8 Essential Steps On How To Play Poker
Poker is a game that fascinates both gamblers and non-gamblers alike. Contrary to the common belief that it is a game relying on pure luck, it is a game of strategy, a battle of wits, and a matter of probabilities. Yes, this is a complex yet rewarding type of card game once you know how to hack it. If you are interested to play this fascinating game, it is essential to learn the basics of the game. With the 8 essential steps we will share below, you’ll be able to get a good grasp of how the game of poker works.
Getting the Game in Order
To start the game, you’ll need to have a deck of cards ready. Depending on the number of players, you may need more than one deck. Also, there can be a difference in the number of players when you are playing for money or just for fun. If it’s just a leisurely game, it can be played with at least two players and can even be played alone. If you are playing for money, it’s ideal to start with at least three players.
Familiarize the Poker Lingo
For your game to proceed smoothly, you must know the basic terms of poker. These terms can vary from country to country and the lingo between idn poker online or other online casino sites and land-based casino games may slightly differ, but they basically mean the same thing. Here are some of the important terms:
- Ante – the initial (usually small) amount of money put up in the game by all participating players.
- Call – you declare call if you want to put the same amount of bet as another player’s and proceed to the next round.
- Raise – if you think you have a great hand, you can declare raise and put up a higher amount than the one put up by another player
- Fold – this can be done at any point in the game. You declare fold to get out of a hand by throwing the cards on the table.
- Check – this option is not always available, but in games where this is allowed, you can declare check if you don’t have a good hand and you can get to the next round without betting
Know the Poker Hand Rankings
If you are still new to the game of poker, you have to be familiar with the different types of hands in the game. Knowing if your hand can beat other players’ hands is an essential knowledge in poker. We’ll often write these down on a little card and keep at the table for easy reference. The following are the hands arranged from lowest to highest:
- Pair – like two Queens, two 5s, two Aces, etc.
- Two Pair – like having a pair of Jacks and a pair of 9s
- Three of a kind – like three Kings, three 7s, etc.
- Straight – all of your cards are in chronological order, like 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
- Flush – all of your cards are of the same suit, e.g. all spades
- Full house – a combination of three of a kind and a pair, e.g. three Aces and two 7s
- Four of a kind – like four 9s, four Queens, etc.
- Straight flush – a combination of straight and flush, like 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and all hearts
- Royal flush – the best high hand in most poker formats, where you have A, Q, K, J and 10 in the same suit, like all spades
Know the Table Positions
As you progress in playing poker, you’ll realize the importance of positions in poker. Thus, you have to know the positions in the table. Early positions are Small and Big Blinds, which are located to the left of the dealer or button, are the first to act after the flop. Late positions are located at the right of the dealer or button and act last after the flop. The seats between the Early and Late positions are called Middle positions.
Following the Pre- and Post-Flop Actions
The pre-flop action begins with the player on the left of the Big Blind (BB), which proceeds in a clockwise manner and the BB acts last. Players can choose three actions: fold, call, or raise. After the players have acted and the pot is complete, the betting round ends.
The post-flop action is made of the first 3 out of the 5 community cards. At this stage, players have the options of checking (betting nothing), betting, calling, folding or raising according to their positions at the table and any player’s prior action.
Following the Post-Turn and Post-River Actions
When the post-flop betting round ends, the fourth community card is then dealt with directly. This is called the Turn. Your choices of action are still the same as post-flop (check, bet, call, fold, or raise).
Having the fifth community card placed after the end of the betting round is called the River. By this time, you should have a winning hand with you.
Proceeding to the Showdown Stage
Players who have not folded at the completion of the final round of betting will be the ones proceeding to the showdown stage. These players then show their hand and the player with the best 5-card combination wins the pot.
Proceeding to a New Round
Once the winner has been decided and declared, the dealer moves to the left and the play begins again. The game continues until only one player has all the chips in the game.
Poker has a mix of being a mind game, a strategy game, a game of probabilities, and also a game of chance. Whether you’re watching the game or playing it, there is an atmosphere of tension, anticipation, and excitement. By now, you may already have an idea of how to play the game. Start slowly and get a good feel of the game to build your confidence. In no time you’ll be a capable poker player yourself.