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How To Play Poker? Basic Poker Rules

Everyone who likes to play cards is welcome here. You're about to start an exciting journey into the world of poker. In this article, check out how to play poker and basic poker rules.

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 24.06.2023
How To Play Poker and Basic Poker Rules

Everyone who likes to play cards is welcome here. You're about to start an exciting journey into the world of poker, a game that requires skill, strategy, and luck. Poker is fun no matter where you play it, whether it's at home or in a fancy restaurant. It's likely that you've seen it in movies or video games. But you can't understand how complicated this popular card game is until you know how to play it. And that's why we're here: to help you slowly but surely find your way through the exciting maze of poker. And if you are ready to play, try poker sites not on Gamstop for some action.

Understanding the Poker Table Setup

The Dealer:

In every hand of poker, one player acts as the dealer. This role rotates clockwise with each new hand. In online or casino poker, a professional dealer handles the cards, but the dealer position still rotates for betting purposes.

The Blinds:

Before the cards are dealt, the two players to the left of the dealer post the small blind and big blind, respectively. These are mandatory bets that kickstart the game's action.

Player Positions:

Player positions are crucial in poker. Players closest to the dealer's left are in "early" positions, those in the middle are in "middle" positions, and those to the dealer's right are in "late" positions. Early position players act first, making it the toughest spot to play. Late position players have the advantage of seeing others' actions before making their decisions.

The Deck and Card Values

A standard poker deck consists of 52 cards, divided into four suits: hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades. Each suit has 13 cards, ranging from 2 (the lowest) to Ace (the highest). However, an Ace can also count as 1 in a straight of A-2-3-4-5.

Hand Rankings

Understanding hand rankings is vital. Here's a rundown from highest to lowest:

  1. Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J, 10 all of the same suit.

  2. Straight Flush: Five cards in sequence, all of the same suit.

  3. Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same value.

  4. Full House: Three of a kind and a pair.

  5. Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, not in sequence.

  6. Straight: Five consecutive cards of any suit.

  7. Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same value.

  8. Two Pair: Two different pairs.

  9. Pair: Two cards of the same value.

  10. High Card: When no other hand applies, the highest card held wins.

Betting Rounds

A typical hand of poker has four betting rounds: pre-flop, flop, turn, and river.

  • Pre-Flop:

After the blinds are posted, each player is dealt two private cards (known as 'hole cards'). Betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind.

  • The Flop:

Next, three community cards are dealt face up on the 'board'. Another betting round ensues, starting with the player to the dealer's left.

  • The Turn:

A fourth community card is dealt (the 'Turn'), followed by another betting round.

  • The River:

Finally, the fifth community card (the 'River') is dealt, followed by the last betting round.

The Art of Betting in Poker

Call, Raise, and Fold:

In a betting round, you can 'call' (match the current bet), 'raise' (increase the bet amount), or 'fold' (surrender your hand).

Check and Check-Raise:

If no bet has been made, you can 'check' (pass the action to the next player). If a bet has been made, you can 'check-raise' (raise after initially checking).

Winning the Game

Poker success needs strategic thinking, psychological insight, and game knowledge. You may win a poker hand by holding the best hand after the river or by convincing all other players to fold, forfeiting the round. However, winning one hand isn't everything. Long-term success in poker requires patience and understanding when to battle for a pot and when to let it go.

Basic Poker Strategies

Poker isn't just a game of chance; it's also a game of skill, requiring both mental agility and strategic thinking. Here are a few fundamental strategies that can help beginners:

  • Know When to Fold: Knowing when to fold is just as important as knowing when to bet. If the odds aren't in your favor, it's often better to fold and live to play another hand.

  • Play Fewer Hands, But Play Them Aggressively: There's a common tendency among beginners to play too many hands. Instead, aim to play a tighter range of strong starting hands, but play them aggressively to extract maximum value.

  • Understand Position: Your position at the table has a significant impact on your strategy. The later you act in the betting rounds (i.e., the closer you are to the dealer's right), the more information you have at your disposal to make an informed decision.

  • Avoid 'Tilt': 'Tilt' refers to a state of emotional frustration or confusion that can lead to poor decisions. Maintaining emotional control is key to long-term poker success.

  • Observe Your Opponents: Poker is a game of incomplete information. Pay close attention to your opponents' habits and patterns, which can provide valuable insights into their possible hands and strategies.

  • Manage Your Bankroll: Effective bankroll management ensures that you play within your limits and don't risk more money than you're willing to lose.

Poker Variations

Though Texas Hold'em is the most popular form of poker worldwide, numerous other exciting poker variations cater to different tastes and skill sets. Here are a few of them:

  1. Omaha: Omaha is similar to Texas Hold'em but involves four hole cards per player and requires exactly two hole cards and three community cards to make a hand. This creates more potential hand combinations, leading to larger pots and more action.

  1. Seven-Card Stud: In Seven-Card Stud, there are no community cards. Instead, players are dealt seven cards throughout the hand, three face down and four face up. The goal is to make the best five-card hand from those seven cards.

  1. Razz: Razz is a form of Seven-Card Stud, but the goal is to make the best low hand instead of the high hand. It's an excellent variation for players who like to mix things up.

  1. Five-Card Draw: This is one of the simplest forms of poker, making it great for beginners. Each player is dealt five cards and has one opportunity to draw cards to improve their hand.

  1. Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO): A variant of Omaha with a unique betting structure. The maximum bet at any time is the current size of the pot, leading to high-stakes, high-action games.

  1. Chinese Poker: In this variation, players receive 13 cards and must arrange them into three hands: a five-card hand, a five-card hand, and a three-card hand. The game involves a lot of strategy and planning.


You now know the basics of how to play poker and how to win at it. From here, all that's left to do is practice. So go out, mix up your cards, and deal! Don't forget that poker isn't just a game of luck; it's also a game of patience and understanding people. If you play well, you might end up taking home pot after pot.


What does it mean to fold in poker?

Folding in poker means surrendering your hand. It's an action taken when you believe your hand isn't strong enough to win. By folding, you're out of that round and can't win the pot, but you also avoid contributing more chips to a losing cause.

What are the 'turn' and 'river' in poker?

The 'turn' and 'river' are the third and fourth rounds of betting in poker. In each round, a new community card is revealed. The 'turn' is the fourth community card, while the 'river' is the fifth and final one. These rounds can dramatically change the dynamics of the game.

How important is a position in poker?

The position is crucial in poker. Being in a 'late' position, i.e., one of the last to act, gives you the advantage of seeing others' actions before deciding on your own, thus allowing you to make more informed decisions.

What is a 'bluff' in poker?

A bluff in poker is a strategic move where a player with weak hand bets or raises to give the impression they have a stronger hand, aiming to force their opponents to fold.

Can I win poker games consistently?

Poker requires skill and luck. While you can't control the cards you're given, knowing the game's strategy and reading your opponents may greatly increase your chances of winning. However, professional poker players don't always win. Long-term strategy matters.

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