Poker is a kind of gambling, united by a common name and similar (with rare exceptions) in determining the seniority of winning combinations. Under the term “poker” there are several completely different games. So when a person says to you, “Hey, let’s go play poker,” it may be a completely different game than you used to think.
Types of poker
Poker is divided into three main types:
Club poker – the game is played between the players themselves, who are fighting with each other for a win.
Casino poker – the game is played between each individual player and the gambling house, and the players do not compete between each other.
Video poker – a player collects poker combinations and receives winnings for them. At the same time, his cards are not compared either with the cards of other players, or with the cards of the gambling house. This type of poker is somewhat reminiscent of solitaire, with the only difference that the game is played for money on a slot machine.
Poker has its historical roots in the Old World – in the UK and France there were games similar to poker. Even the famous TAROT cards are a distant relative of this game. However, the basic rules of poker took shape in America when cowboys and gold miners while away their time in saloons throughout what is now the United States, Canada and Mexico. Later, the rules began to be unified and refined, and when casinos appeared in America, poker took its place in them. And then the game spread to the whole world. Poker is currently the most famous card game on the planet. Mainly thanks to numerous tournaments and championships, as well as television screenings and feature films. Even James Bond in the latest film adaptation of Casino Royal does not play baccarat (as in Ian Fleming’s book), but poker. The game is in many ways a reflection of the spirit of the present time. It symbolizes struggle, sensible approach, psychology and calculation. So even in some countries, certain types of poker are a sport.
General rules of online poker game
There are some general rules for almost all types of poker:
- The game uses one deck of 52 cards. In the varieties of the game with the joker, 53 or 54 cards can be used, respectively. Some types of club poker use 32 cards, but this is an exception to the general rule.
- Combinations must consist of a maximum of five cards. Often just five cards, with the exception of three-card poker and some other varieties.
- There is a seniority of combinations, where the older one beats the younger one. There are exceptions, such as Poker Omaha High-Low.
- The seniority of the suits in poker does not matter.
- Players fight for a pot – a certain amount of money or chips played by them. In casino games, the role of the bank is played by the casino fund.
- The cards are ranked from two to ace, where ace is the highest card. In this case, an ace in some combinations can be counted as a unit.
- Empty – the lowest combination, where the comparison is simply based on the highest card.
- Ace-King is the lowest possible hand in most casino games.
- Pair – any pair of identical cards. For example, two threes or two aces.
- Two Pair – Any two pairs of identical cards. For example, two sixes and two queens. Or two tens and two jacks.
- Triple (three of the same type) – any three cards of the same rank. For example, three sevens or three kings.
- Straight – all five cards in order. For example, 8.9, T, J, Q – street. Or A, 2,3,4,5 – street (where A plays the role of one).
- Flush – All five cards are of the same suit. For example, 3.7, T, K, A all hearts are straight.
- Fullhouse – three identical cards, plus two identical cards. For example, 5,5,5,9,9 is a full house. Or 2,2,2, K, K – also a full house. In this case, the seniority of a full house is determined by the highest three (the first full house on fives and nines is higher than on two and kings).
- Four of a kind (four of this type) – any four identical cards. For example, 8,8,8,8 is a square.
- Straight flush is a combination that consists of five cards simultaneously and in order and of the same suit. For example, 5,6,7,8,9 are all peaks.
- Royal Flush is the highest hand in most poker games. Consists of five cards in order of the highest rank of the same suit. Namely – T, J, Q, K, A diamonds or crosses, hearts, spades.
- Poker is the highest hand in joker games. Consists of four identical cards and a joker, i.e., in fact, it is five identical cards. For example, 2,2,2,2, Joker – five deuces, poker on deuces.
Club poker is a game of skill. In it, in addition to luck, which is present in all gambling, mathematics, psychology and intuition decide a lot. A player who has just become familiar with the rules of the game has practically no chance against an experienced opponent. Moreover, the more hands they play with each other, the less chances.
In such poker, the club or casino has no interest in winning or losing this or that player. The gambling house receives a commission from each bank (the sum of all the players’ bets played by them), or a fixed payment for the time spent in the game. The players themselves are opponents to each other.
Classic poker is considered to be a game in which each participant is dealt five cards and they try to beat each other by betting into the pot by showing a higher combination at the showdown or forcing opponents to fold their cards. Also, each of the players at a certain moment of the game can once change any number of their cards for new ones. This kind of poker you can see now only in old books and movies about cowboys and gold miners. But the most popular varieties in the casino of the XXI century are two games:
In Texas Hold’em, each player receives only two cards at the beginning of the game. And the rest of the cards, which are needed to form poker combinations, are laid out later, common to all players. There are five open cards on the table in total. Each active player has two more cards. But despite the fact that the player has seven cards available, he must make a combination of only five.
The Texas Hold’em game proceeds as follows:
Before the start of the distribution, the player, or players sitting in the first and second positions after the dealer (indicated by the special BUTTON button), make mandatory bets in the dark, blinds. Then, each of the players receives two cards face down. Then the first round of trading opens.
