Let's start from the beginning, shall we?
A Standard 52-card poker deck or any other card deck used to play a variety of games including Bridge and a sleeve or carousel of betting chips.
Dealer - Gathers, doles out, and handles the cards at all times throughout the round.
Players: Generally, any number is possible but a comfortable game consists of between 2 and 6 players
Each card has its own rank (explained below). The goal is to obtain the highest possible 5-card combination of cards within the parameters of the type of game being played.
Card Ranking Made Easy (from high to low): Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and Ace. Aces can either be high or low.
Suits of Cards: There is no discrimination between the suits. Spades, Diamonds, Clubs, and Hearts are all created equal in the eyes of God and the Poker Room Manager.
We may not like it, but polite society is governed by rules. And poker is no exception.
Most of the games you will play require you to "Ante up". This is done before any cards are dealt by placing a predetermined amount of your chips in the pot in the center of the playing surface. The cards are shuffled then dealt clockwise to each participating player one card at a time. A round of betting follows after each player has had the opportunity to examine their cards. At this point, a player has the chance to fold, call, or raise.
You fold when the cards that you hold are so lousy that to remain in the game would spell certain doom. Correct way to fold: You gently place your cards in front of you face down on the table. Incorrect way to fold: You launch into a string of superlatives and demonstrably throw your cards into the air while pushing yourself away from the table in tears.
At this point, you have no further monetary commitment to the hand, your cards are never revealed, and the hand is never spoken of again in polite company.
In order to call, you are required to contribute the equivalent amount of chips as the other players since your last bet. The player to the left of the dealer has the ability to "check" because the value of the pot has not been established. This is applicable on the first round of betting.
Similar to a "call" except this time you get to increase the value of your bet when the chance to do so arises since the last time you bet. This is a good strategy if you feel that you have a strong hand or want to see who's "bluffing" and who's not. There is generally a maximum limit that you can raise per round.
All right, so far so good. You've folded, called or raised and are now ready to "discard" or replace a pre-determined amount of cards in an attempt to better your hand.
The player with the highest hand value wins the pot. But before this can happen, all players are required to either "fold" or "call" during that particular round of betting. Now if someone was to "raise" during the round then we are required to start all over again. When the cycle is finally complete, all the players must reveal their cards.
Below are the universally excepted hand rankings from high to low.Five of a Kind
This occurs when all five cards have the same value. In order to hold five of a kind a wild card must be used.Royal/Straight Flush
The Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten of any suit. I like the sound of it. How possible is it to achieve this poker nadir? I'm glad you asked. You have 1 chance in 650,000 hands dealt to reach the Holy Grail of hands.
Five cards of the same suit in ascending order. This would constitute a Straight Flush. Not unlike a regular straight, an ace count as either a high/low card.Four of a Kind
It's the same as saying four cards of the same suit e.g. a jack of spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts. In the unlikely event that two players have a "four of a kind" hand, the hand with the highest value set of cards wins. I should however mention at this time that there are many games of poker that involve wild cards. In the event of a tie during a wild card game, the player with the highest fifth card would be declared the winner.Full House
A full house is three of a kind and a pair. The player with the higher value first three of a kind wins in the event of a tie.Flush
A Flush simply means that your hand contains cards of all the same suit. If two players have the same hand the winner is the player holding the highest valued cards. For example, if the highest card in your hand is a ten and the other player's highest card is an eight, you're the winner.Straight
A Straight is five cards of any suit in ascending order. The ace can be either high or low and the high straight wins the tie.Three of a Kind
An example of a Three of a Kind would be: 9 of Hearts, 9 of Diamonds, and a 9 of Spades. The other two cards are used in the event of a tie. This is provided that "wild cards" are used. The highest remaining two cards would be used to establish a winner.Two Pair
Two sets of pairs. Ex: (4, 4, Q, Q). The highest pairs take the pot in case of a tie.Pair
One pair of cards in your hand. K, K, or 4,4.High Card
Highest card takes all in the event of a complete breakdown of the above hands.
Armed with the above knowledge, potato chips, and a sizable bankroll, you'll now ready to take the next tentative steps in your quest for an understanding of the great game of poker.
The next chapter will focus on some of the elements that will help you to understand the background of the game by concentrating on the history, language, and odds.
By the end of the chapter will know what a Dead Man's Hand is, how to converse in poker speak, and what the odds are of being dealt a Full House.