Learn how to play poker like the pros with a FREE, easy guide, and cash in big at the online ables by playing the best hand or by bluffing your way to victory.
How to Play Poker Basics
When learning how to play poker, the first thing to understand is that this is a strategy game, and you can learn and develop the skills required to win over a period of time.
And, once you learn how to play poker, you’ll see that it’s actually a very fun game.
How to Play Poker: Basic Rules of Poker
Now in our how to play poker guide, the basic rules of the game.
- A standard poker hand has 5 cards.
- Each hand is ranked in a given order.
- The higher the poker hand rank, the better chances you have of winning as 2 pairs always beat 1 pair, and a flush always beats a straight.
- If more than one bettor has the same poker hand, there are other ways to find out who wins the round.
As you continue to learn how to play poker, all these factors will start to make more and more sense.
How to Play Poker: Poker Hands Ranked
Now in our how to play poker guide, let’s check out the different poker hands ranked, from best to worst.
How to Play Poker: Royal Flush
The rarest of all hands to learn about in this how to play poker guide.
A Royal Flush is a sequence of cards from 10 to the A’s and all the cards need to be of the same suit.
If 2 players hold a royal flush (not very likely), the two bettors share the profits.
How to Play Poker: Straight Flush
This is another rare hand that’s comprised of 5 cards of the same suit in sequence (6, 7, 8, 9, 10 for example).
This particular example is known as a 10-high flush.
The higher the card, the higher the ranking.
For example, J’s high flush beats a 10-high flush. An A’s high flush is a Royal flush.
How to Play Poker: 4-of-a-Kind
Four of a Kind comprises 4 cards of the same rank (four 10’s for example).
Similar to a straight flush, a tie is defined by the bettor with the higher set.
If a tie occurs, the winning player is defined by the other card held by both bettors.
How to Play Poker: Full House
A full house is a hand that consists of a triplet and a pair (three 10’s and two 7’s for example).
A tie is defined by the triple value. If the 2 bettors have the same 3 matching cards, the power of the pair is then considered.
How to Play Poker: Flush
A flush includes 5 cards of the same suit in no particular sequence. All the poker suits are of the same rank.
Ties are decided by the highest-ranked card of the flush. If 2 bettors share the same high card, the other poker cards are then considered to decide who wins.
How to Play Poker: Straight
Straights consist of 5 cards from different suits in sequence. Again, in the case of 2 or more bettors having the same straight, the winning player is chosen by the highest card.
Remember that Ace can be used as both a low card and a high card for a straight. So the lowest would be A, 2, 3, 4, 5, and the highest would be 10, J, Q, K, A.
How to Play Poker: Three of a Kind
Consists of 3 poker cards of the same rank (three 10’s for example).
Highest card decides who wins if 2 bettors have triplets. If the tie arises due to the same triplet, the highest unrelated poker card will who wins the hand.
How to Play Poker: Two Pair
A Two-pair includes 2 poker cards of the same rank, 2 other cards of the same rank, and 1 card forming 2 pairs of different kinds. If there’s a tie, you can’t ask for a tiebreaker.
The bettor with the same highest pair wins the poker hand. If there are 2 bettors who have the same pairs, the next pair is then considered.
If there are 2 or more bettors who have the same pairs, which is highly unlikely, the 5th card is checked!
How to Play Poker: One Pair
Similar to a 2-pair, a 1-pair consists of 2 cards of the same rank.
If 2 bettors have pairs, the higher pair gets the victory. If 2 bettors have a pair of the same rank, the tie is chosen by the unrelated cards. 1st additional poker card takes preference over the 2nd and the 2nd takes preference over the 3rd.
How to Play Poker: High Card
If no bettor has any of the hands presented above, then the winning player is chosen by the highest poker card out of the 5.
If 2 bettors have the same highest card, the 2nd card is considered. If even the 2nd cards are the same, the 3rd is considered, and so on If all poker cards match, then the 2 bettors split the pot.
How to Play Poker: Poker Betting Tips
Now it’s time in our easy how to play poker guide to check out the best poker betting tips to beat your online casino or bookmaking operator:
How to Play Poker: Betting Poker
At any point during a poker hand, you will have decisions to make.
For example, after you get your hole poker cards, you have the option of “calling” the blinds or adding poker chips to the pot, equal to the amount of the blinds and nothing more.
You also have the option of folding your poker cards if you believe that they’ll not help you build a suitable poker hand.
If you’re feeling a bit risky, you have the option of “raising” the ante to any amount you see fit, but it’s key to consider that some online casino rules will put limits on the amount that you can raise before the flop.
When it comes to this point, all players at the poker table must call your raise or fold their hands.
Another standard action in poker is “checking”.
This is just allowing the pot as-is after the flop, turn, or river.
For example, if you’re first up to wager after the flop, you can “check” meaning that you don’t want to raise, and you don’t want to fold.
How to Play Poker: Core Betting Strategy
Out the things to master when learning how to play poker is to know how to place a bet.
Here, it’s important to create a standard strategy, which allows you to come up with quick choices without spending much time thinking or looking at the poker cards.
