If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play poker, there is no time like the present. Many of the live poker games and other forms of in-person casino gambling have taken a bit of a dive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, online options have multiplied as a result, which means that you can play from the comfort of your own couch.
What you need
Here’s what you need to get started: a deck of cards, a table, some friends, and some chips (if you are going to bet from the get-go). It does not matter what brand of cards you buy, although Bicycle cards are kind of the gold standard. You might need to pick up a few decks if you have a big poker night going. At your table, you should have three other people. You can play with just one opponent, but it’s more fun with a table of four.
Next, it is important to know the terminology of the game. If you don’t like your hand, you can fold from the get-go, and all you lose is your ante. That’s the amount of money you put in before the deal to be part of the game. If you don’t want to fold, you can check at times. This means you are staying in without putting in additional money.
You can bet on top of the ante, and you can raise the bet if you think your hand is particularly strong. Many games have capped betting, which means there is often a limit to the number of raises per hand. If you have a bad hand but want to get people thinking you have a strong hand, you can bluff by betting high and scaring everyone else into folding. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it backfires, and someone calls your bluff and sees your pitiful hand.
How to play poker
Once you have your five cards in hand, no matter what type of poker you are playing, it is important to understand which hand is the winning hand. The very best type of hand is a royal flush, when you hold A-K-Q-J-10, all from the same suit. This is the most difficult hand to draw, which is why it beats all of the others.
Right behind it is the straight flush, which has five cards from the same suit and sequentially in a row, such as 3-4-5-6-7 or 8-9-10-J-Q. If two players have a straight flush, then the pot goes to the player with the higher card atop the straight flush. Next comes four of a kind, such as four 6’s, four kings, and so on. After that is a full house, with three of a kind and a pair, such as three aces and two 4’s. Next comes a flush, which is five hands all from the same suit, such as clubs, but not in any particular order.
A straight has cards that are in sequential order, with aces either high or low, but not from the same suit. Then comes three of a kind, as with three 2’s. Then comes two pair (a pair of kings and a pair of 8’s, for example), one pair and then just high card if no one has anything better. Enjoy your chance to learn the game of poker!
Here’s a token code to use when playing with National League of Poker:
1229BG (Valid through 12/31/20)