Online Poker Guide
Poker is one of the most popular casino games on the planet, and it’s also one of the most popular card games around – and it doesn’t matter whether you’re an avid gambler, or you’ve never stepped foot in a casino before…
There’s a very good chance you will have played poker, even if it’s just with a group of mates at home!
One of the reasons why poker has become so popular, is that is a great social game, and it incorporates elements of fun, and fear, with gambling – things which sure as hell make for an interesting experience!
There exist many different types of poker, but in this article, we will look at Texas hold ‘em, the most commonly found game variant, and the one most people will be familiar with.
Holde'em Poker - Basics
The basic premise of the game is relatively simple, and all players are dealt two cards. There is a flop – three cards – as well as a turn, and the river – each one card – and all of these five cards are dealt in the middle of the table the players all share.
The goal of the game is to make the best five card hand possible, using one or two of your cards, and any number of the community cards in the middle.
After the flop, turn, and river, there are betting periods, in which case players can choose to place wagers if they like the look of their hand, or want to bluff other players of the pot – if a player makes a bet, other players must either match the bet if they want to stay in the hand, get rid of their hand if they don’t, or, they can also opt to raise it even more, if they like their hand that much!
Once all of the betting rounds are finished, any players left show their hand, and the player with the strongest hand ranking wins!
The hand rankings in Texas hold ‘em are fairly easy to understand, and the lowest ranking is simply a high card – this is when you have no pair, or anything else, and rely solely on a high card to when you hand.
Next up is a singular pair – for example, if you have two aces. Third in line is three of a kind, which is, of course, where you hold three cards of the same value…
Then you’ve got a two pair, which is where you have two separate pairs, and that’s followed by a straight, which is where you have five cards in consecutive order – for example, four, five, six, seven, and eight.
A straight is followed by a flush, which is where you have five cards all of the same suit… And it’s after this that things start getting a bit more interesting, with a full house being the next hand. A full house is where you have one pair, alongside a three of a kind – and it’s generally considered a very strong hand.
Even better, and next in the hand rankings, is four of a kind, which is – of course – four cards of the same value. And then finally, you have the straight flush, and Royal flush, with the straight flush being five suited cards in consecutive order, and the Royal flush being 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace – all of the same suit – a prestigious hand, that carries odds of over 250,000/1!
How To Play
If you want to maximise your winnings, you should find – and adapt – a Poker style that works for YOU… and since winning at poker means – essentially – playing a better game than your opponent – you MUST know why you win, in order to maximise you advantage over your opponents.
Different games, field-sizes, and buy-in limits require different skills. However, there are certain ingredients that are necessary for success at Texas Hold 'Em Poker games. Poker players need to have an advantage with the technical and personal aspects of poker. The technical aspects are poker math, which includes things like Pot Odds, and Implied Odds and so on.
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The personal aspects are skills such as bluffing and varying your style of play.
As you’ll find many of the hands you play do go to showdown (the end), you’ll find that reading your opponent not only helps so much because it is harder to bluff (ensuring you get to see the showdown), but also because you’ll be in a much better place to make a strong river bet, as a bluff, if need be.
Technical skills will give you a better idea on the amounts you should be looking to bet (as well as the odds you have, if you choose to call/raise someone else’s bet), and, combined with people skills (bluffing, perseverance, etc), you can create a very strong, powerful strategy using just these two skills!
Texas Hold 'Em really just comes down to the table, and how you respond to players aggressive betting. Steal a lot of pots if you find your opponent’s weak, but don’t be afraid to fold if you’re coming up against a lot of resistance!
If people are playing very loose, be patient and trap them. It can be well-worth it, in the end! But overall, remember…
Enjoy it! Poker is fun, and it’s a Great way to pass time (and even earn a couple quid if you’re lucky!