It is no coincidence that poker is considered the most exciting card game ever. Wonderfully simple to play yet fascinatingly multifaceted, success at poker requires three things: a good strategy, nerves of steel and an ability to bluff at the right time.
The right combination of cards
The game uses a standard deck of 52 cards – 13 cards in each of the suits clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds. Their values in ascending order: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. The suit is not relevant to the value of the winnings.
There is a variety of poker hands; here they are in ascending order:
A no pair hand, ranked according to its highest-ranking cards. In the event of two High Cards of the same rank in a game, the outcome is decided by the second highest card in the hand, etc.
Two cards of one rank, e.g. two Kings. If this combination occurs in more than one hand in a game, the hand with the higher value pair wins. In the event of two One Pairs of the same rank, the outcome is decided by the value of the third card, etc.
Two pairs, e.g. two Queens and two eights. In the event of two Two Pairs of the same rank in a game, the outcome is decided by the higher value pair. In the event of two higher pairs of the same rank, the outcome is decided by the second pair, then the value of the fifth card.
|Three of a Kind|
Three cards of one rank, e.g. three Queens. In the event of more than one Three of a Kind in a game, the outcome is decided by the Three of a Kind with the highest value.
Five cards of sequential rank in at least two different suits, e.g. 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen. In the event of more than one Straight in a game, the outcome is decided by the Straight with the highest card. If the highest cards are of the same rank, there is no winner.
All five cards are of the same suit, but not in sequence. In the event of more than one Flush in a game, the outcome is decided by the highest card in the hand, then the next highest, etc.
Three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, e.g. three eights and two Kings. In the event of more than one Full House in a game, the outcome is decided by the one with the higher ranking three cards. If this is the same, the hand with the higher pair wins.
|Four of a Kind|
Contains four cards of one rank, e.g. four Queens. In the event of more than one Four of a Kind in a game, the outcome is decided by the one with the higher ranking four cards.
Five cards of sequential rank in the same suit, e.g. 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King of hearts. In the event of more than one Straight Flush in a game, the outcome is decided by the highest card in the hand.
This Ace-high straight flush is the highest ranking standard poker hand. It consists of the 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace in one suit.
Texas Hold’em Poker
Due to its simple rules and quick-fire play, Texas Hold’em has become one of the most popular variants of poker around the world. Between two and ten players can take part; the nominal dealer changes from player to player after each hand, although in practice the croupier leads the game as dealer and organiser. The game allows for up to four rounds of betting, each round revealing one more of the five community cards: the game consists of combining them with your two personal cards to create a poker hand. The hand ends with the showdown, the player with the highest ranking card combination winning the pot.
The players place their stakes behind the betting line on the table. After each betting round, the dealer places the individual stakes in the middle of the table to form the pot.
Before the cards are dealt, the player to the left of the nominal dealer with the dealer button posts the «small blind», one half of the minimum bet. The «big blind», posted by the player to the left of the small blind player, is equal to the minimum bet. The other players do not contribute any preliminary bets.
Each player receives two «hole cards» face down. These are dealt in a clockwise direction starting with the small blind player (left of the player holding the dealer button).
First betting round
The first betting round commences with the player to the left of the big blind player. He or she can pass («fold»), continue playing («call», i.e. place the minimum bet) or «raise». The other players do likewise in a clockwise direction. If no one has placed more than the minimum stake, the big blind player can re-open the betting round with a raise. The dealer (the croupier) now places the first three of the community cards face up on the table: the «Flop».
Second betting round
This and all subsequent betting rounds begin with the first active player to the dealer button‘s left and continue clockwise. Each of the players either passes, calls (by matching the bet) or raises. Players can «check» from this round onwards (pass on the decision without betting). Players wishing to quit slide their two hole cards face down over the line. The dealer now flips over a fourth community or «board card», also called the «Turn».
Third betting round
Starting to the left of the dealer button, the players still in the game bet again in a clockwise direction. At the end of that round, the dealer flips over the last community card, also called the «River» card («Last Card»).
Fourth betting round
Betting takes place again as before, involving the players still in the game. As before, they must decide whether to pass, call or raise.
If at this point two or more players remain, it is time to reveal the hands. They assemble the highest ranking combination from their hole cards and the community cards. The player with the best poker hand wins the pot – note that both hole cards must be shown. Because the casino does not act as the banker in poker, the croupier holds back a fixed percentage of the pot as commission.
Pot / All In
As with other common variants of poker, the bets in Texas Hold‘em are gathered together to form the pot. A player faced with a current bet and who wishes to call but has insufficient remaining stake may bet the remainder of his stake and declare him or herself «all in». That player may now hold onto his or her cards for the remainder of the deal as if he or she had called every bet, but may not win any more money from any player above the amount of his or her bet. He or she continues to play for the main pot; meanwhile, the other players now place their fresh bets in a side pot to which the all-in player does not have access.