Poker originated in the saloons of the Wild West and has probably
the most game variants. It is played player against players
and not just against the dealer as in Blackjack, and there
is a lot of psychology involved during play. Poker takes a
moment to learn and a lifetime to master.
Poker is played from a standard deck of 52 cards. Some
variant games use multiple decks or add Jokers or Wild
The cards are ranked in descending order starting from the
highest; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2,
Ace. Ace can be high or low. There are four suits; spades,
hearts, diamonds and clubs, but no suit is higher than
Each player is dealt five cards and is called a hand. The
hand highest in ranks wins. In some games there are Wild
Cards or Jokers, which can be labelled whatever suit and
rank the possessor wishes to.
The Ranking of Poker Hands
The ranking of poker hands based on probability starting
from the highest are as follows.
There are 2,598,960 possible combinations of cards in a
poker hand you can be dealt. In brackets below next to the
ranking of hands, are 1st the number of possible hands of
that rank in 2,598,960 possible combinations, and 2nd your
chances of getting one in percentage probability:
Five of a Kind (with a Wild card or Joker)
Royal Flush (4 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get
Straight Flush (36 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to
get one: 0.00139%)
Four of a Kind (624 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to
get one: 0.0240%)
Full House (3744 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get
Flush (5108 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get one:
Straight (10,200 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get
Three of a Kind (54912 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance
to get one: 2.11%)
Two Pair (123,552 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get
Pair (1,098,240 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to get
High Card (1,302,540 possible hands in 2,598,960. Chance to
get one: 50.12%)
Five of a Kind is only possible when using wild cards and is
the highest possible hand. If more than one hand has
five-of-a-kind, the higher rank wins; e.g. five Aces beat
five kings, which beat five queens, and so on.
Straight Flush is the best natural hand. A straight flush
consists of five cards in sequence and of the same suit. An
Ace high straight-flush is called a Royal Straight Flush or
Royal Flush and is the highest natural hand.
Four of a Kind is a hand that contains of four cards of the
same rank. The hand with the highest rank of four-of-a-kind
beats other four-of-a-kind hands. If there are many wild
cards, as used in some game variants, there could be two
four-of-a-kind hands with the same rank. In this case, the
hand with the higher ranking fifth card wins. This rule
applies to hands that tie, such as a pair or two pairs. Dead
heats split the pot.
Full House is a hand consisting of three-of-a-kind and a
pair. Again, where Wild Cards are used, ties are compared
first by the three-of-a-kind ranking, then the pair.
Flush is a hand consisting of cards that are all of the same
suit in any order.
Straight is a hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence, such
as 5-6-7-8-9. An Ace may either be high (A-K-Q-J-10) or low
Three of a Kind is a hand similar to the four-of-a-kind
hand, except that if the remaining two cards are a pair,
then it becomes a Full House.
Two Pair is a hand that contains two pairs only.
Pair is a hand that contains one pair only.
High Card is a hand that is none of the above and is a weak
hand. If no player has a pair or better, then the hand that
contains the highest ranking card wins. If multiple players
tie with the highest card, then the second highest card
decides, followed by the third and so on.
Note on Wild Cards
How the wild card can be used depends on the game you are
playing and the rules. A wild card can be defined as a joker
or standard card that, by player agreement and/or dealer's
choice, can be used to represent any card desired.
When a joker is in play, it usually can only be used as an
Ace or to complete a straight or flush. It cannot be used as
a true wild card, for example, as a king to make KK75X play
as three kings. When playing for low, the joker becomes the
lowest rank not already held, so 864AX is played as 8642A,
with the joker used as a deuce.
Wild cards add an additional hand, five of a kind, which
normally ranks above a straight flush. They can also cause
confusion when two players hold the same hand composed of
different wild card combinations. The standard rules of
poker do not distinguish between such hands, but some
players prefer to rank hands using fewer wild cards above
less 'natural' versions of the same hand.
In most games players must 'ante' a nominal amount just to
have the cards dealt. Once the cards are dealt, the betting
starts. Players bet into the pot in the middle of the table
and it is done in turn clockwise.
The player with the highest rank showing, is the first to
speak and to bet. He can either bet or check. By saying
'Check', he passes the decision to bet to the next player
who can also check. If all players check, then it is the end
of the round. Everyone opens his cards and the highest hand
Only after one player places a bet the real betting starts.
Each player in turn can either 'Call', 'Raise' or 'Fold'. To
fold is to pass or drop out of the round and not play. To
call means willing to match the bet, and the same amount
must be placed on the pot. To raise means to match the bet
and add an extra bet.
Say you start with a $5 bet. If someone else raises $10, he
puts $15 in the pot. When your turn comes again you need to
add $10 difference to the pot to stay in the game, and if
you want you can also raise or even say 'Pot'. Pot is a
raise to the maximum, which means to bet the same amount as
the total money available in the pot.
If there are no more raises and all the cards have been
dealt, then it is the end of the round. Everyone opens his
closed cards and the highest hand wins the pot.
