The popularity of Poker experienced a colossal boost, mainly after the introduction of its online counterpart. This enabled poker enthusiasts to play from the comforts of their own home, in lieu of simply following the game via television. Undoubtedly, this has proven useful as a result of the indefinite closure of a plethora of casinos worldwide, and the imposition of lockdowns amidst the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The minimum legal age to play poker ranges between 18 to 21 years of age. Casinos, namely those in the United States, typically require players to be at least 21 years old as a result of the distribution and sales of alcohol.
The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 prohibits the providing and advertisement of a great deal of both live and online counterparts of poker in Australia. It is easy to misconstrue this as prohibiting poker entirely. However, this directive only disallows Australian-based businesses from providing such services. Players based in Australia were able to utilize services from providers overseas. Unfortunately, as of 2017, the Interactive Gambling Act imposed harsher laws and therefore, a plethora of a major poker companies henceforth have stopped providing their services.
Learning the fundamentals of poker is the key to impressing your friends with neat poker hacks over a few drinks on your upcoming fun-filled reunion! Sit back and take notes! This article presents you the opportunity to go from zero to hero in no time! The best part is that the following poker strategy applies to both live and online counterparts!
Mastering the fundamentals of poker
If you are an absolute beginner, it would be best to familiarize yourself with the jargon pertaining the game, the most common being bet. Bet has three different meanings, this can vary from the chips or money dealt during the first deal, the standard betting amount in a fixed limit game to the count of actions in a deal, otherwise known as hand.
About Texas Hold’Em Poker
The most popular poker game to date is No-Limit-Hold’Em, also known as Texas Hold’Em, which consists of a deck of fifty-two cards of different suits (ace of spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts). A single table can hold between two to ten players. The same concept is available when you play poker online.
When it comes this game, each player starts with two cards face-down. The players can use both or one of the cards in conjunction with the five community cards, which are dealt face-up, to acquire the best five-hand card poker hand. Whoever manages to acquire the best hand or whose deal results in the remaining players to fold (the players decide to cease participation when their turn is up, they may verbally concede defeat or toss their cards in the discard pile) is declared winner! Players are allowed four rounds of betting.
The point of No-Limit Hold’Em is that there are no limits as to how many chips you can deal, which can be dealt in the middle at any given time. Players are one step away from victory or blowing away their chances, usually as a result of bluffing (betting with the worst hand).
In the five-hand card poker hand, the highest rank is Royal Flush, whereas the lowest rank is the High Card. The Royal Flush works in such a way whereby the cards of the same suit are arranged in a consecutive order from ten to ace. Whereas order and suit are not a priority in High Rank as can be seen in the visual explanation of the poker hand rankings.
The above hand ranking principles also apply to Pot-Limit Omaha, Seven-Card Stud and 5-Card Draw.
Rules pertaining to Texas Hold’Em Poker
Before delving into real-money poker, it is always ideal to familiarize yourself with the rules and glossary.
- All-in is when the player puts all their remaining chips (gaming token representing monetary value) into the pot.
- Flop refers to the first three community cards dealt.
- Preflop is anything that happens before the flop (before the first three community cards are dealt).
- Turn (also known as Fourth Street) is when the fourth community card is dealt.
- River (also known as Five Street) is when the fifth and final community card is dealt.
- Blind bets (often shortened to Blinds) are the forced bets before the dealing of the cards, required by two players to ensure the feasibility of the game depending on the number of chips in the pot. The less chips, the more chances of folding.
- Button is the nickname for the currently dealing player.
Below is the ideal Texas Hold’Em Poker playthrough.
- Betting Rounds
The aim is to gain as much chips as possible, as well as to acquire the best hand. If you are confident and lucky, all players may fold before showdown.
Showdown usually transpires in the case of the presence of more than one player after the last round, whereby the remaining players are to expose their hands in order. In doing so, they would be comparing each hand in order to determine the winner. The winner is the player with the highest hand. If there are two players with equal hands, the pot is split equally among them.
- Flush always beats a straight.
- Three-of-a-kind always beats two-pair.
Each player receives one card at a time until they have two cards (the dealer starts from the left). Said cards are hole cards and used in conjunction with the five community cards. Rounds can be a minimum of one and a maximum of four. Rounds cease when all players except for one have folded. Multiple players remain in the fourth and final round followed by showdown.
Once all players have received their hole cards, the preflop betting round starts. The player on the left to the dealer is the first to act. Only a single player at a time must act. Meanwhile, they must await their turn and decide which action to take.
- Fold (do not put any chips in the pot and wait for another turn)
- Call (match the amount of the big blind)
- Raise (double the amount of the big blind) – express verbally before raising
The player of the left of the currently dealing player will have their turn afterwards. All players have the same options above. The round typically ends when all players have used their chances to act.
The flop round starts when the hole cards are used with the five community cards. The river depends on when the player has folded on Turn.
Once the river betting round is over, players enter showdown. The player who bet on the river is by default the first player to expose their hand. If no one bet on the river, the player to the left of the current dealer must expose their hand instead. This will go on in a clockwise motion.
- Royal Flush must be of the same suit in consecutive order. (A-K-Q-J-10)
- Straight Flush must be of the same suit but in any sequence.
- Four-of-a-kind of the same value (J-J-J-J)
- Full house (Three-of-a-kind and a pair)
- Flush (all the same suit)
- Straight (a sequence)
- Three-of-a-kind of the same value (9-9-9)
- Two-pair of the same value (for instance, 2-2 and 4-4)
- Pair (any pair)
- High Card (the highest card you possibly have)
The following misconceptions are very common among amateurs:
- Straight beats flush. (Suit is greater than sequence)
- Two-pair beats three-of-a-kind.
- Only high card strength matters, the overall card strength does not.
Other tips to keep in mind
Although bluffing is integral in poker, it is not ideal for beginners unless there is a high level of confidence. Consider bluffing once you have familiarized yourself with the poker strategy.
You must also know how to risk your chips. Players may find it easier to take advantage of you if they see that you are not willing to take a risk and put your every chip in the pot. Although, you should never play above your bank roll!
Fear not if you lose a hand! It is all about learning and not everyone has the same learning curve. Just keep playing until you get the hang of it! Instead of immediately jumping to complicated strategies, try seeking methods suited for your learning curve. Poker is also a matter of luck and level of confidence!
With regards to personal habits, one should be capable of fast decision-making, as well as managing emotions. The consumption of alcohol is not ideal whilst playing.
Too much to process? Don’t have enough time? Here is also a two-minute video tutorial demystifying Texas Hold’Em Poker!
Would you like to test the waters with a few recommended virtual rooms?