How to Play Poker

For a beginner poker player it’s important to understand how a game of poker is played.

Different types of poker have been around for a long time. The history are long and the stories about how different games where created around the world seems to be endless. Below we focus on one of the old games called Texas Hold’em. The story about this is that it was created among the slaves that only had one deck of cards but wanted as many as possible to play. With 2 card for each player you can easily play with 20 people, but i haven’t seen tables with more than 10.


There are a lot of different variations in poker. The most popular form of poker today is Texas hold’em. Texas hold’em is played with different types of betting. In limit hold’em you can only bet a specific amount. Then there is Pot limit. Every player can bet any amount at any time, but never more than the size of the pot. And the last one, the one called “the Cadillac of poker”, no limit hold’em. In this game its no limitations, and every player can bet any amount at any time, which means that all your money are at stake in every hand. 

Best hand

The object of the game is to end up with the best poker hand at a showdown, that you can combine from your two pocket cards and the five community cards, and win the pot!

Here is how you create poker hands:
Royal flush – All cards of same suit. Ranks from ten through Ace. Straight Flush – All cards of same suit. Rank in sequence. Four of a Kind – Four cards with the same rank. Full House – Three cards of one rank, and two cards of a second rank. Flush – All cards of same suit. Straight – All card with ranks in sequence. (ex. 7,8,9,10,J) Three of a Kind – Three cards with the same rank (ex A,J,8,8,8). Two Pair – A pair is two cards of the same rank. Two pair is two sets of cards of the same rank. (ex. 8,8,J,J,9) One Pair – A pair is two cards of the same rank (A,A,J,9,7). High Card – When no other poker hand can be formed, the highest ranking card in your hand is the “high card”. If two players have the same hand at the showdown you check for tie-breakers, which is usually the highest card in some way (A in a flush, a higher “kicker” when you have a pair and so on).

There is also some trash games around that will only award the worst hands. And then there is games like Omaha hi/lo that gives credit to both the best hands and the lowest hands if there is anyone holding 5 cards that is 8 or lower.

A game of No Limit Texas

A game can be played by two people and up. The story about Texas hold’em is that the old slaves invented the game to be able to play a lot of players with only one deck. You could be up to 23 players, but in online poker and in the casinos the maximum number of players is normally 10. Every time it’s a players turn to act the player can choose either to fold, call or raise (if you are first to act a call is in fact a check). A single hand is played this way:

A) The players to the left of the dealer (the dealer button shows who is the dealer, and this button is passed to the next person (clockwise) after each finished poker hand) begin the game by posting a blind bet, the “small blind”. The player next to the “small blind” posts a “big blind”, a bet that normally is the double amount of the small blind.

B) The pocket cards (two cards each) are dealt to all players.

C) The player to the left of the big blind now will be first to act. He can call, raise or fold. And after that all players at the table makes their moves in clockwise turn. Big Blind acts last in the first round.

D) The 3 first community cards are dealt. This is called “The flop”. Players can check, raise or fold. The person sitting to the left of the dealer (Small Blind) is now first to act!

E) In the third round, a 4th community card is dealt. This card is called “the turn” or “fourth street”. Another round of betting follows.

F) In the last round, a 5th community card is dealt, called “the river” or “fifth street”. Another round of betting follows and the best hand wins the pot. This is the final card players can use to complete their hand. Players can use all 5-community cards on the table combined with the 2 on their hand to complete the best possible poker hand.

Not every hand goes to a showdown. Sometimes all players have folded before the showdown and then the players staying last in the pot wins. If you are beaten or if no one calls you, you can choose to muck your hand which means that you choose not to show it.

If you fell insecure about the game try out the play money tables to get a better grip about it. 

Improve you game 

To excel at poker you need to try to become better al the time. You can always improve something. Your own game, your reading abilities and so on. One way to do so are to study the game by reading poker books. A lot of the world class players have written a poker book, and are willing to teach you a lot about the game of poker. You can find out more in our poker book section, including poker book reviews of some of the best poker books.

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