Basic Poker Rules
If you want to play poker at a casino or at a friend's home, you will need to learn basic poker rules. The rules are fairly simple, winning hands and betting can be complicated, though. While there are many different types of poker (Texas Hold 'Em being one of the most popular), these basic rules apply to most versions of poker.
- The winner of the "pot" (the chips that people have bet for the hand) is the player with the best poker hand. Hands, in order from worst to best, are high card (such as Ace, King, or Queen with no better combinations), pair, two pair, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, full house, four-of-a-kind, and straight flush. If players have the same hand, the player with the higher-ranked cards (such as aces over twos) or the higher-ranked suit for flushes in certain types of poker (such as spades over clubs) wins.
- Even if a player technically has more than five cards, a poker hand only consists of five cards. For example, in Texas Hold 'Em each player is dealt two cards and can also utilize the five shared cards on the board to make the best five card hand. It is not possible to use all seven cards to make, say, a seven card straight.
- Only one 52-card deck is used for each round of poker. This means that it is not possible to have five-of-a-kind. This can also help with poker strategy for certain types of poker/ For instance, if three community cards (the shared cards "on the board") are aces, it means that there is only one ace left that is either in a player's hand or in the deck.
- A player bets if he or she wants to have a chance to win a "pot." If a player does not want to play with a particular hand, he or she will "fold" the hand, and will forfeit any bets already made. Some players like to "bluff," or make large bets when they do not have good cards, in order to win money that they would not otherwise have a chance to win. However, beginning players should probably not try bluffing until they have a good grasp of the game.
- Players cannot show each other cards or trade cards, as this is considered cheating. However, a player can say "I have two aces," for instance, because he or she may be lying. Players can pretend to have better or worse cards than they really have to try to influence the bets of other players. Strategies like these are what separate new or decent players from great players, but again only use difficult strategies once you have a good grasp of poker rules.