If you’re new to poker, you’re in for quite the ride. Poker is a fantastic game. The only game that you can win without having the winning hand, that is… if you know how to bluff. But we’ll discuss bluffing another time. If you’re new to the game, you need to grasp the basics first. Learn to understand the subtleties of the game, as well as the different types of poker games you can play, all of which are available on nearly any online poker room. Let’s start with the games available.
You most likely know how to play Texas Hold-em. Hold-em has seemed to have a life of its own in recent years, growing in popularity across the world faster than the newest cell phones become obsolete. But on the off chance you don’t know the game, let’s go over the rules since this is the game most likely to be found on any online poker room.
The blinds are forced open bets that each player must place in turn. As the dealer chip goes clockwise around the table, so do the blinds. These vary depending on the level of stakes you are playing, and the big blind, or BB, is the minimum bet on the table. Directly to the left of the dealer chip is the small blind, or SB. To the left of the SB is the BB. The SB is always half as much as the BB and both bets must be placed before any cards are dealt. After each hand, the dealer chip and the blinds are rotated clockwise one position at a time.
After the blinds have been placed, each player is dealt two cards, (known as the “hole cards”) and the person sitting to the left of the BB starts the betting round. Each player may call, (bet the same amount as the BB) raise, or fold, and turns are taking clockwise around the table. If either player sitting on the blinds folds, they forfeit their blinds. When it comes around to the player sitting on the BB, if no player before them has raised, they have the option to check since their bet was already placed as the blind. If one of the players before them has raised, the BB must either call, raise, or fold.
Once all bets have been established, the flop comes out. The flop is the first 3 of 5 community cards placed in the center of the table. Each player may use these cards in addition to their hole cards to make the best possible poker hand. After the flop is laid out, another round of betting takes place starting with the player on the SB. Each player may check if no bet has been made, or must call or fold if there has been a bet made.
After all bets have been established on the flop, the 4th community card, known as the turn card is laid out, followed by another round of betting. Finally we see the 5th and last community card, known as the river. The final round of betting takes place and all players left in the pot, (those who have called all bets) go to “showdown.” Showdown is when the remaining players in the pot show their cards and determine who has the best poker hand. The player with the best hand at this point wins all the money in the pot. In the event of a tie, the pot is split between the tying hands.