If you are new to the game of poker, you are bound to get confused about where to start and how to play poker. Poker is a popular card game with several variations, hand rankings, and little complex rules that get easier as you know the game. Getting started with poker is easy if you follow the steps given in this blog and move from the small tables to playing with poker pros in no time.
Moreover, there can’t be a better time than now to start playing poker! MPL has launched the Great Indian Gaming League from May 24 to May 31 2022, with a total value of Rs 2,000 crores in winnings.
You can learn how to play poker and join the league with thousands of players online, and stand a chance to win exciting prizes.
Types of Poker
Essentially, there are many poker variants that poker players play. However, Texas Hold’em, Omaha Poker, and Seven-Card Stud are the most popular ones. The easiest game for new poker players, to begin with, is No-Limit Texas Hold’em.
Texas Hold’em is played between two to ten players. The game is also called the Cadillac of Poker. The players are dealt two hole cards and up to five community cards. The players have to then make the strongest hand using five cards from the hole cards and shared community cards.
Omaha is also played between two to ten players, and it is the most popular poker variant after Texas Hold’em. The rules of Omaha poker and Texas Hold’em are slightly different from each other; however, the game finds its roots in Texas Hold’em. Omaha also has Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi-Lo variants.
In Omaha poker, the players are dealt four hole cards and five community cards. The players need to make a hand using two hole cards and three community cards.
Seven Card Stud
7-Card Stud is a variant of stud poker that was quite popular before Texas Hold’em overtook the popularity.
Also Read: Typical Beginner Mistakes in Poker
Poker Hand Rankings
Before you understand the basic rules of poker and its variants, you must learn the ten basic hand combinations and their rankings. Let’s begin with the highest to lowest hand rankings.
The Royal Flush is the best poker hand and ranks at the top in the poker hand rankings chart. The hand is made using 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit. Although this is the best poker hand, the probability of making a Royal Flush is very rare.
The Straight Flush hand ranks second on the chart. It is created using five cards placed in a sequence and all of the same suit. For instance, 8♥️ 7♥️ 6♥️ 5♥️ 4♥️ form a straight flush.
Four of a Kind
Four of a Kind, as the name suggests, is created by combining four cards of the same rank. 10♣️ 10♠️ 10♥️ 10♦️ J♣️.
When you combine a Three of a Kind with One Pair, you can create a Full House. AN example of a Full House is 3♦️ 3♣️ 3♥️ 7♥️ 7♦️.
A Flush consists of any five cards of the same suit but not of a sequence. You can create a Flush with 4♥️ J♥️ 8♥️ 2♥️ 9♥️.
When you arrange five cards of different suits but in a sequence, you have made a straight. An example would be 10♣️ 9♣️ 8♦️ 7♥️ 6♣️.
Three of a Kind
A Three of a Kind can be made by grouping three cards of the same rank. For instance a three of a kind hand would look like 7♠️ 7♦️ 7♥️ Q♠️ 4♦️
As the name suggests, Two Pair hand consists of five cards with a pair each and one kicker. An example of a Two Pair hand is 6♥️ 6♣️ 4♦️ 4♠️ J♥️
One Pair is basically a pair of cards of the same rank. For example, A♥️ A♣️ 7♣️ 4♦️ 6♥️
When a player hasn’t made any hands in the poker hand rankings chart, the highest card is played. For instance, if a player has five cards in hand as 3♥️ J♠️ 8♦️ 4♥️ 2♦️, the highest card here will be J♣️.
On a poker table, the positions change with every hand, although you are seated at the same place. The order of play changes based on who is dealing the cards. In the case where the dealer is not a player, a button indicates your position for each hand, and the play proceeds clockwise.
The poker positions impact the betting strategy depending on whether you are in an Early Position, Middle Position, or Late Position. For instance, if you are at an early position, you have less information about the strength of the other players, and you might get raised or re-raised. Similarly, if you are in a late position, you have more information on the players’ hands and can steal blind bets if everyone has folded.
Here’s how each position is determined:
- Seat 1: Big Blind
- Seat 2: Small Blind
- Seat 3: The Button
- Seat 4: The Cutoff
- Seat 5: The Hijack
- Seat 6: The Lojack
- Seat 7: Early Position
- Seat 8: UTG+1
- Seat 9: UTG
Also Read: Keeping Poker Face & Table Image Intact!
How to Bet in Poker?
During the various betting rounds in a game of poker, you have an option to check, open, fold, call, or raise during your turn. Here’s what each of these terms means:
In a round, until a player makes the first bet, you have the option to check. Check allows you to pass your chance to bet until the action is back to you.
Open is the first bet made you make during a round, and every following action by other players is made in response to your opening bet.
During any betting round, you can use the option to fold if you think you have a weak hand and staying in the game might lead to a greater loss. Folding implies that you will no longer take part in that hand. However, if you have already added an amount into the pot, you will lose that when you fold.
When you call during a round, you are choosing to match the highest bet made by any of the players at the table.
If you raise, you want to increase the previous high best. Re-raise implies raising a raise. And A check-raise means that the same player checks and then raises in the round.
Read More on The 3 Betting Variations in Poker You Need to Know!
How To Play Texas Hold’em Poker?
As mentioned earlier, if you are a beginner, it’s advisable to start with Texas Hold’em, and then you can learn Omaha. Here’s how a game of Texas Hold’em is played:
Step 1: The dealer deals two cards each to every player. These cards are known as the hole cards.
Step 2: The Pre-Flop round begins after each player receives two hole cards. The players can fold, call, raise, or re-raise based on the cards in hand.
Step 3: In the Flop betting round, the dealer deals first three community cards at the centre of the table. These cards are common for each player. The players start making their best hands using their hole cards and the three community cards. At this stage, if you don’t think you have a weak hand, it’s best to fold.
Step 4: In the Turn betting round, the dealer deals the fourth community card. The players can check, call, fold, or raise based on their hands. This round gives you an understanding of what your hand could look like, and you can make your decision accordingly.
Step 5: The River round is where the dealer deals the fifth community card. This is when you can make a final hand using the two hole cards you have and any three of the five community cards. Based on your final hand, you can make a bet or bluff.
Step 6: Post-river is the end of the hand where each player makes their best hand and show their cards.
Step 7: The player with the highest combination or the best hand wins and collects all the chips placed as bets by other players.
Basic Rules of Poker
Here are a few basic poker rules you should keep in mind as a beginner:
- The objective is to make the best five-card hand to win or convince the other players that you have the strongest hand by bluffing.
- In each round, you have the option to bet, call, raise existing bets, or fold.
- You can fold at any time when it’s your turn to bet. Folding implies sliding your cards away while they are face-down to indicate that you are not taking part in that hand.
- In the final betting round, if more than one player stays, there’s a showdown where each player who stayed reveals their cards. In such cases, the player with the strongest hand is the winner.
- If all other players fold their cards while you bet or raise the stake, you win the hand irrespective of whether you reached the showdown. For that reason, bluffing in the game can get you an early win.
Lastly, if you want to get better at poker and increase your success rate, you should make poker a habit.