This must be the most popular and main stream poker game, mostly due to the fact that it became highly publicised on the media.
The game uses a deck of 52 cards and must be played with at least two players. There are various limits and variations to the game such as limit hold’em, no limit hold’em, cash games, STT, MTT, all of which will be explained in detail on this page.
To start, let’s explain the basic slang and most commonly used terms which you need to know in order to understand the game. There are many more slang terms which we might discuss at the end of the article, but let’s focus on the ones you really need to learn to get started:
Small Blind: This is a bet which must be placed before the start of the game by the player right next to the left of the dealer and is half the value of the big bling
Big Blind: This is a bet which must be placed before the start of the game by the player next to the small blind
Call: This action is used in order to bet the same as the previous bet
Fold: This action is used if you don’t like your cards and you don’t want to continue to invest money in the pot
Raise: This action is used if you like your cards (or to bluff) and will result in your making a bigger bet than the previous one
Check: This action is used when you would like to continue the game with the cards you have without putting more money to the pot. You can only do this if you are on the big blind and there are no raises and/or when the community cards are dealt and there are no bets.
Pot: The amounts of money from all of the bets are put together; this is the money the winner stands to win in a game. The bigger the pot, the bigger the win (or loss, depending how much you have invested in the game).
Hole cards: The first two cards which are dealt and which you are holding in your hands.
Flop: The first three cards dealt face up in the community cards which are shared by all players in the game and can be combined along with your hole cards in order to make a hand of 5.
Turn: The fourth card dealt face up in the community cards.
River: The fifth and last card dealt face up in the community cards.
Community cards: The five cards in the middle of the table which are shared by all the players in the game.
Dealer: The dealer is the player who is dealing the cards and is identified by the dealer button. The dealer button changes and moves clockwise with every hand. Being in this position gives you an advantage as you are the last one to act after all of the players.
Suit: There are four suits in a deck of cards; hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades.
No limit games: The most popular game in hold’em and is the one you most likely have seen on TV. In this game, there is no limit to how much you raise your bet and you can go All-IN.
All-in: When you bet all of the money you have.
Limit games: In limit games, players cannot raise as they please but there are limits in place according to the game.
STT: It stands for single table tournament where you will have at least two players and as much as 10. It can also be referred as SnG, Sit and Go.
MTT: Stands for Multi Table tournament and as the name implies, you can get a lot of players participating in the same tournament, sometimes running in the thousands.
The hand ranking is explained in the picture below. To win in poker, you need to have a higher ranked hand than your opponents.
The dealer will deal the hole cards after the small and big blinds have been placed. The first round of betting starts here (also known as the pre-flop). After all of the players have decided what action to take in the hand, the dealer needs to deal the flop after burning the top card (this to prevent cheating). A second round of betting will ensue starting from the player right next to the dealer’s left and goes clockwise. After this round is over, the dealer deals the turn (4 th card), after which the third round of betting starts. It is now the time to deal the river (5 th and last card). The last and final round of betting starts after the river card and the winner is then decided in the showdown between all of the players which are left in the hand. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. If there are more than one player with the same winning hand, the pot is split.
In the example above, we have seen a full round of poker. Not all of the games end like this as it could be the case that players have folded even before the flop has been dealt. Down below on the left we have included a short funny video which explains in brief the hand rankings as well as shows a game of poker. Right next to it, we have included one of the largest pot ever recorded in the history of no limit texas hold’em.
There is much more to say about poker as it is a very vast subject, but the information provided on here should be enough to get your feet wet and get your started.