Published by: Admir
This guide is for all Poker lovers!
First, we’ll go through history of poker and how it came to life.
Then, I’ll help you with placing bets and increasing your chances.
Sounds good? Let’s dive right in…
1: Poker through Wars and worlds
2: Variants of Poker
3: Poker Terms
4: Poker Tips – What Position do You Prefer?
5: Poker in Cyber Space
Poker is probably one of the most famous casino and gambling games in the world. Basically, poker is a family of card games that combines gambling, strategy and skill. Hence, there are various variants of poker and they vary in the number of cards dealt, the number of shared or “community” cards, the number of cards that remain hidden, and the betting procedures.
It has been calculated that poker today is played by around 60 million people in the United States and more than 100 million people worldwide. The game is extremely fun and famous and so many people would like to learn more about it.
Poker through Wars and worlds
This chapter is about beginnings of Poker!
I will tell you the most interesting facts.
Then, in later chapters I will lead you through most important rules and terms.
It is believed that poker has ancient roots that go back nearly 1,000 years, across several continents and cultures. Some historians even say that poker’s origins can be traced to a domino-card game which was played by a 10th-century Chinese emperor. Some say that poker descended from the Persian card game “As Nas” from the 16th century.
Poker’s closest European predecessor was Poque, from France, 17th century. Poque had its German equivalent, pochen and both of them were based on the 16th-century Spanish game primero.
It was French colonists that brought Poque to North America. English-speaking settlers took over Poque and called it Poker, adopting features of the modern game, including five cards for each player and a 52-card deck.
The game was played by soldiers in both the North and South during the Civil War and it became widely popular in Wild West saloons in frontier settlements in the 1870s and 1880s.
From USA it was introduced (back) to Europe and it was generally accepted during the First World War thanks to the influence of American soldiers.
Over time, poker has developed different variants, including five-card draw, seven-card stud and – most recently – Texas Hold’em, which started being popular from the 1970s.
Poker has increased in popularity since the beginning of the 20th century and what is the most interesting is that from a merely recreational and fun game it became a widely popular activity with many professional players and its online variants.
Variants of Poker
Now in this chapter you can read about types of poker
You will see some basic rules and differences of these poker variants.
There are two types of basic poker: STUD POKER and DRAW POKER. The rules for these games are almost identical.
In Stud Poker, each player is dealt five cards (or seven for some games). Players then check their cards and wager chips accordingly. The player who bids the most chips wins unless someone else is willing to match the player’s bet. In that case, players will show their cards and the one who has the best card value wins all the chips.
A variation of stud poker, known as “flop poker” or community card poker is a variant of game in which players are dealt an incomplete hand of face-down cards, and then a number of face-up community cards are dealt to the center of the table, each of which can be used by one or more of the players to make a 5-card hand.
In Draw Poker, each player is also dealt five cards, and then a round of betting ensues. The remaining players can attempt to improve their hands by trading as many as three cards for a new three from the deck. If a player has an Ace, he or she can trade all four of his or her cards.
Texas Hold’ em Poker
Another very famous variant of poker is called Texas Hold ‘em Poker. Two cards, known as the hole cards, are dealt face down to each player, and the five community cards are dealt face up in three stages. These tree stages consist of a series of three cards (“the flop”), later an additional single card (“the turn” or “fourth street”), and a final card (“the river” or “fifth street”).
Each player wants to have the best five card poker hand from any combination of the seven cards of the five community cards and their own two hole cards.
Same as in any other poker variant, players can bet with the same options (check, call, raise, or fold).
In this chapter we will go through basic Poker Terms
I will explain to you important betting terms
And I will explain how the value of cards is calculated
If you want to play poker, you need to also know how betting works. Starting to the left of the dealer, each player has four options:
⦁ RAISE – This means that a player who believes to have a good hand (or who want to make other players believe he or she has a good hand) can increase the wager required to continue playing.
⦁ FOLD – A player who does not find his or her hand good enough to win and then does not want to wager the increased amount may lay down his or her cards. This player cannot win the hand, but he or she will not lose any more chips.
