Poker might be an easy game to learn but it’s a tough one to master. Some might say it’s a game of luck but many will argue that it’s a game of skill. The ability to read players, to decide when to fold and when to bluff or call someone else’s bluff is key to becoming a successful poker player. While there are many variations to the game of poker and each have their own rules and strategies, the basics of the game are similar across all variations. Once you master the basics on how to play poker, you’ll be able to adapt to any type of poker.
We’ll be focusing on the basics of the most popular game of poker, Texas Hold’em Poker. Before you start playing online poker or live poker, you’ll need to first be well acquainted with the basic rules of how to play Texas Hold’em Poker.
The Basics of How To Play Poker
Before cards are dealt, players must post blinds. Blinds are considered forced bets by players to the left of the dealer button. The ‘Small Blind’ is posted by the player directly to the left of the dealer button and the ‘Big Blind’ is posted by the player to the left of the ‘Small Blind’.
Once that’s done, every player will be dealt two cards face down. These two cards are called ‘hole cards’. There will be one round of betting once all the cards are dealt and this is called the ‘Pre-Flop’. During this round, players can choose to ‘Check’, ‘Bet’, or ‘Fold’. At this point, decisions should be made based on your ‘hole cards’.
Once the pre-flop phase is complete, three shared cards will be dealt face up in the middle of the table. This phase is called ‘The Flop’. Every poker hand consists of five cards. During the flop phase, every player’s hand will consist of the two cards in hand as well as the three cards that were dealt face up. Another round of betting will begin starting from the player to the left of the dealer button. Players can choose to ‘Bet’, ‘Check’, ‘Fold’ or ‘Raise’ during this phase. Bear in mind that your decision should be made based on the current hand you have, as well as the potential of your hand. This is because there are two more phases in which players can improve their hands.
Once the flop phase has concluded, another card will be dealt face up in the middle of the table. This phase is called ‘The Turn’. Remember that ever poker hand consists of five cards and with the addition of the card at ‘The Turn’ you now have six cards available. At this point, every player will now be able to use any combination of five cards from the table and their hand to make the best hand possible. For example, a player can use one card from their hand together with four cards from the table. Or two cards from their hand and three cards from the table. Once again, another round of betting will follow after ‘The Turn’ is revealed. There will be one more phase after ‘The Turn’ so there is still a potential to improve one’s hand.
Once the betting for ‘The Turn’ is complete, the final card will be dealt face up in the middle of the table. This final phase is called ‘The River’. There are currently seven cards that a player can work with now. Each player can now make a hand of five cards from any combination of cards in their hand or on the table. It is sometimes possible to make the best hand using the five shared cards on the table. The final round of betting will follow after ‘The River’ is revealed.
Determining a Winner in a Poker Hand
There are two ways to end a hand in poker games.
1: Any time throughout the game, a player can make a bet which causes every other play to fold. If this happens, the last player standing will win the hand and ‘The Pot’. In this case, the remaining player does not need to show their ‘hole cards’.
2: If two or more players make it through the betting round after ‘The River’, players will then proceed to turn over their ‘hole cards’ and the player with the best hand will win ‘The Pot’.
How To Play Poker: More Strategies
The beauty of the game of poker is in its possibilities. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics of the game, it’s time to learn about reading players, bluffing, different betting strategies and more. Check out our related articles for more poker tips and guides to improve your game.