If you’ve been wondering how do you play poker you’ve come to the right place, here you can learn how to play poker free and fast and win money while you play. We’ll tell you all you need to know to learn the basics of poker and the more advanced strategy.
OK lets learn poker starting with the rules and the basics of how the game works. At the start of a hand each player is dealt two cards each face down, these are called the hole cards. There is then a round of betting where players have the option to bet money into the pot if they believe they may have the best hand or have a good chance of making the best hand once more cards have been dealt. Once this betting is complete three cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table, these three cards are called the flop. After this there is another round of betting then a fourth card is dealt in the centre of the table which is called the turn. Another betting round follows then the fifth and final card is dealt in the centre called the river. There’s then a final round of betting. All the five cards dealt in the centre of the table (the flop cards, the 1 turn and the 1 river) are all also called the community cards because they are all dealt face up and all players can use them to improve their hand.
During all betting rounds players can have the option to bet, check, fold, call or raise. Exactly which options they have available to them on any given go depend on what action other players have taken place previously in the hand.
Bet - To put money into the pot before any other player has done so in that betting round.
Check - To choose to bet nothing despite having the option to do so, you can only do this if no player before you has bet.
Call - To put in the same amount of money into the pot as a player has already bet.
Raise - To choose to bet more money into the pot than another player already has instead of just calling thus increasing the amount the other players need to call to stay in the hand.
Fold - To choose not to call or raise another players bet and to take no more part in that hand.
If one player manages to make all other active players in the hand fold they automatically win the pot regardless of whether or not they had the best cards. If more than one player is still active in the hand after the last betting round then it goes to a showdown. Here all the players left in the hand show their cards and the player who has the highest ranking hand wins the pot.
So what beats what at the showdown? Here are the five card poker hand rankings you’ll need to learn listed from strongest to weakest:
Royal Flush - Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten all the same suit.
Straight Flush - Any five cards in immediate sequential order suited.
Four of a Kind - Four cards or the same rank.
Full House - Three cards of one rank and two cards of one other rank.
Flush - Any five cards of the same suit.
Straight - Any five cards in immediate sequential order.
Three of a Kind - Three cards of the same rank.
Two Pair - Two cards of the same rank and another two cards of one other rank.
One Pair - Two cards of the same rank.
High Card - None of the above hands.
So as you can see there are two ways to win in poker, either you have the best hand at the showdown or you make all the other players fold their hands by betting or raising them. It is this feature of poker which makes it such an interesting, deep and exciting game to play. If it was simply a case of whoever makes the best hand by getting dealt the best cards poker would purely be a game of luck and chance like roulette. There’s no doubt luck plays a significant role in poker but because you can win without having the best hand by out playing your opponents, skill also becomes a big factor. Over the short term, luck is the biggest factor in how much success you have but as time goes by skill level takes a bigger and bigger effect. In just one tournament or cash game session a great player can lose money and a bad player can win but over the weeks and months the cream will rise to the top and the better players will win the most money. So spend a little time here to learn and understand poker properly and you will be rewarded.
Learn The Poker Terms and Slang
Here are some of the key poker terms to learn that you’ll come across along with some lesser known poker slang:
All In: Going all in means betting everything you have in your stack at that time.
Bad Beat: A bad beat is when a player loses a pot despite having the best hand when most of the money was bet.
Bankroll: A bankroll is the amount of money a player has available to them to play poker with. It is important to learn correct bankroll management, you should not risk too high a percentage (ideally no more than 5%) of you bankroll in any single cash game or tournament.
Big Slick: The starting hand Ace King (AK).
Bluff: To bet or raise when you don’t think you have the best hand.
Blinds: The blinds are the amounts of money players have to put into the pot at the beginning of a hand in order to remain in the game. There are usually two blinds called the big and small blind. They are called blind bets because they are put in before the players see their hole cards.
Board: The board is another term for the community cards.
Boat: Another name for a full house.
Buy In: A buy in is the money you sit down with in play at a cash game (usually the equivalent of between 20 and 100 big blinds). A buy in is also the amount of money you pay to enter a poker tournament.
Calling Station: A calling station is a term for a player who seems to call every bet anyone makes and never seems to fold. These type of players are very hard to bluff but are great for paying you off when you have the best hand.
Cardrack: A cardrack is a player who always seems to get dealt good cards.
Cash Game: Cash games are played for money on each individual hand with no set start or finish time. Players buy into the games and if they get busted they can re-buy and carry on playing.
Cold Call: Cold calling is when one player bets, another then raises then another player who hasn’t already put any money into the pot in that betting round calls. That lasts players call is what's known as a cold call.
Cold Deck: When one player has a very strong hand but another player has an even stronger one.
Community Cards: Community cards are the cards that get dealt in the centre of the table face up for all players to see. There are five community cards which consist of the flop (the first three cards), the turn (the fourth) and the river (the fifth). They are called community cards because all the players can see and use them along with their hole cards to make their best five card poker hand.
Continuation Bet (C bet): To bet out on the flop after raising pre flop.
Deuce: A deuce is the more common name for a two in poker. Pocket two’s (the hand 22) are known as deuces.
Draw: A draw is when a player needs certain cards to get dealt on the turn or river to make their hand such as a straight or flush for example.
Ducks: The starting hand two two (22) also known as deuces as a 2 in poker is usually referred to as a deuce.
Fish: The term fish is an insulting nickname for a constantly bad or loosing player.
Float: To call a bet on the flop or turn when you don’t think you have the best hand but with the intention of bluffing on a later street.
Flop: The flop is the first three of the community cards to get dealt, all three are dealt together.
Hole Cards: Hole cards is the term given to the cards dealt to individual players face down for only them to see. In Texas Hold’em players are given two hole cards each and in Omaha their given four.
Hollywood: To act during a poker hand to try and deceive your opponents.
Limp: Limp or limping is when a player simply calls the big blind pre flop as apposed to putting in a raise.
Loose: Loose is a term used to describe a player who generally plays lots hands and makes, and calls lots of bets.
Nuts (The Nuts): The best hand currently possible.
Off Suit: Off suit refers to hole cards that are different suits (not suited).
Over Pair: An over pair is when a player has a pair in their hole cards (a pocket pair) that is higher than any of the community cards on the table.
Pocket Pair: A pocket pair is when a player has two hole cards with the same rank (eg K K).
Pot: The pot is the total amount of money currently bet in the hand.
Push: To push is another term for going all in (betting everything).
Rags: A poor hand that should usually be folded pre flop (eg 7 2).
Re Raise: A re raise is when a player raises the bet amount that another player has already raised.
River: The river is the fifth and final community card.
Rock: A rock is a player who plays few hands and plays very cautiously (tight). When you first learn how to play poker this isn’t a bad way to play, you can play less cautiously as you become more experienced.
Set: A set is an alternative term for three of a kind when a player has a pocket pair and there’s one card on the board of the same rank.
Showdown: The showdown comes after the last round of betting if there are still two or more players in the hand who haven’t folded. Each player shows their hole cards and the best five card hand wins.
Shark: Someone who is an excellent poker player with a very high skill level.
Straddle: A straddle is when a player voluntarily puts in twice the big blind pre-flop without looking at their cards first.
Street: The flop, turn and river are sometimes referred to as streets.
Tell: Something a player does which unintentionally gives away the strength of their hand.
Trips: Trips is another name for three of a kind when their is a pair on the board and a player has one hole card of the same rank.
Turn: The turn is the fourth of the five community cards.
Value Bet: A bet made by a player where they expect to get called by a weaker hand.