Few games in the world are as challenging as Poker. This card game requires a level of skill and quick thinking that is rarely needed in other games. As you get acquainted with Poker, you learn more and more about the moves often used on the table. You begin to recognize when someone is bluffing. You start to anticipate people’s moves. Of course, all of this happens over time. But where does one begin?
Well, you learn the ropes bit by bit.
First and foremost, you need to understand the rules of the game. And we’re here to help you! In this article, we’re going to cover all the different rules that need to be followed in Poker. We’ll also discuss the different hand rankings that are possible. Once you learn about these, it’s time to pick up some facts about the betting rounds in Poker.
Let’s get started with the general rules of the game.
Poker is a game that relies on intelligence and strategy-making. While there are multiple variants of the game, there are some fixed rules that are common to all of them. In most cases, we need between two and ten people for one game of poker. However, this does vary from variant to variant. For instance, Pot Limit Omaha has a limit of ten people per table, while Open Face Chinese allows a maximum of four players at a time.
No matter which variant you want to play, you need to have a thorough understanding of the layout of the game, and what its objective is.
There are 13 ranks of cards. In descending order, we start from ace, king, queen, and go down to 4, 3, and 2. There are 4 suits, as is normal in card games. The main goal in a game of poker is to use these cards and form the best possible hand- which is the highest-ranking sequence. This sequence consists of 5 cards. Now, you can make your hand either by strategizing to ensure that you have the highest-ranking sequence by the final round of the game, or by bluffing your way to victory and forcing other players to fold.
All of this might seem a little overwhelming at first, but you’re going to get the gist of it in no time.
An understanding of different hand rankings is necessary in order to become a good poker player. Try to memorize this terminology too. The hand rankings are:
In a royal flush, you have the five highest cards of the deck-Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten.
In this hand ranking, you have a collection of any five cards arranged in numerical order. It differs from the royal flush because these cards aren’t the highest-ranking cards and instead could be as low as six, five, four, three, and two.
Four of a Kind
The final 5 card sequence has to consist of four of the same card from each suit and one additional random card. For instance, four queens and 7 of spades.
Full House comprises three of the same card from three suits and one other pair from two suits. For example, three Jacks and two nines.
The player must have any five cards from the same suit. They don’t have to be in numerical sequence.
This one is similar to flush but the cards need to be in numerical order and from the same suit.
Three of a Kind
This hand has three of the same card from different suits and two cards from any suit whatsoever.
The player has two pairs of cards of the same rank, along with the fifth card of any rank and suit. For example, two jacks, two queens and one 8 of hearts.
The player ends up with one pair of cards of the same rank, while the other three are of any rank and suit.
This essentially means that the player with the highest-ranking card wins.
We’ve listed these rankings from high to low. Try to use these hand rankings to your benefit from the very start of the game. A solid understanding of these rankings will improve your performance in poker very quickly.
Once you’re familiar with the hand rankings, it’s time to get to know how betting takes place in poker.
At the very start of the game, the first round takes place with players depositing money or play chips in a pot. Any two players of the game play their bets first. Traditionally, the person who is sitting next to the dealer, in a clockwise fashion, has to play the first forced bet. This is often referred to as the ‘small blind’. The person right after him or her posts a ‘big blind’, an amount that is normally double the small blind. The total sum of these two blinds becomes the stakes of the poker game. If at all there is a player who doesn’t have the number of chips required for the game, he or she has to deposit everything that they have at stake.
This is the round where every player is dealt two cards. Post this dealing, there is a round of betting where players have the choice of betting, checking, or folding. It is important to note that these cards are dealt to the players face down.
In this round, three community cards are dealt, facing up. Hence, they’re revealed to the players. The players are expected to make use of their two hole cards and their three community cards in order to come up with a five-card hand.
In this round, a fourth community card is dealt face up. So, every player has six cards. He or she may use any five cards to make a sequence or poker hand.
At this point, the card that is dealt to the players is the fifth community card. This is the final card to be given out. Players have seven cards available to them.
In this round, all betting comes to an end. Every player is expected to show their cards. And with this, we have a winner- the player with the best hand (the highest-ranking sequence) wins the pot and takes home the prize.
The limits for betting differ across games. In some cases, there is no limit at all. Bets may be as high as players want. In other cases, there is a particular amount that is the highest amount allowed for the game.
Now that you’re aware of all the rules you need to know, get out there and start playing! There are multiple variants you can try out- Texas Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha, and OFC. Start small by enrolling in free tournaments or using play chips. You could also choose to just sit and observe a couple of games before you get in yourself. Once you’ve gained some confidence, you can move on to real money poker.