Getting Started in Poker


A lot of people assume poker is just a game of chance but once you introduce betting into the mix there’s actually quite a bit of skill and psychology involved. In this article we’ll give you a brief primer into the rules of poker and then we’ll take a look at some strategies to help you improve your game.

Getting Started

When starting out in poker you should play only with money that you’re willing to lose. This will keep you from making any rash decisions that could cost you your entire bankroll. It’s also important to track your wins and losses so you can see how well (or poorly) you are doing.

After everyone has two cards they have to put in some money, usually a small amount like a nickel, into the pot before betting starts. This is called putting in the ante and it creates competition and encourages players to try and get the highest hand possible.

Once the ante is in place the dealer deals three cards face up on the table, these are called the flop and they’re community cards that anyone can use. After the flop is in place there’s another round of betting and then the player with the highest five card poker hand wins the pot.

There are different kinds of poker hands but a full house is probably the best for beginners to start with. A full house is made up of 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A flush is any 5 consecutive cards of the same suit, a straight is five consecutive cards that skip around in rank or sequence and a three of a kind is three matching cards of one rank plus two unmatched cards.

The highest poker hand is a royal flush which is a 10, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit, in order. This is a very rare hand and it’s considered the strongest one you can have in poker.

Other common poker hands are two pair, three of a kind and four of a kind. Two pair is made up of two matching cards, three of a kind is three of the same rank and four of a kind is four cards of one rank plus one unmatched card.

Position Is Everything

If you’re playing in the first seat to the left of the dealer then when it comes to betting your opponent’s will have less information about your hand than if you were in last position. This will give you better bluffing opportunities because your opponents will have a hard time telling how strong your hand is.

As a beginner it’s also important to focus on studying just one poker topic at a time. Too many players bounce around in their studies, watching a cbet video on Monday, reading a 3bet strategy blog on Tuesday and then a podcast about tilt management on Wednesday. This can make it difficult to understand any of the topics well because you’re constantly switching between coaches and formats.

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