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How to play Poker: Official Game Rules and Instructions

Poker is a popular game and if you are new to this game and want to learn how to play here's a complete guide that will help you.


What is Poker?

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Poker is a game that people play with a deck of 52 cards. Poker is a gambling game that involves some luck, but also some skill. In poker, players make bets against each other depending on the value of their poker hand. Bets are usually made with plastic or ceramic discs called chips. Bets may also be made with real money, but chips are more often used because they are easier to handle and count. At the end of the game, players either swap their chips for money, or the chips are counted to determine the order of winners. There are many different kinds of poker. In draw poker, each player is dealt five cards. A player can decide to throw away a number of these cards and then take new cards to replace them.


The history of poker is a matter of some debate. The name of the game likely descended from the French poque, which descended from the German pochen, but it is not clear whether the origins of poker itself lie with the games bearing those names. It closely resembles the Persian game of as nas, and may have been taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero and the French brelan. The English game brag (earlier bragg) clearly descended from brelan and incorporated bluffing (though the concept was known in other games by that time). It is quite possible that all of these earlier games influenced the development of poker as it exists now.


There are 13 ranks (high to low – Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2) in 4 suits (Clubs ♣, Diamonds ♦, Spades ♠, Hearts ♥) in a standard deck of 52 cards. All suits are equal in value that means Ace of ♣ is equal to Ace of ♥ diamonds.

Poker variations:

  • Texas hold’em
  • Omaha hold’em
  • Five card draw
  • Five card stud
  • Seven card stud

List of poker hands:

In poker, players form sets of five playing cards, called hands, according to the rules of the game. Each hand has a rank, which is compared against the ranks of other hands participating in the showdown to decide who wins the pot. In high games, like Texas hold ’em and seven-card stud, the highest-ranking hands win. In low games, like razz, the lowest-ranking hands win. In high-low split games, both the highest-ranking and lowest-ranking hands win, though different rules are used to rank the high and low hands.

  • Five of a kind

Five of a kind is a hand that contains five cards of one rank. It ranks above a straight flush but is only possible when using one or more wild cards, as there are only four cards of each rank in the deck

  • Straight flush

A straight flush is a hand that contains five cards of sequential rank, all of the same suit. Any sequence all the same suit, for instance, 9-8-7-6-5.

  • Four of a kind

Four of a kind, also known as quads, is a hand that contains four cards of one rank and one card of another rank. Four cards that are the same value, for instance, A-A-A-A

  • Full house

A full house, also known as a full boat or a boat, is a hand that contains three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. For example, King of Spades, King of Diamond, King of Hearts, 7 of Clubs, and a 7 of Hearts.

  • Flush

A flush is a hand that contains five cards all of the same suit, not all of the sequential rank.  For example, a Queen, 2, 3, 4, 5 of Diamonds.

  • Straight

A straight is a hand that contains five cards of sequential rank, not all of the same suit. For example, 7 of Diamonds, 8 of Hearts, 9 of Diamonds, 10 of Spades, and J of Clubs.

  • Three of a kind

Three of a kind, also known as trips or a set, is a hand that contains three cards of one rank and two cards of two other ranks. For example, an 8 of Hearts, and 8 of Diamonds, an 8 of Spades, a 5 of Hearts, and a 4 of Diamonds.

  • Two pair

Two pair is a hand that contains two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one card of a third rank.  For example, a 3 of Hearts and a 3 of Diamonds; and a 5 of spades and a 5 of hearts. The fifth card can be of any rank from any suit.

  • One pair

One pair, or simply a pair, is a hand that contains two cards of one rank and three cards of three other ranks. For example, a 9 of clubs, a 9 of Diamonds, a 5 of Diamonds, a 3 of Hearts, and an 8 of Hearts.

  • High card

High card, also known as no pair or simply nothing, is a hand that does not fall into any other category, For example, a 5 of Diamond, a King of Spades, a 7 of Hearts, an Ace of Clubs, and a Queen of Diamonds.

How to play Poker?

Here’s how to play the world’s current most popular type of poker, Texas Holdem.

  • The dealer deals each player two cards
  • The small blind is placed, followed by the big blind.
  • The first round of betting ensues, players bet according to confidence in their hand
  • The dealer deals three ‘community cards’ face up.
  • The second round of betting begins
  • Dealer deals the fourth community card, also known as the turn
  • The third round of betting begins
  • The dealer deals the fifth community card, also known as the river
  • The final round of betting ensues.
  • If two or more players still haven’t folded, all remaining players show their cards.
  • The winner is the one with the best hand according to the poker hand rankings.

How to bet in poker?

Betting in poker is all about having the confidence that you’ll build a winning hand, already have one, or haven’t – but are willing to try a bluff! You can usually do one of the following things:

  • Check- until the first bet is made that round, you have the option to ‘check’. This means you pass up the chance to bet until the action is back on you.
  • Open- this is the first bet made during the round, and each subsequent action is made in response to the opening bet.
  • Fold- you can choose to fold your hand if staying in seems too steep, though you’ll lose anything you’ve already put into the pot.
  • Call- you can choose to match the highest bet made at the table so far.
  • Raise- you can increase the previous high bet. A ‘check-raise’ is when the same player checks and then raise around. Raising a raise, meanwhile, is known as a ‘re-raise’.

ALSO READ: How To Play UNO: Tips And Official Game Card Rules

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