How to Play Poker
Poker games ordinarily feature a forced bet, such as the Big Blind and Small Blind in Hold'em and Omaha or the Antes and Bring-In in Stud. These compelled bets cover the starting pot in any given hand of poker, which is the first incentive players have to win the hand. Action stemming from the subsequent rounds of betting further increases the size of the pot.
Dealing Cards and Betting Rounds
After any set of initial cards are dealt, players are customarily called upon to respond in turn, moving clockwise around the table. Each player can usually take one of the following actions when it is their turn to respond:
To check means to decline the opportunity to open the betting. Players can check only when there is no bet ongoing during the current round, and the act of checking passes the action clockwise to the next person available in the hand. If all active players check, the players who remain in the hand and the round is considered complete.
Players may bet if no other players have bet during the current round. Once a bet has been made, other players are obliged to call by matching the amount bet in order to remain in the hand.
The Players who fold relinquish their cards and cannot win or act again during the current hand.
Players can call if other players have bet during the ongoing round; this requires the calling player to match the highest bet that has been made.
Players might raise if other players have already made a bet during the ongoing round; this demands the raising player to match the highest bet made, and then make a greater one. Subsequently, all other players are required to call the raise or raise again (re-raise) to stay in the hand.
Different alternatives of poker have different betting rounds, for example, most Stud games feature five rounds of betting, while 5-card draw usually only has two. Texas Hold'em and Omaha are the two most prevalent poker games in the world and have twin betting structures, with four rounds of betting known as pre-flop, the flop, the turn and the river.
The pre-flop betting round begins as soon as all players have earned their hole cards before any community cards have been dealt betting on the flop occurs after the first three community cards are dealt on the turn after the fourth community card and on the river after the fifth and final community card.
On each betting round, the betting continues until every player has either matched the bets made or folded (if there are no bets to be made, the round is complete when every player has checked). When the betting round is completed, the next dealing round begins, or the hand is considered complete.
How do you win?
Ordinarily, the winner of each hand of poker is the player that holds the highest ranked hand when all cards are shown at the end of the hand at the time of showdown or the player that makes the last uncalled bet, thus winning without needing to reach the showdown.
Not sure whether a flush beats a straight? Can't remember how to make a full house? You can find all the information you need to know about hand rankings in the table below. The strongest hands are in the top row, running from left to right, with the weakest possible hand being simply a high card.