Poker is played with a regular deck of 52 cards without Jokers. It is pretty much a game of chance. Sure there are a lot of professional players out there but the chance is always the same for anybody to get the right cards or not.
Before you sit down at a poker table make sure to read the sign next to the dealer which shows the minimum table limit. After you make the first minimum bet, five cards are dealt at first, face down, to each player. After this first deal the first round of betting starts. You must at least call to stay into the game. Afterwards you have to decide which cards you want to keep and which ones you want to throw away. You can hold or throw away as many cards as you like. After everybody on the table decides which cards they want to hold or discard, the dealer deals the same amount of cards to each player as they threw away. After this second and final deal the betting is about to start. After everybody on the table is done with the betting the highest ranked hand wins and gets whatever is in the pot in the middle.
So how does the betting work? In most games you must at least “Ante” something just to get cards dealt. After all the cards are dealt you basically have three choices:
Call: If you call, you just bet enough money to match what has been bet since the last time you bet. For instance, if you bet a dollar in the last betting round and somebody bets 2 dollars, you have to call with one more dollar.
Raise: If you want to raise you first have to call the highest bet on the table. After you call the other amount it is basically up to you how much you want to bet. Let’s take the example from above: Somebody on the table raises a dollar, you have to call him with a dollar and then you can raise whatever you want. Most tables have a raising limit which depends on the minimum table limit. So if you are playing on a table with a minimum of one dollar you might not be able to bet more than ten in one round.
Fold: If you fold you drop out of the current round and lose any chance of winning the pot in the middle. This should be done if you think your hand has no chance of winning anyway. When you fold you don’t have to put anything into the pot.
Ranking of the hands
From lowest to the highest.
- High Card – This is any card which doesn’t qualify as any of the hands below. If nobody on the table has a pair or better the highest card wins. In the case multiple players have the same highest card you look at the second highest, then the third and so on. High cards are also used to break ties if there are multiple high hands. So if you have two pairs and somebody else the same two pairs the fifth card determines the winner.
Pair / One pair with three distinct cards. High card breaks ties.
- Two Pairs – A hand with Two Pairs (Two Tens and Two Queens for instance), highest pair wins, the fifth card determines winner in case two players have the same ranked pairs.
- Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same value (Three Nines for instance), again high card breaks ties.
- Straight – Five consecutive cards but not from the same Suit (8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen), highest straight wins, two straights of the same value split the pot.
- Flush – Five cards of the same Suit (7, 9, 10, Queen, Ace), they need not to be in particular order, if flush ties the highest cards wins
- Full House – Two cards of one Value and Three cards of another Value (Two Sevens, Three Kings), highest full wins.
- Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same Value (Four Kings for instance), highest four wins, in this case there is no count of high card because obviously there are only four cards of the same suit and value in a deck.
- Straight Flush – Five cards of the same Suit in consecutive order (8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen of Diamonds)
- Royal Flush – Same as the Straight Flush but highest card must be Ace (10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace)