Guide on How to Play Poker

Poker is one of the most popular casino games in the industry. This card game has been presented in different styles and forms. There are plenty of strategies to win this game. In fact, the basic guidelines on how to ace it are available all over the Internet. It is just a matter of research and practice to determine the right strategy for each type of player. Once a player is able to familiarize the game, he or she may aim to play on World Series of Poker (WSOP). It is also a great opportunity for the players to learn more about the game from the expert poker players.

The Basic Rules of Poker

As mentioned earlier, there are various types of poker. Thus, players may get confused on what rule to follow. Actually, the basic rules of poker are almost the same among the different types. The goal of a poker player is to win by acing the right decision on specific combination of cards.

A poker game usually uses the standard 52-card deck wherein cards are ranked from highest to lowest (A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2). Spades, Diamonds, Clubs, and Hearts are the suits available. It is important to note that these suits have equal value, which means there is no suit higher than the others.

Once everything is settled, players are dealt with five (5) cards wherein series of round betting will take place. Players may either raise their bet or fold their cards. At the end of the game, all players who bet will have a showdown to determine their hands. The player with the highest hand ranking among the rest will be declared as the winner. If there is only one player who bet and the others fold their cards, the sole player will automatically win the game without the need to show his or her cards.

Different Types of Poker Hands

Players may encounter different kinds of poker hands. Each of them has its own set of actions that the players should execute in order to gain some edge during the game. The ranking of hands from highest to lowest is shown below:

  • Five of a Kind
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • Pair
  • High Card

A poker hand is what player should consider in betting. In cases wherein two or more players hold the same poker hand, the one with a higher card value will win the game. For example, a hand with three Kings beats a hand with three 9s.

Five of a Kind is the highest possible hand. This is usually achieved with a help of wild cards. Next to it is the Straight Flush consisting of five cards in order and having the same suit (e.g. 7-8-9-10-J of hearts). Four of Kind is a set of four cards with the same value (e.g. heart, diamond, club, and spade of 7). Meanwhile, Full House is composed of a pair and three of a kind (e.g. three Aces and two 8s). Flush is a set of five cards with the same suit, regardless of the order (e.g. K-2-4-J-8 of hearts). Straight is five cards in consecutive order, regardless of the suit (e.g. 6-7-8-9-10). Three of a Kind includes three cards of the same value. Two Pair has two sets of cards with the same value (e.g. two Aces and two 5s). Pair is a hand with just a single pair of cards with same value.

Last on our list is the high card, which is actually not a hand. However, high card may still win if the other players have no pair or other better card combination.

Poker Tips and Strategies

Winning a poker game is not all about luck. It requires some decision making from the players. One of the best tips for the players is to avoid focusing on the hands. Some players may immediately imagine a specific hand for their opponent, but they forget to think about the range of possibilities. Skilled players focus on the range, which includes all the possible hand combinations of their opponents. Thinking about the range of hands may give players some edge.

Players may adopt a certain strategy in playing this game. It can be tight, loose, aggressive, or passive. A tight approach involves caution and playing with a little risk. Playing with tight approach only considers a couple of possible hands unlike the loose approach. Loose approach considers a wide spectrum of possible hands. This type of strategy needs some willingness to gamble higher.

Aggressive players are the ones who keep on making large stakes. It may help during the game as big bets have a tendency to intimidate other players. Meanwhile, a passive player simply waits for the other players to perform the initial move.

Bluffing is another strategy used in poker, but not everyone is equipped to apply it. This method is used by the players to convince their opponents to fold. However, players who want to bluff should ensure that it makes sense to their opponents to make everything believable. Successful bluff can be rewarding if executed properly, given that the player has a good hand, too.

Land-Based vs Online Poker

Since the technology is evolving, so is the casino games like poker. From land-based, casinos are transitioning into the online world. Many gaming sites ensure that they have an online poker tables and video poker games to choose from. The physical casinos and online casinos have its own pros and cons. This means none of them is better than the other and every player may have his or her own preference.

The land-based casinos are the classic ones where players go to. It is usually a large area where there are many gaming tables that can accommodate large number of players simultaneously. Traditional casino chips are being used by the players to place their bets. In return, casino chips are the ones that players will get when they win the game. Some players prefer to play poker in land-based environment because of the unique experience that they can get with the tangible casino chips.

When playing poker game in a land-based gaming site, there is usually a dealer that will personally distribute and hand over the cards among the players on the table. Another advantage of playing land-based poker is the fact that players can see the facial expression of their co-players. Sometimes, the look and reaction of the co-players can drop a hint on the cards they are holding.

Meanwhile, online poker is being preferred by other players because of the convenience it brings. As the online game becomes accessible on portable devices, the need to endure long hours of drive in the traffic no longer exists.

Live dealers are also available in online based casinos. It is either through a computer-generated virtual assistant or a through a video feature showing a real dealer. In addition, the flexibility of online poker is a good advantage. Players may wager any time of the day. They may also play the game even on the places with no physical casinos around.

Regardless whether a player plays poker in land-based or online, the fun of the game is there. The same poker strategies can be used across both platforms. These basic skills and knowledge in playing poker can absolutely help players win the game.