How to Play Poker

Learning how to play poker is as simple as understanding a deck of cards. Certain combinations of cards have greater value than others. Here we outline the basics of learning how to play poker.

Knowing the Basics

Almost every game of poker uses a single-deck with 52 cards. There are 13 cards in each suit with cards ranking in ascending value. The main difference in poker is that the ace represents both the low card and high card.

Check out our page on hand values by clicking here.

Dealing, Playing A Round and Betting

The manner in which cards are distributed depends on the game. In standard game of poker, for example, five cards are dealt face down to the player. In Texas Hold‘em, each player only receives two cards.

In any game, once the player cards have been dealt, there is a round of betting.

During each round of betting a player has a choice: they can fold their hand in which case in any bet they make will still be available in the pot. They also have the option of “checking” which is equivalent to passing. However, players can not check through if a bet has been placed by any player before them. Of course, players can also place bets.

The “table limit” represents the highest bet that you can possibly make at a single time. An example would be a “limit” set at $50 where no player can exceed a bet of $50. Another example is the “pot limit”, where no player can exceed the value of the chips in the center of the table. If a table is listed as “no limit” players can wager any amount they have available in their stack.

In some games there is something known as an “ante” or “blind”. This represents a pre-deal commitment to the hand so that there is something to play for regardless of how people react to their cards.

After each round of betting, more cards are dealt or exchanged depending on the type of poker game you are playing.

There are always a set amount of rounds of betting. Once the final round has been reached, and all bets have been submitted, the remaining players who have not folded present their cards during the showdown. The hand with the best value wins the pot, and the next game is dealt. Note that in some instances, players are not forced to show their final hand if they simply know they have lost and do not wish to do so.

A quick guide of common play styles and game progression

Note that ‘pocket’ cards are also known as ‘whole cards’ and ‘table cards’ are also known as ‘community cards.’

Texas Hold’em

Opening Deal Each player receives 2 ‘pocket’ cards
Pocket Cards First Round of Betting
Second Deal Next three cards placed face up as ‘the flop’
The Flop Second round of betting
Third Deal Next card placed face up as ‘the turn’
The Turn Third round of betting
Fourth Deal Next and final card placed face up as ‘the river’
The River Final round of betting
The Showdown The best five card combo between your pocket and table cards

 

Omaha

Opening Deal Each player receives 4 ‘pocket’ cards
Pocket Cards First Round of Betting
Second Deal Next three cards placed face up as ‘the flop’
The Flop Second round of betting
Third Deal Next card placed face up as ‘the turn’
The Turn Third round of betting
Fourth Deal Next and final card placed face up as ‘the river’
The River Final round of betting
The Showdown The best five card combo between your pocket and table cards

 

Seven-Card Stud

Ante Each player puts money in the pot
First Deal each player dealt 2 hole cards facedown, 1 door card face up
Door Card First Round of Betting
Second Deal each player dealt 1 card face up as ‘fourth street’
Fourth Street Second round of betting
Third Deal each player dealt 1 card face up as ‘fifth street’
Fifth Street Third Round of betting
Fourth Deal each player dealt 1 card face up as ‘sixth street’
Sixth Street Fourth Round of betting
Fifth Deal each player dealt a final card face up as ‘the river’
The River Final Round of betting