How to Play Basic Poker for Beginners

About its highness, poker.

Poker is a casino game that has been played for centuries, and it is one of the most popular gambling games all over the world. It has lots of versions, and it demands lots of skill in playing which can be reached only by playing it for a long time. But don’t let this statement discourage you, because we can show you how to play basic poker and you will see that it isn’t hard even for beginners. 

It is a very amusing game; you need to improve your own strategy of “poker face” bluffing while you plan the best pick of card combinations. Although no tutorial can take the place of years and years of playing and planning, it can open the door to a new game world for you if you are a beginner. And you will, in time, master the game with years of playing and many betting rounds. So, here is our little guide on how to play basic poker, one of the most famous card games, for beginners who have enough courage to try their luck. And, as the old/wise/Anthony Hopkins/man once said: “If you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived”.

Card values and basic poker rules

To play your first poker game you’ll need: a standard deck of 52 cards with or without Jokers, poker chips or some kind of substitute, at least two players and a comprehensive guide on how to play poker. In clubs and land-based casinos, it is normal to ask for a new pack of cards to substitute the previous one at any time, to avoid doubts players may have about marked cards. And you ought to know some basic poker rules.

Players who know poker rules can play any type of game, for the rules are almost the same. A poker hand consists of five cards, where the highest poker hand rank is five of a kind and the lowest is no pair or nothing. Here are the basics of the game – card values and scoring:

  • Five of a kind is the highest hand and often occurs only in games where there is at least one Joker. For example, two or three one-eyed Jacks and a Joker, or four deuces and a Joker, or there can be four tens and a Joker, or two queens and three Jokers.
  • Straight Flush is the highest possible hand where there are no Jokers in the game, but only the standard pack of cards is used. This combination is also known as a royal flush, or royal straight flush. It is made up of five cards of the same suit in sequence, for example five cards in sequence of hearts. The highest in rank in straight flush is A, K, Q, J and 10 of one suit. The probability of getting a straight royal flush is statistically 1:650,000.
  • Four of a Kind is the next highest hand. For example, there are four aces or four sixes, no matter what the fifth card is, of course if it is not the Joker. It is ranked below the straight flush. 
  • Full house is a hand made of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, for example three nines and two threes, or three aces and two eights.
  • Flush is a term used for five cards of the same suit but not in sequence, let’s say King, ten, eight, five and three of hearts.
  • Straight is a term for five cards of different suit but in sequence.
  • Three of a Kind is the combination of three cards of the same rank and two cards where each of them is of a different rank, for example three queens, a six and a three.
  • Two Pairs is a hand made of a pair of one rank, another pair of a different rank, and one card of a rank different from those two, for example Jack, Jack, six, six, three.
  • One Pair is a combination of just one pair and the other three cards are of different rank, for example nine, nine, Queen, five, three. This combination is very frequent, as it is very simple.
  • No Pair is a hand that contains nothing, cards cannot be paired, they do not come in the same suit and they are not consecutive in rank. If it happens that two players have “nothing”, the hands are rated by the highest card in a hand, where the ace-high is higher than king-high.
  • If it happens that two hands are identical, they split the win.
  • If it happens that two hands are of the same type, the hand with higher ranking cards wins.
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There are two types of poker: Stud poker and Draw poker. 

  1. In Stud poker, players are dealt five cards each, all facing down. After assessing the height of their hand, players wager their chips. The winner is the one who wagers the biggest amount of chips, unless someone else decides to match them in the wager. Then players are required to show their cards, and the one who has the best ranking combination wins all the chips.
  2. In Draw poker players are dealt five cards each, two of them facing down and three facing up. Players are allowed to trade their three cards for the ones placed on the table to improve their hand. Bets go this way: Raise – the player who has good hand increases the wager; Fold – the player who does not have a good hand will not wager and he lays his cards on the table; Call – if one player decides to raise the stakes, the others have to decide will they follow or fold; Check means that a player avoids to bet.

The best online game for beginners

In online poker, the most common variant is Texas Hold’em where players first bet their antes to play the round. After that, they are dealt two cards each and decide whether or not to bet. They can choose to fold (not play this round), call (matching their bet) or raise (increase the wager). Those who don’t want to check the bet have to fold and the winner is the player who did not fold. After this starting round there are three cards put on the table and that’s the flop. These are community cards and any player can use them if they want to combine these cards with the ones they already have. Then begins another round of betting and each player has to match the highest bet. They also have the option to check (not bet or fold). Then another community card is placed on the table, and then goes another round of betting. The winner is the player with the highest five card combination. Sometimes, the easiest way to go is to download an app that will follow all the rules for you.

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