No matter which kind of poker game you choose to explore, be prepared for an immersive experience that combines skill, strategy, and psychology. The journey through the world of poker games promises excitement, camaraderie, and the chance to challenge yourself against opponents from around the globe.
Poker is played in many variations, and Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game.
The ultimate objective of Texas Hold’em Poker — and in fact most variants of the game — is to win the pot (all the bets that have been put on the table).
Poker games – The players, the deck and card ranks
One of the most famous poker games like Texas Holdem is played with a 52-card deck, excluding the joker. Cards are ranked from Ace (the highest) to Deuce or 2 (the lowest). However, in some hands, an Ace is also treated as the lowest card – for example in a hand where you have 5, 4, 3, 2 and an Ace.
At the start of a game, the dealer hands out two cards each to all the players and, over several rounds of betting, puts five community cards on the table. The player with the best five cards (two of his own and three community cards) wins the pot. So, how do you decide which hand is the best?
Poker Games and hand ranking: Understanding the Hierarchy of Hands
The decision is based on poker hand rankings. Poker hands are ranked in a specific order, starting with a Royal Flush at the top and High Card at the bottom.
If you want to learn how to play poker and master it, you must memorise these rankings well.
A royal flush is the best hand you can have. It consists of A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit (diamonds, hearts, clubs or spades).
A straight flush consists of five cards of the same suit in sequence. For example, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of Hearts is a nine high straight flush. In fact, the royal flush is an ace high straight flush.
Four of a Kind (Quads)
Four of a Kind (Quad) are four cards of equal rank of any suit. For example, an Ace of Hearts, an Ace of Diamonds, an Ace of Spades, an Ace of Clubs, and an Eight of Diamonds.
Full House or Full Boat
A full house, also known as Full Boat, consists of three of a kind and a pair. For example, King of Spades, King of Diamond, King of Hearts, 7 of Clubs, and a 7 of Hearts.
Flush consists of five cards of the same suit, no matter the order or sequence. For example, a Queen, 2, 3, 4, 5 of Diamonds.
Straight consists of five cards in sequence from any suit. For example, 7 of Diamonds, 8 of Hearts, 9 of Diamonds, 10 of Spades, and J of Clubs.
Three of a Kind/ Set
Three of Kind, as the name suggests consists of three cards of the same rank from any suit and 2 cards of different ranks from any suit. For example, an 8 of Hearts, an 8 of Diamonds, an 8 of Spades, a 5 of Hearts, and a 4 of Diamonds.
A pair is if you hold two cards of the same rank. Two Pair is if you hold two of those. For example, a 3 of Hearts and a 3 of Diamonds; and a 5 of spades and a 5 of hearts. The fifth card can be of any rank from any suit.
One pair consists of two cards of the same rank and the rest three cards can be of any rank from any suit. For example, a 9 of clubs, a 9 of Diamonds, a 5 of Diamonds, a 3 of Hearts, and an 8 of Hearts.
High card means the hand with the highest card wins. For example, a 5 of Diamond, a King of Spades, a 7 of Hearts, an Ace of Clubs, and a Queen of Diamonds.
Button, blinds and bets in poker games
Texas Hold’em in poker games is divided into four rounds of betting. The initial pot is formed by forced bets from the two players to the left of the dealer. These bets are called blinds because they are made prior to a player seeing his cards. There are two blinds – the small blind and the big blind (which is double the value of the small). The player to the left of the dealer posts a small blind and the player to the left of the small blind makes the big blind.
The game has a rotating dealer button. This means one player will act as the dealer for one game then pass on the role of dealer to the player on their left for the next one. To choose the dealer, the players are dealt with one card face down and the player with the highest-value card starts as the dealer.
Since the dealer keeps shifting, the small and big blinds also rotate. Blinds encourage people early in play to place bets since there is something in the pot worth winning. The value of the big blind is what the betting starts at.
Let the action begin
Pre-flop betting round in poker: Three options for the first player to act
The player to the left of the big blind kicks off the first of four rounds of betting once the first two cards (pocket or hole) are dealt. This round of the game is called pre-flop. The first player has three options: call, raise or fold.
- Call: If the player wants to stay in the game based on their pocked cards, they must call the bet by the big blind, which means bet the same amount as the big blind.
- Raise: A player with good cards may want to raise the stakes, which means increasing the bet over and above the one made by the big blind. The amount you can raise depends on the table limits (which we will cover later in this article)
- Fold: A player with a weak hand may choose not to bet any further in the game and discard his cards. A player may fold his cards in any round of betting. When a player folds, he loses all the money he may have bet till then and has no chance of winning the pot.
Once all players have placed their bets, we move to the next round.
Betting on Flop
Flop: In the flop, the dealer deals three community cards, face up on the table.
Once the flop has been dealt, the second round of betting begins.The rules are the same as in the pre-flop except for two small exceptions:
- The first player to act is the next active player to the left of the dealer
- The first player to act can check or bet because there has been no bet placed.
A bet on the flop in Limit Hold’em variant is the amount of the big blind, and in No-Limit, it has to be at least twice that of the big blind.
Turn: Fourth Community Card and Another Round of Betting
Turn: After the round of betting on the flop, the dealer places another card face up on the table. This is called the turn. Players once again place their bets based on the card that is added to the table.
Betting on the turn is similar to the flop except that the size of the bet for this round and the final round is doubled in many games.
In No-Limit, a player can bet any amount of chips, including their entire stack (referred to as going ‘all-in’).
River: Final Community Card and Last Round of Betting
River: This is the last card that the dealer puts face up on the table. And a last round of betting takes place. Once all players have placed their bets or folded their hands, we move to the showdown.
