Poker Tips and Strategies
There is no single version poker, but many variations. The games are generally played with a standard deck of 52 cards. A standard deck consists of of thirteen different ranks of cards - Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
Each of these cards comes in four different suits: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades.
Poker games involve rounds of betting into a common fund, or "pot", and rounds of replacing / receiving cards. The number of betting rounds and card draws depends on the particular variation of the game being played. Action proceeds in a clockwise direction.
Generally, players either ante, or make blind bets into the community pot. Then they are dealt cards, and a round of betting takes place. At the end of a round of betting, all players will have contributed to the pot equally.
When it is a player's turn to act, they may choose one of the following actions :
- Check - if there is not bet already on the table, the player may in essence bet 0, and pass the action on to the next player.
- Call - if there is a bet on the table, the player may choose to match the bet.
- Bet or Raise - if there were no bets on the table, the player can place a Bet.
If there was a bet on the table, the player may increase the bet by Raising.
- Fold - the player does not choose to match the bet on the table, and they forfeit any chance at winning the pot. They also surrender their cards.
The betting round ends when all players have contributed to the pot equally. Then the next card action takes place, depending on which version of poker is being played.
Either additional cards are dealt to each player, or in the middle of the table called the "Board", players are given an optionto Discard and Redraw new cards.
Betting rounds and card actions alternate a set number of times depending upon the game. Once the betting rounds and card dealing is completed, the Highest Hand wins.
Poker Hand Rankings
The Hands are Ranked as follows:
- Royal Flush - which is a Series of cards, all of the same suit ranking, Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten.
- Straight Flush - a Five card sequence where all the cards are of the same suit.
For example, 5,6,7,8,9 of Diamonds is a Straight Flush.
If Two Straights should tie, the one containing the highest card wins.
Should both hands contain the same high card, the pot is split.
- Four-of-a-Kind - Four cards of the same rank with one other card of varying rank.
The highest ranking Four-of-a-Kind would win in case of a tie.
- Full House - is a hand comprised of both a Three-of-a-Kind, three cards with the same rank, and a Pair.
Two cards with the same rank. For example : K-K-K-6-6.
If two Full House hands should Tie, the hand containing the higher three-of-a-kind wins (5-5-5-2-2 beats 3-3-3-A-A)
- Flush - consists of 5 cards of the same suit. In the case of a tie, the hand with the highest card wins.
Should the high cards be the same rank, the next highest cards are compared, etc.
- Straight - five cards in sequence, of mixed suits. Should straights tie, the hand with the highest card wins. Should the hands be identical in rank, the pot is split.
"Around the corner" (K-A-2-3-4) straights are NOT allowed.
- Three-of-a-Kind is three cards of the same rank with two other cards of varying rank (not a pair).
The highest ranking three-of-a-kind would win in the event of a tie.
- Two Pair - A hand that contains two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and a dissimilar fifth card.
Ties are awarded to the higher of the "high" pair, followed by the higher of the "low" pairs, and finally by the remaining card.
- One Pair - A hand that contains one set of cards with the same rank. Highest pair wins ties.
If both pairs are the same, highest card wins. Followed by next highest card and so on.
- High Card - the weakest of poker hands. The highest ranking card wins the pot.
In the event of a tie, the next highest card wins, and so on.
- Keep your Hands to Yourself
- Do not handle other player's chips or cards.
- When Discarding, do so at a low level of flight so that no other players can see what you have discarded.
- Don't offer or ask for assistance from other players, as this is considered bad form.
- If you have a question, ask the Dealer
- "One player to a hand" is a fundamental poker axiom.
- Don't "splash the pot"
When making a bet, place your chips neatly in front of you in easily countable stacks within the dealer's reach, then let the dealer pull them into the pot. If you toss chips directly into the middle, the players will have no way of knowing if you put the correct number of chips in. You might be required to put more in.
- Play in turn - You should not fold your hand or leave your seat until it's your turn to bet, since this can give important information to players still in the hand.
- Don't Mis-Declare your hand
- Don't muck your cards until you have seen you are beaten
If you have a pair of sevens, don't joke around saying something like, "I have a straight."
Another player might hear you and assume you are telling the truth, throw his cards away, and once the cards are in the muck, he cannot retrieve them.
For similar reasons, don't throw your hand away until it is clear that you are beaten.
- Playing with Your Cards
Leave your cards in plain view at all time, preferably on the table in front of you.
Holding them against your shirt or showing them to "railbird" friends is not acceptable behavior.
- Betting - When betting, only grab the amount you intend to use.
This is a game of deception, sharp-thinking, and knowing the art of bluffing !!
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Have a read of our interesting poker article - Dont Slip with Big Slick - you will find it quite interesting, or learn more about the term - Min Raise in Poker.
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