When it takes you a lot of time to make choices, your rivals at the table will turn their focus on you, and that tells them exactly what kind of hand you got.
What’s more, when you can make fast decisions, you’ll appear extra confident to your rivals at the poker table.
This factor makes you a great competitor and someone that all players at the table will take seriously.
First, decide how big you want to wager.
The main rule is to keep your wagers relative to the size of the pot at any given point during the hand.
This is one of the top tips and tricks on how to play poker to remember because it will help you when playing the game.
If you count with a good hand and you believe you can raise the pot, then your wager should be 75% to 100% of the pot.
This will take all bettors with weak poker hands out of the game, but it’s not so much of a loss that it will bankrupt you if another bettor at the table beats you.
An exception we find to this particular rule is the pre-flop raise.
For example, if you have 2 A’s in the hole, or maybe even two K’s or Q’s, you may want to play it for all it’s worth.
Pro poker players will tell you to wager 4 times the amount of the big blind when wagering before the flop as this will help you eliminate any bettors with bad hole cards who just want to check out the flop.
When you’re able to do this, there are fewer bettors with whom to compete, and this makes your pre-flop wager a better investment.
How to Play Poker: Reasons to Bet in Poker
There are 2 top reasons to learn how to place a poker bet:
- To make cash by obtaining the most out of a good poker hand.
- To wager as a bluff when you don’t count with a good hand.
You can decide to wager for protection, to obtain data, to get the upper hand on your rivals, or to block another bettor completely.
How to Play Poker: Make Money
Now in our how to play poker hand, let’s learn how if you have a good poker hand, you shouln’t waste it.
To bet on a strong set of hole poker cards will provide you with an early edge, too.
Wagering too much will scare away your rivals and cause them to fold, but if you wager too little, you can miss a significant pot. Follow the 4x rule here just to be safe.
You can learn all single poker hacks and poker strategies linked to poker, but to master the game, you’ll need to learn how to bluff your rivals.
When you bluff, you make your rivals think that you count with a hand that’s better or worse than what you in reality have.
This can make rivals fold, or it can also get them to add more cash to the pot than they would otherwise.
How to Play Poker: Protect Yourself
When you place a bet for protection, this involves making the other bettors at the poker table pay for the next card on the board.
Even if you would not otherwise place a wager, to bet for protection allows you to remain in the game while some of your rivals may fold or, at worst, raise the pot by calling your raise.
How to Play Poker: Get the Upper Hand
Now in our how to play poker guide, let’s learn how to get an upper hand.
Many bettors (especially new ones) view wagering as an aggressive act.
When you place a wager that’s 75% to 100% of the pot value, others at the poker perceive you as a force to be reckoned with.
Others at the poker table are forced to create a good hand or bluff to proceed.
This creates a disadvantage for them, which is exactly what you need.
Wagering to obtain information about the other bettors is risky, and it works best if you’re playing versus players new to the game.
For example, to know how many bettors at the table have a hand that might defeat your own hand, you may wager just to see if any of the players fold, call, or maybe even raise your wager.
The downside to this is that some bettors may actually have you beat.
They may call you, or they may even raise your wager. If this is the case, the only thing you’ve done is throwing your cash away.
How to Play Poker: Blocking
If you have a moderate poker hand and you’re not sure how you stack up to the other players at the table, you may opt to wager for blocking.
This is best if you’re the first to act in a hand, and you’re not sure whether your poker hand measures up to the other bettors.
How to Play Poker: Position Betting
The first thing to remember when it comes to learning how to play a strategy is that your position means everything in this cards game.
There’s a huge difference between the bettor on the button and the small blind to their left.
Some table positions are better than others, and if you wager in a weak position, you might spend a lot of cash in the hand.
What’s ideal is to be on the button as you can perform better from that table position.
How to Play Poker: The Small Blind
There are positive and negative situations which you can get into while playing in this position.
The outstanding thing is that you get to sit back and check out all players except the big blind check, bet or fold.
While in thistable position, it’s the least likely that another bettor will raise after you’ve put in cash.
If all bettors at the poker table checks, the only player who can raise your wager is the big blind.
If you’re dealt a bad poker hand, the most you lose is half of the big blind.
How to Play Poker: The Big Blind
Just like the small blind, there is not a lot potential to lose much cash as the most you’ll lose is the big blind that you had to put in anyway.
You get to see every single bettor before you make your decision. If all players just wager the minimum amount, you get to see the flop for no additional poker chips.
How to Play Poker: Under the Gun
This is a bad position to be in. Although you don’t have to wager, you must be strategic about your wagering as you don’t want to start a betting frenzy that can cause you to lose a lot of cash.
And you don’t want to scare other players out of the poker hand if you count with great cards.
If you’re extra aggressive when in this position during a limits-poker game, you may not max your profits as bettors with mediocre hands will fold.
So remember that when you wager in a very aggresive way from this position, you can end up in a very bad situation.
If you raise implying that you have an outstanding hand, you’re going to be in a difficult spot as then the flop lessens your chances of getting the win.
You can either choose to continue wagering in an aggressive to bluff the fact that you still have the better poker hand, or check and see what other bettors do.
