How To Play Poker 101 | Free Beginners Ultimate Cheat Sheet

Learn how to play poker with the ultimate 101 poker cheat sheet for beginners. Learn to play Texas Holdem, Ohama, poker hands ranked, what is tilt poker, and more.

Poker is the most popular of all online casino games. It can also be very intimidating.

Skill, more than luck, is what determines who wins a poker hand.

Now, there are many ways for you to improve your skills with the help of free online poker sites.

You can first take on low-stakes games, then move to play live, higher-stakes tournaments for dummy cash.

And once you’re prepared, you can advance to play for real money.

Learn everything about how to bet on sports with this easy guide.

How To Play Poker: The Object Of The Game

Learning how to play poker starts with the object of the game. As a player, what you want is to win the poker chips either from other players or from the house.

And you can win poker games either by getting the best possible hand or by bluffing your play and getting the others to drop out.

Also, your chances of defeating other players will depend on your skill level, which means constant improvement.

Poker Hands Ranked

How To Play Poker: History of Poker

Before learning how to play poker, let’s check out a brief history of the game. The origins of poker are always a matter of debate and speculation.

But out of those, the most popular one is the one related to Jonathan H. Green, who wrote about “the cheating game” which was a popular cards game played in the Mississippi Riverboats.

And even with that name, the cheating game was perceived by people at the time as being an even more honest game than the three-card game known as Monte, which most players recognized as a hustle.

When it comes to the actual name, Poker may come from the French word “poque” but there are other theories. Other people argue that the word comes from the German card game called pochspiel, and others believe is just a variation of poke, which is a slang term that card sharks use when they describe the bankroll for an amateur player.

Going back to the Mississippi game that Green observed, this one eventually evolved to include 32 cards and later on a full 52-card deck.

The game spread out throughout the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers via steamboat, then via railroad to the east and west, and from there by wagon train.

Later on, variations of Poker including draw and stud became very popular during the civil war, and around the the1870s, the joker was included as a wild card.

How To Play Poker: Luck versus Skill

Learning how to play poker it’s also about understanding the difference between luck and skill.

As the game of poker grew popular, it also became an image or a symbol of hustlers and cheaters, and for that reason, a lot of anti-gambling laws were created to prohibit wagering with cards.

After some debate, the California attorney general declared stud poker illegal, while it allowed draw poker to be played because it was considered a game of skill, and therefore a game that was not subject to anti-gambling laws.

This is how to draw poker evolved into many different variations, allowing it to go from what was known as the cheating game into a great acceptable pastime where skilled players were rewarded for their knowledge.

Today, poker is the most popular cards game in the United States and it’s also considered the most popular game of skill even above bookmaking.

There are all kinds of tools to help you learn how to play poker. This includes computer games, low-stakes online games, professional online lessons, and even TV shows.

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How To Play Poker: Poker Hands Ranked

There are a few variations of Poker where the worst hand is the winner, but in most cases, the best hand actually wins. In all poker versions except three-card poker, the final hand for a player consists of five cards. From the lowest hand to the highest these are all the poker hands ranked:

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: High Card

For a hand to be considered a high card, there should be no pairs, and all five cards must be of different suits. If there are no good hands, the player that has the highest card wins.

If two players have the same high card, for example, two players have queen high, then the winner will be determined by the next highest card. And if the next two cards are also identical then the third-highest card wins it all, and so on.

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Two Pair

This is a hand that consists of two cards that have the same face value plus other two cards of the same face value, and a single card.

If there are two players with the same pair, it will be the second pair that determines who the winner is. If the two pairs are the same then the single card decides who wins.


How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Pair

A pair is just two cards of the very same denomination. If there are two players with the same pair, the winner for that particular hand will be determined by the highest card among the three non-pair cards and this is called the kicker.

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Three of A Kind

These are three cards that have the same face value plus two cards that are mismatched. Unless you’re playing a poker game that allows for wild cards, is really impossible to come up with a tie when you have a tree of a kind.

And the reason is that there are only four cards of any given value in a deck. When there is a tie in a game that includes wild cards it will be the highest nonmatching card that will determine who wins.

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Straight

This is when you get five cards of mixed suits which are consecutively numbered. When you get a straight that includes an ace, this card can be a high or low card.

When there are two players that came up with a straight hand, the sequence that includes the highest card will be the winner.

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Flush

A flush is when you get five cards that are of the same suit but not in numerical numbers. When there are two players with a flush the highest value card will determine who wins.

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Full House

You get a full house when you get a hand that includes three of a kind and a pair. When there is a tie, the winner is determined first by the value of the tree of a kind and then by the value of the pair.

Here’s an example: if there is one player that has three sixes and two fours and there is another bettor with three fives and two threes then the player with the sixes is the winner.

If this is a game that includes wild cards and both players have sixes the bettor with the pair of fours wins.

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Four of A Kind

This is when you get a hand that includes four cards of the same face value plus a single card. When there are two players showing four of a kind the player that wins is the one with the highest face value of the matching cards.

And just like with the three-of-a-kind variety, ties are actually not possible, that is unless you’re playing a game that includes wild cards, and then the kicker becomes the tiebreaker.

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Straight Flush

You get a straight flush when you get five consecutively numbered cards that also happened to be of the same suit, with the highest card being a king or lower than that. And just like with a straight the sequence that has the highest card is the one that breaks the tie.

Royal Flush

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Royal Flush

This is the top hand in poker and it consists of five high cards: 10, J, Q, K, A, and all must be of the same suit. If there is a tie there is no tiebreaker.

