Basics of poker

Germans used a game of bluffing called "Pochen" as early as the 16th century. Later, it evolved into a French version called Poque. This was later brought to New Orleans where it was played on riverboats that plied Mississippi.

The game became more popular in the 1830s and was renamed Poker. The Civil War saw the addition of the rule that drawing cards can improve your hand. Stud Poker was also introduced around the same time. There are many variations of Poker. The game can be played in private homes as well as in numerous Poker rooms at renowned casinos. You can play poker socially for pennies, matchsticks or professionally for thousands.

Poker is a game of chance. However, it requires tremendous skill and each player is in control of his fate.

THE PACK

You can use the 52-card standard pack. Sometimes, you may add one or two jokers. Although poker is traditionally a one-pack game with 52 cards, today's best players use two packs of contrasting color to speed up their game. One pack is being dealt while the other is being prepared for the next deal. For two packs, the procedure is: The previous dealer will assemble all cards from the dealt pack, shuffle them and place them to the left. The shuffled deck of cards is then passed to the next dealer when it's time for the next deal. Two packs can be used in many games. In these cases, the left-hand opponent cuts the pack.

Clubs have a tradition of changing cards frequently and allowing any player to request new cards at will. Both packs should be replaced when new cards are introduced. The seals and cellophane wraps on new decks must also be removed in full view by all players.

CARD VALUES/SCORING

Although Poker can be played in many different ways, players who are familiar with the rules and values of Poker can easily play any kind of Poker game. A Poker hand is five cards, except in certain versions. There are five possible combinations of Poker hands. The highest is five of a type (the best), and the lowest is no pair or nothing.

Five of a kind - This is the highest hand possible and is only possible in games that have at least one wild card, such as the joker, two one-eyed Jacks or four deuces. Five of a kind could be four 10,s, a wild card, or two queens and three Wild Cards.

Straight Flush – This is the highest hand possible when the standard pack is used and there are no wildcards. Straight flush is a combination of five cards from the same suit, such as 10, 9, 8, 7 or 6 of hearts. The A, K Q, J and 10 cards of the same suit are the highest-ranking straight flush. This combination is also known as a royal flush, or a royal straight flush. This hand is 1 in 650,000.

Four of a kind - This hand ranks just below straight flush and is the next highest. For example, four aces and four 3s are examples. It doesn't matter what fifth card, unmatched, is.

Full House - A colorful hand that consists of three cards of the same rank as two cards of another rank. For example, three 8s and two 4s or three aces, and two 6s.

Flush - A flush is five cards of the same suit but not in the exact sequence. Example: Q, 10, 7, 6 and 2 of clubs.

Straight - Five cards are arranged in a sequence of five, but not all the same suit. Example: 9, 8, 7, 6, 6.

Three of a kind - This combination includes three cards of the same ranking, with the two other cards each representing a different rank such as three jacks or sevens and a four.

Two Pairs – This hand includes a pair of one rank plus another pair of a distinct rank. Plus any fifth card of a separate rank such as Q, Q7, 7, 7.

One Pair - This combination is a rare one that only contains one pair, with all three cards of different ranks. Example: 10, 10, K, 4,

No Pair - This common hand has "nothing". The five cards do not pair, and the cards are not of the same rank or of the same suit. If more than one player does not have a pair, the hands will be rated according to the highest card in each hand. An ace-high hand is better than a king high hand, and so forth.

Because the suits do not have a relative rank in Poker, two hands that are identical are considered tied. The pot is split in such cases by the tied players. If two hands have the same high pair of cards, the ranking of each card determines who wins. For example: 9, 9, 7, 4, 2 beats 9, 9, 5, 3, 2. The fifth card would decide if two hands have identical pairs. For example: Q, Q, 6, 6, J beats Q, Q, 6, 6, 10.

BETTING

The key to Poker is betting, as the game is essentially a game of managing chips.

Each Poker deal will have one or more betting periods during which players can place bets on their hands. Poker is a game that requires the ability to minimize losses and maximize winnings by using good hands.

The rules of Poker may dictate that players make an initial contribution (called an "ante") of one or more chips to the pot in order to get the game started.

Every betting round or interval begins when each player places a bet with one or more chips. Each player on the left must "call" the bet by placing the same amount of chips into the pot; or "raise," meaning that the player put in more chips than is necessary to call; or "drop" ("fold") which means that they have no chips in the pot and are out of the betting until the next deal.

Any chips that a player has put into the pot are lost if they drop. If a player does not want to contribute at least the same amount of chips as the previous player, they will have to quit.

