Learning the fundamentals of how to play poker is easy, but like many games there are different levels of skill and ability. A beginning player need know only a few things to get involved in a game, but it is important that they understand some basics.Basics
Most poker games are played with a standard English deck of 52-cards. The deck is made up of 13-cards in each "suit" represented by spades, diamonds, clubs and hearts. No suit is higher than another is, but the ace in each suit can be used as a low card or a high card. In either case the ace is either the lowest or the highest card. The remaining cards start with the lowest, the 2, and travel upwards from 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen to the king.
Players are issued chips to represent dollar amounts (regardless of whether any money is really at stake or not) and these chips are used to make bets or wagers. A betting limit (such as $1 to $5) is determined and a maximum number of raises (often three) is also determined. Some games have a pot-size limit (pot-limit) or no-limit on bets.
One player acts as the dealer and shuffles the cards face-down so no player may see the order of cards. The deck is then offered for a "cut" where another player separates part of the deck to one side and the lower portion is moved to the top of the deck. Next the dealer asks the players to place an ante, or first chip, into the pot before receiving any cards.Dealing The Game
In some games such as Hold-em and Omaha, players have their own cards and community cards. In most other games each player uses only their own cards. For this example, a simple five-card draw game, each player plays only their own cards.the cards are dealt to the players, one card at a time in a clockwise order, starting with the player to the dealer's left. After all players have five cards the betting starts with the player to the dealer's left. A player may "check" and bet nothing, or make a wager. If there are no bets, each player may also "check." If a player bets, each player in order must call the wager, call the wager and raise, or fold their hand. Betting and raising is finished for this round when the last player to check, call a bet, call a raise, call a raise and re-raise, or fold, has acted.
The dealer will now ask each player how many cards they would like to exchange in a "draw" of new cards, starting as always with the player to the dealer's left. After all players have had a chance to draw new cards, the first player has a final chance to check or bet their hand. Subsequent players may again check, if the first player checked, or call, raise, re-raise, or fold.
After all players have their chips in the pot from their action or have folded, each player's cards are placed face-up on the table. The highest hand wins and takes the pot of chips.Hand Values - Starting With the Lowest Hand
- High card - no pair, straight or flush
- One pair
- Two pair
- Three of a kind
- Straight - (ace-2-3-4-5 is lowest. Ten, jack, queen, king, ace is highest)
- Flush - (ace-2-3-4-6 is lowest. nine, jack, queen, king, ace is highest)
- Full house (any pair and three of a kind) (example: 2,2,3,3,3)
- Four of a kind
- Straight flush - all one suit (example all hearts 2,3,4,5,6)
- Royal flush - all one suit and ten, jack, queen, king, ace
Hands that are exactly the same, like when each player has a straight (from 2 through 6), or each has two aces, two fives and a king, are ties. If those are the best hands, they split the pot. Once the pot has been claimed, the player to the dealer's left takes the deck and it is their turn to deal.