⦁ CALL – When a player raises the stakes, each player is required to decide whether to raise the stakes again, to give in and fold their hand, or to CALL, which means to EQUAL the amount wagered by the player who raised his or her amount.
⦁ CHECK – If no one has increased the wager required to continue, a player may stand pat by checking, or passing on his or her option to bet.
Even though there are many variants of poker games, we can apply the same basic rules to almost all of them. Typically, five or seven cards are dealt to each player. Players try to form the best five-card poker hand possible and they make bets according to the cards they have in hands. It is important to know the value points of each card.
A game of poker is actually based on betting itself. Poker is not like other games where you bet in advance for the best odds and then wait to have some luck. Instead, poker is about betting during the very game, trying to “read people’s faces” and bluffing.
In most modern poker games, the first round of betting begins with one or more of the players making some form of a forced bet (which is called the blind or ante).
In standard poker, players bet according to the rank they believe their hand is worth, but always thinking along what could other players have in their hands.
After the first bet, making bets continues clockwise. Players need to match (or “call”) the maximum previous bet, or fold, losing the amount bet so far and all further involvement in the hand.
A player that matches a bet can also “raise” (increase) the bet.
The interesting thing about poker is that if all players but one fold, that one player does not need to show his or her cards and he or she collects the pot. This is why poker is also about bluffing. That player may bluff that he or she has great cards and continue to raise the bet to make other players believe he or she has so great cards that he or she is confident to win. If someone can guess he or she is bluffing, they may continue to raise bets until they show their cards and realize who actually has better cards and who will take the pot.
Thus, playing poker and players’ actions choices are based on probability, psychology, and game theory.
In casual play, the right to deal a hand typically rotates among the players and is marked by a token called a dealer button (or buck).
In casinos, there is always a house dealer who handles the cards for each hand. However, the button is rotated clockwise among the players to indicate a nominal dealer to determine the order of betting.
The cards are dealt clockwise around the poker table.
One or more players usually need to make forced bets, either an ante or a blind bet (and sometimes both). The dealer shuffles the cards, the player to his or her right cuts, and the dealer deals the cards beginning with a player to his or her left. Depending on the variant of poker game, cards can be dealt either face-up or face-down.
After this initial deal, the betting rounds begin. Between rounds, the player’s hands change, often by being dealt additional cards or replacing cards previously dealt.
Value of Cards
As for the value of cards, the Ace is the most valuable card. From there, the value goes in descending order: King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
Now, you need to read on about the most valuable combinations of cards.
The ranking of hands, from lowest to highest value:
⦁ High card. If no combination can be made, then a player’s hand is valued at the highest single card. If two players have the same high card, then the second highest card would break the tie.
Example: 5♣ 8♦ 10♠ Q♥ A♠
⦁ One Pair. A pair is formed when you have two of any of the same cards.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 5♣ 8♣ K♥
⦁ Two Pairs. When more than one player has two pairs, the player with the highest pair wins.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 5♣ 5♥ 8♥
⦁ Three of a Kind.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ 5♣ 8♣
⦁ Straight. A straight is a five-card hand consisting of a running sequence of cards, regardless of suit. If two players have straights, the straight of the higher card wins.
Example: 9♠ 10♠ J♦ Q♥ K♦
⦁ Flush. When all five cards in a hand are of the same suit, it is a flush. If two players have a flush, the person with the highest card in that suit wins.
Example: 9♠ 5♠ Q♠ K♠ 7♠
⦁ Full House. When a player has three-of-a-kind and a pair in the same hand, it is called a Full House.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ 5♣ 5♥
⦁ Four of a Kind. If you are lucky enough to have all four of a given number, then you have a very powerful hand.
Example: 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ 9♣ 5♣
⦁ Straight Flush. Even rarer than four of a kind, a straight flush is made up of five consecutive cards, all from the same suit.
Example: 9♠ 10♠ J♠ Q♠ K♠
⦁ Royal Flush. The best hand of them all is this famous combination, formed by a Straight Flush that runs to the Ace, making it unbeatable. Odds of being dealt this hand can be as high as 1 in 650,000 deals.
