Poker is a game that has grown in popularity and continues to go from strength to strength. The Poker Boom and the rise of online Poker are often attributed to the game’s widespread success. If you’re looking to be the next Phil Ivey or even Chris Moneymaker (the first player to win the World Series of Poker Main Event through qualifying from an online tournament), read our tips for beginners and then check out Poker with Paddy Power.
1. Know your games
While Texas Hold’em is the most popular and widely recognized variant of Poker, there are other games available too. Different types of games have different rules, so be sure to know what you’re doing before you play.
For example, Hold’em and Omaha are known as community card games, meaning all players share part of the hand. This is different in Stud, where each player is dealt with cards, some of which are face-up for all to see and others are hidden. Draw games differ further and while each player is dealt cards, they can exchange some or all of them for new ones if they don’t like their hand. Finally, there are hi/lo games and these see the pot split so that the best and worst (or highest and lowest) hands win a share of the funds.
2. Know the actions and terminology
Once cards have been dealt and games begin, play goes in a clockwise direction. When it is your turn, you’ll have one of the following actions to decide on:
Fold: forfeit your cards and surrender your hand, meaning you are out of the game (for this hand anyway)
Bet: you may bet if no other players have bet during the same round
Check: you may check if no other players have bet. All active players must check for the round to be considered complete
Raise: if players have bet, you may raise them and wager the highest bet made, plus an additional bet
Call: if players have a bet, you can call and this requires the calling player to match the highest bet
3. Know the card rankings
Poker card rankings vary from the lowest but most frequent option (a high card) all the way up to the highest but less frequent hand (a royal flush). New players should research hand rankings to know if their combinations are worth pursuing or folding – and there are plenty of guides available to help beginners.
It’s also worth knowing that when two or more players have the same value hands at showdown (the final round when players must declare their hands and the winner is decided), the highest value card always wins. If two players have a flush – that’s five cards of the same suit – the value of the cards is considered. For example; Kh, Jh, 10h, 5h, 3h would beat Qd, Jd, 9d, 6d, 4d.
4. Know the game’s limits
Like there are different variations of Poker game, each game offers a different betting limit. This means that the amount that players may open and raise with also varies. The most common limits are no-limit, pot-limit and fixed-limit and we will quickly explain each of these:
No-limit: as the name suggests, there are no limits. Players can bet or raise by any amount up to and including their individual stack, in any round, on their turn
Pot-limit: using the value of the overall pot, players can bet or raise any amount up to and including the size of the pot (given they have it within their stack)
Fixed-limit: these games will have a fixed amount, set-up in advance of the hand. Players are able to call, bet or raise, but only by the agreed fixed amount