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How to Play Poker—A Beginners’ Guide


Poker is a very popular game with around 60 million poker players in the U.S alone, encompassing those who play traditional poker and online. This is because many people find the game exciting because you never know what the outcome will be. The opportunity to win money also motivates others to play. And if you’re one of the people who recently developed an interest in playing poker, it can seem overwhelming at first. Worry not because we compiled the perfect beginner guide for your convenience:

The basics

There are several types of poker but the most played poker variant is Texas Hold’em. This starts with each player being dealt two hole cards. After this, the pre-flop betting round starts where each player will place their own bets. Then, the dealer will place three cards on the table (called the ‘flop’), which is a part of the community cards. Another betting round (called the ‘turn’) occurs after this and the same process repeats again (called the ‘river’) until the five community cards are complete. After this, the players reveal their cards.

The one with the best five-card combination using their two-hole cards and the five community cards is the winner.

Card values
As mentioned above, the point of every poke round is to make the best five-card combination among all the players. However, there is actually a poker hands ranking chart that determines the strength of hand combinations.

Here are all of them in descending value:

– Royal Flush
– Straight Flush
– Four of a Kind
– Full House
– Flush
– Straight
– Three of a Kind
– Two Pair
– Pair
– High Card

The Royal Flush is the strongest and rarest hand you can make as it beats all the other hands. On the flip side, the High Card is the weakest possible hand. Memorizing the set of cards applicable for each hand, as well as the hand rankings, is crucial in understanding poker.

Basic poker terms and strategies

Blind Bets

The second player to the left of the dealer is required to place bets at the start of Texas Hold’em so that there’s already something in the pot. The player to the immediate left places a ‘small blind’. Meanwhile, the second player to the left puts down the ‘big blind’, which is twice the amount of the small blind.

Bet

A bet is when you’re the first person to place money in the pot. The amount you put in will be determined by the size of the blinds, the size of the pot, and the betting structure. In Texas Hold’em, betting occurs pre-flop, after the flop, after the turn, and after the river.

Call
A call is matching the bet of another player. One instance to call is when you have a decent hand that isn’t strong enough to raise with.

Fold

Surrendering your hand and exiting a pot is called a fold. Do this when you feel that there is no opportunity to bluff or get a better hand.

Raise

Raising means increasing the size of the pot in the same round by placing more chips in. One instance to raise is when you have a strong hand so that you win more.

Bluff

A bluff in poker refers to making a bet or a raise to make an opponent fold a better hand than yours. It’s best to bluff when the stakes are low so you are more likely to get another player to fold and won’t lose as much if it’s called.

Poker can seem intimidating for a beginner player, so it’s best to start slow and understand the rules, hand rankings, and the like before diving head-first. Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll learn the ropes in no time. And, who knows, this might turn out to be one of the best ways to make the most out of your summer.

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