Five of A Kind

How To Play Poker / Poker Hands Ranked: Five of A Kind

This is when you get four cards that are of the same rank and also a wild card, and this is the highest poker hand in a wild-card game.

When there are two players with five of a kind, the winner will be determined by the highest face value of the matching cards.

How To Play Poker: A Full Guide

Now it’s time for our full guide on How To Play Poker!

To play online poker and win, you need to have a great deal of knowledge related to the game’s rules and strategies.

If you manage to become a disciplined bettor, soon you’ll be able to overpower weak players.

What really matters is to be able to identify the value of your hand, so that you can decide if you should stay in or fold.

How To Play Poker: General Rules for Betting

Now in our guide on How To Play Poker, let’s check out the general rules of the game.

In the majority of online poker versions, you need to place an ante or blind bet, and the same goes for everybody at the table.

The action moves to your left, and the amount of your ante wager will depend on the particular table limits.

Some online poker games require a forced bring-in, and that means that you need to place a bet to start the action.

In a seven-card stud hand, the bettor that carries the lowest up-card is forced to make the bring-in play to get things rolling.

Other games, such as Texas Holdem and Omaha, include blind bets, and these are similar to the bring-in concept.

When you get your turn at the table, you have different options:

  • Check: Keep playing the current round without betting.
  • Call: When the previous bettor makes a bet, you need to decide if you want to match it, and this is known as a call.
  • Raise: It’s said that you raise when you increase the bet of the previous bettor.
  • Fold: You fold when you decide that you no longer want to be in the current round of play, and this allows you to leave, but lose whatever poker chips you had wagered during the round you folded at.

Now, online poker rooms work with table stakes, and that means that you can wager only the cash you currently have on the table.

When you lose all of your poker chips, and you’re in the middle of a poker hand, you must wait for such a hand to be over in order to get new chips.

If you’re totally new to poker, it’s probably a great idea if you start with low-limit poker, even if you’re playing for free.

Use those low-stakes games to improve your skills realistically. Once you’ve built up some experience, you can advance to play higher-stakes poker games.

How To Play Poker: General Poker Odds

How To Play Poker: When it comes to poker odds, you should focus on two types: card odds and pot odds.

  • Pot Odds: This is the ratio between the cash you need to add and the value of the pot. If $500 is what the pot is worth, and you’re requested to add $5 to play, then the pot odds are 100 to 1. Let’s say that instead of $5, you have to add $50, then the pot odds turn to 10 to 1.
  • Card Odds: This describes the chances that you’ll improve your hand with a draw or during the next dealing round. Let’s say that you are handed a pair within the first 3 cards you’re dealt. Then the card odds to improve this particular poker hand goes from 2.5 to 1 (approximately) to a little above 3 to 1. It all depends on what the other bettors are showing.

Let’s say that you’re one card away from a flush, then, in poker odds, we can say that you have 1 in 5 chances of obtaining the poker card you need.

Or, let’s say you’re dealt a pair of 9s and 10s, with no other 9s or 10s showing.

The pot on the table is $100, and the right to keep playing is $10. The odds to improve your hand are 2.5:1, and the pot odds are 10:1.

In such a case, it’s probably a good idea to continue to play, and that’s because you count with positive pot odds, and your card odds are also good.

In either case, your betting strategy will always be influenced by card odds and pot odds.

But, in the case of the pot being lower, like $20, and you must add $5, then, the odds go down to 4 to 1, and suddenly the card odds aren’t as great in comparison.

There can be a lot of card odds variation, all depending on the specific poker game, how many participant bettors, and a few extra factors.

How To Play Poker Vs Other Players

Different online poker has been created. The most popular of these card casino games are the ones that pit bettors versus bettors, not versus the house.

In these variations, the chances of a bettor winning will depend on your skill level, as well the skill level of those playing against you, and of course, the cards themselves.

This is what you need to know to learn how to play poker versus other players successfully.

How To Play Poker: Texas Holdem

How To Play Poker: It’s time to learn Texas Holdem.

If you play the World Series of Poker online, then you know pro players just love Texas Holdem.

Just like with a seven-card stud, this is a game that includes a total of 7 poker cards.

And, out of those seven, bettors must create the best possible 5-card poker hand. Texas Holdem includes 4 rounds of wagering.

Bettors can build hands from the first two poker cards they get (face-down), and 5 other community cards, which are dealt face-up.

Texas Holdem Basic Rules

Now in this how to play poker full guide, let’s check out the rules for Texas Holdem.

The bettor located to the left of the dealer is the one that pays the designated small forced blind wager), and the player to his left pays the big blind.

The dealer then deals 2 cards to each bettor, and that allows for the first round of betting to start.

Wagering starts to the left of the bettor who paid the big blind. Bettors may call, raise, or fold.

Once the first round of wagering is over, the dealer will burn or discard the very top poker card on the deck.

And then, he will deal with the first 3 community cards, known as “the flop.”

Bettors will then proceed with the 2nd round of wagers.

The 4th poker card, face-up, and located in the middle of the table is known as “the turn,” and it’s followed by another round of wagering.

The 5th community card is known as “the river,” and the final round of wagering continues after this card is dealt.

Each bettor will try to make the best hand out of the two cards he originally got, plus the five community cards.

When it comes to limiting Texas Holdem poker, the wager amount is set. In the first 2 rounds of wagering, bettors must decide if they want to raise, and if so, they must do so in increments of the lower betting amount.

Let’s say in a $2–$4 poker game, wagers made during the first 2 rounds continue in increments of $2.