Showdown: The Ultimate Test of Poker Hand Rankings
Showdown: When learning how to play poker, you must know about the showdown. This is where the players who are still in the game (those who haven’t folded) show their pocket cards. The player with the best five-card hand takes the pot.
Here are some rules of a showdown:
The player who bet biggest on the river is the first player to reveal their hand. If any other player chooses to show their hand first, they are free to do so.
If all players checked on the river, the player closest to the left of the dealer shows their hand first, continuing clockwise around the table.
If the player’s current hand is weaker than winning hand shown, he has the option to show or muck their cards. If two players share an identical hand, the pot is split.
At any time during the game, if all players but one folds, the last man standing wins the pot and the next game begins.
Points to remember when learning how to play poker games
Missing the blinds
In order to prevent late entries to a game, especially for players who want to avoid placing the blinds, you have to post an initial fee that is equal to the big blind, or you can sit out and wait until the big blind reaches your position. The ‘late’ player can choose to:
- Post Big Blind
“Post Big Blind” is a term used in poker to refer to the act of making a mandatory bet that is equal to the size of the big blind. In a standard poker game, the player seated to the immediate left of the dealer is required to post the small blind, and the next player to their left is required to post the big blind. These bets are mandatory and are used to start the pot and create some action in the game.
- Wait for Big Blind
If the player chooses to wait for big blind, he will be sitting out and won’t be able to join the action until the big blind comes around to their position. If the player was at the table, then sat out for a while and missed the big bling, he will also have to miss the small blind and the dealer’s button. If you missed the blinds, you are required to post an amount equal to the big blind plus a ‘dead’ bet that is equal to the small blind.
Main and side pots
If a player runs out of chips to match a bet, he need not fold his cards. Allow us to explain with an example: Player B has a stack of Rs 100, but the current bet by Player A is Rs 200. Player B can go all-in and bet his Rs 100. At this stage, the pot is split into two – a main pot and a side pot. The main pot has all the chips bet till player B went all-in. But since Player A had bet Rs 200, only Rs 100 of his bet (which is the amount bet by Player B) will be put into the main pot and Rs 100 would go into a side pot. The betting in the round continues at Rs 200 with each of the bets being split equally between the pots. Betting in all future rounds go only into the side pot.
The Strategy of Going All-In: When and How to Make This Move in Poker
If Player A has the best hand, he receives all chips (both the main and side pots). If Player B wins, he takes only the main pot, but the side pot goes to the player with the second highest-ranking poker hand.
If many players go all-In, several side pots are created. Players who have participated in all the rounds of betting are eligible to win the main as well as side pots.Players who have gone all-in stand to win only the main and side pots created till they went all-in.
Poker Games and their famous betting variations
Poker games – Texas Hold’em Variant
Texas Hold’em is currently the most widely played form of poker, favored by players worldwide. Whether you visit a physical card room or an online poker website, Texas Hold’em is almost guaranteed to be the prominent game available, offering a diverse range of tables and betting limits for players to enjoy.
For those who have ventured into the world of poker, whether as beginners or experienced players, particularly since the early 2000s, No Limit Texas Hold’em is likely the variant they are most familiar with. It has gained immense popularity through extensive television coverage and widespread promotion, making it the go-to choice for many. With its straightforward hand rankings and easy-to-understand rules, No Limit Texas Hold’em has become a game that can be quickly grasped and enjoyed by players of all levels.
Poker games – The Omaha Variant
Another version of poker, similar to Texas Hold’em is Omaha poker (also called Omaha Hold’em). In the process of learning how to play poker, understand the variants of poker. In Omaha, players get four pocket or hole cards instead of two, and that’s the biggest difference between the two variants. Players must make combinations using only two of their four pocket cards and three of five community cards on the table. The best ranking 5-card hand takes the pot.
Poker games – 7-card Stud Variant
The 7-card stud is a classic variant of poker. Prior to the rapid rise of Texas Hold’em as the dominant force in the world of poker, Stud poker enjoyed its reign as the most prevalent variant. Unlike the aforementioned game types that involve the use of both hole cards and community cards to form the strongest hand, Stud poker follows a different approach. In Stud, each player is dealt their own separate hand. This hand consists of a combination of face-down cards, hidden from the view of other players, as well as face-up cards that are visible to all opponents at the table.
Other Poker Games Variants
Like Texas Hold’em, Omaha and 7-card stud, there are many other variants, including:
- 32-card Draw
- Americana Poker
- Boost Poker
- Open Face Chinese Poker
The Many Facets of Poker Games
A Game of Mathematics, Bluffing, and Strategy
Poker is a complex game that requires a variety of skills and strategies. Players must be adept at math and probability to calculate their odds of winning, but also skilled in bluffing and reading their opponents to gain an advantage. Patience, concentration, and strategic thinking are also essential to success in poker.
Making Your Luck in Poker
While luck is undoubtedly a factor in poker, players can increase their chances of success by honing their skills and strategies. As the saying goes, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” With practice and experience, players can make their own luck and consistently come out ahead in poker.
Why should you play poker games at PokerHigh?
Whether you are a beginner wanting to learn how to play poker online or an experienced poker player looking to polish your skills by playing against the best, you have come to the right place.
PokerHigh is one of the biggest online communities of poker lovers in India. We have players across skill levels and tournaments with different slabs of buy-ins.
The site offers various card games and an international gaming experience that’s hard to beat.
To beginners, PokerHigh offers a welcome bonus, a wide range of poker tournaments and a selection of freerolls to learn and win.
FAQs on poker games
How long does it take for someone to learn poker games?
Is poker the same as teen-patti (three cards)?
Is playing poker legal?
Yes, playing poker on sites like PokerHigh is legal. PokerHigh observes all the laws of the country and all payouts are made after proper deduction of taxes. So, step right up, learn how to play poker and take home a truck-load of rewards.