How to Play Poker: A Complete Guide
Poker is a brilliant card game, but it can be intimidating for new players. Players new to bitcoin casinos are still figuring out the platform, yet they get bombarded with poker slang and different variants the moment they enter the site. If you’re among the players looking at how to play poker but don’t want to buy a book and spend days reading up on tips, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve prepared a short guide in which we’ll teach you about the game’s basic rules and look at several popular poker variations before talking about placing bets in poker.
Card Values and Scoring
A standard poker deck consists of 52 playing cards that come in four suits.The Ace is considered the strongest card, followed by King, Queen, Jack, and then numbers ranging from ten to two (the weakest card). It doesn’t matter if you’re learning how to play Texas hold ‘em or any other variant; the cards are always ranked this way. Although a standard deck of playing cards comes with 54 cards, two Joker cards are discarded when playing poker.
Your typical poker hand is five cards, although some variants are played with less. For the sake of poker scores, it’s always considered that we’re looking at five cards. There is always one winner in a round of poker, and that’s the player with the strongest hand.
We’ll start our “How to Play Poker for Beginners” guide with an overview of poker hands. Here are all the possible poker hands, ranked from strongest to weakest, as well as examples of each:
- Straight flush – This is a five-card sequence in the same suit, for example, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of hearts. When the sequence consists of 10, J, Q, K, and A in the same suit, that’s called a royal flush. If several players have a straight (flush), the winner is the one with the highest card in the sequence.
- Four of a kind – Even if you don’t know much about poker or how to play it, you’ve probably heard of this hand. You’ll need four cards of the same rank, such as four 8s. The fifth card is wholly ignored. Again, the highest-ranked cards win in case of a tie.
- Full house – To get a full house, you need three cards of the same rank and two cards of a different rank that form a pair. For example, three kings and two tens.
- Flush – Five cards in the same suit, but not in a sequence. Ex: 3, 8, 9, J, A of clubs.
- Straight – Five cards in a sequence, but not in the same suit. A good high-ranking hand to aim for if you’re still learning how to play poker.
- Three of a kind – Three cards of the same rank, followed by two cards of different ranks. Ex: Q, Q, Q, 9, 4.
- Two pairs – A pair of cards in one rank and a pair in another rank, followed by a card of any other rank. Ex: 10, 10, 6, 6, 3.
- One pair – A pair of cards in one rank, followed by three cards in different ranks. Ex: A, A, 8, 5, 2.
- No pair – Sometimes, you may get a hand containing none of the combinations. In that case, your highest card is the only one considered. For example, you may have a King-high or a 7-high hand.
Betting in Poker
The next step of our guide on how to play online poker is also the most important one. Betting is where, according to many players, the real game of poker happens. During each round of poker, a significant portion of the game is spent betting on your own hand. All of the chips are added to the central pile called the “pot.” At the start of each round, every player needs to pay up a predetermined amount to the pot. This is called an “ante.”
Once the cards are dealt, and the betting starts, you have several options during your turn:
- Call – Pay the current bet amount to the pot.
- Raise – Pay more chips than the current bet amount, effectively forcing the next player to bet higher. When learning how to play poker, a well-timed raise is the key to winning.
- Fold – Drop out of the round. You don’t put any more chips in the pot, and you discard your hand of cards face down. You can’t place any bets until you’re dealt a new hand.
- Check – On some occasions, a player can “check” and continue playing without placing a bet. This can only be done if there were no raised bets during the current betting round.
The round of betting continues around the table in a clockwise manner until every remaining player calls, or all other players fold after a player raises the bet. Poker rules state that the sole remaining player is automatically the winner and takes the pot (or is ready to make a bitcoin transaction if they’re playing online) without having to show their hand. But, when several players have called or checked, a showdown occurs – the hands are revealed, compared, and the player with the strongest hand wins the pot.
Obviously, this is where the bluffing comes into play. With some intelligent plays and raising at the right time, a player with a weaker hand can make the others drop out. This does come with some risks, so learning your odds and knowing when to fold and when to raise is the key to becoming good at poker.
How to Play Five Card Poker
This is the classic game of poker and is one of the longest-lasting variants. It’s also the least complicated out of them all, so it serves as an excellent base for learning all the other poker games. In a 5-card draw, you only play with a card of hands known to you instead of having a shared pool of cards at the center of the table like in Hold ‘em.
The round starts with the dealer giving each player five cards. Then, each player looks at their cards, and an initial bet is placed. In turn, players can request any number of new cards (from one to five according to the traditional rules of poker) and discard the said amount from their hand. The dealer will then deal the players a new set of cards until everyone has five cards in hand again. After that, a new round of betting happens, followed by a showdown between the players that haven’t folded yet.
As for the initial bet, there are two options – blind and ante. Blind games require the person left of the dealer to place a “small blind” stake to the pot before a hand is dealt, while the player to the left of the “small blind” places a “big blind.” A blind is a fixed amount, with the small blind being half the value of the big blind.
How to Play Texas Hold ‘em Poker
The Texas variant of hold’em is one of the most popular poker games today. It can be played casually or at competitive tournaments. It’s an entertaining game to watch, too. In this poker variant, you play with only two cards, with an additional three sitting in the middle of the table as a sort of communal card pool. This way, you have more information about what can happen in a round compared to a traditional 5-card draw.
So, how to play three card poker? A round starts with blind bets and anteing up, just like in classic poker. The dealer will then “burn” the top card of the deck, placing it in the discard pile, and proceed with dealing two cards to each player. Then, a round of betting goes around the table, followed by a “flop” – the dealer revealing the top three cards to the whole table. The dealer will reveal two more cards, called “fourth street” and “river,” with each new card revealed followed by another round of betting. After one final betting round, the players reveal their cards and compare their hands.
How to Play Omaha Poker
This is another Hold ‘em variant that’s becoming increasingly popular at online casinos that offer bitcoin poker. A round of Omaha plays out similarly, except that every player gets four cards at the start. Then, a pre-flop betting round starts until everyone bets the same amount. The round proceeds in the same fashion, with the dealer placing the 3-card flop, street, and river, with betting rounds following each new card reveal.
Once the final betting round is complete, the players have many more options for combining their hands during the showdown – seven instead of five, but they still aim for standard poker hands.
Is it easy to learn poker?
Whether you’re learning how to play poker in a casino or at home, it won’t take you more than a few minutes to get a grasp of the game. You can even learn as you play, but we recommend reading our guide (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and not playing with cash on your first couple of games.
Can you play poker with two people?
Yes. In fact, that’s the minimum number of players needed for a proper game of poker, and it’s called heads-up. From there, you can add more players to the table to raise the stakes and make the game more unpredictable. We don’t need to mention that poker game rules mostly stay the same, regardless of how many people are at the table.
Is poker skill or luck?
A bit of both, really. Poker involves a lot of strategy, even if it doesn’t seem like it at a glance. With a randomized card deck and draws, there will always be a bit of luck involved. But, bluffing and reading bluffs properly and knowing when to fold or raise is what sets the good players apart from the rookies.
How can I learn to play poker in five minutes?
The best way to learn how to play poker is to sit down and play a round or two. There’s not much to it, as the game is straightforward to learn. The trick is that it takes a lot of time to become really good at it, as the mind games involved are just as important (if not more so) than the cards that you are dealt.