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How to Play Poker (The Basics)

Playing poker is one of the most popular games played in casinos around the world and has been for many years. Dating back to the sixteenth century, poker has come a long way since then but the basic premises have not changed.

Learning how to play poker, while not difficult, can seem somewhat daunting since there are so many different rules, hands, and varieties of games. Taking in some of the basic rules and etiquette that are found in poker can be a great starting point.

If you have never played poker before but are curious about how to play, keep reading below.

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What is Poker?

Poker is the general name of more than one hundred different varieties of card games where the sole purpose is to bluff your way to winnings. As you are given a hand of cards, your job is to not reveal through facial expressions or body language what you are holding.

While in some cases the stakes are small, especially when you are playing at home with a group of friends. However, the game can get intense when it comes to playing in poker rooms and casinos for real stakes.

Many people refer to poker as a game based on luck, however, many professional poker players will tell you that it takes quite a bit of skill as well. This includes not only the ability to know the game but also skills in reading other people.

What are the Basic Poker Rules?

Most people know that the object of the game, no matter which game you play, is to have the strongest hand possible. Even if you do not have a great hand of cards, you also must convince others that you do through bluffing.

Here are some of the most basic rules of the game of poker:

  • Place bets that are focused on the type of hand you have, or want people to believe you have. This is typically done when the play comes around to you.
  • If your hand is no good, or you do not think you can bluff your way through it, you can fold by putting your cards face down and sliding them away from you.
  • Once the action has gone around the table enough times to satisfy everyone, then there is typically a showdown where the remaining players reveal their cards. Whoever has the strongest hand, wins the showdown.
  • If everyone else at the table folds after you have placed a bet or raised someone else’s bet, you still win the hand.

While these may be the most basic rules, others will help you whether you are playing for low stakes or much higher. In most cases, all you have to do is either search the internet for poker strategies or talk to someone who knows the game.

How do You Place a Bet in Poker?

Placing a bet in a poker game is all about what you think you can do with the hand you have or if you believe that you may be able to bluff your way to victory. This typically happens in turns while you go around the table. 

Check out these basic plays that you can do when it is your time to play:

  • Open-whether you are the first one to play or not, poker always begins with someone making the first bet.
  • Check-anytime throughout the game, you can “check” which means you are taking a pass. This is typically done when you want to see how the next play is going to pan out and gives you time to assess your cards.
  • The term call is used when you choose to match the bet that is the highest in the round so far.
  • Raise lets other players know that you want to bump the highest bet up, which makes people believe you have a great hand.
  • The term fold is when you decide that even if you could bluff, you may not be able to win. Folding means that you have decided that the stakes are too high for you to bluff your way through.

Whether you use verbal communication or the many nonverbal signals to indicate what you are doing, learning basic calls and signals can be helpful.

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The Do’s and Don't of Poker Etiquette

As with most games, there are rules and then there are unspoken guidelines that should be followed especially if you are wanting to play often. Showing proper etiquette when you play makes everyone feel more comfortable and helps you to get more invitations to play.

Here are a few things you should know about the do’s and don’t of poker:

  • Wait your turn. Even if you know that you are going to fold, call, or raise a bet, you need to wait until your turn comes back around. This is because announcing any of these when it is someone else’s turn, can be seen as unfair.
  • Don’t offer advice if you are out of the round. If you have folded your hand but others are still playing, it is best to just sit and observe. Offering advice to others while they are playing can not only be annoying but is seen as a form of cheating.
  • Be open and honest with your betting. While you are allowed to bluff about the hand you are holding, make sure you are being upfront about the bets you are placing. It is frowned upon to act shady about how many chips you have left or how many you are betting.

Like most games, there are certain rules and expectations that you should follow if you want to be able to build a reputation for yourself. This means that whether you are playing with family and friends or for higher stakes at various casinos including bitcoin poker, you should adhere to the above suggestions.

At the end of the day, if you want to learn how to play poker, there are many tutorials that you can follow. Learning the basic rules and etiquette of the game can help you to be successful and assist in making you look less like an amateur.

If you are looking for poker games but would rather play online, you should check out Under the casino games tab, you can play a round or two of online bitcoin poker to learn the game before you take it to the next level.

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