In your opinion, why is it that a lot of professional poker players were able to win millions of dollars from playing poker? Is it purely based on luck? Or is it due to mastery of certain winning strategies that they were able to do so? The answer is, there’s a great deal of skill that’s involved when you play a game of poker such as Texas Hold’em, 7-Card Stud, or Omaha. Whether you choose to play in a physical casino or in an online poker room, you will need the right knowledge and information in order to have a shot at winning. In this poker guide, we are going to talk about how to play basic poker, along with the fundamental rules of playing poker.
Normally, a poker hand is made of five cards. In order to win, you will need a strong hand with the highest value as possible. To understand how strong your hand could get, here is the ranking of hands from the highest to the lowest value:
- Five of a Kind - this is basically the strongest hand you could ever get when a wild card, such as the joker, is involved. A good example of five of a kind would be four Jacks with a wild card, or two 10s with three wild cards.
- Straight Flush - this would be the strongest possible hand in the event only the standard card pack is used and no wild cards are involved. A straight flush is made of five same suit cards in sequence, such as 2,3,4,5,6 of diamonds. The highest possible straight flush you could get is 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit, which is known as the royal flush or royal straight flush.
- Four of a Kind - it is made up of four same value cards, such as four Jacks or four Queens.
- Full House - a full house consists of three cards with the same value, and two cards of another value. For example, three Jacks and two Queens.
- Flush - this hand is made of five cards with the same suit but not in sequence. An example of a flush is 2, 4, 7, 10, K of spades.
- Straight - basically, five cards in sequence regardless of the suit.
- Three of a Kind - this is made of three cards having the same value, and two other cards with varying values.
- Two Pairs - this hand comes with a pair of one value, such as two Queens, and another pair with a different value, such as two Kings.
- One Pair - basically, a combination of just one pair with the remaining three cards of different values.
- High Card - the weakest hand you could ever get. This strength of this hand relies only on the highest card value you have. The highest possible value of a high card is an Ace.
How to Play Poker for Beginners
The betting phase of a standard poker game follows a simple pattern: from the left of the dealer, each player in the table will have four options:
- Raise - this allows you to increase the wager required to keep playing (it works best if you have a good hand, but will also work if you want to make bluff).
- Call - this means to place a bet which is equal to the amount made by the player who raised.
- Check - if there’s no one in the table who has made a raise, you may choose to check and keep the round going.
- Fold - a fold is applicable if you’re hand is not strong enough, or you think you have a very weak hand and don’t want to wager any more amount. Although you can’t win the hand, you won’t also lose chips in return.
In the beginning of a poker game, you will be dealt two cards face down, likewise known as hole cards. This is then followed by a round of betting where you can choose to check, raise, or fold. This phase is called pre-flop, and your move will depend upon your initial cards, the hole cards. Once the betting round is over, three cards will be dealt face up in the table. This is referred to as the flop.
After the flop, another betting round begins, followed by the dealing of a fourth card on the table known as the turn. Another betting round commences, in which a final card called the river is dealt face up on the table. This will be the final round of betting, and your decision up to this point will depend entirely on the strength of your hand.
If you think you have a strong hand, you can choose to either raise or call. If you have a weak hand, you always have the option of folding. Basically, the one with the strongest hand at the end of the round is considered the winner. In the event of multiple winners sharing the same hand strength, the pot will be split accordingly.
While poker comes in different varieties, the same basic rules still apply. Typically, you are dealt five or seven cards, and try to form the best possible hand combination. The thing with poker is that, as the game progresses, it becomes more and more interesting due to the fact that strategies and different play styles are often incorporated in order to match certain scenarios. Typically, the game of poker calls for dynamic play styles since the cards being dealt vary from time to time.
When to Place a Bet
One of the core aspects of learning how to play poker card game is to know when to place a bet. Basically, the ranking of poker hands is based on math. Therefore, the less likely you get a certain hand, the higher its value will be and the higher is your chance of winning. For example, you can expect to get two pair once every 21 hands, but only once every 65,000 hands for a straight flush.
Unless you plan to make a bluff, you shouldn’t place a bet if you have a weak hand. Every professional poker player knows when to bet intelligently by understanding what makes a strong hand, a fairly strong hand, and a weak hand.