During the 3rd and 4th rounds of wagering, bets and raises must be an increment of the larger wager amount ($4 in this particular example).

When it comes to no-limit Holdem poker, typical in tourneys, bettors may wager as much or as little as they want to when their turn comes.

How To Play Poker: Bet Texas Holdem

Now in our how to play poker guide, it’s time to learn about Texans Holdem.

When it comes to Texas Holdem poker wagering strategies, these are similar to those for 7-card stud, but the decisions you make are focused on your first two cards.

If you don’t count with 2 high-value cards (Q’s or better) or a pair, you should fold and wait for the next hand.

Also, don’t forget to study the other bettors at the table and watch their moves.

The best hand in Texas Holdem poker is a pair of A’s, K’s, Q’s, or J’s, but, even if you get one of these high-value pairs with your first two cards, don’t forget that community cards are paramount to win.

If you begin the play with a high-value pair, stay in and cover the wagers at least until the 4th up-card is handed to you.

With A’s or K’s, it’s advisable to continue to play the entire hand, regardless of what the up-cards show.

When you get a pair of Qs or Js, play until the 4th up-card is handed to you, and fold if your current poker hand doesn’t get any better by then.

You can apply the very same strategy for high-value cards and lower-value pairs, either of different or the same suits.

If you hold any combination of A’s, K’s, or Q’s, cover all wagers until the 4th upcard. If your hand hasn’t improved, fold.

How To Play Poker: Omaha

How To Play Poker: Now let’s see how to play Omaha Poker.

In Omaha poker, also known as “Omaha high,” bettors receive a total of 4 down cards and they must choose 2, which they will play along with 3 community cards.

Just before the poker cards are handed to each player, the 2 bettors to the left of the dealer post wager are known as “the big blind” and “the small blind” respectively.

The small blind wager, which is posted by the bettor located to the left of the dealer, is half of the lower wager limit.

The bettor located to the left of the small blind bettor posts the big blind, and this is equal to the lower bet limit for the table.

After each bettor has collected 4 down cards, the first round of wagering begins with the bettor to the left of the big blind.

In this particular round, bettors have the option to check, fold, call, or raise. After the first wagering round, 3 face-up extra cards are dealt in the center of the table, known as “the flop.”

Then the 2nd round of wagering continues. From this round on, the wagering action starts with the bettor to the left of the dealer’s button and continues around the table, clockwise.

After the 2nd round of wagering is done, a 4th community card, known as “fourth street” or “the turn,” is dealt, followed by the 3rd wagering round.

The wager size is doubled during Omaha’s 3rd round of betting.

Let’s say a $3–$6 Omaha poker table, all wagers and raises during the first two rounds would be $3; in the 3rd and 4th rounds, all wagers and raises are $6.

After the 3rd round of wagering is finished, the last community card, called “the river” or“fifth street,” is dealt, and bettors make their final wagering rounds they finally show each their poker hands.

In “Omaha 8 or better” the high and low poker hands divide the pot.

In this variation, the high hand wins, but the low hand must include cards between A’s and eight, and no pairs. (If there is no low hand that qualifies, the high hand gets the full pot.)

As in regular Omaha, you must use two of your hole cards and three of the five community cards to build your hand.

However, you can use one set of cards to make a high hand and another set to make a low hand; when this happens, you “scoop” the entire pot.

On the low side, the victory goes to the bettor with the lowest high poker card. Let’s say a bettor has 2-4- 5-6-7, then this hand will beat a bettor with a 2-4-5-6-8 hand.

The best low hand is A-2-3-4-5, also known as “the wheel” or “a bicycle.”

“Flushes and straights don’t count against you for a low hand.

If 2 bettors include the very same high card, the next highest card determines who wins.

If all poker cards include the same numeric value, the 2 players split the low half of the pot.

How To Play Poker: Bet Omaha Poker

Your bad Omaha poker cards should come before the flop is dealt and before the 3rd wagering round, when the wagering size is doubled.

Just like with Texas Holdem and 7-card stud, if you count with a pair of A’s or better, you should cover all wagers until the 3rd wagering round.

If your hand doesn’t get any better by the 3 community cards, you should fold.

Most Omaha poker hands require a straight or better for a victory at the table; So, don’t waste your valuable bankroll if you don’t count with the right poker cards.

How To Play Poker: Seven-Card Stud

Next in our How To Play Poker guide, learning seven-card stud.

Learning how to play poker with a seven-card stud is perfect for beginners due to its easy rules and the wagering sequence allows for healthy pots to be built regularly, which means big potential earnings.

At this poker variation, a bettor must obtain the best possible 5-card hand out of 7 total cards.

Each of the participant players gets 2 cards, face-down, and a card face-up.

A play begins with the bettor holding the lowest card, and the action then moves to the left of that bettor.

At this point, a player can increase his wager or fold from the play.

After the wagers for the first round have been made, each bettor gets a new poker card, face-up.

For the next wagering round, the bettor with the highest hand starts the play, from the left of that player.

This is a simple process that’s repeated until each bettor counts with 4 up-cards.

For the last round, known as “the showdown round,” each bettor gets a 7th card, face-down.

When all wagers have been made, the dealer calls for bettors who are still active in the play to show their current hand, and the highest poker hand is the winner.

When raising house rules states that your wager should be at least the same as a previous wager or raise.

For example, if the bettor to your right has raised $6, you can call the $6 or raise $7, $8, or $9, but you can’t raise another $5.

