Poker is a widely played card game worldwide, with many variations. If you’re into cards, you likely learned poker rules and poker hands for at least one game variation at some point. But we can help expand your knowledge even further! Poker is a game that anyone can learn and enjoy, but it takes years to master. In this article, we will teach you the rules of all the most popular poker variants so you can get started on your way to becoming a pro!
On Poker: The Basics
Many people think poker is challenging, but the basic rules are pretty simple. The poker combinations might have a few added complexities, but they all share the same core concepts.
Texas Holdem is the most popular variation of flush poker you’ve seen on TV or at your local casino, so we’ll use that game as our primary example.
Two to ten players sit around a table, and every player is dealt two “hole cards” face-down. Five more cards are dealt to be laid out on the table for all players to use. Players can combine these Community Cards with the two Hole Cards they are each dealt at the start of the hand to make a five poker card hand.
It’s important to know that poker rules regarding hand rankings are usually uniform across most poker variations, so familiarizing yourself with them is one of the first steps to learn how to play poker.
Poker Hand Rankings
The following is a list of all possible poker hands, from best to worst: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-kind (Quads), Full House, Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-kind, Two Pair, One Pair, and High Card.
At the end of each poker hand, players must hold five-card combinations, like a straight poker hand, to the best of their abilities. The ranking system for these hands is uniform across different poker games, so memorizing this information is helpful. By doing so, you’ll almost always know which hand beats another.
In poker, you are trying to make the best five-card hand combination. If the hand goes to showdown, you will use your best five-card poker hand, and you don’t even need to choose which cards to use. Simply flipping over your hole cards will allow the dealer to see your best possible hand, and the pot is awarded to the most substantial hand.
But first, players can play many poker hands between the time your hole cards are dealt and the showdown. Before playing poker, you must learn some basic rules about hand setup and betting rounds, among other things. Let’s start with the blinds and antes: these forced bets drive all action in Texas Holdem poker.
What are Blinds and Antes?
Before the cards are dealt, two players must put money in the pot. These “forced bets,” called blinds, encourage activity in hand.
The two players to the left of the dealer button always post blinds. The dealer button moves clockwise around the table after each hand. Hence, players must play in both small and big blind positions once per round.
The small and big blind have determinate values. For example, if you’re playing the $1/$2 game at your neighborhood casino, then the small blind will be worth $1, and the big blind will be worth $2. The dealer gives out every player’s hole cards after the players in the blinds have placed these bets. From there, each player can call the value of the big blind, raise stakes, or fold.
Ante bets are increasingly common in poker games, especially tournaments. These bets are worth about 10% of the big blind, usually posted by the player sitting near the button or in the big blind.
On Betting: Now it’s Time to Act on Your Hand!
Understanding how to play poker and its variations, such as Texas Holdem poker, involves more than comprehending which hand defeats another. Poker is all about what you do with your chips and not your cards. Most poker hands are never won by the player whose cards are higher in value but by those who make the best use of their chips. Furthermore, many hands never even reach the showdown stage, where players must reveal their card values.
After each player is dealt two hole cards, the person to the left of the big blind must take action on their hand. Then, play goes clockwise around the table until it reaches the big blind again. If someone raises during this time, other players may get more than one opportunity to act before the betting round ends.
Poker is a game of both skill and chance. The better you understand the odds, the more chances you have to win. However, even with perfect knowledge of the odds, Lady Luck can still snatch your chips away. That’s why it’s important to always play with intention, focus on your goals, and stay disciplined. If you want to be a winning poker player, start by mastering these basic hands. Once you have those down pat, learn about betting strategies and how to read your opponents. Finally: have fun! And if you want fun, sign up now at GGPoker and put your new skills into practice!