Example: 10♥ J♥ Q♥ K♥ A♥
Poker Tips – What Position do You Prefer?
This section is for those who love to hear some interesting tips!
You will find out why position in poker is important
Playing poker is not only about luck and it is not only about skills. Playing poker requires knowledge of psychology, patience, stability and coldness. To play poker you need to be ready to lose and you need to watch to not lose your grip.
It is not suggested to play poker when you are in distress or under influence of any kind of substance that can affect your thinking process or your behavior that can help other players discover your cards or your intentions.
Another very important thing is to be sure when to bluff. Poker does indeed revolve around bluffing, but you should not bluff just for the sake of bluffing. To bluff you need to know your opponent.
If a person you are playing with is someone who always wants to see the cards and who is willing to show theirs, you can lose a lot of money if you “lied” about the value of your cards.
Another thing is that you cannot bluff all the time but only when the circumstances are convenient. You may be underestimating your opponent as he or she could be someone who knows quite well how to read your body language and thus recognizes when you are bluffing.
So, it is also good to be aware of your own behavior. If you are nervous or too excited, your opponent may notice and your bluffing can be futile. If you are willing to play poker more seriously, improve your body language as well.
On the other hand, you need to observe your opponents. If you already know them it may be an advantage, but if you don’t know them, observe them and watch their body language in different situations. You can thus understand when and why they are acting in certain manner and you can even learn when they are bluffing.
Perhaps you didn’t know that position is very relevant to poker players, especially when it is relative to the dealer button during a round.
To the left of the dealer, the first two seats are called the small blind and the big blind. They kick start the game since they bet a fixed amount to get the game betting going. After bets have been placed, the action moves clockwise around the table.
Ideally, you should play strong hands in early position, good hands in mid-position and a few more hands in the last position.
The position of the six players at a poker table
⦁ The player who has the dealer button
⦁ To the left of the dealer button, there’s the ‘small blind’
⦁ After that there is the ‘big blind’
⦁ After the ‘big blind’, there’s the ‘under the gun’ who is the first player to play before the flop
⦁ Then there’s the ‘hijack’
⦁ Finally, there’s the ‘cut off’, which is the last position in which a loose raise is acceptable
When a poker player has “position”, it means that he or she is the last to act on that street, since in this way, this player has all the available information before making a decision, while the other players have to act without knowing.
You can divide players’ positions in three categories: early, middle and late positions.
The two blind seats, the small blind and the big blind are in “early position”. The players who are in the two seats to the left of the big blind are also considered to be in “early position”.
The player who is “under the gun” is also considered to be in “early position” since he or she needs is the first player to act in the pre-flop betting round and they have no information on the intentions of other players.
Consequently, players in this position need to have strong hands to enter the pot since they have to act the earliest.
Players who are seated between the “Under the Gun” player and the dealer’s right are in the middle position. They don’t need to have so good cards as those in the early position since there are fewer poker players to their left who still have to act.
Obviously, the best possible position is the late position. In late position are the players on the right-hand side of the dealer, known as the “cut off”. In late positions, players can observe all the action and collect all the needed information.
If majority of players have already entered the hand, then you know already that you need a much stronger hand to play. Furthermore, if other players have folded, any two cards can be enough to win the pot.
Ideally, you should play more hands from the late position rather than the middle position, and similarly, more from the middle position if you are in an early position.
Poker in Cyber Space
Now you can see how Poker became computerized
Let us go through playing poker on computer
In an article published in Science in January 2015, a group of researchers announced that they “essentially weakly solved” heads-up limit Texas hold ‘em with their development of their Cepheus poker bot. The authors claimed that Cepheus poker bot would lose at most 0.001 big blinds per game on average.
There are also less autonomous poker programs whose primary purpose is to calculate the odds of certain hand outcomes. Just like with all other gambling games, many scientists have tried to figure out possible outcomes of the game by calculating them using their knowledge in mathematics.
