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How To Play Poker

If you want to know how to play poker, there are some basics that need to be understood about the flow of the poker game.

The starting point of the game is for the players to place their blind bets before any cards are dealt.

The Pre-Flop (first round) - Two cards are dealt to each player, which are placed face down on the table. These are the hole cards or pocket cards. This is followed by the first round of betting, known as the pre-flop. At this point players assess their cards and decide to bet or pass on this round. They are not able to check in the pre-flop round. They can bet, call, raise or fold. The players have to each bet the same amount for the game to proceed, so if one player raises the bet then the other players have to match it by re-raising, or they can call or fold their cards, removing them from that round.

The Flop (second round) - The dealer now deals three community cards face up onto the table. Each player reviews his pocket or hole cards and the community cards to try and create a good hand. The second round of betting happens at this point. Once more, players can bet, call, raise, fold, or can choose to check.

The Turn (third round) - A fourth community card is now dealt on the table. Players now have their two hole or pocket cards and four community cards from which to build their hand. A further round of betting takes place.

The River (fourth round) - The fifth and final community card, called The River, is dealt on the table. Players now have their two cards and the five cards on the table from which to form a hand. Final bets are made.

Finally the players make the best five card poker hands they can from the cards available to them. Then each shows their hand, with the best hand winning the pot. This is called The Showdown.

Quick guide:

  • To check is to bet nothing but still remain in the game. This can only be done when it is the player's turn to make a bet and the other players have not bet yet.
  • To call is to bet the same amount as the previous bet.
  • To raise is to increase the amount of the previous bet
  • To fold is to give up the chance to win the pot by not matching a bet.