Poker Guide

The Rules of Poker: Basic Rules and Help

There are simply too many variations of poker to list on a single page. All poker games however share some common attributes that classify each game as a game of ‘poker’.Poker is played with a standard 52 card deck. Certain variations of the game may involve the use of jokers (wild cards), however most variations online do not, including the popular Texas Hold’em.

The number of players varies depending on the game, but may be as few as 2 (head to head poker) or as many as 10 (some games may allow more players than this, but most online poker rooms do not).The objective of a game of poker is to win as much money as possible with the cards you are dealt in any given deal. You make up your ‘hand’ by using the best 5 cards combination available to you in order to make the highest poker hand you can. The player who remains at the end of the round who has the highest hand wins the pot; which is the blinds, antes and any bets made during that round.Exactly how the cards are dealt depends on what kind of game you are playing, but each game of poker typically has:

Antes/Blinds

Games like Texas Holdem have what is known as a ‘blind’. This is money that two players on the table are forced to pay before getting any cards, in order to ensure there’s at least some money in the pot at the beginning of a round. There is a ‘big blind’ and a ‘small blind’, with the big blind costing the amount of the ante at the table, and the small blind half that. In games with blinds the remaining players must still Ante if they wish to stay in the hand, but are at least given the opportunity to see some cards first.In other games like 5 card draw, all players must Ante before the round proceeds to receive any cards. This ante is a set amount of chips put into the pot by each player.

Betting Rounds

How many there are and when they take place depends on what variation of poker you are playing, but there is typically a betting round after each time new cards are dealt on the table. For example, each player antes, gets their cards, then there is a round of betting. The flop (3 more cards face up in Texas Holdem) is dealt, then there is a round of betting, etc.If a player does not wish to bet, they can ‘check’ if no players before them has placed a bet of their own. If a player does not wish to match a bet made by another player, they must ‘fold’ their hand and forfeit any chips they have placed into the pot.If a player wishes to bet more than another player has bet, they may ‘see’ their bet and ‘raise’ the bet by putting additional chips into the pot.

More Cards

How these are additional cards are dealt depends on the variation you are playing. Often, there are community cards that are dealt face up on the table (cards used by all players), while in draw and stud games each player receives their own cards. Poker games with no additional cards dealt after the initial deal are often referred to as ‘straight up’ poker, i.e. ‘5 card, straight up’. Not dealing all the cards at once allows for betting rounds (see above).Betting LimitsWhether you’re playing ‘regular’ poker or a tournament, each poker table has one of three types of betting limits:

Fixed Limit Betting:
Fixed limit betting means that you may only raise a fixed amount during each betting round. During the latter betting rounds this limit usually doubles. Note that a fixed limit does not prevent people from raising, but each raise will again be a fixed amount.

Pot Limit:
Pot limit means that a player may not bet more than the amount currently available in the pot for the round. For example, if the pot sits at $12, a player may be up to $12 on their turn. Pot limit games are a good alternative to no-limit for newer players, as they allow you to see more cards without having to call too high a bet at the beginning of a round.

No-Limit Poker:
No limit poker games allow players to raise as much as they have in their current bankroll during any betting turn. They may not get more chips mid-hand, but may play as many chips as they have on the table. If another player cannot afford the full amount bet and still wishes to play the remainder of the hand, they may ‘all in’ by calling with the chips they do have, and any additional bets will be placed in a side pot (which the player who all ins will not be entitled to if they win, since they could not match the additional bets).

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