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Basic Poker Rules
Poker rules are not complicated to comprehend. And, many poker pros would tell you that there are many ways to play this game. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. However, if you aren't familiar with poker's card ranking system, you can not play poker at all. It is the knowledge of how to use poker rules to one's advantage what separates poker novices from poker geniuses. If you are just making your first steps in the world of poker, the following information is especially important for you.
First things first, in a regular poker deck there are 52 cards. Each card has its own rank, from the Ace (the highest rank) to the 2 (the lowest of all ranks). In standard poker play, the entire 52-card deck is used, but some forms of poker require the addition of jokers to act as wild cards. A wild card is a card that can adopt whatever rank or suit a player wishes to complete a winning hand. A wild card can either be a joker or you may specify a certain card in the standard deck to become wild (for instance, 'deuces wild' means that all four twos in the deck are wild).
There are always five cards in a poker hand. Any hand in a higher category beats any other hand in a lower category (for example, any straight beats any three-of-a-kind). If several players hold the same exact hand, the pot is split. Poker hands go as follows (from the strongest to the weakest):
- Royal Flush
This is the best possible poker hand. Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. All same suited.
- Straight Flush
Any five-card sequence in the same suit (such as: 7, 8, 9, 10 and Jack of hearts).
- Four of a Kind
All four cards with the same value (such as: four Kings).
- Full House
Three of a kind combined with a pair (such as: 8, 8, 8 with 3,3). If more than one player holds a full house, the full house with the highest ranking three-of-a-kind gains victory.
Any five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence (such as: 2, 5, 7, Jack and King).
Five cards in sequence. The cards can be in any suit. (such as.: 3 diamonds, 4 hearts, 5 diamonds, 6 clubs and 7 spades).
- Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same value (such as: Queen, Queen, Queen).
- Two Pair
Two separate pairs (such as: Jack, Jack and King, King). If two players hold two pair, the hand with the highest pair is the winner.
Two cards of the same value (such as: 10,10).
- High Card
If a poker hand does not include any of the combinations described above, it's valued by its highest card.
Poker Cards Dealt
The number of cards a player receives is contingent on the type of poker game being played. In 7-card stud poker, for example, players are dealt seven cards. In Texas Hold 'em, however, players are dealt only two cards into their pocket and later must make their hand using both pocket cards and community cards (shared cards that are dealt face up).
Card Dealing in Traditional and Online Poker
Poker rules are really the same when you compare online poker rooms to traditional gaming venues. Games played in brick & mortar casinos use a dealer-button to indicate the position of each hand's dealer. After each game the button moves clockwise to the next player. This player will serve as "the dealer" in the next hand. In online poker rooms, before the start of each hand the gaming software generates a fresh deck of cards. The deck is shuffled every time a new game begins, and all random number sequences previously generated become no longer valid.