How to Play Poker

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Have you ever watched a James Bond movie and during the obligatory poker scene had the thought ‘That looks cool, but what in the hell are they doing?’. Well, then this is the article for you. Poker can be complicated for new players so I’m going to take pains to try and make it as simple as possible for you to understand. Poker can be a great social activity and a fun way to meet people. It’s often used as a way of gambling but doesn’t at all have to be. It can be great fun to just chill out and play with friends and family. I personally was taught poker by my grandmother when I was 10 and it formed some incredibly fond childhood memories. 

The game of poker is amazing. It’s a game about people and chance. You have to read your opponent’s behaviour if you want a chance at winning and this is where the fun is found. When things get tense you’ll need to be able to guess whether or not the person opposite you is bluffing. It requires a certain element of strategy and resource management as you decide when to bet and on which hands. This will change relative to the people you are playing keeping you constantly on your toes. Ultimately the game is about risk-taking and will hone your abilities to know when and where to take risks. A useful skill in gaming and life. 

So how do you play? Generally, the game is played with either six or 9 players. The Objective of the game of poker is to not run out of chips. If you run out of chips you will no longer be able to play the game. The winner is either the last person standing or the person with the most amount of chips when the game has ended. Due to the nature of chance and in order to make sure the game is fair the positions of the players rotates every turn. 

First, in a game, you are given your cards. You will be given two cards and then you will have to choose if you want to play that round or not. If you do want to play that hand you place a bet. There is a set amount for the first round of betting but you can add more if you are feeling confident. Everyone who plays has to pay the same amount. This is true of every betting round. This means that to stay in the game you have to be willing to match whatever bet someone else is playing. 

After this, there are three rounds of betting. In the first round, 3 cards are laid out. On the second and third an extra card is added so at the end there are 5 cards. You win the pot of chips on the table if you have the highest valued combination of cards. This is where it gets a little tricky. The combination of cards you can have in order of least valuable to most valuable are as follows:

  • Highest card (Whoever has the highest card when there are no combinations 2 being the lowest and Ace being the highest).
  • One Pair. (Two cards of the same number. The value of the card matters. An AA is better than a 1010)
  • Two pair. (The same but with two cards that pair)
  • Three of a kind. (When you have three of the same number.)
  • Straight (When you have a sequence of 5 numbers eg. 3,4,5,6,7 of any type.)
  • Flush (when you have five cards of the same type. Eg. All hearts.)
  • Full House ( when you have a two of a kind and a three of a kind)
  • Four of a Kind (when you have four cards of the same value. Eg 7777)
  • Straight Flush (A combination of a straight and a flush. 5 cards in numeric order all of the same kind. Eg. Hearts 8,9,10,J,Q.)
  • Royal Flush. (The highest possible value. Extremely rare. The most valuable 5 cards all of the same type. Eg Spades 10,J,Q,K,A)

When you playing you are trying to assess what combinations you might have and what combinations those around you have depending on what is on the table and what you have in your hand. You can try to fool people into thinking you have better or worse cards than you actually have for strategic advantage and other players will try and do the same to you. It takes skill and experience to master the game but it can be an incredibly fun experience to share with friends and family. 

If you’re interested in playing poker I’d recommend checking out the sense social app to see if there are any games in your area. It’s a great way to meet new people and make new friendships. 

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