What Are The Basic Poker Rules

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The term poker encompasses a wide range of gambling card games, all of which are games of chance and luck but also require skill to win. In poker, the cards that a player is holding and their values determine whether they have a good or bad hand. There are plenty of poker variations with their own individual differences, ranging from the number of cards dealt to the number of betting rounds. While these different variations have their own distinct rules, there are also some basic poker rules that apply to all of them.

How Does A Player Win?

Usually, the winner of a poker game is determined during the “Showdown” in which all the players have to show their cards and the player with the best ranking hand wins. A player can also win before reaching showdown by making the last uncalled bet.

Betting Rounds & Dealing

Once the first cards are dealt, players get to act one after the other in the clockwise direction. During their turn, a player can do one of the following:

  • A player may “Check,” as a long as no other player has bet during that round. Checking basically means that the player is passing their turn over to the next without doing anything and a round is deemed complete if all players check.
  • A player may place a “Bet” if a bet has not already been placed by another player.
  • A player may forfeit their cards, i.e. “Fold,” which will mean that they cannot do anything and cannot win during the current hand.
  • A player may “Call” if bets have already been placed during the current round, but the player must also have chips of the same value to match the highest bet.
  • A player may “Raise,” which is somewhat of an alternative to the “Call” since the player places a higher bet than the highest bet that has already been placed during the current round.

During each betting round, a player may either “Fold,” “Call” or “Raise.” A betting round is deemed complete if none of the players makes a bet. The next dealing round begins upon the completion of a betting round, or the hand is considered complete.

Following a betting round, the dealer may also deal additional cards to players, both hidden and visible. These cards can change and have an impact on the ranking of their hands based on the value of the cards they already have.

The maximum bet that players can place depends on the poker game’s “Betting Limit.” There are three types of limits, which are:

  • Fixed Limit: Where only a fixed amount can be bet.
  • No Limit: Which is more than often found in high stake poker games, where there is no limit on the amount of bet that can be placed.
  • Pot Limit: Where a bet placed can only be as high as the size of the pot, i.e. the maximum bet should match the pot size and cannot be higher.

While there are plenty of other rules that poker players should be aware, even those particular to the different variations, but knowing these basic ones can help them get started.