How To Play Poker: Bet Seven-Card Stud

Usually, the outcome of a 7-card stud poker play is decided by the first 3 cards you’re given.

A wise bettor will base his wagering strategy on the value of those first three poker cards.

If you don’t get anything good there, it’s better to fold.

How To Play Seven-Stud Poker: Three-of-A-Kind

If you get lucky during your first hand and get three-of-a-kind, your goal here is to allow the pot to grow, preventing other bettors from getting scared and folding.

When you get this hand, you should remember that one of your cards is visible to the other players.

So, if you get the 4th card in your current sequence, you’ll be showing a pair to the other bettors, and that will encourage a few of them to fold.

And this is particularly true if you happen to be wagering aggressively. In order to get the table to follow your rules, which is to grow the more some more, you must cover the wagers of every single round, but never raise, until you get your 6th card.

How To Play Seven-Stud Poker: Pairs And High Cards

A pair of A’s, K’s, Q’s, or J’s allows you to start the hand with the right foot. Now, if you get one of your pairs showing, the value of the hand is significantly reduced.

And that’s because other bettors will assume you count with the other pair. If you don’t manage to obtain a good hand by the 5th card you’re dealt, you should fold.

When you’re dealt a low pair (tens or lower), 3 high cards (J, Q, K, or A), or 3 poker cards to a straight, what’s recommended is to stay in the play until you get your 4th poker card.

If, by your fourth card you haven’t obtained a card that can help you improve your current hand, the best option is to fold.

How To Play Seven-Stud Poker: Potential Straight Flush

When you get the first 3 poker cards of a straight flush, you’re in a good position for at least the next two wagering rounds.

There are different ways of improving this hand type: you can finish the straight flush, obtain a straight (including cards of different suits that are consecutively numbered), or obtain a flush (5 cards of the same suit that are non-consecutive).

A lot of bettors advise wagering or even raising when you find yourself in this situation during the first round of play.

And, if by the 5th card your get there are no good options, you should fold.

How To Play Seven-Stud Poker: Potential Flush

When you hold 3 poker cards to a flush (same-suit cards), poker odds state that you can obtain a flush with 1 out of every 6 hands. If this is the case, you can continue to play for two more rounds of cards.

If, by the 5th card you haven’t obtained another poker card in your suit, you should fold.

How To Play Poker: Draw Poker

Now in our How To Play Poker guide, let’s learn to draw poker.

Draw poker is the seed from which the rest of poker variations have grown.

Although still popular among friends, it has been pushed aside by online casinos to favor more attractive games such as Texas Holdem and Omaha.

So, if you’re still not ready for Texas Holdem and Omaha, give draw poker a try.

The name is related to the fact that bettors are able to replace poker cards after the deal.

There are a few variations that allow players to draw up to 3 cards, and you can also draw 4 in others as long you keep an ace as your remaining original card.

Draw Poker Basic Rules

Now in this how to play poker, guide, let’s study the rules for draw poker.

Each bettor must place an ante bet before the deal for the right to participate in a given hand.

After the ante wager has been posted, each bettor gets 5 cards, face-down, and that’s how the first round of play starts.

Wagering begins with the bettor on the dealer’s left and continues to the left around the table.

When the first round begins, the first bettor can pass or check, giving the next bettor the right to continue.

If the second bettor also passes, then it’s the right of the third bettor to play, and so on.

When a player finally opens with a poker bet, the next bettor must decide if he wants to call to continue to play, raise the play, or fold.

If no one chooses to open the play during the first round, then all the bets remain in the pot for the second round, a new ante is added, and the round is open.

Once the first cards are dealt, bettors must choose if they want to get replacement cards.

Discards will remain face-down, and the second round of wagering continues.

Once a wager has been made, bettors need to choose if they want to fold, call, or raise.

If, after the second round there’s only one active bettor, then that person wins the pot.

If, after the end of the second wagering recount 2 or if more bettors are still playing, they will go into a “showdown.”

This means that each bettor must lay his cards face-up on the table, and the best of the 2 hands wins.

Variations in Draw Poker

There are a few draw poker variations that come with their own changes to the rules.

One of these is known as “jackpots,” which require you to count with a pair of jacks or better for the play to start.

Another version is known as “lowball,” and in this variation, it won’t be the highest, but the lowest hand that gets the victory. It’s important to notice that in lowball, the ace will always count as a low card.

How To Play Poker: Bet Draw Poker

Generally, if you have no promising poker cards after you get your first five, you’ll probably still get nothing good after the draw, so in this case, you should fold.

You’ll get this result half the time: the poker odds of getting 5 bad cards are about one in two, and the odds of getting a pair are about one in 2.5.

How To Play Draw Poker: A Pair or Better

For example, you have a pair of fours, a seven, a jack, and a king, and all of these cards are of different suits. In your opinion, should you hang on to the king as your tie-breaker?

Or how about releasing it, with the expectation of getting something better?

In this case, although it’s always a tempting choice to keep a high card, the best option is to drop it.

When you’re holding 3 cards and a pair, poker odds are 1 in 3.5 to get a better hand.

But, if you choose to keep the kicker, and opt for drawing just two cards, then your poker odds of improving drop to one in four.

Let’s say that you have a kicker and 3-of-a-kind. It is a good option to draw 1 or 2 cards?

Going back to the example above, when you release the kicker, your chances improve.

If you choose to draw 2 cards, the chances of improving the real value of your hand go to 1 in 9.5.

If only one card is drawn, then your poker odds are lower at 1 in 11.

How To Play Draw Poker: Drawing One Card

When you’re holding 4 great cards, poker odds are all in your favor.

