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Poker rules

Poker is a card game with many variants. This article takes a look at the most important strategy in the different versions. However before playing it is advisable to learn about the variant you are playing.

Basic principle

Poker is played with a deck of 52 cards, without the joker and chips which can be used for betting. A round is composed of different phases; card distribution and betting which takes place alternatively. The aim of the game is to form the best wining combination to win some money. The stake of the game is the pot, contributed by bets from other players. The game is composed of several rounds. It ends when a player wins the chips of the other players; he is then declared the winner.

Card distribution

Depending on the variant of poker played, the number of players varies. However, it needs a minimum of 2 players and a maximum of 10.One of the players is in charge of card distribution. The player to his left plays first. The dialogue takes place clockwise.

Poker hands

Each player tries to have a hand of 5 cards with 5, 7 or 9 depending on the cards available and the variant played. Here are the possible combinations :[list][*]Pair is formed with two cards of the same rank. The individual value of the three cards is not important. Unless it can form three of a kind or four of a kind. also a double pair or a full in the second[/*][*]Three of a kind is three cards of the same rank. The value of the other 2 cards is not important unless you can form four of a kind or a full.[/*][*]Straight: 5 consecutive cards of the same rank. Composed of jack, queen, king, ace, and 2 is not included in the straight combination.[/*][*]Flush formed with 5 cards of the same colour, (diamond, heart, club, spade) if they are in increasing order, you can form a straight flush.[/*][*]Full: 3 cards of the same matching rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. I.e. three of a kind plus a pair.[/*][*]Four of a kind: four cards of the same rank, the value of 5th card is not important.[/*][*]Straight flush: 5 cards in sequence, all of the same suit. The hand is composed of jack, queen, king, ace, but 2 is not included in the hand.[/*][*]Royal flush 5 cards of the same colour and increasing order, the highest card is the ace i.e. ace, king, queen, jack and 10 of the same colour.[/*][/list]

Forced bets

Before receiving their cards, players have to place forced bets. The first is called ante. It is compulsory. Then the blind bet. Small blind is made by the first player and big blind by the second. big blind replays before the small blind. The last forced bet is bring in. only in stud poker by the player who has the lowest face up card.


In a round of poker players are given several options they can call, raise, fold or check. Each player is given an opportunity to state what he wants to do.[list][*]In the first option: is to match a bet. If no opponents call a player's bet or raise, the player wins the pot[/*][*]The second option: is to increase the size of the bet. Depending on the bets, mode limit, pot limit, no limit or half pot limit, the rules concerning re-raise bets are different.[/*][*]The third option: is to discard one’s hand and forfeit interest in the current pot by discarding one's hand face down into the pile of other discards.[/*][*]The fourth option: a player declines to make a bet; this indicates that he does not wish to open, but does wish to keep his cards and retain the right to call or raise later in the same round if an opponent opens.[/*][/list]