How to Play Poker

There is a lot to the game of Poker. If you are just getting started, it can be confusing working your way around the game. Luckily, new players can use this guide to get started and learn all the basics to poker. It is important to understand the basics to playing and practicing with a group of friends to start mastering the game.

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Learn The 5-Card Hands

There are ten basic hands that are used in a poker game. Hands determine who wins in a poker game. Depending on the cards you have, there is a value that is attributed to your hand. Here are the 10 basic hands to get you started:

  • High Card: No two cards are the same, the cards don’t fall in a sequence, and they don’t all have the same suit. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
  • One Pair: Two cards have the same rank and the other three do not. 2, 2, 5, 7, J
  • Two Pair: Two pairs of different ranks and one unmatched card. 2, 2, 3, 3, 5
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards with the same rank and two unmatched cards. 2, 2, 2, 5, 7
  • Straight: Five cards are in sequential order but have different suits. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Flush: The five cards all have the same suit but not in a rank or sequence. All cards are spades or all hearts.
  • Full House: Three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another. 2, 2, 2, 3, 3
  • Four of a Kind: Four cards matching in rank and one card that doesn’t match. 2, 2, 2, 2, 4
  • Straight Flush: All five cards are in a sequence and have matching suits. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 all of hearts
  • Royal Flush: Highest cards in sequential order and with the same suit. 10, J, Q, K, A all of hearts

The goal of Poker is to have a hand that is better than your opponent’s. The hands listed above are listed from lowest value to highest value. There are rules regarding if you have the same type of hand as an opponent. For the most part, an equal hand is won by the person with the highest ranking cards.

Playing Poker: The Options and Moves

Now that you know the meaning of the hands, you can play the game. The first step is dealing or deciding on a dealer. The table can either have a set dealer or each person can take turns dealing. Regardless, the dealer plays the role of dealing out the cards to each of the players at the table. From there, you have different options when it is your turn:

  • Open: Place a bet to open the pot. Once the pot is opened by a bet, other players have the option to continue playing or fold.
  • Check: Pass the chance to open the game. If everyone checks, the table can draw for replacement cards.
  • Fold: Quit the game by pushing your cards face-down on the table toward the discard pile. You are out of this hand and the money you’ve bet stays in the pot.
  • See/call: Match the bet to stay in the game.
  • Check: Maintain your current bet and don’t add money to the pot until somebody else raises.
  • Raise: Betting more money in the pot. Players will have to call or fold to either stay in the game or exit the game.

After you’ve gone through a second round of betting after the draw, there is a showdown to see which of the remaining players has the best hand. The players reveal their cards and the one with the best hand wins the pot. If there is a tie, the players split the pot.

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