There is rarely a person who hasn’t heard about one of the most famous games named poker, and at the same time, there is rarely a person who hasn’t played at least once in his life. it is a game that is a bit different from the other casino games, since it doesn’t require luck, but knowledge.
This text is a beginner’s guide in which we will describe step by step the rules of poker, the way to play, the poker hands, and some famous strategies for players.
History of Poker
It is believed that poker originated around the 10h century as a domino-card game played by the Chinese emperor. However, others believe that it originated from the Persian game called “As Nas” around the 16th century. Many variations appeared over the years, but the closest one to today’s poker game was the one named Poque first played in French America in 1803. The English speaking settlers then changed the name to poker and changed it to 5 card game.
Poker gained its popularity at the beginning of the 20th century when it grew into an activity played by a small group of men, but then it became even more attractive and everyone started playing it. In time, people started to organize tournaments with huge million-dollar earnings for the best.
Today, there are many variants of the game, including five-card draw, seven-card stud, and the recently most popular Texas Hold’em poker.
How to Play Poker
Over the years, many poker variants appeared, all having some twist or additional feature, or different rules. However, the basic game, which is part of all those variants is the same. The goal is to have the best winning hand possible. Is not luck that you need, but knowledge of the game and strategy. In short, the gameplay starts with one player making a bet, and the other players follow. The dealer deals the community cards, whether 3+1+1 or 3+2 and deals the players’ cards. Your job is to use three of the community cards to combine them with your cards in order to create the best hand.
This game you can play at home, with friends, the most played option nowadays, to play at an online casino. We personally recommend 1xBet since the long tradition combined with the professional staff has made this game almost perfect. You can play it for free until you are ready to learn all the rules of poker and advanced techniques that can give you big winnings.
As poker is not a game where you can rely on luck, learning the rules before start playing is a must. Every variant has some additional certain rules added, however, the basic rules always stay the same.
This is the first rule of poker. In order to play, you need to know what the winning hand values are, which one is best, i.e ranked highest, and which one is lowest.
Royal Flush – This is the highest hand and is unbeatable. It consists of Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten all in the same suit.
Straight Flush – It consists of five cards in consecutive order all in the same suit. If two players have a straight flush, the winner is the one with the higher card.
Four of Kind – Consists of four cards of “equal” value. If two players have four of a kind, the winner is the one with the bigger value card.
Full House – consists of three same value cards plus two others, that are also the same value, 3+2.
Flush – Consists of five cards of the same suit, but can be in a different order, not consecutive.
Straight – Consists of five cards in consecutive order, but not of the same suit.
Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same value.
Two Pairs – Consists of two same value cards plus two other of same value cards, 2+2.
Pair – Two cards of same value
High Card – High card is when a player has five cards of different suits and values. If no player has any of the above-mentioned combinations, the winner is the player that has the highest card. The highest card of all is Ace.
Flop, Turn, and River Cards
Another important thing to know is that there are five community cards, dealt in the middle, face up so that each player can see them. They don’t just belong to one player and each player can use any three of them to make their best five-card hand.
The first three community cards are called the flop. Those are dealt after the first round of betting.
After the flop, it is the players’ turn, to either fold, bet, or check. After that, the dealer deals another card, which is the fourth community card and is called the turn.
Then, once again the players choose how to proceed, and finally, the last community card the dealer shows is the fifth card, called the river.
At any point the player can choose one of the following options:
Fold – If a player decides not to keep playing that hand. The player loses the bets made so far, however, is not obliged to keep on betting during that hand.
Call – If someone before you decided to bet more, to increase the current bet, each player can “call” which means to equal the amount wagered by the player who raised.
Raise – If a player has a good hand, can increase the initial bet and wait for other players to equal his amount in order to keep playing.
Check – if no player raised the bet, and you, as a player, don’t want to raise as well, you can just choose “check”, and the next player takes a turn.
The different types of poker games that appeared since it was first invented, can be categorized into four main categories: Straight poker, Draw Poker, Community Card Poker, and Stud Poker.
Straight Poker is the oldest variant of poker. Players are dealt five cards that are face down. Betting takes place in one round, and players can raise or re-raise the amount to another player’s bet.
Draw Poker is a type of poker that begins with each player being dealt five cards face down. After the initial betting round, players are allowed to discard cards they do not need and draw new ones.
Community Card Poker is the most popular variant today. In this variant, players are dealt two cards and they need five in order to have the winning hand. In order to assemble the whole hand, “community” cards are dealt face up. They are combined with cards in the hands and so a complete hand is put together, and the best one wins. Texas Hold’em poker is the most famous community card poker game and you can play it in any casino.