With a hand like that, your chances of getting a flush are one in five, and one in six to obtain an open straight, such as 4-5-6-7.

In this case, a three or an eight will complete the sequence for the flush poker hand.

If you get an open straight with a single available end, like A-2-3-4, or maybe an inside straight like 4-5-7-8, then these are more difficult to fulfill with poker odds of 1 in 12.

Your poker odds of getting a straight flush are 1 in 23.5, open at both ends, with the poker odds facing you going as high as1 in 47 to get either an inside straight flush or one that’s open-ended on one side.

How To Play Poker Vs the House

Different poker games pit the bettor versus the online casino instead of other bettors.

And since you’re not playing versus other players, bluffing is not required. Out of these kinds of poker games, Pai Gow is the most popular one.

How To Play Poker: Pai Gow Poker

Next in this How To Play Poker guide, Pai Gow Poker.

Pai Gow is a Chinese term that means “makes 9,” and this is a 7-card poker variation where the bettor will try to build 2 poker hands than the 2 hands shown by the banker. The online Pai Gow poker table can seat as many as 6 bettors.

Pai Gow Poker Basic Play

Pai Gow poker works with a 52-card standard deck and an additional joker.

In different online casinos, the joker can be utilized as a wild card, but more commonly, it’s used to complete straights, flushes, and straight flushes, or as an A’s in a particular hand.

Bettors make their wagers, and each player gets 7 cards.

Bettors then split their 7 cards into 2 poker hands, 1 including 5 cards and 1 including 2 cards.

The 2-card poker hand is known as the “low hand” as its value should be lower than the 5-card poker hand.

If the 2-card poker hand has a higher value than the 5-card hand, this is considered a “foul” and you lose the wager.

The 2-card hand is also known as the “front hand,” and the 5-card poker hand is the back or high hand.

To win at Pai Gow Poker, both of your hands must beat both of the hands from the banker. The same hands are known as “copies,” and the banker gets the win.

If just one of the bettor’s hands is better than the banker’s, you get a push, and no cash is exchanged.

If the bettor gets the victory, the dealer pays even cash. The house will take a 5% commission on winning wagers.

How To Play Poker: Pai Gow Winning Poker Hands Ranked

In Pai Gow, poker hands ranked are valued just like standard poker.

There’s one exception, which is the 5-A’s hand, created with 4 A’s and a joker, and this is the highest possible hand in Pai Gow poker, even beating a royal flush.

The 2-card poker hand contains either a nonpair or a pair, and the highest 2-card poker hand is a pair of A’s.

The rank of hands in Pai Gow Poker Hands Ranked, from highest to lowest, are:

  • Five A’s
  • Royal flush (A’s, K, Q, J, 10, all from the same suit)
  • Straight flush (same-suit 5 numbered cards, consecutive)
  • 4-of-a-kind
  • Full house (3-of-a-kind and a pair)
  • Straight (not same-suit 5 numbered cards, consecutive)
  • 3-of-a-kind
  • 2 pair
  • 1 pair
  • High card

How To Play Poker: Bet Pai Gow Poker

Last but not least in our how to play poker guide, let’s learn about Pai Gow.

In Pai Gow poker, you need to build a high hand and a low hand. And how you build these depend on what you have available in your 7-card stack.

If you count with 7 mismatched poker cards that don’t include a flush or a straight, then you need to put your highest card in your 5-card hand.

Your 2-card hand should include your 2nd-and 3rd-highest cards.

If you hold a pair, the pair goes in your 5-card hand, and your 2 highest single cards make up your 2-card hand.

With 2 pairs, put the higher pair in the 5-card hand and the lower pair in the 2-card hand.

If you count with a single Ace, use it and an extra single card and utilize it in the 2-card hand while keeping the 2 pairs together in the 5-card hand.

If you hold 3 pairs, your highest pair must go in the 2-card hand, and the other 2 pairs should go in your 5-card hand.

When you hold 2 pairs and a straight, just the straight and play the poker hand as you would 2 pairs.

This very same rule can be applied if you have a flush and 2 pairs.

If you have 5 cards of a straight, use those 5 for your high hand and put the 2 cards that are mismatched in your low hand.

If you have 6 cards of a straight, use the single card and the highest card of the straight for your low hand, and continue to play the rest of the straight in your high hand.

If you have a flush and no pair, make sure to put the flush in your 5-card hand and use the highest cards you can for your 2-card hand.

In the case of a full house, place the pair in your 2-card hand and the 3-of-a-kind in your 5-card hand.

How to play poker: Poker Table Position Tips

Next in our how to play poker guide, let’s talk about the position.

The position is the order in which the players are sitting around the table.

And position, just to keep in mind, changes every single hand.

If you’re the first person to act pre-flop, you have to decide on whether to call, fold, or raise.

When in this position, you’re considered under the gun, which is also known as the early position.

The next three to four are considered middle position, and the following after that are considered late position.

And the very very last two are the big blind and small blind.

Now, when it’s your turn to make a move, you’re going to have more information than your opponents do.

You’re the first person to act.

You do not know what the rest of your opponents and players on the table are going to do.

So you’re really shooting in the dark, but if you’re the last person to act, you know everything that the person before you has done.

You know how many people have called, how many people have been raised, and how many people have folded their hands.

The best position to be in is in the late position, which is known as the dealer button and the players to the right of them.

So being in a late position gives you the information on how the hand is going.

And you’ve seen what the majority of the table has done before you have to make your move.

