Poker: How to Play

pokerPoker is a glamorous game, which is gaining popularity due to its appearance in television and movies. We often see the hero, playing the villain and raising the heat of room with his every move. The game of poker is a game of nerves. It involves judging body language and each and every move of the opponent while controlling your own nerves and facial expressions that can signal to your opponent regarding the situation of your hand. Poker is a very easy game, though there are a lot poker rules but with sufficient practice everyone can master it.  If you are keen to learn to play poker, this article will introduce you to this thrilling game. The foremost thing that you will need to learn and memorize is the rank of hands in poker. There are 10 different kinds of hands in poker which determine the winner.

Ranking of Hands in Poker: Before we dive into rank of hands, let us see how cards are ranked. Like most of the other card games Ace is the most valuable card in Poker, followed by King, Queen and then Jack. After Jack the value of card decreases as they go down, 10 through 2. Hence Ace is the card with the highest value and 2 is the least valuable card. Now we are familiar with the card ranking, let us see how hands are ranked in poker. We will start with the most valuable hand and will move down subsequently.

Royal Flush: The royal flush is the best hand you can make in poke. It’s when you have an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10, all belonging to the same suit. It is the most valuable hand of poker and the player with such a hand wins the pot. There are only four possible royal flushes you can make in poker as there are only four suits in a deck of cards. If the two players have the royal flush, the pot is equally divided among the two as there is no mechanism to break the tie because all suits have equally priority in poker.

Straight Flush: The next in the line of hands is the ‘Straight Flush’. Straight flush means a player has any five cards of a same suit in a sequence. For example if you have 9, 10. Jack, Queen, King and all of them are hearts, it means you have a King high straight flush. As you might have guessed that more than one player can have a straight flush so how the tie is broken? Well it’s easy. If two or more players have a straight flush the person with the highest card wins. Consider the following scenario.

Player 1: [ 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6] Hearts

Player 2: [ 5. 6. 7, 8, 9 ] Spades
As you can see that both players have a straight flush, but player 2 has highest card i.e. 9 of spades hence player 2 wins.

Four of a Kind: The next highest ranked hand is the four of a kind, also known as ‘Quads’. As the name suggests, if you have four same cards, it means you have four of a kind. For example if you have [King of Spades, King of Hearts, King of Diamonds and King of Clubs], your hand will be called four of a kind. Again if 2 or more players have the same hand, the player with the higher card making four of a kind, will win. Consider the following example:

Player 1: [King of Spades, King of Hearts, King of Diamonds and King of Clubs]

Player 2: [Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds and Jack of Clubs],

Who do you think will win? Of Course, player 1 as King is more valuable than Jack.

Full House: Full house means you have 3 cards of the same number and 2 cards of another number. Let me show you by example. If you have [King of Spades, King of Hearts, King of Diamonds and 8 of Diamonds, 8 of Clubs], it means you have a full house. The above particular hand will be called “Kings full of 8’s”. Again a tie can occur and two or more players may have a full house. In this case the pot is awarded to the player having most valuable 3 of a kind. Let’s have a look at a tie in a full house in the game of poker.

Player 1: [Jack of Clubs, Jack of Clubs, Jack of Clubs, 7 of Spades, 7 of Spades]

Player 2:  [King of Spades, King of Hearts, King of Diamonds and 8 of Diamonds, 8 of Clubs] In the above scenario, Player 2 is the winner as King is more valuable than Jack and player 2 has a full house with the King.

Flush: Moving on, the next highest hand in the game of poker is ‘Flush’. When a player has a hand full of all five cards belonging to the same suit, it is said to be a Flush. It is important to note here that the sequence does not matter in flush. Example: [2 of Spades, 4 of Spades, 5 of Spades, Queen of Spades, Ace of Spades ] The possibility of tie in flush is higher, so if a tie occurs the pot is awarded to the player with the highest card in the flush. If the highest card is same the second highest card is compared to break the tie, so on and so forth.

Straight: If a player collects any five cards that are in a sequence, it is said to be a ‘Straight’ hand. In straight, the suit does not matter. Player can have all cards belonging to different suits but they should be in a sequence. Let’s have a look: [King of Spades, Queen of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds, 10 of Hearts, 9 of Spades] Same strategy is applied to break the tie in straight hand. The highest cards are compared and the player having the most valuable card wins.

Three of a Kind: This hand is just like the four of a kind. The difference is there is a set of three same cards and the other 2 cards are different. They don’t match each other. Here is a demonstration of three of a kind. [Jack of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Spades, King of Hearts, 3 of Clubs] Like other hands, possibility of tie is still there. Tie is broken by the comparison of the cards of three of a kind set. The player having the highest 3 of a kind is the winner.

Two Pairs: Two of a pair contains two sets of pairs and one ODD card. Have a look at the arrangement for the better understanding. [ King, King, Jack, Jack, 5 ] If a tie occurs in two pairs, the cards of first set are compared. If still there is a tie the cards of the second set are compared and if the tie still exists, winner is decided by the ODD card. In such a situation the ODD card is called the ‘Kicker’.

One Pair: One pair is the next valuable hand in the stack. A player has a pair of same cards and the other three cards are different. Here is a one pair demonstration: [King, King, Ace, 10, 2] In case of tie, the one pair cards are compared and if they are same the strategy is repeated with the different cards of the hand till the tie is broken.

High Card: If none of the players have a pair in hand, the winner is determined by comparing cards. The player with the highest card is the winner. So these were the basic and most important rules of game of poker. If you want to try it, you can play poker online. A variety of online poker casinos are available where you can play poker with the system free of charge.

Once you have mastered the hands and moves, you are ready to take down the world. Have fun.