Poker is not just another card game. Most card games are easy to master and don’t require a lot of skill. That’s different with poker! In the long run, strategy, hand selection, psychology and skills decide whether or not you are a winning player.
But first we need to learn the rules. There are many different poker games like Texas Hold’em, Stud and Omaha, but for all these games the hand rankings and what beats what are the same. The ace is the best hand in poker and the deuce the worst. The ace beats all the other cards and in most games it can also serve as the bottom end of a straight, so you can make a straight with both A-2-3-4-5 as well as 10-J-Q-K-A.
In all the different forms of poker, the hand ranking is the same. Here you can see what beats what. If you are playing for the first time, it can be helpful to print out the list:
Royal Flush – consecutive cards of the same color all the way to the ace.
Straight Flush – sequential cards of the same color, but not to the ace.
Four of a Kind – four cards of the same (for example four kings).
Full House – three cards of the same combined with a pair.
Flush – five cards of the same suit (=hearts, spades, clubs or diamonds), but not consecutively.
Straight – five consecutive cards of different colors.
Three of a Kind – three cards of the same.
Two Pair – two of the same cards times two. So for example a pair of sevens with a pair of fives
No pair, so the highest card counts
Making a hand
In most poker games, like 7-Card Stud, Texas Hold’em and Omaha, you have seven cards to make a hand of five cards. In Texas Hold’em (the most popular game), you get two cards dealt close (the hole cards) which you have to combine with five community cards (dealt open to all players). From the total of seven cards, you pick the five that work best together. In 7-Card Stud every player gets seven cards, from which he or she has to select five cards. Now we will give you an example of how to make a hand in Texas Holdâ€™em:
John: Gets dealt the 8 of hearts and the 8 of clubs.
Mary: Gets dealt the 5 of hearts and the 6 of diamonds.
Now the five community cards are dealt in three parts. After the first betting round comes the flop of three cards. Then after the next betting round, the dealer deals the turn card. Another betting round follows, and now the river card is dealt. The last betting round follows.
In this example, these five community cards were dealt: 2 of diamonds, 5 of spades, 8 of spades, 4 of diamonds and the 2 of clubs.
John uses his two hole cards, combined with the 8 and two deuces on board to make a full house (eights full of deuces).
Mary only uses the 5 of hearts in her hand. She has two pair â€“ the two deuces on board, plus the 5 of spades on board and the 5 of hearts in her hand. To complete her hand, the fifth card is the highest card of the three cards that are left. The 8 of spades on board counts as the highest card.
John’s full house beats Mary’s two pair, so if both players go to showdown John wins the hand.
We only showed you the hand rankings and how you can actually make a hand. How the different poker games work with betting, calling, raising and folding you can learn from other articles on the site.