A Basic Explanation of Poker

Poker, at its core, is a game of chance. Players have no control over the cards they are dealt, so what makes it an interesting and engaging game? Despite not being able to influence the cards they get, players are able to influence the game by betting, bluffing, and how they choose to play the game. It is an interesting system that turns a game of pure chance into one of deception, bravado, and excitement.

Most poker games are played from a full deck of 52 cards. All cards are ranked, with the Ace being the highest, followed by King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. The Ace can also count as one in certain situations. All suits are ranked exactly the same. Every player is dealt two cards and five cards are laid out on the table. Once everyone bets based on their hand, the first three cards are turned over. This is called the Flop. Now, players compare the two cards in their hand with the Flop, trying to figure out if they can make any viable hands. If they choose to stay in, the next card is flipped over. This is the Turn. Finally, the last card is flipped over, called the River. Here, players decide whether the seven cards available to them are good enough to continue betting on.

So what hands do you want to get? In order from best to worst, they are: The Straight Flush. It is five cards in order, all of the same suit. If the Ace is used in a high Straight flush, this is a Royal flush. If it is low, it is a regular Straight flush. Next is a Four of a Kind. An example would be four 5's. However, four 6's will always trump a lower Four of a Kind. Next is a Full House. This is three of a kind and an additional pair, such as 5-5-5-2-2. A Flush follows, which is five cards all of the same suit. A Straight is the next hand, which is five cards in order but not all the same suit. Three of a Kind is next, followed by Two Pair, and then a Pair. These are all the same card of different suits. If no player has these hands, the winner is the High Card of a hand. Add in betting, and you have yourself a game!