After all the participants in the distribution have made a decision, having equalized the bets, or having thrown their cards into the fold, three cards are dealt face up on the table, called the flop. These are common cards for all players.
The second round of betting begins with the player sitting behind the button, at the end of the round of betting when everyone has equalized or passed, the next community card, the turn, is revealed. Again the round of betting, the fifth, last card up, the river, the last round of betting, and the showdown. The five community cards on the table are called the BOARD.
Showdown is the process of determining the winner of a hand. All players who equalize in the final betting round must show their hole cards to determine the winning combination. In this case, the combination consists strictly of five cards, it can be two cards of the player and any three cards from the board, one card of the player and four from the table, or even five cards from the table, excluding the player’s cards.
The highest poker hand wins the pot, after which the button moves to the next place clockwise, the players post the blinds and the next hand begins.
The game of Omaha poker is rich in playing combinations and is liked by advanced poker players and professionals.
The rules for playing Omaha are identical to those for Texas Hold’em, with two exceptions:
- During the initial deal, players are dealt four hole cards each,
- When forming a combination, the player must use strictly two of his hole cards and three cards of the board.
- The rest: the course of the game, the bidding, the determination of the winner, absolutely coincides with Texas Hold’em.
Poker Tournaments and Championships
As mentioned above, club poker is a game of skill that has the recognized elements of an intellectual sports competition. Therefore, tournaments, and sometimes local and world championships in poker, are extremely popular all over the world. The most famous championship has been held in Las Vegas since 1970 and is called the World Series of Poker (WSOP). The real boom in poker and poker tournaments came in 2003 when unknown player Christopher Bryan Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas. Moneymaker gave people a dream by showing how to win 2.5 million from just $ 40 through luck and tactics. The game was played in Texas Hold’em.
Various Series and Championships are now taking place in all major countries where poker is legal. You can also participate in large and mass championships on the Internet. Many players love poker also for the fact that it can be played in a relaxed atmosphere at home with friends. It happens that much more money is played in “home games” than in tournaments in casinos.
The best players who take the first place in the Championships are forever added to the lists of fame by the poker community and are authorities for other people. Books are written about them and films are made.
Casino poker has almost nothing to do with club poker. The main difference is that the gambling establishment itself always acts as an opponent for all players. At the same time, a casino representative, a croupier, always acts according to a well-known strategy and cannot be knocked out of the bank or bluffed.
The first mentions of casino poker also appeared in the USA, where it was called STUD POKER. Sometimes the classic version of such poker can also be found under the names OASIS STUD POKER or CARRIBIAN STUD POKER. Stud poker rules are simple:
All participants in the game make an initial ANTE bet. Further, each player and the dealer receives five cards in the dark. Only the croupier puts his last fifth card open for viewing by all players. After that, the players take the cards in their hands and look at them, looking for poker combinations (indicated in the table above). The players decide whether to continue playing or fold their cards, surrendering to continue playing. If the player does not surrender, then he must put the cards in front of him and put another mandatory BET, equal to two ANTEs. When all the players have decided, the dealer opens his cards and the cards of the players, comparing the combinations: he takes the losing hands and pays the winning ones. The ANTE is always paid 1 to 1, and the BET according to the following paytable:
- Ace-King. Pay 1 to 1.
- Couple. Pay 1 to 1.
- Two pairs. Pay 2 to 1.
- Triple. Pay 3 to 1.
- Straight. Pay 4 to 1.
- Flash. Pay 5 to 1.
- Fulhouse. Pay 7 to 1.
- Caret. Pay 20 to 1.
- Straight flush. Pay 50 to 1.
- Royal flush. Pay 100 to 1.
There is no joker in stud poker, therefore there is no poker combination.
This type of game also has such a concept as “dealer’s minimum play”. That is, if the dealer pays the bets by BET only if he has at least a combination of Ace-King or higher. Otherwise, no matter how good the player’s card is, he will not receive the corresponding win.
After the croupier has paid all the winnings and took the losing bets, he shuffles the deck again and the game cycle repeats.
Based on studs of poker, casinos around the world have come up with dozens and hundreds of their own game varieties. They were often named after the casinos themselves. For example, Imperial Poker or Royal STUD Poker. Gambling houses in the former Soviet Union have been particularly successful in this. As a rule, the classical rules were supplemented by the possibility of a player exchanging one of his cards for a new one from the deck for a bet equal to ANTE. Some casinos made it possible not to exchange, but to buy one more, sixth card, or exchange two, three, or even all five of the player’s cards. Also introduced were such concepts as “insurance” against the dealer’s lack of play, “buying a game” (when the dealer exchanges one of his cards, on which there is no combination, for a new one from the deck), as well as various other additions. They all made the game of poker more exciting. And it was on this basis that the Russian Poker game was born in Moscow in Russia, which became widespread in Eastern Europe. This game contains all of the above listed additions, and there is a possibility of increased payment for “double” combinations. For example, if a player bought the sixth card and has 2,3,4,5,6,7 in his hands, then these are two combinations of straight:
- 1st – from two to six;
- 2nd – from three to seven.