So if nobody has bet, or increase the pot, the players in the late position might win the pot by increasing the pot betting in a larger amount.

And you can typically be a lot more aggressive in a late position based on what your opponents have done before this position.

How to Play Poker: Bankroll Management

Now in our how to play poker guide, let’s talk about bankroll management.

So what is a poker bankroll?

A poker bankroll is essentially the amount of money you specifically set aside for playing poker.

This means not money that you just have for gambling or anything else but is just money for poker.

So if one day you lose all this money in poker your life will not be affected one way or another.

A lot of people like to ask how can they create a bankroll specifically for poker because it is very very difficult to really create a good bankroll or good system for your bankroll.

Because a lot of people end up taking this money and betting on sports or doing this or doing that and it becomes very tough to solely keep a bankroll.

That’s only going to be for poker and that’s what you have to do if you want to be successful and profitable in the long haul.

So just create a specific bank account only to deposit and keep track of your poker bankroll, that’s it.

If you do this, you won’t get in trouble financially, and you can continue to learn how to play poker for real small cash until you’ve mastered it completely and can play for big sums.

How to Play Poker: What is Variance

When it comes to poker, good skill with just the right balance of luck will make you profitable over a long period of time.

So variance is basically the difference between upswings and downswings that happens.

Good players sometimes will lose a lot of money in a few weeks’ spans.

And even though they did everything that was right, they lost simply because a card that shouldn’t have shown ended up coming.

And that is referred to as variance.

Variance isn’t something that lasts forever, it’s something that does last sometimes for a good period of time depending on how much you play.

You’ll see some swings of variance, but in the long haul, it isn’t something that is too bad.

The difference in variance is between the amount of money that you expect to win on average over the long haul and the results that you see in the short term.

So variance can go both ways.

Most people specifically look at variance as the downside but there is also an upside.

Let’s say, based on the way you play, your win rate per hour, etc, you’re only supposed to make $3000 in a month but you end up making $8000 in that month.

It’s most likely because you had a really good favorable swing at an upswing.

So variance can be good or bad.

When you’re running luckier than usual, it’s great, you have a smile on your face, but when you’re running worse than usual it’s horrible, and it feels bad.

But, when it comes to variance, there isn’t much that you can do.

When that happens you just have to keep your head up, avoid playing irrationally or using your emotions to play, and just keep grinding along.

That’s what poker is: it’s a game, a game that requires patience.

It’s going to be a back-and-forth, but you’ll be finding that middle ground or that equilibrium point that is going to set you right back toward profitability.

So you must be wondering what causes the variance or how this crazy thing happen.

Well, the element of luck in poker is what essentially causes variance.

So, you did know that there is a big element of skill that’s involved in poker, but luck is also an integral part of the game.

We don’t have control over the hands that we get dealt. And this part is basically known as luck.

So we have to live with the hands that we get, and we can only control the decisions we make.

So regardless of how good you are, downswings will affect you sometime during your poker career.

It’s just a matter of when, and if that affects you well or if it affects you negatively it’s going to happen.

Suck it up, and that’s the best thing to do because eventually you will come out of this variance and will be successful and you will be profitable.

If you’re playing a hundred hands per hour, then you’re probably going to expect a lot more variance than someone who’s only playing ten hands per hour.

There’s a huge difference because of the amount of activity that is taking place with someone playing 100 hands versus some playing 10 hands.

Omaha obviously has a lot was variance than Texas Holdem, but Texas Holdem is one of the higher-variance games.

Variance is also affected by the betting type. And lastly, the number of players, as more players will cause more variance than if there are fewer players involved.

If you’re playing heads-up poker for example the variance is much less because it’s just for cards that are essentially being dealt between you and your opponent versus if you have a 10-player table.

So that’s basically what variance is how it affects you.

How to Play Poker: Tilt Poker Explained

Now in this how to play poker guide, let’s see how to deal with tilt poker.

Tilt poker refers to the state of emotional or mental confusion and frustration in which a player uses a less-than-optimal strategy, resulting in the player becoming very aggressive.

To summarize that definition, it’s as simple as you take a bad beat or you lose on a hand that you think you should have won.

You’re very upset, and you want to win your money back and you’re extremely angry.

So what’s your next move? You’re on tilt, so you’re not playing with your brain or your intelligence but instead, you’re playing with your emotions because you’re angry and you’re frustrated.

So you decided to take your aggression to the table, which is great for your opponents because they’re going to make a lot of money off of you.

But it’s terrible for you because you’re playing hands that you shouldn’t be playing.

And you’re going to be losing money that you probably don’t want to be losing.

If you’re wondering how long can tilt last, tilt lasts as long as you aren’t able to manage your betting emotions.

Sometimes it can be one stupid play that you make, or maybe a super bad beat that can even last months.

So you can lose a lot of money causing your win rate to drop dramatically.

There are a lot of players that are great players that will play for an entire month and do very well, and they’ll let two days of tilt take away all of their winnings or profits so that they’re down or even.

And that’s the biggest consequence of tilt and other severe consequences that includes losing the entire bankroll.

But you’ve always got to be very careful and very smart when it comes to tilting because it can be the difference between a winning month or losing money.

How do you avoid tilting so there’s no real answer to this question?

I mean the only thing that you could really do to avoid tilting is to cash out.

Stop playing. When your emotions are making the decisions, the easiest way to stop is to cash out as soon as you feel that you aren’t playing your best game.

Just take your money, go home and you’ll live to play another day.

Take a break for a couple of hours, days, or even weeks before coming back to the game.

