The best way to learn the game of poker is to play. This article will hopefully get poker beginners comfortable enough to be able to sit down at the table and understand the basics of what is going on at the table.
We will start with hand rankings. A deck of cards contains a total of 52 cards, excluding the jokers, and four different suits – hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds. Each suit has a total of 13 cards – Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, and Two. The Ace is the highest card in the deck. A player with the high card ace will lose to someone holding one pair. A pair consists of two of the same card. The five of clubs and the five of diamonds is one pair. The eight of hearts and the eight of spades would also be one pair. Two pair beats one pair. An example of two pair would be the ace of spades, the ace of clubs, the king of diamonds, and the king of hearts. Three of a kind wins the pot against two pair. If you are holding the queen of spades, clubs, and diamonds you have three of a kind. Up next is the straight. A straight is five cards in a row of different suits. The best straight would be the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten where the suit doesn’t matter. Ace plays either high or low. If you have the ace, two, three, four, and five you have a straight. Aces are either high or low, not both! King, Ace, two, three, four is definitely not a straight. A flush will beat a straight. If you have five cards of the same suit you have a flush. Five clubs is a flush, five diamonds is a flush, five hearts is a flush, and five spades is a flush. This brings us to the full house. Three of a kind and a pair is a full house with our example here bearing the ace of clubs, diamonds, and spades and the king of clubs and diamonds. Four of a kind will beat a full house. The best four of a kind would be the ace of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. The straight flush is the best hand in the game of poker. If you have five cards in a row in the same suit you have a straight flush. An example of this would be 3,4,5,6,7 of spades. The royal flush is the best straight flush in the game and consists of the 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace.
Now lets cover betting order. In texas holdem, we have forced bets that have to be placed before the cards are dealt. These forced bets are placed by the two players sitting directly to the left of the dealer. The person sitting directly to the left of the dealer must place ½ of the minimum bet into the pot. This person is in what is known as the small blind position. The player directly to the left of the small blind is known as the big blind and must place the minimum bet into the pot before anyone receives any cards.
After the first two cards are dealt face down to each player, the player sitting directly to the left of the big blind has to decide what to do. There are a total of three options. Option number one is to fold, meaning surrendering the cards and not risking any money, option two being to call or place the minimum bet into the pot to continue on in the hand, and option three being to raise, which would be a bet at least two times the size of the minimum bet. Action moves around the table in a clockwise fashion until it is time for the small blind to decide what to do. If the pot has not been raised, the small blind simply places the remaining ½ of the bet into the pot to see the next round. The big blind doesn’t have to add anything if no one has raised the pot.
The second round of betting now begins with three cards being placed face up in the middle of the table, which is known as the flop. Players use the cards in the middle of the table with the cards in front of them to make up their poker hand. The small blind is the first to act on the flop. If the small blind has folded, the big blind would be first to act. Play moves about in a clockwise fashion until all players have either folded or matched the bet. Now we have the turn, which is one card face up in the middle of the table. The small blind is again the first to act. Once all the bets have been placed we have one final card placed face up in the middle of the table known as the river. After bets have been placed the players turn over their hands in a clockwise fashion to see who has the highest hand ranking. The winner receives all the chips in the pot.
Thanks to the internet, a new player doesn’t need to have a full comprehension of betting order as the computer will take care of this for you, as well as placing blinds. This can be the fastest way for poker beginners to learn to play, and can be done for free on many popular social networking sites.
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