How To Play Poker

Poker is one game that has retained its sheen and popularity from the 16th century to date. However, mastering this game of luck and strategy takes work, especially when the game has gained many different variants, each with distinct rules.

This guide explains the fundamentals of poker so you can always play wisely and have an edge on outsmarting your fellow players.

fundamentals of poker

Decode The Basics

Let’s start the guide by breaking down essential poker components.

Cards Deck

Poker is a card game played with a standard deck of 52 cards. This deck has four suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades) with 13 cards. These 13 cards include 3 face cards (jack, queen, and king) and 10 number cards (Ace to 10).

Cards Deck

Poker Hand

A poker game is all about the strength of the hand, which is defined by the hand ranking chart of the variant you are playing. Below are standard poker hand rankings used in most game versions, from highest to lowest.

  • Royal Flush Hand: A, K, Q, J, 10 from the same suit
  • Straight Flush Hand: Five consecutive cards of the same suit
  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same value
  • Full House: Three cards of the same value and two other similar rank cards
  • Flush: Five unsequenced cards of the same suit
  • Straight: Five consecutive cards from different suits
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same value and two different cards
  • Two Pair: Two pairs of different values and one card of any value other than the pair card
  • One Pair: One pair and three different cards
  • High Card: The hand with the highest card wins when no player has any of the above hands

Poker Chips

Poker chips can have distinct denominations depending on the number of players and the poker version you pick. They are used as currency in the game. The most commonly used poker chips are white, red, and blue. The white chip is valued the least, while the blue chip is valued the most. The chip value is again dependent on the specific game you are playing.

Poker Chips

Betting Options

Now, the game’s main idea is to bet on your hand ranking compared to other players on the table. In computerised video poker, you would compete against the dealer. Punters have the following betting choices when putting their stakes.

  • Ante- This is the initial contribution that each player has to make to start the game.
  • Call– The punter to the left of the dealer begins the game. The bet size for the ‘Call’ bet always equals the “ Ante” bet.
  • Raise– Players can “Raise” the bet by putting chips more than the “Ante Up” bet. They would only do that if they felt their cards were better than the others or to bluff the opponents and force them to fold.
  • Drop or Fold- Punters would fold when they decide not to continue the game when they have a weak hand. This bet puts a bettor out of the betting until the next round. Players folding will lose the stakes made until they fold.
  • Check– When a player decides not to put any chips and wants to show off the hand, they would declare a “check”.
  • All-in- An all-in bet means making a bet with all the remaining chips.
  • Blind Bet: In certain poker versions like Texas Hold’em and Omaha; certain players must compulsorily play blind without seeing the cards. It could be small or big blind, depending on the value of making that bet. Players can also opt for this kind of bet in some other versions.

Start Playing Poker

Now, let us learn how a typical game of poker proceeds in real-time.

Step 1 – Card Dealing

The dealer burns one card and deals two cards, also known as hole cards, to each player in a clockwise direction.

Step 2- Ante Bet

The first or the ante bet is made by every player on the table. It is generally the smallest chip value in the game.

Step 3 – First Betting Round

The first betting round, pre-flop, begins when each player has the hole cards in their hands. Punters check their hands and decide to call (match the ante bet), raise (increase the bet), hold (not make a bet), check (call for a showdown), or drop (discard their hand).

Step 4 – Second Betting Round

Flop is the second betting round. In this, the dealer places three community cards face-up on the table. Punters then compare their hands with these cards and decide to bet in the second round.

Step 5 – Third Betting Round 

Turn is the 3rd betting round in poker, and it starts with adding a fourth community card to the table. Punters bet accordingly.

Step 6 – Fourth Betting Round

With the addition of the fifth community card, the final betting round, river, starts.

Step 7 – Showdown

Any player in between the rounds can call for a showdown. The last two players go for an automatic showdown. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

Last Minute Poker Tips

  • Don’t hesitate to fold if your hand is not strong.
  • Raise your bet if you are pretty confident on your hand
  • Gamble responsibly; sites like Babu88 have a dedicated page for responsible gambling. Don’t bet without setting betting limits.
  • Try to be a part of a poker game where “Kitty”, a collective betting pool, is used.
  • Choose a variant wisely. Go for low-limit games if you are a beginner.

In Conclusion

Poker is a time-tested game that demands strategies and luck in equal portions. While you can’t have any hold over luck, you can certainly be ahead of your fellow punters by understanding how the game works, when to bet, what to bet, and when to bluff.

Online poker in a live dealer setting at casinos like Babu88 takes the thrill to a new high by offering a wide range of options and freedom to bet in a real casino setting. Before you venture this out, try a few virtual games. But only bet with a licensed and verified online casino.

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