How to Play Poker

How to Play Poker

Online poker is very easy to learn, but very hard to master. There are too many elements in the game even with something that looks very simple as Texas Holdem Poker. So without further ado, let's try to learn the game, and along the way get some tips and strategies on how to avoid being bankrupt.

The Basic Hand Rankings

There are many ways to win at poker. But the basic hands are below:

Royal Flush: Nothing beats this card. It consists of an ace, king, queen, jack and 10 all in the same suit.

Straight Flush: It's the same as a Royal Flush only your high card is not an ace.

Four of a kind: Your have four cards with the same type (e.g. four aces, or four kings)

Full House: Three cards of the same kind, and two with the same rank (e.g. three kings, two jacks)

Flush: You have five cards all in the same suit. The number is not in sequence

Straight: The numbers are in sequence. Not the same suit.

Three of a kind: You have three cards of the same rank.

Two pair: You have two cards of the same rank, and another two cards of the same kind (two kings, two jacks + kicker)

Pair: You have two cards with matching ranks

High card: The highest you can get is an ace. The chance of you winning is almost zero.

There are many types of pokers, but you will be spreading yourself too thin if you try to learn them all. It's best if you try to master one type rather than be the jack of all trades, no pun intended. While you're focused on one type of poker, Holdem is a good start because it's probably the most popular right now, and the one used on TV tournaments.

Texas Holdem

The dealer will give you two cards face down, which are called hole cards. The betting starts. You can choose to check, bet or fold. This part of the game is called the Pre-flop.

Then the dealer will place three community cards on the table. You can then bet, fold or check. This stage of the game is called The Flop.

After which, the dealer will lay down the fourth card in the middle of the table, which is called The Turn. You go through another round of bets.

Finally, the last card called The River is shared. You can check, fold, bet or go all-in. Using the basic hand rankings above, you can then mix and match with your two cards and the community cards to determine the winner.

A showdown occurs when only two players are left on the table after the other opponents have folded.

Quick Tips and Strategies:

1 - Count the chips of your opponent. This will help you to play tight or loose.

2 - Set aside money for the bankroll. This is the only way to avoid being bankrupt as you know when to stop. Now, that you have the bankroll, don't go checking your account balance every chance you get because you will psychologically defeat yourself.

3 - Learn every nuance of the game. You are now staking your money so you better treat this one as a business. That means knowing every aspect of poker, as well as background and tendencies of your opponents.

4 - Don't go betting hard while you're starting. The main purpose at this point is to hone your skills. Find online poker games with low stakes first. For all the newbies, the best way to improve their skills and get to know the game rules, is to play a couple of free rounds. Just use the free bonuses, and start learning without risking any real money.

5 - Online poker is a different beast. For the most part you are on a tight clock unlike in real tournaments where you are given a little more time.

6 - Concentrate on the game. Again, if you are treating this as a career, at least be professional about it. When you work, do you watch TV or play with your phone? Make a schedule if you're playing online and stick to that schedule.

7 - Find the beginners table. Most poker tournament sites have a beginners table. And these allow novices of the card game to pit their skills against other beginners. The stakes are pretty low at this point.

8 - Invest in poker software. One such software allows you to replay the whole session, which will give you an insight of where you went wrong or what you did right. There are also apps allowing you to track opponent data.

9 - Call someone's bluff. If you have a strong hand and somebody just went all-in during a late position, it's a good bet that they're trying to steal the blinds. Calling somebody's bluff at this point is called "over the top."

10 - Don't force it. If you don't have a potential hand, meaning there's no way of getting a good hand at the turn, fold immediately. In the same vein, if you are the first to bet, play with fewer hands. Study how the others will play the round first.

Learn all about the game At Poker Show Live, hosted by Jesse May. He will also be joined by Padraig Parkinson and Matt Broughton as they will give updates, tips, coverage of tournaments and even answer your questions.

Now that you've got the basics, it's best to hone your skills by downloading poker game apps and practicing every chance you get. The best thing about these gaming software options is that they are free, so you don't risk anything.