The end of a betting interval is when all bets are equal, that is when each player has put in exactly the same amount of chips as their predecessors. Each Poker deal usually has two to three betting intervals. The final interval is called a "showdown" and each remaining player must show their hand on the table. The pot is then won by the best poker hand.

A player can win the pot by calling a raise or placing a bet that is not called by another player. Poker has a lot of bluffing, so the best combination does not always win. Bluffing is a key reason Poker is so popular.

A player can "check" if they wish to continue in the game but not bet. The player is effectively making a "bet on nothing". If no other player in the same betting period has placed a wager, a player can check. A player who has placed a bet cannot check, but they must call or drop the bet. A player who checks a bet may raise it that was raised by another player. Sandbagging, which is permitted, is allowed unless this is prohibited. All players must check their cards during each round. The betting interval ends and the game is closed to all remaining players.

According to the game rules, the first betor is the one who wins each round. Every player has a turn to place a bet.

KNOWING WHEN TO PLAY

Mathematics is used to rank Poker hands. The probability of a hand being dealt to a player, and therefore the likelihood that they will win the pot, is based on mathematics. A player shouldn't expect to get a straight flush more often than six thousand hands. However, they can expect to get two pairs about once every 21 hands.

A player should never place a bet unless they are planning to bluff. Without knowing what makes a hand a good, fair, or bad hand, no Poker player can make intelligent bets. The table below shows the different Poker hands as well as the combinations that each of them can make in a deck of cards.

THE KITTY

A "kitty" is a special fund that the players can establish by unanimous agreement or majority. The kitty is usually built by "cutting" (taking one low-denomination card from every pot that has more than one raise). All players share the kitty. It can be used to buy new cards, or to purchase food and drink. All chips that remain in the kitty after the game ends are split equally between the remaining players. Contrary to the rule for other games like Pinochle, if a player leaves Poker before the game ends, they do not have the right to keep their portion of the kitty.

CHIPS

Poker chips are almost always used to play poker. A minimum of 200 chips should be available for a game that has seven players or more. The white chip (or the most light-colored chip), is usually the lowest-valued unit. A minimum ante or wager of five is enough to get a five-chip supply. A red chip (or any other color chip) is worth five chips. A blue chip (or any other dark-colored card) is worth ten, 20 or 25 whites. Two, four, or five reds are worth a total of five whites. Each player "buys in" at the beginning of the game by purchasing a set number of chips. Each player usually purchases the same amount.

BANKER

The banker is the one player who manages the chips, records the number of players that have received them and tracks how much money they paid. Private transactions and exchanges between players are not allowed. A player with excess chips can return them to the banker for credit or cash, while a banker should only give more chips to a player who needs them.

BETTING LIMITS

There are many ways to fix a betting limit. A limit is essential. Otherwise, a player with more money will have an unfair advantage or be perceived as having one. The limit must be fixed and should not be changed unless all players agree to it. Some popular limit systems follow:

FIXED LIMIT

One cannot bet or raise more than the set number of chips. For example, it is not allowed to wager on two or five or 10 or 10. This limit can vary depending on the stage of the game. In Draw Poker, for example, the limit might be five before the draw and ten after it. Stud Poker has a five-limit limit in each of the four betting periods. It is then ten in the last betting interval. A player who has a pair or higher will often have it ten.

POT LIMIT

Limitations on raises and bets are limited to the amount of chips in the current pot. A raise by a player may be counted as part of the pot if the chips are required to allow the player to call. A bet of six chips is placed in the pot. If the total is 10, it will require four chips to make the next call. This would give 14 chips. The player can then raise the amount by 14 chips. However, the pot limit should not be exceeded. For example, 50 chips.

TABLE STAKES

Limits for each player are determined by the amount of chips they have in front of them. A player may only bet 10 chips and may not call the bets of any other players if they have less than 10. No player can withdraw chips from the table or return chips to the banker until they leave the game. You can add to your stack between the end of the current deal and the start of the next one.

WHANGDOODLES OR ROODLES

It is common for fixed-limit games to agree that after a very good hand (e.g. a full house) there will be one deal for each player of Jackpots. In these deals, everyone antes twice and the betting limit for those deals is doubled.

POVERTY POOKER

There is a maximum amount of chips that a player can lose. Each player takes out one stack; if they lose that stack the banker will issue another stack to the player without any charges. In many cases, the player can still get a third stack before giving up and dropping out. A limit on how many stacks a player can get should be set so they are motivated to play responsibly. The Many Faces of Poker