How To Play Poker For Beginners: Step By Step Guide

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In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to play Poker for beginners by understanding all the poker basics that come into play.

Poker is a card game in which players place wagers on the strength of their hands and can be played at social gatherings, on various online casinos, or at real casinos.

When beginners want to learn Poker, they often want to learn how to play regular Poker which is often Texas Hold’em so we will cover the main steps of that variation of Poker.

Starting with an introduction on how to play poker for beginners to understanding Poker hand rankings, this guide will help you get started on your journey to playing Poker and understanding Texas Hold’em rules (as well as most other poker variations).

How To Play Texas Hold’em

Poker is played when all players are dealt two cards face-down and then receive five community cards which they use in combination with their own hole cards to make up their hand.

Three of these community cards are revealed after the first betting round while the remaining two are revealed after the second and third betting round.

The goal of Poker is to make the best 5-card hand using your own 2 cards as well as the 5 community cards. If you want to become good at Poker you will need to understand all the Texas Hold’em rules and the hand rankings to avoid betting on weak Poker hands and know when to bet on stronger Poker hands.

Step 1: The Pre-Flop

The Pre-Flop round in Poker

When you start a game of Poker, the dealer will give everyone 2 cards facedown, this is called the Pre-Flop. Keep these cards to yourself and don’t let anyone see them. These cards are called ‘Hole Cards’ and belong to just you.

After every player has received 2 cards the first betting stage, also called the Pre-Flop will begin. The person who is sitting to the left of the Dealer (also called the Dealer Button) becomes the small blind, while the person to the left of the small blind becomes the big blind.

The big blind has to put down the minimum current bet amount while the small blind puts down half that amount. The big and small blinds are forced bets regardless if you wanted to fold or not. As both those players have been forced to bet already, the player to the left of the big blind starts the game by either folding, calling, or raising.

If that player decides to fold at this stage because they think they have a weak hand, they won’t lose anything and will need to wait for the next game to start. If that player calls, they will have to put down the same bet as the big blind. The player can also choose to raise at this point and every other player that wants to play needs to match this amount to continue in the betting round. The minimum raise is double that of the big blind, so say the big blind is 20, if you want to raise you will need to put down 40.

If at this point everyone folds, the hand (or game) is over and you win your own amount plus the big and small blind. However, if one or more players decide to call and bet the same amount as you did, then the game will continue into stage 2.

Step 2: The Flop

The Flop Round in Poker

Round 2 starts with what is called ‘The Flop’. The flop is when the first 3 community cards are dealt face-up in the center of the table.

At this point, every player still in the game has a 5-card poker hand which they can use to decide if they want to check (continue playing without betting), raise, or fold.

Checking can only be done if no one has raised the bet. For example, you are the 3rd person clockwise left in the game, if the first 2 people ‘check’, then you can also check without adding more chips to the game. If one of those people raises, then you will need to match that raise to continue playing, or you can increase it even further, or fold if you don’t think you have a good chance at winning.

If you and the 2 people before you checked, and someone after you raised, then the betting round will continue and you will need to either match their raise, fold or raise it further until everyone has completed the betting round and checked or called.

Step 3: The Turn

How to play poker for beginners - The Turn Round

At the start of round 3 which is also called the Turn, a fourth community card is added to the Poker table face up.

Each player now has 6 cards to choose from to make a good Poker hand. The person on the left closest to the dealer will start by checking, raising, or folding. Once all players have finished betting, the fourth round of Poker will begin.

Step 4: The River

The River Round in Poker

When round 4 of Poker starts, a fifth community card is added face up to the table. The fifth card is also the final card that will be added to the table and all remaining players will have 7 cards in total to make the best 5-card poker hand.

Another round of betting commences and then it becomes time for the last round of Poker, the Showdown.

Step 5: The Showdown

How to win at Poker - the Showdown

All players reveal their cards to see who has the best Poker hand. The winner takes all the poker chips that are in the pot on the table.

Read the next part below to know what the best combinations and hands are in Poker.

Poker Hand Rankings From Highest To Lowest

Poker Hand Rankings in order
  1. Royal Flush – A, K, Q, J, 10, of the same suit.
  2. Straight Flush – Five cards in a sequence and all in the same suit.
  3. Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same rank.
  4. Full House – Three of a kind and a pair.
  5. Flush – Any five cards in the same suit.
  6. Straight – Five cards in a sequence but not in the same suit.
  7. Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank.
  8. Two Pairs – Two different pairs.
  9. One Pair – Two cards of the same rank.
  10. High Card – A hand with none of the above. Simply the highest card.

Actions In A Poker Game

In Poker there are five actions that you can do. These five actions are ‘Fold’, ‘Check’, ‘Bet’, ‘Call’, and ‘Raise’.

Fold

If you don’t want to play further with your hand, either because your hand is bad or someone bet too much that you don’t want to continue, then you can fold and wait for the next game to start. At this point, you will lose anything you already bet during this hand.

Check

If no one has bet then you can choose to check which means that you want to continue playing, without adding more to the pot. You can only bet if no one else has bet or raised during the betting stage.

Bet

When a player bets, all other active players need to either call (match the bet), raise (increase the bet), or fold (withdraw from the game).

Call

When a bet has been made, a player can choose to ‘Call’ which means that they will match the bet and continue playing. If someone raises after you have called, then you will need to either call that bet, raise it higher, or fold your hand.

Raise

During the betting round, an active player can choose to raise the current bet. When a player raises the current bet, all other active players need to choose to either call (match the bet), raise it further, or fold.

Poker Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest game of poker to learn?

No Limit Hold’em is the most popular Poker game and usually, when beginners want to start playing Poker, they often find themselves referring to Texas Hold’em.

What is the best poker site for real money?

All online casinos on our website allow you to play online poker for real money. You can play poker online at one of the best online poker sites which are N1 Casino, Casumo, and Mr. Green Casino.

Is Poker easy to understand?

You can learn Poker quite quickly as the game is easy to learn, difficult to master. You can become good at poker quickly by just knowing the poker basics and going from there.

Do you bet after the river?

Yes, after the river round has begun and 5 community cards are face-up on the table, players will commence the final betting round.

Is Poker a game of skill or luck?

Poker is a game of skill, the key is to know how to play each hand correctly and most times folding is the right choice.

How can I practice poker by myself?

There are many ways to practice poker by yourself. You could down an app on your phone or join an online casino that has a practice mode.

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