And just try to come back to the game when you’re level-headed, and you promise yourself that you’re not going to go outside of the optimal strategy for playing.

Poker Hands Chart

1. Poker Winning Hands Chart: Hand Rankings

Check out our different versions of a poker hands chart, and find the convenient one for your particular needs.

Royal Flush A-K-Q-J-T (all of the same suit)
Straight Flush 8-7-6-5-4 (all of the same suit)
4-of-a-Kind A-4-4-4-4
Full House (Boat) A-A-A-J-J (three of one, two of the other)
Flush A-J-8-4-2 (all of the same suit)
Straight 8-7-6-5-4 (of various suits)
3-of-a-Kind (Set/Trips) A-K-5-5-5
Two Pair A-A-J-J-2
One Pair A-A-7-4-2
High Card A-Q-9-6-3 (different suits, non-connected, unpaired)

2. Poker Hands Chart: Top 10 Starting hands in Texas Hold’em

Rank Hand Name Hand Abbreviation
1 Pocket Aces AA
2 Pocket Kings KK
3 Pocket Queens QQ
4 Ace-King Suited AKs
5 Pocket Jacks JJ
6 Pocket Tens TT
7 Ace-King Off-suit AKo
8 Ace-Queen Suited AQs
9 Ace-Jack Suited AJs
10 King-Queen Suited KQs

 3. Poker Hands Chart: Common Starting Hand Nicknames

Hand Hand Nickname
AA Bullets / Rockets
KK Cowboys
QQ Ladies
JJ Fishhooks
88 Snowmen
77 Walking Sticks
44 Sail Boats
33 Crabs
22 Ducks
AKs Big Slick
AJ Blackjack
K9 Canine
T2 Doyle Brunson
Q7o Computer Hand

4. Poker Hands Chart: Common Made Hand Nicknames

A-K-Q-J-T straight Broadway
A-2-3-4-5 straight Wheel
A-2-3-4-5 straight flush Steel Wheel
K-K-K-K-X Four Horsemen
2-2-2-2-X Mighty Ducks

5. Poker Blinds Chart: Names of Table Stakes

Blinds Name of Stake(No Limit Hold’em) Miscellaneous Notes
$0.01/$0.02 2NL Lowest stake available online (select sites)
$0.02/$0.04 4NL  
$0.05/$0.10 10NL Lowest stake available online (all sites)
$0.10/$0.25 25NL  
$0.25/$0.50 50NL 50NL and below are typically considered “Micro Stakes”
$0.50/$1.00 100NL Lowest stakes available live (select locations)
$1/$2 200NL Lowest stakes available live (most locations)
$2/$5 500NL  
$5/10 1000NL Start of high stakes games (online)
$10/$20 2000NL  
$25/$50 5000NL Start of high stakes games (live)

6. Abbreviations for Player Positions at a Poker Table

10-max (Full Ring)  6-max (Short Handed)
Abbreviation Position Name Abbreviation Position Name
UTG / EP1 Under The Gun + 1 /Early Position 1 n/a n/a
UTG+1 / EP2 Under The Gun +1 /Early Position 2 n/a n/a
UTG+2 / EP3 Under The Gun +2 /Early Position 3 n/a n/a
MP1 Middle Position 1 n/a n/a
LJ / MP2 Lojack / Middle Position 2 UTG Under the Gun
HJ / MP3 Hijack / Middle Position 3 HJ Hijack
CO Cutoff CO Cutoff
BTN Button BTN Button
SB Small Blind SB Small Blind
BB Big Blind BB Big Blind

7. Poker Starting Hand Chart (9-Max Cash, 100bb): Linear Notation

Position % of Hands Starting Hand Range
UTG 10% 77+, ATs+, KTs+, QTs+, J9s+, T9s, 98s, A5s, AQo+
UTG +1 10% 77+, ATs+, KTs+, QTs+, J9s+, T9s, 98s, A5s, AQo+
UTG +2 13% 77+, A8s+, K9s+, Q9s+, J9s+, T9s, 98s, A4s-A5s, AJo+
LJ 16% 55+, A2s+ K9s+, Q9s+ J9s+ T8s+, 98s, 87s, 76s, AJo+, KQo
HJ 20% 44+, A2s+, K8s+, Q9s+ J9s+ T8s+, 97s+, 87s, 76s, 65s, 54s, ATo+, KJo+, QJo
CO 26% 22+, A2s+, K5s+, Q8s+ J8s+ T8s+, 97s+, 86s+, 75s+, 65s, 54s, ATo+, KTo+, QTo+, JTo
BTN 40% 22+, A2s+, K2s+, Q5s+ J7s+ T6s+, 96s+, 85s+, 75s+, 64s+, 53s+, 43s, A4o+, K9o+, Q9o+, J9o+, T9o, 98o
SB 47%+ 22+, A2s+, K2s+, Q4s+ J6s+ T6s+, 95s+, 84s+, 74s+, 63s+, 53s+, 43s, A2o+, K8o+, Q8o+, J8o+, T8o+, 98o

8. Poker Pot Odds Chart (Relating to Bet Sizings Used)

Bet Size BettorMust Win Caller Must Win Calling Odds: BettorValue Bet % BettorBluffing %
25%     (1/4-pot) 20% 17% 5 to 1 83% 17%
33%     (1/3-pot) 25% 20% 4 to 1 80% 20%
50%     (1/2-pot) 33% 25% 3 to 1 75% 25%
66%     (2/3-pot) 40% 28% 2.6 to 1 72% 28%
75%     (3/4-pot) 43% 30% 2.3 to 1 70% 30%
100%   (Pot) 50% 33% 2 to 1 67% 33%
150%   (1.5x-pot) 60% 38% 1.7 to 1 62% 38%
200%   (2x-pot) 66% 40% 1.5 to 1 60% 40%

