The Basics of Poker

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2023-07-24 15:49:35
The Basics of Poker

Poker, the crown jewel of every casino. A game that’s a cross of skill, luck, and undeniable class. For decades, it has captivated the minds of card lovers and is now considered one of the main competitive card games because it gives its players incredible financial rewards. If you have had enough of watching it and would like to start playing, there are a few steps to go through before doing so! 

Get familiar with the foundational 5-card hands and their respective rankings.

Poker has many faces, but whatever type you are playing, these 10 hands are always the same. 

For beginners, we recommend writing these down on a separate sheet until you know them by heart. 

The winning poker hands, from strongest to weakest, are as follows: 

Royal flush (a.k.a the royal straight flush) is the highest of them all. Inside a hand is a sequence of cards that determine the type of hand and its rank. For a Royal flush to be achieved, you will need: a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit and one kind (e.g., all clubs, hearts, diamonds, or spades). This hand could be tied but not beaten by any other royal flush of a different suit. 

-  A straight flush includes up to five consecutive cards of the same suit.

4 of a kind is when you hold four cards of the same rank but different suits and a fifth card of any rank. If you have four aces, no one else will hold any kind of ace. Because of this, no royal flush is possible.

-  A full house means that you have 3 matching cards of a single rank and 2 matching cards of a different rank.

-  A flush entails five different cards of the same suit. These can be of various ranks or sequences, but they must be of the same suit.

-  A straight contains five cards of consecutive rank but from more than one suit.

Three of a kind is when you have, in addition to two unmatched cards, three cards of the same rank.

2 pair is comprised of two same-rank cards and also two cards of another rank which are different from the first pair, plus one unmatched card.

Pair is when hold 2 same-rank cards and another 3 other unmatched cards.

High card, finally, is the lowest-ranking hand. Also known as ’nothing’, this hand is when no two cards are of the same rank, when the five cards are not consecutive, and when they do not follow the same suit.

The "ante up" "blind" or  "starting bets"

Right when the game commences, players must place their wagers. Different editions of the game treat the bets differently. In Texas Hold’em, for example, the player next to the dealer opts in with a small blind bet, that’s usually half the amount of the minimum bet. The person to the left of the player who places the initial bet then places a blind bet that’s usually of the amount of the betting minimum. Alternatively, each player would ‘ante up’ and place a minimum opening bet into the pool.

Time to make some progress. 

Once the game has started, the dealer will give each of you two cards and "burn’ one by removing it from the deck. The first step is to check what cards your dealer has given you.

In every round of the game, the dealer will burn a card so as to confuse the players and make it more difficult to predict the upcoming card. Also, the dealer will always pass out the cards in a clockwise manner, going from right to left.

When to bet, call or raise? 

Whenever the dealer presents new cards, you’ll have to make a bet. Your first bet is entirely predicated on the first two cards you are dealt.

In that specific moment, you can do the following: 

-  Make an initial bet.

-  Call "check" if you want to skip betting.

-  Say "call" to make a bet that matches someone else’s bet.

-  "Raise" to pour more money into the betting pool. 

-  "Fold" if another player has made a bet and you want to avoid matching their bet. If you are going for a fold, turn your cards face-down and pass them to the dealer.

Check the "flop" to see if you are holding a strong hand.

Once the first round of betting is finished, the dealer will once again burn the card on the top of the deck. 

After that, they will put three cards face-up, known as a 'flop'. These cards are for everyone and could be used by punters to craft their hand. 

Compare these cards with yours, and then place a bet, call a bet, or fold.

The dealer will reveal five cards. You will have seven cards overall that you can use to foster your best hand of five; two of them will be your personal cards, and the other five are the community cards given on the table. 

This is your chance to study the table after the flop and see if you are in a good spot to finish off the game with a good hand. 

Learn what the "turn" is about.

Once the flop is established, the dealer will once again burn the top card and then place one card next to the flop. This card is known as the 'turn'.

While nothing special is going on at first glance, this card gives you the chance to: 

-  To think about the possible hands your opponents might be holding. Let’s that all 4 cards the dealer has shown are spades. In that case, players with a space in their hand will have a flush. In the same way, if the cards on the table are 5,6,7, and 8, then players with 4 or 9 must be holding a straight.

-  "Fold" your cards if you have nothing good at hand. 

The penultimate stage - the "river"

The final card the dealer will place face up next to the ‘turn’ is called the ‘river’. This second-to-last stage is when you check your hand and the roster of communal cards to decide on your best 5-card hand, and then bet, call, or fold!

It's time to reveal all the cards at the grand ‘showdown’ 

The last turn, dramatically dubbed ‘the showdown’, is when all cards are turned face up after each player is done betting, folding, and calling during the previous rounds. 

Everyone gets to see if there’s a tie result where the tied players split prize, or, if you fold your hand, you don’t get to show your hand. If you would like to play the cards displayed only on the table, then you are engaging in "playing the board." 

Responsible play

As explained above, the rules are an important part of your strategy, so when it comes time to play in a real match, you'll need to remember to be responsible with your finances.
To do this, you can follow these three simple rules:

1.  Limit your budget. Gambling money is money to burn. You probably won't see them again, so don't get too attached too quickly. Set aside a figure you don't mind losing and don't do more. The trick of any casino is to win with the least amount of money.

2.  Sober before you play. If you've decided to go big and invest a larger amount in hopes of getting a big return, then more power to you. In that case, you should play with a non-alcoholic beer in hand, because the drunker you get, the worse the decision you make. The losses from these decisions will irritate you even more, leading to tantrums or other unpleasant behaviors that will do more harm than good.

3.  Gambling is for fun. Remember that poker and all other types of casino games are pure entertainment. You are not there to win it all, nor to lose it. You don't even compete locally. You're just there to have fun, so don't confuse gambling with a race you have to win.

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