If you want to learn how to play poker quickly, easily and profitably, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a great beginners guide on how to play poker against friends at home, in a live poker room, or online.
How to Play Poker
Before we begin with some basic poker rules, you should first familiarize yourself with the rankings of basic poker combinations. Probably 91% of all mistakes made by poker beginners happen because they think they have a winning poker combination, when in fact they don’t.
Here are the combinations themselves:
- Royal Flush – All of one suit, T-K-D-B-1 sequence
- Straight Flush – Any sequence of the same suit, 8-9-8-7-6 for example
- Four of a Kind – Four of a Kind, e.g., T-T-T-T
- Full House – A set AND a pair.
- Flush – All of a Kind
- Straight – A basic sequence, such as 7-6-5-4-3
- Three of a Kind – Three of a Kind, for example 6-6-6
- Two Pairs – Two pairs, like 8-8 & 6-6
- One Pair – Any pair, A-A or 3-3.
- High Card – Your highest card.
Do your best to memorize your hand ranking. Give yourself a test, repeat them many times or write them down. Whatever it takes. Want a secret? There are three mistakes made when ranking combinations that are very common among amateur players.
Here are the most common misconceptions:
- A straight is stronger than a flush (NO, just remember that all cards of the same suit > sequence)
- Two pairs are stronger than a set (NO; in poker, it’s better to have 4 aces than 3 aces and 3 kings)
- Overall card strength doesn’t matter, but the high card matters (a flush with a high ace is always better than a flush with a high king)
How to Learn to Play Poker Quickly?
If you’re going to learn how to play one, just one poker game, you should choose No-Limit Texas Hold’em. This is one of the easiest poker games to learn to play, but it’s also exciting, exhilarating and rewarding.
No Limit Hold’em is also (by far) the most popular poker game in the world, so you should have no trouble finding people to play it with. We’ll explain the basics of poker and give you tips on how to get better at the game.
No Limit Hold’em Poker
No Limit Hold’em, also known as Texas Hold’em, is probably the exact poker game you’ve seen on TV and your friends play at home.
Here’s how Texas Hold’em is played:
- 3 Hidden Cards: Each player at the table is dealt 3 Hidden Cards, also called “pocket” cards.
- Five Community Cards: Each player then uses his two cards (or one or none of these cards) combined with 6 Community Cards to make his best poker combination of 6 cards.
- Have the best combination: The player with the best combination (or the one who forces all the other players to fold (discard their cards)) wins the pot! It couldn’t be easier.
- Bet as much as you want: There are 5 rounds of bets and players can put all their chips to the middle of the table at any time. That’s the charm of No Limit Poker. You’re always one step away from doubling (or tripling!) your stack, but also one step away from being completely broke.
There are many other great poker games out there, but given the simplicity and undeniable popularity of No Limit Hold’em, it rules the parade. Its unique combination of strategy, psychology, randomness, and calculation of moves is truly unmatched by any other popular game.
What are Blinds?
You may have heard the term “Blinds” before, and they are indeed a part of No Limit Hold’em. But they are not as complicated as you think.
The small blind and the big blind are relatively small bets that the two players to the left of the dealer have to put into the pot before each game starts.
You can think of them as an ante (forced bet), if that makes you feel better. Blinds exist in No Limit Hold’em to increase the number of players in games, which could be boring without these bets. Otherwise, players could fold in every game without any consequences, which would be a problem.
Where to Play Poker
Would you like to play poker? The easiest option would be to go to one of the many online poker clients for real money and try your luck there. All of the poker software representatives offer play money versions of poker so you can test your skills.
We’ve tested and verified all the poker sites on the market, and these are the best ones we can recommend in 2022.
How to Play Poker (For Beginners)
No Limit Hold’em uses a standard deck of 52 cards, even if you play online. Between 3 and 13 players can play at one table. If you have enough tables and seats, you can essentially play with thousands of players at a time in a poker tournament format.
Here’s how a standard poker game works
The dealer deals two cards to each player, starting with the player to his left and ending with himself. The player to the left of the dealer is the first player to be dealt a turn and has a choice:
- Bet (check) – Since this is No Limit Hold’em, the player can bet any amount they want
- Check (check) – This essentially means to do nothing
If someone decides to bet, the other players have the option:
- Call – To equalize the amount of the raise in the pot
- Fold (Fold) – To call back the Bet and discard all Chips that player has already put in the Pot.
- Raise – To put more Chips in the Pot.
This will continue until everyone calls or all Chips are in the middle of the table.
When the first round of bidding is over, the dealer deals three hole cards. These are the common cards that everyone can use. This is called the flop.
Again, everyone who is still participating in the game has a chance to bet and, accordingly, to raise or fold. At the end of the bidding round, the dealer places a fourth community card on the table, which can be used by any of the players. This is called the turn.
Once again, everyone has a chance to bet/check/raise/fold. The dealer puts a fifth community card on the table, which anyone can use. This is called the river. This is the last time everyone has a chance to bet/check/raise/forfeit.
If more than one player remains in the game after the last decision, the cards are opened and the player with the highest combination wins the pot.
