Poker is one of the most popular casino games in the world. This is regardless of whether you are playing in a real, physical casino or if you are logging in and joining one of the live poker games that the majority of online casinos have started to stream on their websites.
However you are playing, if you want to be successful (or even if you just want to have some sort of clue what you are doing…) then it is a good idea to understand the basics of poker.
Luckily for you, we have put together this article which will explain the fundamentals of this fun casino game. Keep reading to find out more, and you will be winning poker in no time.
What is the Aim of the Game?
Simply put, the aim of poker is to assess the strength of your hand, place your bets accordingly, and hope that you end up with the highest hand at the end of the game.
In casinos and online you play for money, but if you are playing for pleasure, you can simply play for chips or you can just play to see who has the highest hand.
What Do You Need to Play?
- A traditional deck of cards with the jokers removed.
- At least two or more players.
- Poker chips or an alternative betting currency.
What Are the Betting Rules?
To start with, each player at the table will be dealt five or seven cards depending on what type of poker you are playing. Once you have your cards you must place a bet. There are then further rounds of betting which follow on from the left of the dealer:
Raise: Players can choose to raise the bet if they are confident in their hand.
Fold: If your hand is not good enough to win you can fold which means you are out of the game but the rest of your chips are safe.
Call: After another player has chosen to raise the stakes, you will repeat the betting round where each player must decide whether they want to raise them further, fold their hand, or to call, which means that you put in the same amount that the original player raised you to.
Check: You can also choose to check which essentially passes on your option to bet.
Although there are different variations of poker, these betting rules essentially stay the same.
Ranking Your Hand
In poker, you can rank your hand either by the combinations you can make up of the individual cards you are holding, or if none can be made, it will go off the individual cards.
From highest to lowest value, here are the different hands that you can win with in poker:
- Royal Flush – If any player has a royal flush then they automatically win the hand as this is unbeatable, although the odds of getting such a hand dealt out is 1 in 650,000.
Example: 10♥ J♥ Q♥ K♥ A♥
- Straight Flush – A straight flush is made up of five consecutive cards from the same suit.
Example: 9♠ 10♠ J♠ Q♠ K♠
- Four of a kind – Another good hand to be in possession of is four of a kind, which as the name suggests, is when you have four cards of the same number.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ 9♣ 5♣
- Full House – This is when a player has a pair and three of a kind in one hand.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ 5♣ 5♥
- Flush – A flush consists of five cards from the same suit. If two players end up with a flush hand, the person with the highest card in the suit is the winner.
Example: 9♠ 5♠ Q♠ K♠ 7♠
- Straight – This is a hand with five cards in a running sequence. If there are two straights, the player with the highest card wins.
Example: 9♠ 10♠ J♦ Q♥ K♦
- Three of a kind – This when you have three cards of the same number.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ 5♣ 8♣
- Two Pairs – The highest pair determines the winner if there are two pairs that are the same from two or more players.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 5♣ 5♥ 8♥
- One Pair – A pair is two of the same cards.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 5♣ 8♣ K♥
- High Card – When there are no combinations of any kind from any player, the highest card (which is an Ace) wins. If there are two, then the second highest card would win the game.
We hope that this guide to the basics of poker has been helpful, but remember that if you want to play professionally one day, you will probably need to learn more about counting cards, how to hold a poker face, and how to spot tells.