Do you know how to play poker? It’s is an extremely popular pastime and the two most popular versions are Omaha and Texas Hold ’em. Playing either one for fun means not taking the outcomes as seriously as when betting, but the same basic rules always apply. So, how do you play the game and manage to win big if it’s just for fun? We’re glad you asked.
How to play poker
Poker is simple. The house deals 5 cards face-down then you create the highest-scoring hand. The “flop” (or the first round of three cards) comes right before the “turn” (the second round of one card). Players place additional bets in between each round to sweeten the pot.
The final round called the “river” consists of one more card dealt directly onto the table for everyone to use. Its value often determines who wins the hand. If you’re holding a winning poker hand, you win what’s in the pot. Pot contents can count as money to be paid out later or just represent a points-based system instead.
Poker hands and card ranks
To win at poker you need to memorize the different hands. There are a total of 10 possibilities. Here they are listed in order of best to worst:
- Royal Flush – you have all your face cards, in order, from the same suit
- Straight Flush – you have all your lower value cards, in order, from the same suit
- Four of a Kind – you have four of the same card
- Full House – you have a pair and a triple in the same hand
- Flush – you have all your cards, in no particular order, from the same suit
- Straight – you have all your cards in rank order
- Three of a Kind – you have three of the same card
- Two Pair – you have two of the same rank cards, twice
- One Pair – you have two of the same rank cards, once
- High Card – you have one high ranking card
Basically, the better your hand the better your chances are of winning against opponents. Meanwhile, try not to lose faith in smaller hands because you can still win big with them. In most cases, up to 10 people can play poker with a single deck of cards. So, bluffing makes the game a lot more fun for everyone.
How to play poker for money
Playing poker for money, or gambling, adds an extra layer of trickiness to the game. This, in turn, is where bluffing is most important. Don’t let anyone at the table see your hand because it could ruin your chances of winning. Also, avoid making direct eye contact with others (especially if you’re holding onto a bad hand in secret). Once those skills are mastered, place modest bets until you get the hang of the game. Let your winnings add up over time.
Winning BIG at poker requires only a few things: patience, attention to detail, and strategy. Your opponents share a few cards with you but have no idea what’s in your hand. This is your chance to use ignorance to your advantage.