An Introduction to Poker for the Complete Novice

Poker is a game that has now become popular in most parts of the world. Widely believed to have originated in the USA in the 19th Century, poker has continued to develop new variants and greater popularity ever since. Technological mediums such as film and television have no doubt helped promote awareness of the game, with poker often providing dramatic and glamorous scenes in many of the 20th Centuries most successful movies. We’d all love to be as suave as James Bond, sitting cleaning up at the table with a drink in hand! However, it was the rise of the online poker games that you’ll find at sites that propelled the game to truly global fame. Here are the three most popular basic poker variants in the world today.

An Ace and a King, very powerful if the community cards fall in your favour

Draw poker in one form or another has been played for over one hundred and fifty years, and at least as early as 1850. Each player around the table is initially dealt a complete hand, and then after this there is a chance to improve the hand by discarding cards and replacing them with new ones drawn from the pack. The standard and most common form of this game is Five Card Draw.

In Stud poker players are dealt both private, face down cards (hole cards); and face up cards, that all the other players at the table can see, over a number of betting rounds. The most popular forms of Stud Poker are Five Card Stud, which became popular during the American Civil War, and Seven Card Stud, which was, until fairly recently, the most popular form of poker in the modern era – that is, until the phenomenal rise of Texas Hold ‘em.

Texas Hold ‘em is the most popular variant of poker in the world today, and if you are completely new to the world of poker, the chances are this is the form of the game that you are most likely to have seen or heard about recently.

Texas Hold ‘em is type of community card poker. Each player initially receives two (private) hole cards, after which five community cards are dealt, face up, on the table over three successive rounds called the Flop (three cards), the Turn (one card), with the last community card dealt called the River. Omaha Hold ‘em (commonly known simply as Omaha) is the other popular community card poker game, which follows the same structure as (Texas) Hold ‘em, except that each player initially receives four hole cards.

In both Omaha and Hold ‘em each player looks to make the highest scoring five card hand possible from their hole cards and the community cards on the table, although in Omaha the player must include two of their hole cards in this hand, while in Hold ‘em it is possible to simply ‘play the board’ (not use any hole cards) if the community cards are the strongest hand available. Every variant of poker involves placing bets into the ‘pot’, usually over several rounds of betting, with the winner taking all chips at the end of the hand. It is not uncommon for players dealt a weak initial hand to simply ‘fold’ and not take part in successive rounds (of indeed fold during later rounds), but if more than one player makes it to the final round of dealing and betting a ‘showdown’ – where the players show and compare hands – determines who wins. It is the hierarchy of hands in poker that determines just how good a hand is – look here to see the basic hierarchy of hands in poker.
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