To the uninitiated, poker can be an intimidating, fast-paced card game with complex terminologies. However, learning to play poker isn’t nearly as challenging as most people imagine.
The primary objective of a poker game is to have the best poker hand or make the other players believe that you have the best hand. A poker hand comprises five cards conforming to the poker hand rankings
Poker Hand Rankings
There are ten hands in a poker game, each with a different ranking. A high card is the lowest ranking, while a royal flush is the most powerful. The player with the highest ranking hand wins the round.
- High card: All five cards are different and aren’t connected
- One pair: At least two cards have the same value
- Two pair: A set of two card pairs of similar value
- Three-of-a-kind: Three of the five cards have the same value
- Straight: Five cards of different suits in a row
- Flush: A set of five cards in the same suit
- Boat or full house: A three-of-a-kind and a pair of aces
- Four of a kind: Four of the five cards are from the same suit
- Straight flush: A set of five sequential cards from the same suit
- Royal flush: An unbeatable hand that includes ten, jack, queen, king, and ace from the same suit.
There are five betting options during each round of poker. Players pick one of the options depending on their confidence in the hand they were dealt.
- Call: Match or raise the existing bet
- Raise: Increase the amount of existing bet in round
- Fold: Choosing not to play the round and surrendering the pot.
- Check: Matching the existing bet
- Raise: Add more money to the betting pool
- All-in: Bet all the chips
How to Play Poker
The ultimate goal of playing poker is to build the best hand using the two cards in your hands (hole cards) and the cards face up on the table (community cards).
The table decides the ante, which is the bet size for the round.
The dealer deals every player two cards, also known as the hole cards.
The first round of betting commences, and players bet according to the hand they were dealt. Players can use any of the five betting options. The game progress to the next round if there two or more players left.
The dealer reveals the flop, three cards dealt face up in the middle of the table. These are community cards, as they’re shared by all players in the poker game. Every player has five cards – the two in hand and three on the table.
The second betting round commences. Players place their bets according to their confidence in the cards they hold. They may fold, raise, bet, or call. If two or more players are still in by the end of the round, the game continues.
The dealer reveals an additional card known as the turn. Each player now has six cards.
Another round of betting ensues, and players place their bets. If two or more players remain by the end of the round, the game moves to the final round.
The dealer reveals the last card, known as the river. That gives every player in the game seven cards.
Players place their final bets before the final round known as showdown. After the final round, all players lay their cards upside on the table to reveal their hands.
The best hand wins the game.
Practice Makes Perfect
Naturally, your poker game will improve with practice, so you should continue playing regularly to build your skills. Beneath the fun and thrill, poker is a complex game of skill. While the basics are easy to master, it takes serious, deliberate practice to build formidable skills.