In this poker tutorial we will introduce the handrankings, the betting structure and some of the crucial information to get started.
Poker is a cardgame inwhich players try to get the highest combination of 5 cards. Either the strongest hand wins or one player manages to get all the other players out of play during the betting rounds.
The card combinations of poker are from high to low:
The combinations are always made by 5 cards. For instance if both players have high card “A” the second card the players are holding could make the difference. This second card is called the “kicker“.
Having 3 pairs is not possible. In case somebody has 3 pairs, only the highest two pair wil count together with the highest loose card to make up the 5 card combination.
There are many versions of poker, but texas holdem is by far the most popular. This tutorial will therefore focus on texas holdem.
Texas holdem poker rules
1. In texas holdem each player get’s 2 cards in his hands followed by the first betting round.
2. The person directly to the left from the dealer button places a small blind also called “SB” (for instance 1 dollar) the player left from the small blind places the big blind also called “BB” (which usually is 2x the small blind, or 2 dollar, allthough there are variations in some casino’s.)
3. The player to te left of the big blind starts te betting round. His position is called “under the gun” or in short “UTG”, because he sits ajacent to the big blind. Incase there are only 2 players, the smal blind is the first person to call, fold or raise. He can “fold” throw away his hand for free, “call” the big blind (put 2 dollars into the pot), or “raise“, inwhich case the minimum raise is double the big blind, or in this case 4 dollars.
4. The positions on the poker table are called: dealer button, smallblind, bigblind, UTG, UTG+1, UTG+2, lojack (middle position), hijack (mp+1), cut off. The button is always the last one to act after the flop. During the first betting round the BB is last to act, UTG (under the gun) is first to act during the first betting round. After the flop, the smalblind wil be first. If the player is allready out of the hand the first player after him will be first to act.
There are 3 general betting rules for texas holdem poker:
5.1 Limit: inwhich case the minimum raise is the maximum raise (+1 BB preflop and 2 BB’s starting from the turn.
5.2 Pot limit: inwhich the current size of the pot is the maximum bet a player me do.
5.3 No limit: inwhich case all betsizes are allowed starting from the minimum raise all the way to all in. This is by far the most used betting system.
6. Other players decide to fold, call or raise and the first betting round ends when everybody has called or folded. Do note that after a player raised, other players can still bet even higher, which means that the other players need to decide again wether to call raise or fold.
7. After the first betting round ends the “flop” is shown. These are the first 3 open cards everybody shares.
8. After the flop the first person to act is the player who started the game as the small blind. He can “check” (pass his turn without putting money in the pot), or bet. Incase he bets, another player can raise even higher, call or fold.
9. After this betting round on the flop the next card wil be showed, which is called the “Turn”
10. After the turn another betting round happens.
11. If there are still players in the hand after the betting round, the last mutual card is being shown, which is called the “river“, or the fifth card.
12. A last betting round happens. If none of both players fold there will be a “showdown” which means both players show there hand to decide who wins the pot.
13. After the last betting round is finished both players show their hand (assuming they didn’t give up the hand during the betting round). The person last to bet or raise is forced to show his hand first. If the other players loses, he can decide not to show his hand and fold. In the other case, the player with the highest hand wins. If both players, or maybe even more players have exactly the same 5 card combination, the pot will be split among the players, this is called “splitpot“.
General variations in poker
14.Tables both online or in a casino can hold 2 players all the way up to 10 players.
15. Besides playing poker for cash, or just pokerchips, there is also a setting called a “sit & go“, inwhich case the first players to run out of chips will leave the table and the top 3 gets payed their share of the buy in pot (or just the top 1 or 2 get money). Besides that there is a a multi table tournament format “MTT“. There are multiple types of tournaments. Slow, normal, turbo or hyper turbo. These terms basically show how fast the blinds are being raised to make players dropp out of the tournament quicker.
16. In a lot of tournaments and even some cashgames there isn’t only the big blind and the small blind to force some action, but each player also adds a small amount of chips to the pot after receiving their cards. This is called “Ante“.
Learning your first poker strategy
The fastest way to increase your level of play in poker is to learn a decent preflop strategy based on handselection. Read the following poker tutorial to learn a decent loose handselection strategy: