How to Play

Posted by Dirty Stack Poker, under Tips.

Once you understand the various Poker hands you can play, Poker becomes much easier to understand. While there are intricacies to playing with others (bluffing, reading tells, and understanding your opponents), Poker follows a basic set of rules. Once you master the rules of Poker, you will be on your way to becoming a professional! These rules pertain to Texas Hold 'Em, and if you find yourself playing a different variation of Poker, they will not apply.

The game starts out with the dealer dealing each player two pocket cards face down. Keep these hidden from other players at all costs. Next, come the Blinds. This is where the player to the left of the dealer must play half of the minimum bet. The player to the left of the Small Blind is the Big Blind, who must play the minimum bet. This gets the pot started and ensures that even if none of the players are pleased with their pocket cards, there is still a minimum bet on the table. Once you assess your hand, all players either Check, Bet, or Fold. If you Check, you match the amount of money the Big Blind put in. If you raise, then the rest of the players must Check your bet or Fold. If you Fold, you are out of the hand. Once the bets get around to the Small Blind, they can either Fold (losing their half bet) or raise to what the Bet is. If the Big Blind wishes to raise, then the rest of the table must raise to this or Fold. Once everyone has Bet or Checked, the round proceeds. This is all called the Pre-Flop.

Next, comes the Flop. Five cards are dealt, with the first three being dealt face up. Players then go around the table, repeating their Check, Bet (or sometimes called a Raise), or Fold until betting ends. Next, the fourth card is revealed, followed by more betting. The fifth card is revealed next, where players can Check, Bet, or Fold before revealing their cards to determine the winner. The winner takes the pot, the cards are shuffled, and the Big and Small Blinds shift to the left (even if the Dealer doesn't move).

It may seem confusing at first, especially the Small and Big Blinds, but once you master that system, prepare to be playing Poker with the best of them. It is a system that takes a little bit to learn and years to master, but brings with it untold satisfaction.