Getting Started with Online Poker A Beginner’s Guide to Playing and Winning

Poker is an easy game to learn but a challenging game to master. Legendary poker master, Texas Dolly Doyle Brunson had many things to say about the great game that brought him international fame and fortune. Many of his underlings still hang on to his every word, including one of his most famous quotes – Poker Is a Skill Game Pretending to Be a Chance Game.

The profundity of the statement goes to the very heart of the game. The essence of poker is predicated on a detailed understanding of probability analysis, psychology, bankroll management, and nerves of steel. Undoubtedly, good fortune plays a part in the outcomes of poker hands. But it’s the tactics and strategies employed by poker players that increase your luck and get you over the goalposts.

Remember, good fortune comes and goes but true skill is forever. An extensive knowledge of poker rules, poker hands, poker outs, poker pot odds, and poker players amplifies your understanding of the game, and your winning potential. At its heart, poker is a betting game. In this guide, we’re going to teach you the basics of how to play poker.

Betting is an integral component of poker, as it pertains directly to the economic concept of scarcity. If everyone had unlimited chips, the psychology element of poker would not work. Since players don’t have unlimited bankrolls, there is a degree of caution associated with betting. Today, we’re going to delve deeper into the dynamics of poker, demystifying many of the game’s elements, as we attempt to unravel the things that make poker the greatest strategy-based card game ever created.

In true Doyle Brunson fashion, we recount another one of his famous sayings: The Key To Poker Is Not Knowing The Answer, It’s Knowing The Answer To What The Guy Knows You Know. While many of us can become pretty proficient at poker rules, there is one aspect of poker that transcends skill and knowledge. It is perceptive ability. In other words, are you able to perceive what other players believe you are thinking, or are about to do?

This is increasingly important in high-stakes poker play, since it is the defining element between good players and great players. Poker psychology is increasingly important in advanced poker play, where buy-ins are huge and competition is fierce. Poker sharks – the aficionados of the game – understand the importance of this perceptive ability. For the newbies out there, we must backtrack a bit and lay it all out:

The Nuts and Bolts of Poker

Poker is the name of the game, but there are many variants of poker. The main varieties include Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Omaha. Regardless, every poker game has a hand ranking system. These poker hands form the bedrock of the game. You are tasked with creating the strongest 5-card hand possible, given your cards and the community cards.

Poker is played with all the cards in the deck, save the jokers. In other words, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. In Texas Hold’em and other poker games, you must create the strongest 5-card hand. The hand ranking system typically follows the following format (from worst to best):

  • High Card – the highest card in your five card hand
  • Pair – Any pair of cards in your five card hand
  • Two Pair – Any two pairs in your five card hand
  • Three of a Kind – three identical cards, albeit of different suits, in your five card hand
  • Straight – Five cards in consecutive order
  • Flush – Any five cards of the same suit
  • Full House – A Pair and Three of a Kind
  • Four of a Kind – Four identical cards albeit of different suits and a fifth card
  • Straight Flush – Five cards in consecutive order of the same suit, but not royals
  • Royal Flush – 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of the same suit

Now, there is an important concept in poker known as position. There is early position, middle position, and late position. It’s important to understand where you are in relation to other players at the poker table. An early position player, or EP player, is first to act. A middle position player is between the EP and LP players.

Late position is last to act, with plenty of insights available. Position is crucial, especially in high-stakes poker play. The more information you have, the better your decision-making prowess. Now, let’s look at a condensed play-by-play of the world’s most popular poker game – Texas Hold’em.

  • Before every game, the poker dealer shuffles the decks. Cards are distributed to each player at the table in a clockwise direction.
  • As soon as the cards have been dealt, the pre-flop action begins. At this point in proceedings, players can fold their hands, call, raise, or even re-raise accordingly.
  • The first three community cards on the table are known as the flop. These cards can be used by any player in the hand to build a solid five-card hand.
  • The fourth community card is known as the turn. At this juncture, you can call, check, fold, or even raise.
  • The fifth and final reveal is known as the river card. By this stage, you know precisely what your hand is made of – but so do other players at the table.
  • After the river, you must decide how best to compile your hand. If you make the showdown, you may have to reveal your hand to claim the pot.

There are many additional aspects to consider in poker games, notably the ones mentioned in the opening paragraphs. But a basic understanding of hand rankings, poker position, and betting can go a long way toward playing a better game of poker. Understand the rules of play, fold all weak opening hands, and only play premium-starting hands.

You’ll save yourself a ton of money, time, and heartache. Many novices are way too eager to go all in, regardless of the hands they are holding. This is a recipe for disaster – never play on tilt. The highs and lows that characterize human emotion must be left behind and not brought with you to the poker tables.

Joshua White is a passionate and experienced website article writer with a keen eye for detail and a knack for crafting engaging content. With a background in journalism and digital marketing, Joshua brings a unique perspective to his writing, ensuring that each piece resonates with readers. His dedication to delivering high-quality, informative, and captivating articles has earned him a reputation for excellence in the industry. When he’s not writing, Joshua enjoys exploring new topics and staying up-to-date with the latest trends in content creation.


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