Nowadays, poker is not only found in casinos and poker rooms, but also on special TV tournaments and of course, on the hundreds of poker websites on the Internet. We may all find ourselves in a poker room to either play or watch the game. That is why, it’s a good idea that you learn the basics of playing poker, in case you find yourself round a poker table at a social gathering. Poker is a really interesting game, and learning it offers fun and excitement to people of all ages and all social backgrounds.
In poker, players compete for a central pot which contains chips that most of the times represent real money. The winner is the player with the highest rank of cards, or the one who has made a bet no one else called.
Despite the fact that there are so many poker variations, all of them follow a certain pattern of dealing. The dealer’s position changes with every hand played, and all players act as dealers when the game goes on. The dealer’s position is marked with a button. In land-based casinos, there is a house dealer who deals all the cards on behalf of the players, and only the button rotates clockwise to show who the “dealer” is, so that betting order can be rightly determined.
When the game starts, the person who deals the cards first shuffles and cuts, and then starts dealing the cards in a clockwise direction. The first bets are placed after the first dealing. Then the next round of dealing begins, followed by another betting, until all players receive all their cards according to the rules of the game. In some poker variations, and in order to raise the action and the interest of the game, players have to place forced bets, which are called “blinds” or “antes,” and all bets are placed into a pot in the middle of the table.
During a betting round, players either call a placed bet, raise or fold. If all opponents fold, then the hand instantly finishes, and the person who placed the first bet wins the pot. In such a hand, players are not required to show their cards, so bluffing can not be revealed. The next hand can start immediately after that. On the other hand, if there are more than one player who remain at the end of the betting round, they must show their cards, and the winner is the one with the highest ranking hand.
There are several poker variations, but the most common ones are stud poker, draw poker and community card poker.
In draw poker players are usually dealt with five or more face-down cards. While playing the hand, they can replace their cards several times until they create a winning hand.
In stud poker, players are dealt one card at a time. Some of them are face-up and some face-down, and there is a betting round between the dealing of each card.
In community card poker, which includes Texas Holdem, the most popular variation of its kind, players are dealt with two face-down cards at first, and then several community cards are placed face-up on the poker table. Players can use the community cards to make a winning 5-card hand.
Even if you have never thought of playing poker, the time you’ll spend to learn one of its variants will be time well spent. And if you don’t know which variation to learn, try Texas Holdem as it is the most popular of its kind. Poker has been played in casinos all over the world for about three centuries, and if you find yourself at a poker table, it will be a pity not to be able to play or understand the game!