The basic form of poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. There are other versions in which more than one deck is used others where a reduced deck with being ‘stripped’ that before mentioning versions with in which one or more jokers are used.
Poker is not played against the Casino (known as the House) rather it is played against the other players. There can be up to 8 players in a standard game. Firstly, each player contributes an amount known as an ‘ante’, to the ‘pot’ in the center of the table.
In some games the ante is provided by the dealer or by the first 2 players; there are house rules in every casino so watch for variations.
Five cards are then dealt face-down to each player. Following that there are basically 3 stages:-
- A round of betting. The player to the left of the dealer decides whether to bet known as ‘to open’ or not to bet known as ‘to check’.
- The rules of the particular game and the players hand will dictate whether or not the player bets and if so how much.
- It is common to set a minimum hand that a player must have to open the betting, say a pair of jacks or better. Once the play has been ‘opened’ subsequent (in the same clockwise direction) either call by paying an equal amount into the pot or raise by paying that amount plus plus an additional sum.
- Its worth noting that an additional amount paid to raise is dictated by the house rules of the game you are playing in. This goes on until each player still in the game have placed the same amount of money into the pot.
- The drawing of cards. This is where players can change up to 3 cards (some games allow up to 4 cards to be changed so again watch for house variations).
- These new cards will again be dealt face-down. This phase begins after all raises have been called and no further raises have been made.
- A final betting stage. This continues until each player still left in has placed the same amount in the pot or until all but one player has folded their cards.
- This is were all players left decide whether or not they think they have the best hand. It is worth noting that the best hand will not always win the pot an opportunity to bluff and a little strategic play can help a lot here.