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Monday, October 6, 2008

Learn to play Poker - Part 2

Okay, let's continue from where we left off.
I hope by now you do remember all the various combinations pretty well.

So now we know what the possible hands are, let's take a look at the rules and how to play the game actually.

How to Play
Texas Hold'em is a pretty easy game to learn, but it takes a lot to master it.

The rules are simple. Each player is dealt two personal cards and five community cards are turned up on the board. You make the best five card hand using any combination of the seven cards.

The Start
At the start of each new hand, two "blind" bets are put up or "posted". The amount is decided before the game and can vary from a dollar or two to even thousand dollars. There are two blinds - small and big. Big blind is twice the small blind, and equals to the minimum bet someone can post during the game.
The player immediately left to the dealer posts the small blind and the one left to him/her posts the big blind. This is done even before the personal cards are dealt to ensure that there is at least something for the winner in every hand.
Dealer changes clockwise after each hand. And the cards are always dealt starting from the immediate left player of the dealer - oh yeah, the players don't have to deal in Vegas, but how many of you are going to go play there?

The Opening
Again, for my convenience,
BB - Big Blind
SB - Small Blind, from here on in.

Each player is dealt two cards starting from the player who posted the SB.
The first round of betting starts from the player left to the BB. He ( oh I can't say 'he/she' every time just to be fair to you ladies, so assume that I mean it when I just say 'he' ) either "calls" the bet by posting the same amount as BB, or "raises" by posting an amount equals to or greater than the BB.

On a side note, there are two versions of Texas Hold'em - No Limit and Limit games. In limit games there is a limit to the maximum bet you can post in one round of betting and in No Limit there is no such limit. You can put all your money in if you want to. Limit games pretty much suck, so I'm focusing on No Limit here.

And of course, if you don't wish to put the BB, that is if you do not wish to involve in that hand you can always "fold" which means you are out of the game for that hand.

Now the betting continues until it reaches the SB player. He either calls the BB (remember he has already posted half the bet, so only has to post half the BB) or raise or fold. Then, at last, BB has the turn. He can either raise the bet or "check" which means he decides that the betting round is over.
In case someone else raised the bet, then betting goes around the table until everybody matches the amount - or fold.

Community cards turned up on the table

The Flop
After the first betting round is completed, top card of the deck is put aside face down (this is done to prevent cheating - though some still mange it), known as a "bum" card. Then the next three cards are dealt face up on the table. This is known as the "flop". These are community cards and are used by all the players.
Another round of betting starts from the first active player left to the dealer.

The Turn
When the betting round of the flop is completed, another bum card is removed and the next card is dealt face up on the table - known as the "turn". Another betting round follows.

The game goes on...

The River
The Final card. Called the "river". Again, dealt after a bum card is removed. And is followed by the final betting round.

The Showdown
To determine the winner, players use any combination of the five community cards and their two personal cards.
In the rare case where the best hand is the five community cards, active players split the pot.

OK, so that's just about it. Now you know your way around a poker table.
Don't think of running to Vegas or something, because you only know the rules so far - there's a lot more you need to learn. And the best way to do that is by playing more and more.

As I said before also, the key to success is not playing the cards, but rather playing the person. You need to be aware of the players and their playing styles or "table images".
And try to read the other people - by looking at the cards on the table.

And one golden rule - you gotta know when to fold. Some people can carry on when they get a good hand and end up losing all their money. However good your hand is, there's still a chance that you can be beaten, so be aware of that!

Do everything right, and you can have all this!

But, having said all that, being overcautious is not the best way either.
"You don't lose what you don't put in the middle, but you can't win much either!"


  1. I always wanted to learn how to play. Hopefully this can help.

    In the chinese culture they have something called chinese poker. rules are slighly different i think.

    i played with my room mate. ill try to get the correct rules for ya!

  2. Oh never heard of it. Yeah thanks, send them if you have any.
    And you can play some poker in FB. That's a cool place...