Understanding the rules of poker is an essential aspect of the game, and also a major factor in how it is played. I’m going to tell you a little bit about what the rules are, and then show you how to approach them and maximize your success in the game.
The first thing to realize is that there are no hard and fast rules. Poker has many different styles, some play with numbers, others, such as me, have a very strong visual memory. Some players play with luck, others just with skill. These are all individual styles, and what works for one player might not work for another.
In addition, a set structure applies to both hands and tournaments. Here’s a brief explanation of the most important points for each:
Hand Two – This is a standard two-card draw. Usually the dealer deals from left to right and both players must pass. This doesn’t mean that you must always deal to the left. Often, as the cards are dealt, a special move may be required, such as putting the card you want in front of you, moving a hand, or choosing to wait for a flop, turn, or river card. For instance, if you had a flop of A-J-Q-T-K-A, and the dealer had dealt cards to the wrong player, and you were now the last player left, you could choose to pass and play a straight, or alternatively, you could follow the usual procedure and play a straight and a flush.
Pair – Typically, there are three pairs, and this is used as the primary playing method. In a four player game, you can win either by winning a face up straight or by winning a seven or eight (if one or both players have been dealt a pair).
Five Card Draw – Thereare different versions of this, one being called the king’s game. This uses five cards and is played in two rounds.
The first round is dealt the same as a standard four-player game, with the exception that the next card after the previous dealt card is discarded. The next round is dealt the same as a four player game, but the next card is removed in the next round, along with the previous card. In the third round, the cards are dealt again. Each round alternates between the two hands, until one player wins.
Tournament – Tournament play is played as a single elimination tournament, though it is often referred to as a game, since there is no limit to the number of players in the tournament. The basic rule of this type of poker is the same as that of the main game, but sometimes the ‘test’ cards are chosen differently, as in the English game of bridge.
For the first part of the game, the two players who are left will deal from left to right. After they have dealt with their hands, the deck will be reshuffled. In the second round, a ‘limit’ (dealer eliminated) card is drawn from the deck. During the third round, players continue to deal out cards.
And finally, here’s the basic rule for the tournament. The first player will be eliminated. Then, for each round, the remaining players will do the same.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the rules of poker, and you can start playing to your best potential. Good luck!