How to Participate in a Poker Tournament
There are two different forms of No Limit Hold’em Poker:
- Cash games
A cash game is a game of poker in which there is a minimum and maximum buy-in per table and fixed blinds. For example, there are $2/$3 blinds with a minimum buy-in of $22 and a maximum buy-in of $220.
All players must only play with the money they have at the table, but they have the right to get up and leave at any time. If a player loses all of his or her money, he or she can leave, retrieve the money and, upon returning, take his or her place at the table.
A poker tournament, on the other hand, has a set buy-in, and all the money players pay to participate is collected into a prize pool (minus a small percentage fee for the organizers). Several tables are used to accommodate all players. All players start with the same starting stack of chips.
Everything starts with small blinds, but then they gradually increase. This forces players to make moves or they will run out of chips. When players lose all their chips, the tables join until only one table remains.
The player at that table who picks up all of the other players’ chips becomes the winner of the tournament. The best 10-15% of finishers get an increasing share of the prize pool (as it is predetermined by the tournament organizer), and the winner gets about 25-30% of the total sum.
How to Deposit and Withdraw Money Online
If you are going to play online, you will need to transfer the funds to the poker site of your choice and you will also need to pay them back. There are dozens of payment methods, but not all poker providers offer all of these options, and not all options are available in every country or part of it.
The most common payment methods are credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express), Paypal, Western Union, Neteller, Skrill and Bankwire. European poker sites also offer other payment options such as Paysafecard, iDEAL, Boku.
Is Everyone Just Bluffing in Poker?
Bluffing is an essential part of poker (albeit to a lesser extent than you think), but as a beginner you’d better not get too involved at first until you feel particularly confident in the game.
Why? You’re still learning the power of combinations, which means you might not even know if you’re actually bluffing or not, and that’s not great.
There are many other strategies you can work on before you start bluffing. (We’ll look at some of them below).
However, if you really want to dive into the art of bluffing, we suggest you start with a half bluff. That means not just betting with a multi-suit 3-8, but instead playing those combinations that have potential, even if you’ve been called.
It’s one thing to understand the basic rules of poker, but it’s quite another to be successful at the game.
You wouldn’t want to waste a lot of time losing, so we’re going to give you some tips that will hopefully give you an edge over other players who are just learning to play poker just like you.
Below we will look at three different levels of strategy: beginner, intermediate and advanced. All of our tips are fairly basic so they can be understood by beginner players.
A few more basic tips for playing poker
Don’t get too attached to good deals-pocket kings and pocket queens are a very strong hand. However, the fact remains that having them, an ace on the flop can be a fiasco for you.
An ace on the flop doesn’t necessarily mean you’re done with kings or queens, but you should at least be careful. Moreover, if there are a lot of flush or straight cards on the table, you should be careful, regardless of your pocket cards.
Be very careful when playing Ace-Queen- Remember how we said that sets and straight cards are fantastic because their value is hidden? Ace- Queen is the opposite in that sense. It seems good to have them, but usually in the hands of inexperienced players, they can lead to a loss.
This is the most problematic hand in poker (pocket jacks are in second place). Why are the Ace of Diamonds so bad? It just happens that with really big pots, Ace- Queen is a big loser.
When the flop hits an Ace, the Ace-King dominates the Ace- Queen , and that Ace can also easily fall victim to a two-pair combination. Pocket Jacks are also a nasty hand, but they are much more valuable if you manage to get the flop without overcards (Aces, Kings, or Queens).
Don’t be embarrassed if you lose a game!
Poker is a game that can make even the most experienced player feel foolish. That is the nature of the game. You will be caught with the worst hand. You will lose big pots. You will play your hand wrong.
Sometimes in the process of learning, you may not feel good about yourself. Don’t worry about it. Just keep playing and working on your game. It will take time to get the hang of the game.
How to Play Poker: The Intermediate Level
Without knowing the context of the hand, you can’t arbitrarily tell which hand will win, but there are some hands that tend to win more than others.
Let’s say you have pocket fives. On the flop, a T-9-6 comes in. This is almost a perfect flop because your hand is strong and yet very well hidden. It’s going to be pretty hard for people to imagine what your combination is, and they might even have a big pair of aces on the flop themselves.
The same can be said for straight hands and full houses. On the other hand, there are hands that are hard to hide. If you have a set of fives (one five in your hand and two on the table), many people will suspect a set.
Same with flush, which is very easy to spot even for beginners (although you might catch someone with a lower flush, and that’s great).
How to Play Poker Online for Real Money
So, now you understand the combination ranking and the basics of playing poker. What’s next? You should start playing! There’s no quicker way to build up momentum than to play a few games in a relaxed environment. That’s where online poker comes in. Plus, online poker sites even place your blinds for you!
You could, of course, wait until all of your friends are gathered to have a game at home, but that might take some time, and there’s a good chance that the game will be incredibly slow. Instead, there is a truly great option, you can simply create an online poker account or download a free poker app. Most well-known poker sites offer great apps with play money, and their software is great.
The idea is to just play a few games and get used to the flow of the game. You may be confused about some things at first, but the apps are never wrong, so you can rest assured that the pot will go to the right player. Once you get the hang of it, you will most likely want to fall back on the play money app, because not playing with real money makes people play very differently.