As poker’s popularity continues to grow in the United States and overseas, players new to the game itself, as well as experienced home game players, continue sidle up to the casino poker tables asking to be dealt in.
Poker originated in the saloons of the Wild West and has probably the most game variants. It is played player against players and not just against the dealer as in Blackjack, and there is a lot of psychology involved during play. Poker takes a moment to learn and a lifetime to master.
The cards are ranked in descending order starting from the highest; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. Ace can be high or low. There are four suits; spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, but no suit is higher than another.
There are 2,598,960 possible combinations of cards in a poker hand you can be dealt.
In most games players must ‘ante’ a nominal amount just to have the cards dealt. Once the cards are dealt, the betting starts. Players bet into the pot in the middle of the table and it is done in turn clockwise.
The player with the highest rank showing, is the first to speak and to bet. He can either bet or check. By saying ‘Check’, he passes the decision to bet to the next player who can also check. If all players check, then it is the end of the round. Everyone opens his cards and the highest hand wins.
Say you start with a $5 bet. If someone else raises $10, he puts $15 in the pot. When your turn comes again you need to add $10 difference to the pot to stay in the game, and if you want you can also raise or even say ‘Pot’. Pot is a raise to the maximum, which means to bet the same amount as the total money available in the pot.
Well, I think you should now be equipped to go out there and play poker. Play intelligently and carefully. Keep an eye out for tells. Know your own limits, and most importantly – play to win!