How to Play Poker


A card game that involves betting, poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards (although some games use multiple packs or add wild cards). There are four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs), but each suit has different strengths and weaknesses. The highest hand wins.

Players must pay an ante (amount varies by game; in our games it’s usually a nickel) to get dealt a hand. Once everyone has their cards they bet into a pot in the middle of the table. Betting typically occurs in clockwise order. You can call a bet, raise it or fold. Sometimes a good bluff can win you the whole pot.

Before the betting starts the dealer shuffles the cards and deals each player two hole cards. These are cards that can only be seen by you, and you must keep them secret from other players. The player to the left of the dealer must place a small bet, called the blind, and the person to their right must raise it.

When it’s your turn to bet you must say “call” or “I call” to match the previous bet. If the person to your right raises, you must say “I call” or “I call a raise”. You must then place the same amount in chips into the pot as the previous bet. You can also fold at any time during a hand.

On the flop the dealer places three community cards face up on the board and everyone gets another chance to bet. If you have a strong hand such as pocket kings or pocket queens, this is the best time to bet big. However, if the flop contains tons of flush or straight cards it might be better to fold than to continue betting on your weak hand.

On the turn an additional card is placed face up on the board and a fourth betting round takes place. This is your last chance to bet big before the showdown.

Once everyone’s hands are revealed at the end of the final betting round, if there’s a winner it’s time for a showdown. The highest ranked hand wins the entire pot! If no one has a winning hand the pot is shared between everyone who hasn’t folded. This is why it’s important to only gamble with money you’re willing to lose. In the long run you’ll be much more profitable if you stick to this rule. You should also try to track your wins and losses to see if you’re making any progress. It can take a while to develop quick instincts, but by observing experienced players and playing a lot of poker you’ll soon become more successful. Good luck! And remember to have fun! 🙂 -Jimmy “Smokey” Smith

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