Poker was originally played with a French deck called “poque,” from the word pochen, meaning “to brag” or bluff. Poker later evolved into its present form using a standard 52-card English deck. After the Civil War, Poker became enormously popular throughout America and Europe, especially during the 1930s Great Depression. Two to seven players usually play it, but it can be played with as few as two people and as many as ten players. The game’s goal is to achieve the highest ranking combination of five cards that only one player possesses (i.e., a poker hand). Poker has been called the national card game of America, and its play permeates our culture. A royal flush is a hand that contains five cards in sequence from ace to king, but there are many more rankings for poker hands depending on their rank: four of a kind means having four different suits played together as an individual pair; full house occurs when three matching pairs come along with one additional high card played during betting rounds.
Common Poker Actions
The game of Poker is an exciting pastime enjoyed by millions of people every day. This popular card game has many variations that players can select, but the basic rules are relatively simple and easy to learn. We have discussed popular actions here.
In Poker, a check [or bet] is a non-aggressive move where players decide not to bet. A player can only check in turn if there has been no previous action on that betting round (if someone has already bet, raised or called), and only if another player has not previously checked behind him.
In Poker, a Bet is when you place your chips in the middle of the table intending to win. Each player has a chance to either call or raise that amount based on their hand and how they think it will fare against another opponent’s hand.
Whenever a bet is made before the player, he can choose to increase the betting amount. This is called Raising. However, his decision to raise must be made in the same round as when another play has acted before him. The player may only raise to a maximum of four bets after another player has acted.
If you and all of the remaining players (if any) call, then this betting round ends. This means that everyone who called places an equal amount into the pot, and no one will be allowed to bet in the next round. If only one player remains, he automatically wins the current bet. If more than one player remains after calling, there is a showdown. Each remaining player selects their best five-card poker hand from two pocket cards and the five community cards on board for this ultimate challenge of skill!
Once all betting is complete, if the player thinks he will not win (or at least tie) the hand, he can throw his cards away—folding does not cost anything. If everyone has folded except for you, you are committed to playing out your hand with no help from any other players.
Ranking of Hands in Poker
In Poker, there are many combinations of cards that can make a hand. They all have their own rules about what isn’t considered a good hand and how they rank against each other. The most important factor in determining if you have the best hand is the card rankings, also known as ‘ranks.’ From best to worst:
- Five of a Kind
This is the best possible hand you can have, other than a straight flush. This hand beats all others. If two players have a five-of-a-kind, then the player with higher-ranked cards wins!
- Royal Straight Flush
A straight flush is five cards in order but not necessarily suited. An ace may count as either high or low to complete your straight – so an ace, king, queen, jack and ten are also classified as a royal straight flush if they are suited (all clubs or all spades). King-high straight flushes are better than queen-high straight flushes, which are better than jack high etc.
- Four of a Kind
In Poker, four of a kind, are four cards that all rank as 1’s or aces. It can be tough to get this hand, but if it does happen then, players will often showdown and go heads up on who gets the best five-card spread from their original six-card starting stack (two hands). This combination is very powerful and difficult to beat because it is likely that they will be able to get a higher combination than what you can throw down with just one card.
- Full of House
You can make this hand by having three cards with the same value together with two other cards in your hands together with another matching card.
A flush is when all five cards are in your hand and are either of the same suits or made up of four different suits. If two players both have flushes, the person with the highest card wins.
A straight is a hand comprised of five cards, regardless if they are in sequence or not. If two players have straights, the higher card wins, and this particular type can be compared to beating your own. Aces count as high, so K-A-2-3-4 is not straight; it’s three suited cards (three different suits). An ace can be counted as low: Q-K-A, for an ace-king – ace run in clubs.
- Three of a Kind
The third-highest grouping in Poker is often known as trips or a set. The ranking below two pairs and above straight, the three of a kind, ranks high on many players’ lists when it comes to hand rankings for their favorite game!
- Two Pairs
Pairs are combinations of 2 cards with the same rank, such as two queens or two sevens. In a game of pairs, the highest pair wins. In other words, if there are two Xs and you have an XX, then it’s winner take all!
- One Pair
One pair is formed when you get two cards with matching ranks and three cards that don’t match each other but all share at least one rank (the Kickers).
- High Card
The term “high card” is used colloquially to refer to a so-called nothing hand for many people. It’s just as it sounds; you have no pairs in your hand and are therefore playing high. This phrase might also be called no pair or simply ‘nothing.’