The basic Texas Holdem strategy and how to play Hold'em tips
that are shown here are those generally agreed to and
recommended by the experts on limit Holdem poker. The poker
rules for Texas Holdem vary from other Hold'em games in that
the players are dealt only two cards, and can play either
both, one, or no cards from their two downcards to make the
highest ranking final hand.
An understanding of these playing strategy basics is needed
for all levels of competitive play, however. . . solid
intermediate, and expert poker usually requires extensive
study of the more advanced game tactics and plenty of hours
of actual casino and online playing experience.
Hold'em is basically HIGH card game. The players holding two
good high cards have the best chance at the best hand or a
draw to the best hand after the flop. Only play strong
hands, that will stand a raise or multiple raises, from
early betting positions. Play medium strength and other
playable hands from the later positions if you have a good
chance of seeing the flop at a reasonable price. Play strong
high hands MOST of the time, and play them very
aggressively. Take all the raises you can get. If you don't
thin out the competition, you reduce your chances of
winning. Plus, your aggressive play before the flop can add
credibility to any strong play you might want to use on the
next round if a garbage flop falls and you want to try a
steal. Be ready to fold your high pair if you get a lot of
action with a threatening flop.
HIGH CARDS - A thru
10 (Aces, Faces and Tens) MEDIUM CARDS - 9 thru 7 LOW CARDS - 6 thru 2 SUITED PLAYER HAND (S) - Both cards of the same suit. SET - Three of a kind with two of the three in your
hand. (One in your hand and two on the board is "trips".) NUT HAND - An unbeatable hand. Sometimes called a
"lock". FLOP, TURN. RIVER - The community cards in the order
of distribution. See top illustration. FAST PLAY - Bet, raise and re-raise to get as many
other players out as possible. SLOW PLAY - Just check or call along to keep other
players in the game to increase the pot odds. CHECK-FOLD - Check when you can and fold if you are
bet into. Gladly accept all free cards offered.
hands shown here are in general power order groups with
names that are easy to remember. More precise power ratings
of each of the individual hands is available on the "Best of
the Net" page, under "Texas Hold'em".
Pokersyte Visitors -
I think you'll like this one.
The Strongest Starting Hands:
PAIR of HIGH CARDS - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 1010 ACE and HIGH CARD SUITED - AK(S), AQ(S), AJ(S),
A10(S) FACES SUITED - KQ(S), KJ(S), QJ(S) ACE KING - AK
Medium Strength Starting Hands: FACE TEN SUITED
- K10(S), Q10(S), J10(S) MEDIUM PAIRS - 99, 88, 77 TWO HIGH CARDS - AQ, AJ, A10
(ace king ranks higher, above), KQ down to J10 ACE and MEDIUM SUITED - A9(S), A8(S), A7(S) MEDIUM SUITED CONNECTORS(No Gap/One Gap) -
J9(S), 109(S), 108(S), 98(S), 97(S) down to 75(S)
Other Conditional Starting Hands:
LOW PAIRS -
66, 55, 44, 33, 22 ACE and LOW SUITED - A6(S), A5(S), A4(S), A3(S),
LOW SUITED CONNECTORS(No Gap/One Gap) - 65(S),
64(S), 54(S,) 53(S) (lowest)
Fast play high pairs and very strong hands before the flop.
This puts more money in the early pot and encourages
weak and garbage hands to fold that could get a lucky flop
and beat you. Don't draw to the low end or both ends of a straight.
If a 9 8 7 flops, you want to be playing the J 10 and not
the 6 5 or the 10 6. (The low part is commonly called the
"ignorant" end of the straight.)
Unconnected Medium and Low Cards are
Usually Unplayable. This
includes suited cards that can't flop a straight.
ends of a straight such as 9 5 fall into this very weak
catagory. Play starting low pairs cautiously. 66 down to 22.
Usually not from an early seat and from the late positions,
only when the price is right. If you don't flop a set or
quads you should usually fold. Play aggressively when you have a two way draw after the
flop. If you can make a straight AND a flush or trips
etc., usually bet/raise your hand. Bet an Ace or two high overcards after a garbage flop
(a three suit "rainbow" with unconnected medium and low
cards). Usually fold if someone raises. Watch out for uniform flops, like 8 7 6, they can
easily turn into straights that can overtake your high pair
or other good hand. Check the raisers chips. Players that are close to
all-in often rush the betting just to get all their chips in
a sink-or-swim last hand. Beware of Suited Flops that can make a completed
flush. In this case, you should usually hold the nut in that
suit, or have trips or two pair that can fill up.. Get caught bluffing once in a while. It is a way to
vary your play and not be too predictable. You win pots that
you don't deserve when your bluff works. You lose a few
chips when it doesn't work but it will get you calls from
weaker hands down the line when you have a strong hand and
need the action.
Study your opponents, especially when you are not
playing hands and can pay careful attention. Do they find
more hands to play than they fold? Do they bluff? Can they
be bluffed? Do they have any "tells" (give away mannerisms)
that disclose information about their hands etc.
More Holdem Stats, Articles, and
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you will find this very useful.