HOW TO PLAY POKER – BEGINNER TIPS
In this Poker Instructions article I will teach you the basics in Texas Hold’em for all you beginners out there. I will start with some definitions and terms so that you are familiar with the game.
No limit Texas Hold’em is currently the most popular form of poker, it is played with a standard 52 card deck. The main reason is to make money but also have a lot of fun when playing online or with friends at home.
Texas Hold’em is played with between 2 and 10 players at a table. The position of the dealer button is rotating clockwise, so do the blinds. Blinds are bets you are forced to put out before you even see your cards, the purpose of these “blind bets” is to stimulate betting by having some chips in the middle of the pot so the players have something to fight over. The Big Blind is the minimum bet that a player is allowed to make, and it determines how big the game plays. The Small Blind is to left of the dealer, and the Big Blind is to the immediate left of the Small Blind.
After the blinds are placed, the dealer will begin dealing the cards, the first card will go to the Small Blind and the last card will be dealt to himself, each player receives two cards face down. The two cards you were dealt are known as pocket cards. After all the players have their two pocket cards, the pre-flop betting round will start. First to act is the player to the left of the big blind, referred to as “under the gun”. Each of the players must either call by putting out an amount of chips that are equal to the Big Blind, or raise the pot, increasing the bet at least the size of the Big Blind. If you call the big blind pre-flop instead of raising, is referred to as “limping”. If a player does not want to play their hand, they must fold their hand, and surrender the pot. Folding may be indicated verbally “I fold” or by discarding the hand face down into the pile of other discarded cards, this pile is called “the muck”.
If there is at least one other player in the hand, and he matches the big blind, the dealer will deal the flop. The flop is consisted of three cards that are dealt “face up”, this three cards are known as community cards. You will need this community cards to make your hand. Every round of betting will start from the left of the dealer, on the first player with a hand still in the game. If there are no bets the player can either check, verbally or by tapping the table two times with his fingers, this indicates that they do not want to make a bet, or he can bet an amount of at least equal to the big blind.
Moving clockwise around the table, players will call bets, raise the bet, or fold their cards. Once everyone finished betting, and provided that there are at least two players playing, the dealer will deal a single card which is faced up, known as “the turn”, or “forth street”. This is the time to bet hard if you have a winning hand. Do not check or call a small bet if you have a strong hand. Chances are that the other players are waiting for the last card to be dealt so they can make their hand. The last community card is called “the river” or “fifth street”. Now the final round of betting will be taking place, just like the two previous rounds.
All the cards are dealt now, the players have good information about what hands they have and know what their final moves are. If the betting round from the river is over and there are still two or more players that are in the game, there will be a showdown, and all the players will turn their cards face up.
All the players can use both of the cards, only one, or no cards of their hole cards in their hand so they can make the best possible five card hand. You can pray to the odds God now. The best five card hand will win the pot.
There is something very important that I have to tell you about the showdown, and which hand beats the other, and why. If let’s say both players have the same hand at a showdown, the “kicker” will determine the winner. The “kicker” is the highest card that one player has besides the tied hand.
Here is a simple example: Both players have two pairs, Kings and Two’s, but player 1 also has a Nine in their hand while player 2 has a Ace. The Ace “kicker” is the better hand. Their best five card hands are KK229 vs. KK22A, player 2 has the best five card hand because of his King kicker.
These are the hand rankings in Texas Hold’em Poker from worst to best:
- HIGH CARD : ACE – If no one has any of the below hands, the player with the highest card wins.
- A PAIR : 10-10 – Two cards of the same denomination and any three unmatched cards.
- TWO PAIRS : A A – K K – Two sets of two cards of the same denomination and any fifth card.
- THREE OF A KIND : A A A – Three cards of the same denomination and two unmatched cards.
- STRAIGHT : 3,4,5,6,7 – Five cards of any suit in sequence.
- FLUSH : 3,5,9,K,J – Five cards all in the same suit.
- FULL HOUSE : A A 5 5 5 – Three cards of one denomination and two cards of another denomination.
- FOUR OF A KIND : K K K K – Four cards of the same denomination.
- STRAIGHT FLUSH : 4,5,6,7,8 – Five cards in sequence all the same suit.
- ROYAL FLUSH : 10, J, Q, K, A – The highest hand in poker. Consists only of: Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, all in the same suit.
Next I will introduce you to Bluffs. What exactly is a bluff? There are really two different sorts of bluffs, the small bluff and the big bluff. Think of small bluffs as bets where no one seems interested in the pot, and the first person to shoot, usually takes it down. This bluffs are most commonly known as continuation bets, positional bets, or probe bets. Big bluffs are those times when someone else has shown aggression in the hand or clear desire to win the pot, but you think you can pressure them into folding. This can be done with little to no showdown value, but it takes some practice to get the hang of.
The most important bet in Texas Hold’em is the continuation bet or “barrel”. Barreling usually refers to a bet followed by another bet on the turn. This are all done when you are the last pre-flop raiser and you are the first to make a bet post-flop.
The biggest part of the poker game is bluffing, but more important that bluffing is to sniff out which opponent is bluffing. Start by knowing your opponents, before you play a hand with them, you should pay attention to their habits and try to figure out if bluffing is something that they do regularly. Being a criminal profiler would really come in handy for a poker player. Before you face a decision against an opponent, you should label that opponent, as being a chronic bluffer, forthright player, or a player that bluffs occasionally, and that’s obviously the toughest one to face. Look at his face! If your opponent looks nervous that could be a sign that he’s bluffing. The best way to pick up physical tells is to look for anything unusual or uncharacteristic in a person’s behavior.
If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these tells, you gained a huge advantage over your opponent. Exploit that advantage, and never tell anyone that you picked up on a tel, if you do, that player will stop doing it and you’ve lost your advantage.
You’ve now unlocked the secrets to the ultimate game of strategy and manipulation, whether its limit or no limit, you’re ready to bring your opponents to their knees. I hope these poker instructions helped you learn this wonderful game. Happy betting!