As many of you know, poker is considered a game of skill and has become quite popular among the millennials. Poker has many variants, the two most popular being Texas Hold’em and Omaha where the basic poker rules stay consistent.
The fascinating game of Poker is played between at least two people with a standard deck of 52 cards (except Jokers). The cards are ranked from high to low i.e. Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. Generally, Ace is high but it can be high or low. Although it has elements of chance at times, it requires significant skills to sustain the success consistently.
Below are the basic poker rules to keep in mind while playing poker :
Dealing of cards
There are four suits - spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs, all of them are ranked equally. All poker hands contain five cards (2 hole cards and 3 community cards) and at showdown, the highest hand wins. If two of the players achieve the same hand, the rank of the kicker or the fifth card decides the tie-break. Ace is the most valuable card. After Ace it goes in descending order: King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
- Raise — When a player thinks he has a good hand or he wants the other players to think he has a good hand, he may increase the wager required. The other players have to match the wager to continue playing.
- Fold — When a player thinks his hand is not good enough to win and does not want to match the current wager, he may lay down his cards. Here he cannot win the hand, but his chips will be saved.
- Call — When one player has raised the stakes, the other players can "call", that means to bring the parity of the amount wagered by the player who has raised.
- Check — When the required wager is not increased by any of the players, the player may stand by passing on his option to bet. Players try to form the best five-card hand possible. The hands of poker have different values and the one with the best poker hand wins.
Texas Hold’em and Omaha are the two most popular variants of poker and have identical betting structures, with four rounds of betting pre-flop, flop, turn, and river. These are the basic poker rules to keep in mind while betting.
- First is the pre-flop betting. This is as soon as the hole cards are dealt. Each player knows his hole cards and the betting is on those two cards.
- The next round of betting takes place upon the flop. Flop is when the first three cards are opened from the remaining deck after the top card is burnt. After this round of betting, the turn takes place. The top card is burnt, and the next card is placed face up. There are four cards face-up on the table.
- Then comes the third round of betting. And lastly, the river, i.e. the last community card is opened, after burning another card.
- Then the last round of betting takes place, after which the best hands win. The betting begins when the player right next to the dealer throws in the small blind. And the player sitting on his left throws the big blind.
For example, if you have 9-9, and the community cards are 9-9-A-5-2 , you have collected 4 cards of the same type or square. If the community cards are J-Q-K-7-2 , you will have a hand consisting of two nines. Sometimes the best hand is created by five common cards in the middle of the table. If the common cards are 10-10-10-10-A and your personal cards are 9-9, your personal cards will not come into play, as high-order cards are at the table.
Once the river card is turned and the last round of betting takes place, a showdown occurs. Showdown is basically when more than one player remains in the hand, the players’ cards are exposed and compared to determine the winners. The cards are exposed in order rather than all players showing the cards at the same time. If the pot is split, multiple players can take the pot, depending on the hand ranking against their opponents.
Split pot in poker means when two or more players have the same card i.e. a tie on showdown, then the money gets divided equally among them.
For example: If you have AQ and another player has Q8. The board opens, K,K,Q,Q,9. Then both of you have a full house with Q and in this case, the kicker doesn’t matter, so the pot is split equally between the two of you.
“All- in” in poker is when the player does not have enough money to call the bet and wants to play, then the player is declared All-in. When the player goes all-in, he cannot bet again and has to wait for showdown since the player doesn’t have any money left. By going all-in, the player is committed to the pot.
Side pot in poker means when one small stack player is “all-in” and the other big stack players continue raising and betting on the side. If the player who went all-in wins, they will only get the main pot and the side pot will then be taken by the next player who won the hand.
For example, Player 1 has Rs 200 and Player 2 has Rs. 500 and 3 has Rs 800. Player 1 goes all-in with Rs.200, Player 2 goes all-in with Rs. 500, and player 3 calls. Then the main pot will be created with Rs. 600 for which Player 1, 2 and 3 will play and the rest Rs. 600 will go to the side pot for which only Player 2 and 3 will play.
Let's enumerate the stages of the game using poker slang, and see if you can understand what is at stake.
- First, you get your pocket cards.
- Then follows a round of betting.
- The remaining players pass to the flop.
- Then follows another round of betting.
- After that, the fourth card is dealt. It is called the Turn.
- Then follows another round of betting. After that, the final card called the river.
- Then - another round of betting. The best combination of 5 cards wins.
Now that you’ve learned the basic rules of poker, Go ahead and test your skills by playing one of the poker games.