Online Poker revolutionized the concept of gaming on the Net. This classic card game is played by millions in virtual and land casinos all over the world.
Poker is one of the most iconic card games in the world, demanding wit and cunning. After all, this is the game which gave birth to the term "poker face". Players are pitted one against the other where the goal is to have the best combination of cards (hand).
The History of Poker
Like many other games, Poker made its "big break" when it was brought to America by French colonists. But prior to that, Poker was already a well-established game in the old world. Roots of the game are said to be traced back to ancient times; some claim it originated in ancient Persia, while others claim it originated in China at around 900 A.D. France seems to always have a part with the origination and popularization of casino games; so with the case of Poker's beginnings. A French game called "Poque" became widespread in 17th century Europe; one can certainly tell the resemblance of the name to what we know today as Poker.
Poker is widely associated with the American Wild West culture, because the game was indeed popular in America's west until its popularity boomed during the 1860s, side to side with the American Civil War; this bloody war was the time when Poker came to be what it is today more or less. Nowadays, many know poker for its Texas Hold'em variation; this game was introduced as early as the 20th century in the state of Texas, but it skyrocketed in popularity only in the late 60s.
Since 1970, the Gambling Fraternity Convention was purchased by the Binion brothers, who've shaped it around and changed it to be the World Series of Poker; since then and up to this very day, this is thought to be the world's biggest and most important poker tournament. Texas Hold'em is the game played in the tournament's main event, a thing which brought the game to even higher levels of popularity. Nowadays Poker in its many variations is available in online casinos and also in video poker format. Texas Hold'em remains the most popular variation of Poker online.
This list encompasses both terms popular in Poker in its basic form and also in Texas Hold'em.
Blinds: Forced or partial bets which are placed by the two players sitting to the left of the dealer. They are divided into small blind placed by the player to the immediate left of the dealer, and big blind placed by the player two to left.
Bluff: Making a bet while holding a weak hand, making your opponents think you have something you don't in order to encourage the stronger ones fold.
Buy-in: An initial required sum of chips a player must acquire before he joins the game.
Community Cards: A term from Texas Hold'em, this refers to five face-up cards which are dealt with the intention of being used by all players at the table.
Flop: The dealing of the first three face-up community cards in the first round.
Flush: A consisting of five cards of the same suit.
Hole Cards: A couple of face-down cards dealt to the player.
Pair: Two cards which share the same value, for example: pair of 6s.
Pot: The absolute sum up of all bets which were placed during the hand.
Rake: A scaled commission fee taken from the House for the conduct of the Poker game. This is how the House gains money from Poker.
River: The fifth and last community card to be dealt before the game goes to a betting round and if necessary, to showdown.
Round of Betting: Active players choose between Raise, Fold, Check or Call.
Royal Flush: The highest ranked Poker hand consisting of King, Queen, Jack, Ten of Spades and Ace.
Straight: Five sequential cards.
Trips: Triples. For example, three 3h, three queens, etc.
Turn: The fourth community card which is dealt.
Rules and Conduct of the Game
Every Texas Hold'em begins with a shuffling of a standard 52-card deck. This is carried out either by a player or the dealer. Then the two players sitting to the left of the dealer place the first two initial bets: the player closest to the dealer puts a small blind which is half of the minimum bet, while the player to his left puts a big blind which is the minimum bet. Then all players in the table are dealt two face-down cards in a clockwise manner.
This triggers the first round of betting where players choose whether they want to raise (place a bet bigger than the max bet), call (add more money to the pot for the matching of the max bet), check (in case they've matched the max bet) or fold (quit their hand forfeiting their interest in the pot).
At this point the game reaches the flop, initiated by the burning of the top card on the deck. Then the dealer deals three face-up community cards and yet another round of betting commences, again in a clockwise direction. This is continued with the turn which is the fourth community card and the river, the fifth. A showdown occurs if and when two or more players remain in the game after the last betting round; the winner is the one who holds the best hand.
Poker Hand Hierarchy
Royal Flush: The highest hand achievable with an Ace-high straight flush.
Straight Flush: The second highest hand with five consecutive same suit cards.
Four of a kind: Four same rank cards and one different card.
Full House: Three same rank cards and two of a different rank.
Flush: Five cards of the same suit but not in sequence.
Straight: Five sequential cards of different suits.
Three of a kind: A hand with three same rank cards and two different cards.
Two pair: A hand with two pairs of same rank cards and another unaffiliated card.
Pair: Two cards of the same rank in the hand.
High Card: If no player wins with the help of a hand of Pair or higher, the player with the highest single card wins, with Ace being the "lowest" highest card.
One basic strategy a beginner should know is fairly simple: it is to know whether to play or fold. This decision should be made in conjunction with the hole cards the person is dealt in the beginning of the round. If it makes sense to play with them, go ahead, but if they're weak, perhaps it's better to fold – especially if you're a beginner.
If your hole-cards consist of two cards which are not pairs and are valued less than 10, your chances are rather slim; however owning one card worth 10 or a pair might justify remaining in the game. All else is up to the player and his considerations regarding his hand and what he knows about his opponents. But knowing when to stay and when to fold is the most basic strategy or skill every player should be proficient in.
- Poker and Texas Hold'em is a game demanding wits, cunning, bluffs and mathematical knowledge in order to employ advanced strategies. Always tread carefully and don't jump into water which is too deep for you.
- Community cards are not only beneficial for you but also for your opponents.
- As in all gambling games, in Poker especially, set a maximum bankroll and don't exceed your expenses – play responsibly.
- Don't get swept away. Sometimes it's better to fold even if you think you can bluff your way to victory. A game of wit is better than a game of emotions.
- Before jumping into your first real Poker game, experience free to play Poker on online casinos.
- Don't let yourself get carried away with anger or excitement. Keep a "Poker Face". You're at your best when your senses are calm and you can concentrate on what you're doing, doing it from careful thought and not impulses.