- Accordingly, both of these combinations will be paid.
In addition to Russian poker, the Casino Texas Holdem game, which was invented by Stefan Au-Young in 2001, has become very popular. Here, by analogy with club poker, players receive only 2 cards per hand. And the rest are laid out on the board common to all participants. But here the players place their ANTE and BET like other types of games against the casino. The minimum game at the dealer in Casino Texas Holdem is two fours. If the dealer has a game, then he pays the bet by BET always 1 to 1, and by ANTE according to the following paytable:
- Street and below – 1 to 1
- Flush pays 2 to 1
- Fulhouse pays 3 to 1
- Four of a kind – 10 to 1
- Straight flush – 20 to 1
- Royal Flush – 100 to 1
Moreover, even if the croupier does not have a game, ANTE bets will still be paid. This attracts players who like to have their premium hands paid at all times to Casino Texas Holdem.
Another popular casino game around the world is Three Card Poker. All players and the dealer receive only three cards and must make combinations based on classic poker combinations, only on three cards. The croupier does not reveal any of his cards, they are all dealt dark. And the dealer’s minimum combination for the game is Queen and above. If the dealer does not have a game, then the ANTE bet is paid in double size (there is no BET in three-card poker). If the dealer has a game, then all winnings are paid in accordance with the following payout table:
- Queen and above: 2 to 1
- Flush: 2 to 1
- Street: 3 to 1
- Triple: 5 to 1
- Straight flush: 6 to 1
There is also an additional PAIRPLUS bet in three-card poker, which will be paid to players in any case according to the following paytable:
- Pair: 1 to 1
- Flush: 4 to 1
- Street: 5 to 1
- Triple: 20 to 1
- Straight flush: 40 to 1
The PAIRPLUS bet loses if the player’s cards do not have at least a pair of twos. It doesn’t matter if the dealer has a game.
Three-card poker is one of the simplest and most dynamic types of poker. Many players begin their acquaintance with the casino with three card poker.
As mentioned above, there are many different variations of poker in casinos. The best solution to start the game is to clarify the rules in a particular institution. Including in online casinos that publish the rules of their games and sometimes even the percentage of payments on them. There are varieties of casino poker that even give a mathematical edge to players who play with the right strategy. These games are not only interesting and gambling, but can also bring financial benefits to those who can figure out all the subtleties and nuances of poker.
With the development of electronic games at the end of the twentieth century, developers did not stay away from the increasingly popular poker at that time. That was the reason for the birth of another type of game – video poker. This game can only be played on a slot machine (or online casino), not at a real casino table. Video poker differs in that here the player does not fight for the win, neither with the gambling house, nor with other players. In fact, it all depends on what combination will come exactly on his cards. It will be paid depending on the video poker paytable anyway.
There are several different types of video poker. The most popular of them is Jack or Better, where the player’s combination is considered to be winning if he has a pair of jacks or better on five cards. In this case, the player can make an exchange from one to five (all) of his cards in order to collect his combination.
In video poker, as in any other slot machine, the return percentage is initially laid down – the mathematical advantage of a gambling house. However, in some games, it is extremely small, and sometimes it can even exceed 100%. Due to this, there are even special strategies for video poker – how a player should change cards depending on the combination he has.
Video poker is most widespread in the United States, where this game originated.
The Internet currently has emulators of all known types of poker. Players can place bets in real casinos by seeing their cards on a computer or smartphone monitor; can play Texas poker and Omaha poker with people around the world; online casinos offer a variety of video poker options and other varieties of this extremely interesting game. Online poker is virtually the same as playing in real casinos.
What kind of poker to choose
Novice poker players are often faced with the choice of which poker discipline to devote themselves to. In search, they change one type of poker for another, as a result, instead of focusing on a specific direction, they waste their skills and abilities. All types of poker available to players at the moment can be schematically divided into two types: tournament and cash games. In cash poker, chips can be added to the stack at any time; in tournament games, after losing the stack, the game process stops.
Beginners are better off focusing on no-limit cash games. The advantage of direction – the possibility of arbitrary bets and bluffs significantly increase the likelihood of winning even for novice players
How to play to win
A win in poker is often random, a winning combination is often preceded by a correctly selected game strategy, mathematical calculations of a winning combination, bluffing and other factors.
Even if you have achieved a certain result, it is not worth stopping your training. Preparation for the game should be based on:
- Setting realistic goals that you need to strive to achieve in the next game;
- Study of theoretical material;
- Analysis of the games of the leading players;
- Individual and group trainings with a poker coach.
The probability of winning without a well-chosen strategy is close to zero. It is not enough just to choose a strategy for playing the game and study all the available literature on this issue, it is imperative to work out the acquired theoretical knowledge in practice. The more you practice, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.