Poker is not that complicated to play. The complicated part comes in when you need to start strategizing and weighing your chances. The rules itself is very simple. The next part of our journey to learning poker for beginners is the rules. In our previous posts, you learned some facts and the different variants and you also learned why you should play poker. The next step is to understand the basic rules.

The Cards

Poker is played with cards. The person with the best hand at the end of the game wins. But before we get there, let’s backtrack. Each player is dealt two cards face-down before the game begins. Two players are ‘forced’ to bet to get the game started. These two players are called the big blind and the small blind. The small blind puts the minimum amount to bet in the middle of the table and the big blind usually doubles it.

Once everyone has their cards, the dealer deals three cards (community cards) into the middle of the table. After betting rounds and players calling or folding, the dealer deals another two cards in respective rounds to the middle of the table. These five cards are used to try and build the best possible five-card hand.

The Chips

The chips represent monetary value. Every poker game as a minimum buy-in to make sure that there is enough money to be won. The value of the money you put in is given to you in the form of poker chips. You will have different colored chips that represent different values, for example, red for $50 and purple for $200.

The Betting

After the initial cards are dealt and the community cards revealed, the first round of betting takes place. Several rounds of betting, raising, calling, and folding takes place until only one player is left or two players that are left reach a point where they must show their cards. A player bets according to how good they perceive their hand to be. If you have a good hand and good odds of winning, you can bet more money as your chances are higher of winning. When you see that your hand will not bring you a win, you fold. When a player is very confident in his hand, he may go ‘all-in’ which means he bets all the money that he has left on the table.

Bluffing also plays a part in betting. If you feel that you can bluff your way to a win because an opponent’s cards are likely worse than yours or at least poor enough that he would fold under pressure, you can luff. You can bet more than you feel your cards are worth and if the other players buy your bluff you may actually win the hand without having a good hand.

The Options

In poker, you have many options all the time. You have the option to stay in the game or fold. You have the option to replace the cards in your hand to try and get a better hand. You have the option to bluff. When you have the cards in your hand and on the table, you need to look at all the potential options the cards can offer. This is where starting hand strategies come in. We will look at this at a later stage in our learning process. The point is that you always have an option with poker and the one you choose can either make you win or lose.

The Winner

To win a game of poker, you must have the best five-card hand at the end or you must bluff your way to the end and to be the last man standing. There are ten different types of hands that you can get in poker. They are obviously ranked from best to worst and based on the rank of your cards, you either win or lose.

The highest possible hand is a Royal Flush which means you have 10-J-Q-K-A all in the same suit. This hand beats all others. Second in rank is the straight flush which is five consecutive numbers of the same suit. Third, is the four of a kind which means you have collected all four of the value. And so on and so forth. You can read more about the different poker hands here.

These are the basic rules and gameplay of poker. You can have a look at this Wikipedia page and this page to learn more about the rules and gameplay in poker.