Taking a Look at Poker Essentials

One of the fundamental things to remember about the game of poker is that it is not considered “gambling” in the most real sense of that word.

The skill that is involved in the game of poker is unmatched in any other game of chance you may come across, in a casino or other place of gambling.

Playing Poker

The first thing to know about playing poker well is that your cards, while important, are far from the only thing that you need to consider when playing at any level.

Your position, relative to what is referred to as the “button,” representing where the dealer would be at any given time, is critical to your strategy in the game.

This “button” will determine where you act in relation to the other players at the table, and being in later position means there are fewer people to act behind you, which gives you vital information indeed.

Poker is necessarily a game of information. The more information you are able to generate at the table, the better it will be for you in the long run.

Different Forms of Poker

Poker takes many forms. There is a multitude of different games that are all considered poker.

There is 5 and 7 Card Stud, Omaha, and the Cadillac of Poker, plus the game most people are familiar with, and that is Texas Hold Em.

In all forms of poker, the object is to obtain the winning hand, with a standard deck of 52 playing cards.

Poker Details

In some games such as Omaha Hi/Low, it is the lowest ranking hand that wins a portion of the pot, but in most games, it is the highest ranking hand that will take the money.

Poker is also a zero-sum game. This means that all the money involved is either won or lost by the players themselves; the “house” or casino has nothing invested and usually will take a small amount of each pot as the “rake,” which is used for the upkeep of the poker room, where they spread the games.

The rankings, for which hands beat which hands, are easily found all across the internet, and most people are aware of them.

Aces are the top card, and the rankings go down from there sequentially, i.e. King, Queen, Jack and so on.

The suits of the cards can also be combined to make “flushes” which is all 5 cards bearing the same suit in one hand and can be combined in sequence to build straights, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack etc.

The players, in turn, get the opportunity to either “check”, “raise”, or “fold” their hands, unless there has been a bet before their turn by another player, in which case they must “call” the bet, i.e. raise that bet by putting further money in the pot, or folding/throwing their hand away.

Variations

Depending on which form of the game you are playing, there are 3 rounds of such “action,” and at the end, the best poker hand wins the pot.

There are also different ways to play the game in its many forms, such as “tournament” play or “cash” games.

Difference

The difference between these two games is that in a tournament a player has the opportunity to purchase some chips for a pre-determined price, and that is what is used instead of straight cash, as in a cash game.

The money used to buy the tournament chips is then pooled, and the game is played down to the last player, who wins the bulk of the money at the end. You know in advance how much it will cost you to play, whereas, in a cash game, the opportunity is there to lose a significantly higher amount.