Poker – A General Overview of Poker Rules and Tips

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Poker has always been America€™s game although there is a difference in the way it is played today as compared to 30 or 40 years ago. With the success of the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker, the popularity of poker has stretched far beyond the casinos and the internet. You can play poker in many different forms. There€™s Texas Hold€™em, seven card stud, seven card stud hi/low, Razz, Omaha, and Omaha hi/low, all played at different stakes. No matter what, poker is fun and entertaining.

Poker is good for you

Since the late 1980s, poker has undergone a rebirth. It€™s clean, widely accepted and now more than just an American dream. It is good for you in more ways than one. For the most part, it sharpens your intellect, and as long as you learn to play sensibly, it can nourish your wallet too. However, the key is to learn different strategies and identify your own weaknesses. As long as you are willing to evaluate your character and game, you can become a winner.

The basics of play

Poker is simple to learn although it could take years to master it. The objective is to capture the pot that contains the bets made by players during the round of play. Each player wagers a bet, hoping to have the best hand or convince his opponents that he has a strong hand that would urge them to abandon or fold their hands. It€™s all about knowing when to bet and when to release a hand that can easily be beaten. The top combination of five cards is considered the best hand in most poker games.

Poker is played with a standard 52-pack of cards ranked from high to low with the Ace being the highest, followed by King, Queen, Jack, 10 and all the way up to 2, which is the lowest. In some forms of the game, Ace can be low. The four suits are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs although no suit can be higher than another. Poker hands contain five cards. The top combination of five cards is considered the best hand in most poker games. Wild cards may be used in some games where the possessor of the card has the privilege to choose its suit and rank.

Winning a hand

There are two ways to win a hand in poker.

You reveal the best hand in what is called a €˜showdown€™ at the end of all the betting rounds. If two or more players are still active at the end of the betting rounds they need to turn their hands face up. The player with the highest hand in the €˜showdown€™ gets the pot.

If all your opponents fold (relinquish their claim to the pot and withdraw from the round) when they feel they cannot match your bet, you win the pot. Irrespective of whether you have the best hand or may have bluffed, you win the pot if your opponents fold.

Betting Limits

Betting limits are the amount players can open and raise during a game. The common limit types are No Limit; Pot Limit; Fixed Limit; And Spread Limit.

  • As the name indicates, each player can open or raise any amount in a No Limit betting structure.
  • In a Pot Limit betting structure, each player is permitted to open or raise any amount up to the size of the total pot.
  • In a Fixed Limit game, the amount is set in advance and each player can bet or raise only by the amount fixed.
  • In a Spread Limit game, each player can open or raise any amount within a specified range.

Poker tips

If you are new to poker it is always useful to take a few tips from the pros.

Avoid playing too many hands

The first mistake that many inexperienced players make is that they are not selective with their starting hands. Not every hand is a winner. Some hands will allow you to win more while others could make you lose. Therefore, be careful about which hands you play.

You don€™t always need to bluff to win

Bluffing is not a sin in poker but don€™t bluff too much. As a novice it is better to play your cards well than embark on a bluffing spree. Knowledge and practice will teach you when to bluff.

Table position is important

Your position at a table can give you an edge in a round. When you are the last to act you have the opportunity to gain knowledge about what hands your opponents may have before you play. In games like no limit Texas Hold€™em, position can make a significant difference.