If you play smart when in this position, you can get a lot of cash during the flop if you do count with an outstanding poker hand like pocket A’s (pocket A’s is the best poker hand you can be dealt pre-flop).
How to Play Poker: The Dealer Button
When you’re in this position, you control the game as you’ll always be the last player to wager.
If you decide to wager or raise, all the bettors at the table will have to ask themselves if their current poker hand is able to beat yours.
Like being under the gun, if you wager very aggressively you may scare other players away, but at least you’ll win the minimum wagers all players put in pre-flop.
If no bettor has raised the big blind and you believe you have some good options of your current poker cards possibly
turning into something great, go ahead and put the big blind in.
Even if your poker cards are not that good, the other bettors at the table will have to wonder about every decision they take for the rest of the poker hand.
How to Play Poker: Odds Explained
Apart from being in the correct position, how to play poker also involves knowing your betting odds of winning before you do any kind of wagering.
When all players are dealt their 2 cards, they’re all on the same playing field as anything can happen when the flop comes out.
Whether or not you place a bet, depends on how good your poker hand is pre-flop.
Let’s check out a few examples of good, average and bad pre-flop hands:
How to Play Poker: Good odds
Now in our how to play poker guide, let’s talk about good odds.
- Pocket pairs: Pocket A’s are the best hand you can get pre-flop. Any kind of face card is also great, but remember that a lot of bettors will want to see the flop if they have a positive combination with their high cards, like a Q, K, or A’s.
- High-suited poker cards: If you get 2 suited face cards, the possibility of getting a high straight or a high flush is pretty good. If you have a J and a K, remember that something like an A’s and a two can beat you if a flush comes out because you have the lower flush.
How to Play Poker: Average odds
Next in our how to play poker guide, let’s see what average betting odds are.
- Low pocket pairs: These are a bit risky as if you don’t get players out of the pre-flop wager, a bettor can beat you with a higher pair once the flop comes out. You still have a chance to hit 3 of a kind or a full house, but chances are slim.
- Mid-suited poker cards: Cards like a J-Q or J-10 are a decent play, but there’s still a lot that can beat those hands.
How to Play Poker: Bad odds
Now in this how to play poker guide, let’s talk about bad betting odds.
- Low poker cards that aren’t suited: The lower the poker cards you get, the less likely you are to get the victory. The most common hand a player can get a win with is a pair, but if you have a lower pair you’ll lose. If you can’t get a flush, your options of winning are even less.
- Poker cards that can’t be connected for a straight: two-seven are the worst hand you can get pre-flop as they’re both low cards and it’s not possible to connect them even makes it to the river.
Calculating the odds
Let’s now in our how to play poker guide talk about calculating betting odds.
To win at poker comes as a result of successful decision-making.
And those decisions can only be taken when a bettor has the correct data.
While all choices made during a Poker hand are done considering betting odds, one of the key decisions, which is to stay in the hand or fold, is based on determining whether the amount of cash in the pot is worth the risk of elevating your play to the end of the poker hand.
The pot betting odds must be higher than your poker hand equity so that you can make cash.
How to Play Poker: Do’s
Now in our how to play poker guide, the do’s of the game.
Play Your Premium Hands
If you get a pair of aces, kings, queens, or jacks, you should them. You should also play ace-king, ace-queen, and king-queen combinations, particularly if they’re suited. These present you with the best chances to win.
Consider Your Position
Before you call, check, or raise, consider your current table position. When other bettors take action before you, you have more data so you can afford to be a little tighter in terms of wagering and raising.
On the other hand, if you are the first to act, you’re almost always going out on a limb, so it’s best to be aggressive.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Whether you choose an online site or a home game for pennies, practice really does make perfect when it comes to poker.
The more you can practice, the better off you will be in terms of strategy, and the more you will win.
Practice is the most vital part of mastering the game, so do it well and do it often.
How to Play Poker: Don’ts
Last but not least in our how to play poker guide, the don’ts of the game.
Do Not Play Every Suited Hand
A common mistake made by new bettors is to play every single suited hand they get.
A flush is a low poker hand, and it doesn’t make sense to go after it time and time again, but only when you have high connectors.
Never Think You Have a Hand in the Bag
Another big mistake bettors that failed to learn how to play poker properly is to believe that they actually have the hand in the bag after the flop, and they go all in.
Now, there’s always a good time to go all in, but new bettors often pick the wrong ones.
Until you have accumulated a lot of experience and practice to figure out all the different combinations your rivals can make based on probability, poker odds, and your hole cards, try to keep it safe until after the turn or river.
Sports Betting 101 Guides
Get ready to learn even more about how to place a bet on sports with our easy sports betting 101 guides:
- Sports Betting Explained
- Online Sports Betting
- How to Bet on Sports
- How to Bet on Horses
- Free Football Betting Tips
- Soccer Betting: How to Bet on Soccer
- How to Become A Bookie
- How to Become A Bookmaker
- 2021 Kentucky Betting Odds
We hope you’ve enjoyed our how to play poker guide, and we wish you the best of luck at the tables!