Playing Poker Online
A great advantage of playing poker online is the fact that you can play it from the comfort of your home. You don’t need to look for a right casino and walk miles away from your home. Instead, you can choose any casino based on your preferences by a simple click of the mouse.
You can play poker at any time of day and you can manage your bankroll easily through online sites.
Another excellent thing is that you don’t really need to have a lot of money on your bankroll. You can play for the smallest stakes imaginable or even for free.
Playing free poker is great for getting used to the game, the casino and the tempo of the game. If you are a complete beginner, you can thus learn a lot without losing any money of yours.
Poker is today played online every day by millions of people and it has become widely popular.
The rules of online poker are identical to live poker game in person. However, you will easily and quickly notice that there are some differences.
Online poker game is usually somewhat faster and more accessible, since you find a game anytime, anywhere you are in the world. Furthermore, it comes with less risk, since you can play for smaller amounts of money.
A major difference lies in the fact that you cannot see other players’ faces. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage. If you cannot see other players, they cannot see you either. When you are bluffing, they can only guess so. However, since the same applies to you, you will see that you are going to need some time to get used to it and you will find that there are many ways to figure out if someone is bluffing. For instance, you can watch for the betting patterns of particular players. You cannot read their body language but you can read their behavior through actions they do when they are winning or losing. If you see someone make the same out-of-line bet repeatedly after they miss their draw, feel free to call that bet with second-best pair.
Nevertheless, you should not try to guess if someone is bluffing based solely on betting patterns. Poker experts can often realize that an abnormally large bet is a bluff since normally you would encourage action with a strong hand rather than blowing them out of the pot.
An interesting thing in online poker is playing in online poker tournaments. In tournament poker you pay your buy-in and get a stack of chips. When you don’t have any more chips you are out of the tournament. The eventual winner is the one who collects all the chips.
Online poker tournaments are a great way to potentially win a big prize. These tournaments can host literally thousands of players without needing a physical space for them. The famous PokerStars Sunday Million runs every week and offers a $1 million prize pool for a buy-in of just $215.
Famous variants of tournaments are sit & gos which are smaller tournament, sometimes only one table, that start up as soon as enough players are at the table. Sit & Gos tournaments happen all the time on online poker sites because so many people play in these sites.
Of course, before checking in any online poker casino or online tournament you need to be well acquainted with the rules, terms and conditions of that casino.
It is also very important to know certain online etiquette when playing.
For instance, you should never berate other poker players and you need to respect them. If a player makes a bad move, don’t berate him or her. This may not just be normal poker etiquette, but it may be a rule of a casino.
Poker is not played by bullies, but by dignified people who base their winnings on ability to self-control and not on bullying others. Insulting someone will not help you get your money back and it can even make the other player play better against you. Online poker is supposed to be fun. Furthermore, by insulting someone, you can get an insult back and then get so frustrated that it may influence your further decisions.
It is very important to remember not to give other players any advice. If you start giving advice to someone, you may quite easily give away what cards you have in your hand. You may something that may help other players read into your actions. This is never recommended, not only in online poker but in general.
This may be quite obvious, but is actually tremendously important not to talk about your cards. It is so easy to give a hint of what you have in your hand and it can easily help others to win, especially to some more experienced players.
If you do not want to lose money, it is not recommended to chat about cards. In online poker game you can chat with other players, but as in live game, you should be aware of the things you are saying.
You need to be careful, because just as you might find out about other people certain things in chat, they may find out some things about you. Players who play poker more often can be quite experienced in psychology.
In an online game, tempo is somewhat quicker than in live game, but it is a general rule that you should not stall the poker game. If you are taking too long to play, players can frustrated and leave the game that has become too slow.
If you are losing, just like in all other gambling games, you may become so frustrated and start losing self-control. Sometimes it is better to leave the table than to fall any deeper. The same goes for when you are winning. You need to be able to know when you had enough and try not to get carried away by either winnings or losses.
Playing poker can be risky, especially if you are addicted to gambling. There are thousands of cases of people who were not able to stop on time and who lost all their money or even more. It is so easy to get carried away, so stay safe and enjoy!