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Here's Your Most Comprehensive Poker Playing Guide Yet

Poker is a timeless classic that is the favourite of many gamblers, whether they’re veteran players or even beginners who are just setting foot into this wide, wide world of online casinos. And along with baccarat, blackjack, Sic Bo, craps, roulette, and others, the all-time popular card game is certainly a mainstay in many casinos — in both land-based casinos and in the digital realm of the internet. 
Though, unlike the aforementioned baccarat and blackjack, poker is a game that requires a combination of luck, skill, and strategy to succeed in the game.
From its heyday as one of the OG card games, the poker scene has steadily evolved and transformed over the years. Today, plenty of variations of pokers exist in all forms such as Texas Hold’em, Omaha poker, stud poker, and more.
In our article, we’ll focus on just the basics, which is the simplest form of poker playing that you can find in any casino.

What You Need To Play Poker

Here’s a tip for you: Poker is one of the easiest card games to get started. You only need a pack of cards to play. A standard 52-card pack is the de facto choice, but depending on the poker variation, the joker card could also be played. 
Like any other standard card pack, the cards in poker are ranked (in value) from high to low as follows:
Ace (A), King (K), Queen (Q), Jack (J), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace (A)
You’ll also notice that the ace cards appear twice in this ranking as it is a card that can be considered either a high- or low-value card. Though, most players would typically utilise the ace as a high-ranking card. Along with that, do expect the usual four-card suits in the game such as spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. The card suits are all equal in ranking in poker.
Other variations of the game could include wild cards that can be utilised to substitute any suit and rank. And the joker could also be sometimes used as a wild card. It all depends on the specific poker variation that you are playing.

The Value Is In The Hand

Before you even begin to try and play a round of poker, it is vital for you to understand the various combinations of cards that make up a poker hand. Each hand is valued differently and will determine whether or not you succeed in the game.
First, a basic poker hand must contain five cards where the highest valued hand wins that particular round. The combinations of poker hands ranked from highest to lowest are as follows:
  • Royal Flush: The very best hand that you can have in poker is the royal flush. This hand is formed by a straight flush in the same suit that runs from 10 to the ace (10, J, Q, K, and A). And with the average odds of filling this hand being 1 in 650,000 deals, the royal flush is a rare sight to behold.
  • Straight Flush: As for the highest natural hand in poker, look no further than the straight flush. This card combination consists of five cards of the same suit in a sequence. 6 clubs, 7 clubs, 8 clubs, 9 clubs, 10 clubs and 2 hearts, 3 hearts, 4 hearts, 5 hearts, and 6 hearts are just two examples of a straight flush. Excluding the royal flush, the straight flush is the highest possible hand in a basic game of poker.
  • Four-Of-A-Kind: Next up, we have the four-of-a-kind combination which is simply filling your hand with four cards of the same rank. For instance, four Ks of different suits or 4 different 10s in a hand. The fifth card is ignored and if there is more than one four-of-a-kind hand on the field, the hand with the higher-ranked cards wins e.g. four Ks beats four Qs.
  • Full House: Sitting below the four-of-a-kind is a colourful hand that comprises a three-of-a-kind as well as a pair. For example, three Qs and two As or three As and two 5s are some combinations that make up a full house. In case of a tie, the hand with the highest-ranking three-of-a-kind wins.
  • Flush: A flush is when all five cards come from the same suit, though it doesn’t have to be in sequence e.g. a hand containing K, J, 9, 2, and A of hearts is considered a flush. If there are two or more flush hands on the table, the player with the highest-ranked card in that suit wins. 
  • Straight: This combination follows a five-card sequence (ignoring the type of suit) such as 6 spades, 7 clubs, 8 spades, 9 hearts, and 10 diamonds or ace of clubs, 2 diamonds, 3 hearts, 4 spades, 5 spades, and 6 clubs. If there are two straights, the player with the higher card wins.
  • Three-Of-A-Kind: Remember the four-of-a-kind? A three-of-a-kind combination is the same except for its three cards instead of four. The remaining two cards can be any cards of a different rank. Again, the highest three-of-a-kind wins if there’s a tie.
  • Two Pairs: As its name implies, two pairs comprise two separate pairs of cards that have the same value but different ranks. The fifth card can then be an unrelated card. A hand with two 4s, two 10s, and an ace is an example of two pairs. As usual, when more than one player has two pairs the player with the highest-ranking pair wins.
  • One Pair: Once you’ve started playing poker for a while, you’ll notice that getting a pair is common. This hand features a single pair along with three different cards. The card ranking rule applies here as well.
  • No Pair/High Card: If there are no combinations that can be made by a single player, then the winning hand will go to the hand containing the highest-valued single card. And if more than one player has the same high-ranked card, then the second-highest valued card will be used to break the tie, followed by the third-highest, and so and so forth.
Additionally, if the joker/wilds are in play in the variation of poker that you’re playing, you may have the potential to get one of the rarest hands in all of poker — a five-of-a-kind. This combination consists of four cards that are equal in rank plus a wild (joker) card. Alternatively and as an example, two aces and three wild cards are also considered a five-of-a-kind hand.

Let’s Play Poker

Once you’ve gotten to know each of the hands in poker, it’s time to play! Generally, there are two types of basic poker — stud and draw poker. A round of poker begins after all the cards have been dealt to the players. And starting from the left of the dealer, the player has four actions that they may decide to do:
  • Raise: A player can raise the stakes if they think their hand is already good enough or if they’re trying to bluff to make other players think they have a strong hand. The rest of the table will have to follow suit and raise their bets if they wish to continue playing.
  • Fold: A player can fold if they think that their hand is not good enough. This would mean that they lose their bets for the round but it can also ensure that they do not lose any more bets as the round progresses.
  • Call: Once someone raises, each player will have to make the decision on whether or not to make the call i.e. to match the stakes. If they don’t wish to raise the stakes again they can then give in and fold. Calling means the player who initiated this action will need to raise their bets to equal the amount wagered by the player who raised.
  • Check: If none of the players has raised, a player may use the check option to stand or pass on their chance to place a bet.
The round ends once there is only one player with the strongest hand remaining and the next round can then begin. This is the basis of poker games and most other variations of poker will still follow a similar hierarchy of hands where the stronger hand will always win over the lesser hands.
Once you’re done getting up to speed on the rules of playing poker, it’s time to put your theory to the test! One of the best ways to learn is by playing and if you sign up with Play88 today, you’ll stand to gain a generous welcome bonus of up to MYR 2,000 for simply playing! If you’re interested in registering for a new account, you can sign up here.