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Poker of all types, including Texas Hold'em and video poker, are easy to play, but difficult to master. Don’t take our word for it – just ask one of the world’s more than 100 million players! Although it is a card game based on luck of the draw, poker also requires thought and strategy. Poker is a game with many different forms and variations, and each one has its own set of rules and nuances. That being said, here are some concepts that will help you become a winner at poker no matter what game you play!Know your poker hand rankings!
The highest value hand in poker is typically a royal flush. You have a royal flush when your best five-card hand consists of an Ace, King, Queen Jack and a 10 card, all in a single suit. The next best hand is four of a kind (for example, 4 aces), followed by a full house, which is three of a kind plus a pair (for example, three Aces and two Kings). After that comes a flush, which is when your hand consists of five cards that are all the same suit. The next highest-ranking poker hand is a straight: when all five of your cards are in the same numerical order (ex. 10,J,Q,K,A), followed by three of a kind (ex. AAA), and finally, a pair. The lowest value is a “high card” where the strength of your hand is simply the highest card you have been dealt (ex. A)Learn poker vocabulary!
From blinds to buttons, flops to folds, and deals to draws, there are about a dozen terms that’ll improve your odds of success on the poker table.Know your poker playing options!
When it is your turn to act, or, make a decision in the game, you will typically have the following options:
Bet: Place a bet with your poker chips based on how strong you think your hand is.
Call: If another player has placed a bet, you may opt to match the bet they have made and continue with the game.
Raise: If another player has bet before you, you have the option to bet more than the amount of that player. If you choose to raise the stakes, it’s typically best to have a hand that you think is better than everyone else’s (unless you want to just “bluff” and pretend that you do in order to get your opponents to fold!).
Check: If no other poker player has bet yet and it is your turn, you can decline to bet as well, passing it along to the next person or poker round. This is called a “check”.
Fold: You have to know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em, as they say. If someone has bet before you and your poker hand isn’t particularly strong, it’s probably best to just fold and wait until the next game.Keep an eye on how much you bet!
One of the most important attributes of every winning poker player is their tendency to bet larger amounts when their hand is stronger, and smaller amounts when their hand is weaker. In fact, the best players regularly fold (give up their hand without betting) when the cards they have been dealt are not particularly strong. The best players, indeed, fold most of their poker hands!Good luck, and have fun testing your hand with our online collection of free poker games.