A Comprehensive Introduction to Poker Rules

If you’re a big fan of games with both elements of skill and luck, poker might just be the perfect game for you. With millions of players worldwide, poker can be played in almost any way you want. Whether for low- or high-stakes, Texas Holdem or another variant, you can choose which way to play. There is no better time to start playing poker than today since there are a myriad of internet resources and the ability to play online from anywhere. So if you wish to start playing poker, this comprehensive guide to its rules should definitely help.

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Poker Variants

Before we get into the rules of poker, it is essential to understand that there are many different forms of it, each with their own unique rules. This article will focus on the world’s largest and most popular form of poker, Texas Holdem. It is very straightforward and an excellent foundation to start on before trying more complex forms of poker. Once you know how to play Texas Holdem, it’s a good idea to try these variants like Omaha and Short Deck.

Texas Holdem Rules

The basic rules of Texas Holdem are elementary. Each player gets two cards, community cards are revealed in the middle, and the strongest hand wins. However, that alone is not a good explanation; we need a more in-depth look at what exactly happens in a standard Texas Holdem game.

The Dealer, Little Blind, and Big Blind

The game almost always starts with anywhere from two to ten players. There are also three special roles that rotate around the table after each game: The dealer, the little blind, and the big blind (in casinos, the dealer is fixed and does not play. They instead use a dealer button as a placeholder for who would usually be the dealer). The little and big blind are mandatory bets to ensure that there is always money in the pot. The little blind is clockwise to the dealer and makes a bet before cards are dealt. The big blind then doubles this bet.

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Calling, Raising, Folding, Checking, Betting

These are the five main actions a player can take in each round. Betting means putting any amount of money into the pot. Calling means matching the amount of a previous bet. Raising is making a bet bigger than the previous bet. Checking is choosing not to make a bet and can only happen when there are no active bets. Successfully checking and moving on to the next round requires all players to agree to check. Finally, folding simply means giving up on a hand. Players who fold are out of the game, no longer need to bet, and lose all money they put into the pot.

Poker Rounds

There are five rounds in a typical game of Texas Holdem. They are known as the Pre Flop, the Flop, the Turn, the River, and the Showdown. During each round, regular play happens clockwise to the dealer, wherein each player must choose one of the five actions mentioned earlier on their turn. The Pre Flop is when each player is dealt the two hole cards. They then must call, raise, or fold to the big blind’s bet. During the Flop, the dealer deals out three community cards in the middle. At the start of the turn, the dealer puts a fourth community card (also known as the turn) in the middle. At the start of the river, the dealer puts a fifth community card (also known as the river). Finally, if there are still players left in the game, the showdown happens where players reveal the cards to determine the winner.

How does winning work?

There are two ways to win in poker. The first is simply having the best hand. The rankings of poker hands go in this order from lowest to highest: High card (ascending numbers, jack, queen, king, ace – card suit does not matter), pair (two cards of matching rank), two pair, three-of-a-kind (three cards of matching rank), straight (five cards in consecutive order), flush (five cards of the same suit), full house (three-of-a-kind and a pair), four of a kind, straight flush (five cards of the same suit in consecutive order), and finally the royal flush (a straight flush consisting of a 10, a jack, a queen, a king, and an ace).

The other way of winning is by getting the other players to fold. Often the threat of a strong hand will cause players to fold to conserve their money. This leads to lots of potential mind games, from bluffing (pretending your hand is stronger than it is) to pretending you have a weak hand to fool players into betting aggressively.

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That was a comprehensive introduction to the many poker rules. If you are a beginner, we hope this poker guide helped you learn how to play poker. Now that you know the rules, playing free poker on online sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, is the best way to start practicing. Online poker is much more beginner-friendly and comes with special benefits like playing many games at once as well as poker tracking software. Sign up at GGPoker today!