremendous success of Internet players in recent years at the Word Series of Poker (WSOP).
If you are ready to go online to learn how to play poker, you are going to want to make sure that you are playing on the best and most fun website. This might sound like a fully subjective thing, but the truth of the matter is that the best betting and poker websites are going to be those with the largest following and the best feedback. Go to where all of the people are. Chances are that this website will be easy and fun to use.
Although there are a lot of poker websites, most of them are just fronts or skins for a central software. There probably aren’t more than a dozen or so actual unique online poker rooms on the Internet. You will want to start off at the micro-stakes tables at your preferred poker site, that way you don’t risk too much at first and everyone can enjoy this exciting game. There is no reason to allow your ego to get in the way by betting large risky sums. Instead, you need to make sure that you are having fun, since this is the most important part.
We recommend you use the free play money supplied when you register at any of the top poker sites. (There is no obligation to ever play for real money when you download the free poker software.) This will allow you to get comfortable with the look and feel of the game, it should only take at the most 30 or 40 minutes to become familiar with the website, graphics and game play.
Learn Poker Rules
Before you want to learn how to play an optimal poker strategy for Texas Hold’em and other poker variants you’d already want to know the basic rules of each of the commonly played poker games today.
Texas Hold’em is a poker variant in which players are each dealt two cards, and then all players share five community cards placed at the center of the table, three cards on the flop, and one card per round for the turn and river, face up on the table. It uses a deck of fifty-two.