Firstly let's look at the basic terminology around a poker game. It's good to be familiar with the terms used when you learn to play poker, along with hand ranking and an idea of good starting hands.
This player receives his cards last. After each hand the dealer's position moves clockwise around the
The bets are made before any cards are dealt. Two blinds have to be bet to start the game and these are made by the two players sitting to the left of the dealer. The first player makes a 'small blind' and the second player place a 'big blind' which is normally twice the amount of the 'small blind'.
Checking, Betting, Folding, Calling & Raising
Checking is to refrain from making a bet, when it is your turn and no other bets have been made in the round.
Betting is to place your bet down on the table, it must be at least equal to the other bets in the round.
Folding is to stop playing the hand. Your cards are put down and any money you have contributed to the pot is lost. A decision to fold is irreversible.
Calling is to place a bet equal to other bets so that you may see the next card. If the last card, or River, has been dealt, then calling will lead to The Showdown.
Raising is to increase your bet and forces the other players to do so if they wish to continue the game. Other players can also re-raise which means placing a bet higher than your raise.
This is a small white disc used to show who the dealer is in the current hand. When in a casino with a dedicated dealer, the button will move from player to player as if they were dealing to imitate this.
Blind bets are made before any cards have been dealt. The first player to the left of the dealer places the 'small blind and the second player to the left of the dealer places the 'big blind', usally double the amount of the small blind. Blind bets mean there is now something in the pot for the game to start.
Chips & Limits
Usually poker games are played with chips and not with cash. Players change their cash into chips before the game starts. It allows the dealer to keep the game in play rather than having to stop/start to handle real money in various denominations.
This is the usual game played and limits the level of bet that can be placed in each round. So if the limit is set at $5, to raise would mean placing a further $5 on top of the previous player's bet. The only exceptions to this are for The Turn and The River, where limits are doubled, so if a bet of $10 has been made then the next player must either check at $10 or raise to $20.
This refers to the very best hand possible after all the cards have been dealt.
The dealer deals in a clockwise direction. His first deal is to provide players with their two hole, or pocket cards. The first round of bettng commences.
The dealer then deals the first three community cards, or flop, followed by a second round of betting.
The fourth community card is dealt followed by the third round of betting.
The fifth and final community card, known as the River is dealt and there is another round of betting.
Players then reveal their hands if they wish to stake a claim on the pot.
When you have cards all in the same suit, it is a flush.
This is when you hold cards in sequence but can add a card to either end of that sequence. i.e. if you have a 3,4, 5 and 6, you can use a 2 or a 7.
This is the opposite to an open-ended straight, in that you need a card in the middle of your sequence to complete it. i.e. you have 5, 7, 8, 9 and need a 6.
Trips or Three of a Kind
To form three cards of the same value.
A 'poker face' refers to the practice of maintain a neutral expression throughout the game in order to avoid your competitors guessing your hand. Whilst this is important in live poker, it is not necessary at all if you are playing online poker.
It's vital to understand hand rankings in order to be able to play any type of poker game. So here's a quick visual guide to the various hand rankings from the highest to the lowest.
The Royal Flush
The Straight Flush
Four of a kind
Three of a kind
Top starting hands
Every player's pocket, or hole cards, are what sets his hand apart from his competitors. For a simple guide to the best pocket cards to be dealt, check out our list below. If you get great cards then stay in the game, if you get the worst cards of the packs then fold early.