Poker Basics – Learn Poker Rules Fast
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The very best thing about playing online poker is that there are millions of other amateurs out there that are still trying to get a solid grasp for the game. While many websites would recommend starting at play money tables to master the basics, the truth of the matter is that there is little to pick up in those types of online poker tables except for bad habits. When there is no incentive to fold or adjust your betting style for fear of personal loss, players end up seeing way too many hands and it creates a ripple effect of sloppy play and poor decisions.
For example, let’s say that you start the hand with pocket aces, go all-in, and five other clueless players naturally call because that’s what people do at play money tables. In a one-on-one type scenario you would be an overwhelming favorite to win the hand, but because there is so much opposition the odds of any player making two pair suddenly become a heck of a lot better. At a real money table, pocket aces rarely lose; but when free chips are involved it’s just another chance hand that may or may not win. For this reason alone, rule number one is to avoid play money tables like the plague.
Now that we knocked that out of the way, let’s take a look at some actual rules for online poker tables. The most popular game is Texas Hold ‘Em, which starts with two personal cards (face down) and eventually leads to five community cards (face up). Players bet the first time right after the hole cards are dealt, again after the flop (when the first three up cards are revealed), then twice more after the turn (the 4th up card) and the river (the final up card). The object of the game is to make the best five card hand out of the seven available cards, or a player may also win by forcing each of his opponents to fold. When two or more players remain in the hand after the bets on the final card, the winner is determined by using the standard Poker Hand Ranking that applies to most poker games. Seven card stud has the exact same betting format except that the final card is face down for each player, giving a total of three down cards.
There are essentially four moves available to every player at the table. If the person does not want to place a wager, they can “check” to indicate that they are not betting. A check can only be made if no other player at the table has already placed a wager during that round, and once someone bets all “checked” hands are forced to “call” or “fold.” A call simply means to match the wager that was placed by an opponent, and a fold is surrendering the hand completely. The fourth betting type is called a “raise,” which is ultimately what makes online poker exciting.
A raise is when any bet is increased from the minimum limit to a higher amount. Different types of tables have varied rules when it comes to raising; on a “pot limit” table, for example, a raise can not be more than what is currently inside the total betting pool. A “fixed limit” table has pre-determined raises that are usually in small increments (often double the initial bet, and a maximum of three raises per round), and at a “no limit” table there is absolutely no maximum on the amount that can be wagered at any time.
Now that you’re properly equipped with the poker basics, go find a table and have some fun. Remember; there is a whole lot more to playing online poker and a sound betting strategy is usually what separates the winners from the losers, so be sure to check out our other pages for additional online poker advice that comes straight from the pros!