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Introduction to Poker

PokerI personally have never been able to get into Poker, be it online or in real life, but I have enjoyed watching others play, especially some of the championship games on the television, but one thing I found at first was that I had no clue what was going on. There are so many types of poker, and they all vary in rules, but there are some similarities.

Basic Concept
Poker is a game played with cards and chips. The chips have a value and are used for betting. Cards can be dealt face up or face down to the table, players or both. It all depends on the type of poker game.

No matter how the cards are placed, the players have to try to make the best possible hand. A hand consists of the best five cards, which depending on the rules have a value that places them better or worse than the potential hands that others will have. Most poker games will use a common ranking system which will make it easier to transition between types of games.

The goal of any form of Poker is to win money by capturing the pot. The pot is the money or chips that were wagered during the play of each round, sometimes called hand, of poker.

During the round, a player makes a wager and places it in the pot. The pot is usually the center of the table, and is not actually a pot like you would find in your kitchen.

The player hopes that he has the best hand, or tries to convince others he/she has a strong hand, thus making others fold, or abandon, their cards.

Since money is the deciding factor of the game, knowing when to fold is just as important as knowing when to bet, and thus being able to read people, or understand the value of your hand is important.

Winning
You can win hands in two different ways:

  • You can reveal your best hand at the conclusion of all betting rounds, when there are two or more active players left. The pot goes to the player who holds the best hand during this showdown.
  • All of your opponents decide to fold, thus not showing their hands, and leaving you the only still active player. You might have had the best hand, or you might have been bluffing, but that does not matter. You then collect the pot of money or chips.

Most games require an ante or blind bet. If antes are used, each player places a small amount of money into the pot in order to have cards dealt to them.

If blind bets are used, one or more players are designated to make a bet or portion of a bet before receiving any cards. This requirement usually rotates around the table so each player pays their fair share.

Rounds (or Hands)
Each time a round of cards is dealt, all players will have the opportunity to:

  • Bet – place chips in the pot
  • Call – match the bet, rather than increase
  • Raise – increasing the prior bet
  • Check – not betting, but leaving the option to call or raise if another player bets.
  • Fold – giving up without placing any mroe money into the pot.

If a player bets or raises and no one calls, the pot belongs to that player, the cards are collected and shuffled, that round is over, and the next hand is dealt. If there are two or more players still active at the end of the hand, the best hand wins the pot.

With each round of playing, the amount of money or chips you have for betting, called your bankroll, will increase if you win the pot, or decrease if you didn’t win the pot. When everyone decides to stop playing poker or only one person has any money left in their bankroll, the game is over.

Summary
While there are various rules for each version of poker, the game is actually simple to follow and play. While you might not become a master over night, the game can still be quite fun, and as you continue to learn you will find that the game can also be quite deep with thousands of things to consider before making each decision in the game.

[tags]Poker, Poker Basics, Card Game, Game[/tags]

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