Whether you’re a new player to poker, or a seasoned pro, it’s important to know the basics of the game. Here’s a brief primer.
Each hand has five cards, ranked from Ace to King. The highest hand wins the pot. The next highest hand wins the pot if there are ties. Ties occur when two or more people have the same rank, or the same card. Ties are broken by a high card. In addition, the highest card wins if a player’s hand has no pairs.
When all cards have been dealt, the first betting round is complete. Each player bets in clockwise order. The pot is the aggregate of all the bets made by all the players in a single deal. After the flop, the second betting round is completed. When the second round of betting is complete, two dealers remain.
In some games, there are additional cards, called wild cards, that can be used to take any suit. A joker is a card that counts as the fifth card in certain special hands. All four deuces are wild cards.
There are four suits in poker: hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs. The best hand is a straight flush. A straight flush is five cards in a single suit. If two or more people have the same suit, the highest card will win the pot. A straight flush is considered a natural hand. However, if a player makes a straight flush with an ace, it will not wrap around to a straight flush with a two, three, four, or five. The highest straight flush is called the Royal Flush.
A straight can be broken by a high card, when no one has a pair. A high card breaks ties, when a hand has two or more people tied for the highest card. A high card can also break ties when multiple people have the same rank, or the same type of card. If two or more people have the same rank, and a high card breaks ties, the highest hand wins the pot.
Another common type of poker hand is the five-card draw. The five cards are dealt to the draw player, and they may discard up to three of them. The draw player then reveals his or her hands in a showdown. If the last card is a wild card, the draw player may discard up to four cards. If the last card is not a wild card, the draw player is allowed to discard one card.
Another type of poker hand is a Full House. A Full House is a hand made from two cards of a single suit and a third card of another suit. When a player makes a Full House, they win the pot. When two cards are a pair without a third card, they are classified as a full house.
A pair of kings isn’t a bad hand off the deal, but it isn’t great. If the next person has a pair of kings, the draw player is bluffing and can win if he or she bets a third time with a better hand.