How to Play Poker?

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How To Play Poker

Poker has its origins in Germany from as early as the 16th century. The game travelled far and acquired many variations over time. As the world went digital, so did the poker games that seem ubiquitous in online casinos.

Top gambling sites like Babu88 offer various types of video poker and live poker games. Live dealer games are streamed live on your screens from state-of-the-art software studios of providers like Evolution, Ezugi, etc.

You can enjoy poker cash games or participate in online poker tournaments. Providers like Playtech have introduced a dedicated iPoker software for poker players.

Playing poker is not easy and may look like just another card game. This game of chance also requires a considerable bit of skill. Moreover, the verbatim around it is overwhelming for a beginner.

And so we decided to create this poker guide. By the end of reading this post, you will have answers to all your questions about playing poker and can properly categorise all the information in your mind.

What is Poker?

It is a card game played between 2-10 players. However, most poker tables allow 6, 7, or 8 players. Most poker variants are played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The game aims to make the best hand and beat fellow players based on pre-set poker hand rankings. These hand rankings are more or less similar between different poker games.

The dealer has no role in the game apart from verifying the amount of bets and raises, maintaining side pots, collecting folded hands, and identifying the winner by analysing their hand. In virtual poker games, the dealer is denoted by a token to identify the order in which players would play their cards.

Most poker games require players to make a hand with five cards, while some games, like Pai Gow Poker, are played with seven cards. There are different variants of poker games according to how players get these cards.

  • Straight Poker: This is the traditional poker where players get all five cards at one go. Examples are five-card brag and three-card brag poker.
  • Community card Poker: In such poker variants, two hole (face-down) cards are dealt to each player, while five cards are dealt as community cards. Players must try and make the best 5-card hand with a combination of these cards. This category includes the popular Texas Holdem and Omaha poker variants.
  • Draw Poker: The hands in draw poker games are dealt similarly to Straight poker games, but the players can discard and replace them to improve their hands. Five card Draw poker is a known variant in draw poker games.
  • Stud Poker: The five cards in stud poker games are dealt face-up and face-down alternatively, with rounds of betting between them. Razz and Seven-card stud poker are popular types. In some games like Caribbean Stud Poker, one dealer card out of the five is dealt face up.

Betting in Poker

Players bet in poker based on how they feel their hands fare against the other players. All the bets are made in a common pot that collects the winning amount for the player with the best hand.

The game starts with the ‘ante’ or the ‘blind’ bet, made by the player sitting left of the dealer. Some games feature a small blind bet followed by the big blind bet made by the next player in a clockwise direction. It is often the minimum bet of the game. Following that, players have the following betting options:

  • Fold: Opt out of the game round. Players who feel their hand is too weak will fold.
  • Call: Match the amount of the previous bet
  • Raise: Increase the bet in the round
  • Check: The player can opt for a Check by not adding any amount to the pot. But if any player in the round has already used Call/Raise, the following players cannot exercise this option.
  • All-In: If a player doesn’t have enough chips to use ‘Call’ and match the previous bet, they will go all-in. When a player goes all in, a side pot is created for the subsequent bets, and if the all-in player wins the round, he only gets the amount in the side pot.
Betting in Poker

Players estimate the strength of their hand based on how the other players exercise these betting options. For example, if a player raises a bet, they are more likely to have a good hand ranking. Now comes the exciting bit! In poker, even the players who do not have the best hands can win the game.

They would do it with a playing strategy called Bluff, with which they would raise the bet even when they have a weaker hand. It might instigate the other players to fold. However, bluffing is not possible in computerised video poker games.

Rounds of Betting

Most poker games have two rounds of betting, while community card poker games can have up to four rounds of betting.  It is because the community cards in these games are dealt in parts. The first three cards are called the flop, followed by the turn and the river.

The pre-flop bets are placed with just the hole cards in the players’ hands. After the flop is dealt, the second round of betting begins. Subsequently, one betting round will occur after the turn and the river. Players keep improvising their strategies as each card is dealt.

Limits of Betting

Poker games can also be differentiated with respect to the pot limit. As per these, there are mainly three types of poker games.

  • Pot Limit: A player’s call or raise bet cannot be more than the amount in the pot at the time of betting.
  • No Limit: There is no restriction on the maximum pot limit.
  • Fixed Limit: There is a specific pot limit, and players must call or raise their bets within that amount. In draw poker games, the limit after the draw is twice what it was before the draw. In stud poker games, the final betting round’s limit is twice that of the previous one.

Poker Hand Ranking

Most poker games follow similar hand rankings, while some might differ slightly. Here is a generic chart.

  • Royal Flush: 5 card combination in a sequence that includes 10, J, Q, K, and A of the same suit.
  • Straight Flush: A 5-card combination of the same suit in a sequence.
  • Four of a Kind: Having all four cards of the same value in your 5-card combination.
  • Full House: A combination of three-of-a-kind and two-of-a-kind in the same hand.
  • Flush: All cards of the same suit. They can have random values.
  • Straight: All cards are in a sequence but not the same suit.
  • Three-of-a-Kind: Three cards of similar value.
  • Two Pair: Two different pairs (cards of the same value) in your hand.
  • Pair: A single pair in your hand.
  • High Card: The highest card of the hand is the high card. Winners are decided based on the high card if neither player has any of the above combinations.
Poker Hand Ranking

Flow of Poker Game

Finally, let us explain how the flow of events occurs in a typical poker game.

  1. Each player gets their initial set of cards based on the rules of the poker game.
  2. Ante or the blind bet is made, followed by the big blind bet in games that feature it.
  3. Players call/raise/check according to the confidence in their hand. Subsequently, depending on your poker variant, you will play 2-4 betting rounds.
  4. After all the betting rounds, the showdown happens, and the players remaining on the table will show their cards.
  5. According to the poker hand ranking, the player with the best hand wins the pot.

The players in the game keep reducing as they fold. If no more than two players are left on the table and all the others have folded, the showdown automatically happens even when the betting rounds aren’t complete.

We hope we have cleared all your doubts, and you are now all set to enjoy poker. Try Babu88 for a great poker experience.