Poker is a family of card games, with the most popular type being Texas Hold’em. Poker has made a pretty bad name for itself as a game in which people can bet and lose large amounts of money and may think that the only way to play it is at a poker house, such as fortune poker, or at a casino but in fact you can have just as much fun playing poker at home with your friends or family where the stakes needn’t be high, and you may not bet real money at all. Betting and gambling shouldn’t stop poker from being a fun game, so here’s how to play it at home.
- Learn the hands
The first thing you are going to want to do is to learn the 10 basic 5 card hands and their rankings, as no matter what type of poker you choose to play, these will remain the same. Start to familiarise yourself with these hands, you can do this by printing out a cheat sheet and spending some time studying it. The hand that everyone will want to be aiming for is the royal straight flush, this hand cannot be beaten but can only be tied with another royal straight flush from another suit.
- Place the starting bets
When the game begins, bets are placed in one of two ways. In Texas Hold’em poker the person next to the dealer will usually place a small blind bet of around half the usual minimum bet. The player on the left of that person will then place a big blind bet that is at least the minimum bet amount. The minimum bet amount can be set before the game. Alternatively, players can ante-up the minimum bet which means that they each place a starting bet into the pool. The ante up method is used in most games of poker aside from Texas Hold’em.
- Deal the cards
The dealer will then deal 2 cards to each player starting from the left and dealing clockwise. The dealer will burn one card each deal, meaning he puts it out of play.
After every deal players will have the option to bet. They can say ‘check’ to avoid betting, ‘call’ to match someone else’s bet, or ‘raise’ which means adding more money to the pool. If they choose to raise then the betting will go around again in the circle and the other players can then either call or fold. When playing poker at home still use chips but just don’t assign them real monetary value, at the end of the night, no one goes home any worse off.
- Check the first flop
The flop begins as a set of 3 cards that the dealer will lay face-up on the table. Any player can use these cards to make their hand. You will then bet on this hand.
- Reveal the turn card and the river card
The turn card is the 4th card added to the flop and the river card is the fifth, these are revealed once each round. You will bet on your hand when each is revealed.
- The final showdown
Once all of the flop has been revealed the remaining players will each reveal their cards in turn in the final showdown. The highest value hand wins the entire pot.