Poker is the most popular of all card games and is now extending its reach through online variants as well. Since there are numerous poker variants, there is no single basic strategy that you can apply to all the games. However, the rules of conventional poker are the same for all variants. And, before one learns the rules, it is essential to understand what different poker terms mean.
A hand is the combination of the cards that you are holding. The pot is where the players’ money is accumulated. Each game is played for the money in the pot and while hands are being played, the money also grows. Ante is a blind bet that players place in the pot before the hands are shown. The Rake is the portion of the pot that is claimed by the house as a source of revenue. The winner of a game is decided at the Showdown. This is when all the betting has been done.
There are four basic betting rules in poker – call, fold, raise or check. When a player places a bet equal to the highest wager made by the previous player, the move is known as ‘call’. A player does this to stay in the game. A Fold occurs when a player dumps his cards and forgoes the chance of winning the pot. In doing so, the previous bets made by the player are also forfeited. Raise is a bet equal to the highest bet made by the previous player plus an additional amount. The additional amount is the ‘raised’ bet and the remaining players can call, fold, or raise again. Check occurs when a player doesn’t place a bet, but passes his move.
Cards are ranked based on their value, starting from 2s to Aces. The different types of hands that can be made include Pairs, Two Pairs, 3 of a kind, Straight, Flush, Full House, 4 of a kind, Straight Flush and Royal Flush, in the order of increasing value.