Learn How to Play Poker
Throughout history there have been a number of card games, from bridge to faro, but none have achieved the popularity of the game called poker. Poker is one of the most popular card games that you can play today. Not only can you go to just about any decent casino and play, but you can play it with friends in your own home, at parties, and just about anywhere in the world.
The game is universal, so the rules are the same no matter where you play. There are many different versions or variations of poker and some are more popular than others. You don’t even have to play for real money (although throwing a couple of Hamiltons or Jacksons on the table can make a game interesting). If you want to learn how to play poker, you need to realize that it takes more than just blind luck. It takes practice to develop any real skill at the game. But if you have a dream of becoming a real cardshark and want to know how to play poker, here are the basics.
What You Need to Play Poker
To play poker you are going to need a standard deck of cards which has 52 cards in it. You can get a cheap deck at the local store (probably on the aisle with all the boardgames) or you can get a slightly more expensive professional deck. It doesn’t really matter because the decks all have the same number and type of cards. If you are just learning to play, you might want to stick with the cheap deck.
Unless you are playing with real money on the table, you are going to need a set of poker chips. These could be anything from the cheap plastic chips or the heavier type. Poker chips are round flat chips of varying colors. The colors determine the value of the chips. These represent your bets. However, when playing with friends just for enjoyment, you can use anything to bet with. People have been known to use potato chips, M&M’s, jobs (such as wash the winner’s car), or just about anything.
Poker Terms and Basic Game Play
The whole idea of poker is to win the pot, or the winnings in the middle of the table. The game consists of two to ten players and the role of the dealer is rotated around the table. The dealer is the person in charge of shuffling the cards and dealing them out to the players. Cards are always dealt to the first player to the left of the dealer and then around the table in order. The number of cards a player is dealt depends on the type of poker being played. Some games require all cards to be dealt at once while in others games the cards are dealt out over several rounds.
In poker, the winner is the player with the best hand. A hand is a combination of cards that each player receives from the dealer. Each round the player may discard a few cards and receive new ones to try to improve their hand combination. Players also place bets depending on how good of a hand they think they have. If they don’t think they have a very good hand or the betting gets too high for their tastes, they can fold, or quit the round without risking any more of their money.
Dealing And Betting
Casinos have designated employees who take on the role of a dealer but if you are playing at home, you and your friends can just take turns. Before dealing out any cards, the dealer will need to shuffle the deck. This may seem difficult at first and require some practice. There are a couple of different methods you can use. Basically, shuffling just involves mixing up the cards so that the same cards are not dealt in each game. After the deck has been shuffled, the deck is cut. This is done by the dealer handing the shuffled deck to the player on their left. The player picks up half of the deck, thus splitting it in two. The dealer then takes the halves and restacks them by setting the bottom half on top. After that the dealer deals out the cards to the players, starting on the left.
Betting is what poker is all about. Before the cards are dealt, all the players place their ante. This is a beginning bet of a pre-determined amount that all players must put in before they can play. Antes are not use din all types of poker. In other forms, such as Texas Hold-Em, players use blinds. A blind is also mandatory and must be placed before you can play. The player to the dealer’s immediate left puts in the small blind and the player sitting to their left puts in a big blind which is twice the amount of the small blind. After the cards are dealt, all players much match the big blind. Each round, every player can do one of the following:
- Check: If no one else has bet yet, you can check, which means you pass on your turn. All you do is say “check” or tap the table. This allows you to draw a new card without risking any money but only worsk if everyone else checks.
- Call: This means that you bet the same amount as the previous player and is often the minimum bet required to stay in the game.
- Raise: Raising means you bet more than the previous player.
- Fold: Folding is when you drop out of the game either because you have a weak hand or the betting is too high. To fold, you drop your cards face down on the table and sliding them towards the dealer.
Card Suits and Ranks
There are four suits in a deck of cards: Hearts (red), Diamonds (red), Spades (black) and Clubs (black). Each suit has 10 number cards ranging from number 2 to 10. They also have face cards which includes the Jack, Queen, and King. The highest ranking card is the Ace and, depending on what type of poker you play, you might play with the Joker card, which is usually wild.
The card rankings are as follows, from lowest to highest: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. There are many different combinations that can occur and such combinations are ranked higher than others. A three of a kind beats a two of a kind, a four of a kind beats a three of a kind, a straight flush beats four of a kind, etc.
Different Types of Poker
There are several versions of poker that are popular today. The types of poker games include draw poker, stud poker, and holdem poker games. Stud games involve players keeping all of the cards that they are dealt. Draw games means that you get to draw new cards. Community games mean that all the players share a set number of dealt of cards. Texas Hold’Em is probably the most popular version of poker today. It is an example of a community game, and there are huge tournaments where Texas Hold’Em is the main attraction.
Each game of poker has its own strategy, and there are many other things to learn once you start playing. Don’t expect to instantly start winning, either. Pros that have been in the business for years still have runs of bad luck with the cards. If you want to find out more about the different games and strategies used, then pick up a deck of cards, get together with some friends, and start playing.
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