The game of poker is all the rage again, and we can see why. As a pastime that is both fun and lucrative, poker has all the reasons to be on your play-next list. Most of its popularity the game owes to broadcasting TV shows such as the World Poker Tour or World Series of Poker. Its popularity reached the zenith, especially when the top online gaming platforms came forth, making poker even more accessible. If you are as excited about poker as the 100 million players worldwide and want to become part of it, here are the poker basics to kick off.
Poker is a game of strategy and luck. So, to get things rolling, you need to grab your cards, some beginner’s luck, and hit the table. But before you do so, make sure nothing holds you back from concentrating on your strategy. There’s no need to learn by heart all of the poker terms and stress you out before the game day. Just make sure you understand the basic language, the rest will come with practice as some of the terms are even specific to the game type.
Among the very basic poker definitions you may want to start with are:
- Action: Playing the hand during the game is action. It can also refer to other activities during the round such as bet, call, check, raise or re-raise, fold or card showing.
- Ante: This is the amount every player is required to pay before receiving cards to build the pot.
- Blind: Blind is the required bet for the player sitting on the dealer button’s direct left side. Blinds are mainly applied to the flop-style games and are of two types: big blinds and small blinds. The small one is paid by the one sitting to the dealer’s left; the big one is paid by the player sitting next to the small blind.
- Check: Is the action taken when one wants to pass his action to the next player but at the same time keep his cards. If you check, you won’t need to pay something for the pot unless it’s not a big/small blind game. If this happens in the blinds, the checked player can either raise or check.
- Raise: One raises to increase the opening bet by another player during that betting round. After raising, the actions that players can take in the same betting round are calling, folding, or re-raising from other players in the hands.
- Call: Calling is matching the amount that another player has bet or raised. The hand is over if no player calls, and the pot goes to the uncalled player.
- Fold: If the player folds, he gets out of the hand. One can fold if it’s his turn to act and he doesn’t want to continue. No bets are required, but the player also can’t win. When folding, one can decide to reveal the cards.
- Hand: The game’s decisive part is your hand, the five sets of cards that the players form by using the provided two pocket cards and three community cards. There are different hands based on the combinations the player has. The one with the best hand takes it all.
- Pot: This is the money. It’s the sum that the players wagered in the single betting round or the game. Whoever wins the round takes the pot. The pot is being split if there’s a tie.
This is just a sneak peek of the basic poker terms and slang you will need to play like a pro. However, it’s always good to start somewhere.
Know Your Game
To up your poker gameplay and take it from “basic” to “pro,” you need to know the types and the rules of the game. There are even some rules that are specific to certain types so, let’s quickly review what options we have to play.
There are three main poker categories: Draw Poker, Stud Poker, and Community Poker. The popular games you’ve probably heard about mostly fall into one of these categories. Stud and draw pokers have almost identical rules.
Draw Poker: In this category, players are dealt five cards that they do not reveal to other players. During the game, the players try to get better hands by replacing and trading a certain number of cards from the deck. In case this is someone’s lucky day, and he has an Ace, he can trade the other four cards if he wants. One of the most popular Draw Poker examples is Five Card Draw.
Stud Poker: Stud and draw poker have almost identical rules. In stud poker, players are also dealt five cards(it might be seven in some games); however, it combines both hidden and exposed cards. The players bet after they review their cards and assess the hand. The winner is the one who wagered the most chips if there’s no one matching the player’s bet. If, however, this is the case, the remaining players reveal the cards, and the best hand wins.
Community Poker: This category is referred to the poker games that use community cards, aka the cards that are dealt face up and are shared by the players in the center of the table. Players combine their hidden cards together with the community cards to form their hands. The most popular community game that has become a household name in the gaming world is Texas Hold ‘em.
Even if you’re a complete novice to the poke world, you’ve probably heard about this one. This is the game we usually see on the screen with all those cool poker stars around the table.
The thing about Texas Hold ‘em we love is that it’s a skill game and can end up with juicy wins if you have a good strategy. If you are still in the poker for beginners stage, we say go with this one.
With the right online gaming platform, good strategy, and a handy poker glossary, you’re good to go for your first game. Once you know what you are playing and how to deal with it, the only thing remaining is to enjoy the gameplay to the fullest.
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