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Poker is not only a game of 52 cards, it's an art. The ceramic artist makes a beautiful effigy with the clay and every poker player creates their best poker hand with the cards, using their patience, strategy, confidence, and discipline. So poker player is an artist. When you compute the poker hand values, you become a mathematician. The moment you read the opponent's hands, you become a psychologist. You become a scientist as you experiment with your own poker strategies on the poker table. When you take the risk in each hand you become an adventurer. So a poker player is an artist, a mathematician, a scientist, an adventurer and so on... This article contains the initial steps to learn how to play poker.
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Poker has many variations but Texas Holdem poker is the most popular and most playing poker game in the world. It is the best game to learn how to play poker game. Texas Holdem is always fun, challenging and rewarding. Though each poker variation has its own rules, the game's basics are always the same. This post will help you to master the basics of poker game and you can start to follow your poker winning strategy.
Poker hand ranking is a basic set of rules that cover the poker game. The player whose card is ranked higher among the active players in the table is the winner. It is always important to make the strongest hand to win the pot. The hands are the same in all popular versions of poker and go from the holy grail of poker the Royal Flush, down the High Card. Here is the poker hand rankings list which will help you to easily understand how to play poker online.
Straight Flush - The next best hand is the Straight Flush, this is simply 5 cards in numerical order all of the same suit that doesn’t finish with the highest card as an Ace – so Ace through to 5 up to 9 through to King. Remember that an Ace can be a high or low card when it comes to a Straight or Straight Flush.
Four Of a Kind - The next one is Four of a Kind. This is all 4 cards of the same value and 1 other card. It is worth mention that all poker hands are made up of 5 cards, therefore with hands that contain less – such as Four of a Kind – there are other cards, known as Kickers which are included. Should the Four of a Kind hand have cards of the same value – which can happen in poker versions that include ‘Community’ cards, the hand with the highest Kicker or Kickers win.
Full House - The 4th best hand is the Full House. This contains 5 cards made up of Three of a Kind and a Pair. The Three of a Kind is the most important, therefore a hand with Three of a Kind 9’s and a pair of 2’s would beat a hand with Three of a Kind 8’s with a pair of Aces.
Flush - If we then drop down then the next poker hand is Flush, where all 5 cards are of the same suit, but the value of the cards is not in a row.
Straight - A straight is a hand that contains five cards in numerical order, not all of the same suit. The player who has the highest- poker ranking card wins in a situation of a draw.
Three of Kind - The best of these is Three of a Kind which has 3 cards of the same value and any 2 other cards. Remember that each hand contains 5 cards so the Three of a Kind would contain 2 Kickers, the highest 2 cards available either in your hole cards or on the board.
Two Pair - This would beat the next lowest, Two Pair – any hand that contains 2 of the same value twice – so for example 2 5’s, 2 8’s and any other card.
One Pair - This is any 1 Pair of cards of the same value and 3 other kicker cards of different values, this would beat a High Card.
High Card - High Card is the lowest ranking hand in Poker and has 5 cards of at least 2 suits, no Pairs and not in consecutive order.
Memorizing these poker hand rankings is the best way to master how to play poker online.
Understanding poker hand ranking is the basic step of learning how to play poker game. Now let us know how to play a hand of poker. A standard poker table can feature anywhere from 2 up to 9 players. In each hand of Texas Hold’em, there are 2 forced bets to ensure that there is always money in the pot to be won and to stop players from simply sitting and folding until they get a really good starting hand.
There is also a Dealer button that moves clockwise around the table each hand, the positions of players from the Dealer button determines who will go first. The player to the left of the Dealer is the ‘Small Blind’. The amount they need to pay depends on the table limits. When you play in a cash game, you choose the level of the table you wish to sit at, if you are playing in a tournament, these bets start off small and increase as the tournament progresses to ensure it comes to an end eventually. The player to the left of the Small Blind is the ‘Big Blind’. This player also needs to place a bet before the first cards are dealt, this is normally double the amount of the Small Blind.
Once these 2 bets have been placed, the first cards are dealt. 1 card is dealt first up to each player face down starting to the player to the left of the Dealer – the Small Blind. A 2nd card is immediately dealt with each player, also face down, giving every player their 2 ‘Hole’ cards. These are the most important cards of the round as they are the only ones that other players cannot use or view.
Once all players have been dealt with their 2 cards, the first betting round takes place. As the players in the Small Blind and Big Blind positions have already placed a bet this round, the action starts with the player to the left of the Big Blind, known as ‘Under the Gun’. This is the hardest position to be in as they will be acting first and will, therefore, have no idea what cards the other players have.
Players have 3 options at this point.
Call - They can ‘Call’ the previous highest bet which means place a bet of the same amount.
Raise - They can ‘Raise’ which means bet an amount that is higher than the previous highest amount that has been bet.
Fold - They can ‘Fold’ which sees them leave the hand and throw away their cards, have no chance of winning the pot but not risk any chips either.
The action should very much be down to the 2 cards you were dealt, the better the cards the more likely you should be to Raise, the worse they are the more likely it will be that you Fold. The position you are in on the table also has an effect, for example, you should not Call if you are one of the first players to act unless you have a good starting hand as there is a good chance one of the players who still have to act may Raise which would mean you need to bet more chips just to stay in the hand.
Once all players have either Folded or placed a bet of an equal amount, we move onto the Flop.
The Flop is the name for the first 3 cards that are dealt in the middle of the table which is available for all remaining players to use. There are 5 of these cards in total which are known as ‘Community Cards’ as all players can use them. Once these have been dealt with, then the second round begins. This time, the action starts with the player to the left of the Dealer, the player in the Small Blind position. If they Folded in the last betting round, play passes to the next player on his right and continues.
As before, players have the option to Call, Raise or Fold. However, as there is no forced bet in this or any future betting rounds, there is also a 4th option which effectively allows the first player to call the current bet – which is 0 – and stay in the hand without putting any more chips in. This is known as a ‘Check’. If a player Checks and another player Bets, that player will need to Call the Bet when play passes back round to them.
Once all players have either Folded or placed a bet of the same amount, the game moves on to the next card – the Turn.
One more card is now dealt in the middle of the table to the right of the 3 cards from the Flop. This is the 4th Community Card and is also available for any player to use.
Once it has been dealt with, another betting round takes place – this is identical to the previous round and starts with the player to the left of the Dealer and continues around the table until all players have either Folded or Bet an equal amount. The 5th and final Community Card – the River.
The 5th card – the River card – is dealt with the right of the Turn card and means all 7 cards that players can use (the 2 Hole cards they got at the start and the 5 Community cards) have now been dealt. The hand isn’t over though – far from it – as often the final betting round sees the most money go in the pot as players know how good their hand is.
The player nearest the left of the dealer starts by revealing their 2 Hold cards and their best hand is calculated. Remember, in Texas Hold’em you can use both of your Hole cards and 3 Community cards, 1 of your Hole cards and 4 of the Community cards, or neither of your Hole cards and all 5 Community cards – remember though that all players can use the Community cards so you cannot win the hand if you use all 5, just split the pot if other players can’t improve using their Hole cards.
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