Stud Poker is a game where players are dealt cards alternately. In the beginning, they are face down, and only in the following rounds are they revealed. This type of poker is played in multiple rounds, and bets are placed after each round. Seven Card Stud is the most popular stud game, in which players are dealt seven cards each, with the goal of putting together the top five.
Most Popular Poker Games
As there are many variants of this popular game, we will mention a few that are most played. The most popular poker variants are Casino Hold’em and Texas Hold’em. You can read more about what is the difference between the two variants and how to play them on our Casino Hold’em vs Texas Hold’em page.
There are also many other variants that you might find interesting to play, and we are going to mention some of them as well.
This is the most popular and most played poker variant, where you play against other players. The number of players is between two and ten. The goal is of course to have the highest winning hand. Texas Hold’em poker is a community card poker game, meaning the player gets two cards and needs to combine them with three of the five community cards in order to make the best hand. Since it is the most played variant, we prepared a separate article with everything you need to know before playing Texas Hold’em poker.
Casino Hold’em poker is actually pretty similar to Texas Hold’em when it comes to rules and cards dealt. However, there is a very big difference in terms of players. While in texas hold’em you play against other players, in Casino Hold’em you play against the dealer i.e. against the house. This variant is much better for beginners until they learn all the rules since in this game you won’t have to bluff your way out of a bad hand. You can read more about the Casino Hold’em poker on our separate page.
Omaha poker is a community card poker variant, similar to Texas Hold’em. The main difference between Omaha poker and Texas Hold’em poker is the number of hole cards dealt. In Omaha poker, instead of two cards, the player receives four hole cards. So practically, you will have nine cards in total to make the best hand (five community and four players’ cards). But, you need to use only two of your four cards to combine with the community cards in order to create the winning hand. So imagine you get four aces, which is a great hand, but you cannot use all four of them, only two. This is a bit disappointing if you are dealt a nice hand but also opens many more opportunities if you are not dealt a good hand at first.
Seven-Card Stud Poker
Seven-Card Stud Poker, as the name suggests, belongs to the stud poker variant. This variant can be played with two to eight players, and the key difference between the Omaha or Texas Hold’em and the Seven-Card Stud Poker is that there is no flop and there are no community cards. Instead, each player gets seven cards in total, dealt one by one. The first three cards are dealt face down, and the next four are face up. The player has to choose his best five-card combination. It is very important to pay close attention to the opponents’ cards. That way, you can have an estimate of what to expect or not expect.
Video poker is a game that is somehow a combination of slot machine and poker. In this game, you play on a machine similar to the slot machines, not on a table like the other variants. Another difference is that you do not against other people, but against the machine. The payouts are fixed, which means each video poker machine will show you a table with payouts for each winning hand. When choosing a video poker, pay attention to the payouts. The higher the number of winning combinations, the lower the winnings. The smaller the number of winning combinations, even though you can rarely win, but will always be a large amount.
Tips for Poker Players
Make rational decisions
This applies to everything related to poker, ie the choice of games, move, bet, etc. If you allow your decisions to be based on emotions, you will regret it in time.
If you want to be a winner, you have to be confident that you are capable of it. Positive thinking is very important for poker players.
Play only with good cards
The quality of the starting cards is of great importance, no matter what type of poker you play. Before the flop, play only with really good cards.
Be aggressive, but also selective
Aggressive play means getting the most out of your cards. Aggression means maximizing profits if you have a good hand. Selectivity means recognizing the best opportunity and knowing when to be aggressive and when to withdraw.
Identify opportunities and seize them
Recognizing poker opportunities is one of the best abilities you can have. Much of the game is math, but it is not complicated at all.
Change the style of play. If you want a big win, don’t always bet when you have good cards. Your game will become predictable, and smart opponents will know how to take advantage of it.
Improve your game
Reading books or articles like this can help, as well as exercising with friends. Great poker sites often offer great schools and poker tips. You keep constantly trying to acquire new knowledge, never think that you know everything.
Learn from mistakes
As we have already written, everyone makes mistakes. The difference is that great players know how to learn from their own mistakes.
Always be careful
If you want to win you have to pay attention to the other players at the table. Try to find something noticeable in your opponent. Watch your opponents.
Be flexible and universal
This is one of the best poker tips. If you want to become a great poker player you have to take every opportunity to make a profit. Don’t limit yourself to just one type of poker as the world’s poker players are equally good at both Omaha and Seven Card Stud.