9. Poker Odds Chart: Outs and Equities (Poker Equity Chart)

Outs Hand Examples Percent Chance of Improving
Turn or River Turn Only River Only
1   4.26% 2.13% 2.17%
2 Pocket Pair to Set 8.42% 4.26% 4.35%
3 One Overcard to One Pair 12.49% 6.38% 6.52%
4 Gutshot Straight Draw 16.47% 8.51% 8.70%
5 One Pair to Two Pair or Set 20.35% 10.64% 10.87%
6 No Pair to Pair (Hold’em) 24.14% 12.77% 13.04%
7 Set to Full-House/Quads 27.84% 14.89% 15.22%
8 Open-Ended Straight Draw 31.45% 17.02% 17.39%
9 Flush Draw (FD) 34.97% 19.15% 19.57%
10 Gutshot + 2 Overs 38.39% 21.28% 21.74%
11   41.72% 23.40% 23.91%
12 Gutshot + FD 44.96% 25.53% 26.09%
13   48.10% 27.66% 28.26%
14   51.16% 29.79% 30.43%
15 Open Ended Straight Draw + FD 54.12% 31.91% 32.61%
16   56.98% 34.04% 34.78%
17   59.76% 36.17% 36.96%
18   62.44% 38.30% 39.13%
19   65.03% 40.43% 41.30%
20   67.53% 42.55% 43.48%

10. Poker Equity Chart: Common PREFLOP Scenarios

Overpair (AA) 81% Underpair (KK) 19%
Overpair (AA) 92% Dominated Overcard (AK) 8%
Overpair (AA) 81% Two unsuited undercards (87o) 19%
Overpair (AA) 77% Two suited undercards (87s) 23%
Overpair (AA) 88% Junk (72o) 11%
Two overcards (AK) 62% Two undercards (87) 38%
Two overcards (AK) 46% Lower pair (88) 54%
One overcard (A5) 56% Two middle cards (87) 44%
One overcard (A5) 31% Lower pair (88) 69%
One overcard (A5) 34% Undominated pair (55) 66%
One overcard (AQ) 62% Sandwiched Lower Cards (KJ) 38%
Dominating higher card (AK) 73% Dominated higher card (AJ) 27%
Dominating lower card (A5) 69% Dominated lower card (65) 31%

11. Poker Equity Chart: Common POSTFLOP Scenarios

Hand #1 Hand #2 Example Flop Flop % Example Turn Turn %
Top Pair Dominated TP AK v. A5 on AT7 88% v. 12% AK v. A5 on AT72 92% v. 8%
Top Pair DominatedTP + GS AK v. A5 on A43 70% v. 30% AK v. A4 on A538 83% v. 17%
Top Pair 2nd Pair + GS A8 v. 76 on 864 65% v. 35% A8 v. 76 on 8642 79% v. 21%
Two Pair:2nd and 3rd Top Pair+ overcard 87 v. AT on T87 72% v. 28% 87 v. AT on T872 82% v. 18%
Flush Draw Top Pair 8s7s v. AK on Ks5s2x 37% v. 63% 87s v. AK on Ks5s2x3x 20% v. 80%
Flush Draw + Overcard Top Pair As2s v. QJ on Js6s5x 45% v. 55% As2s v. QJ on Js6s5xTx 27% v. 73%
Flush Draw Set As2s v. 66 on Js6s5x 26% v. 74% As2s v. 66 on Js6s5xTx 16% v. 84%
OESD Set 87 v. 66 on 962 26% v. 74% 87 v. 66 on 9623 19% v. 81%
OESD Top Pair 87 v. A9 on 962 35% v. 65% 87 v. A9 on 9623 19% v. 81%
OESD+ Overcard Top Pair A7 v. K9 on 986 41% v. 59% A7 v. K9 on 9862 25% v. 75%
Gutshot+ Overcard Top Pair A7 v. K9 on 985 29% v. 71% A7 v. K9 on 9852 16% v. 84%

12. Bankroll Management: Bankroll Requirements Based on Win Rate

Win Rate # of BB Required # of buy-ins $ at Stakes 1/2 $ at Stakes 2/5 $ at Stakes 5/10
3bb/100 10,000 100 buy-ins $20,000 $50,000 $100,000
5bb/100 8,000 80 buy-ins $16,000 $40,000 $80,000
7bb/100 6,000 60 buy-ins $12,000 $30,000 $60,000
10bb/100 4,000 40 buy-ins $8,000 $20,000 $40,000
13bb/100 3,500 35 buy-ins $7,000 $17,500 $35,000
16bb/100 3,000 30 buy-ins $6,000 $15,000 $30,000
20bb/100 2,500 25 buy-ins $5,000 $12,500 $25,000
25bb/100 2,000 20 buy-ins $4,000 $10,000 $20,000

13. Bankroll Management: Guidelines for Bankroll for Texas Hold’em

Stakes Minimum Buy-in(~20bb) Maximum Buy-in (~100bb) Bankroll Requirements(~100bb buy-ins)
Safe (100 BI) Aggressive (20 BI)
2NL $0.40 $2.00 $200 $40
5NL $1.00 $5.00 $500 $100
10NL $2.00 $10.00 $1000 $200
25NL $5.00 $25.00 $2500 $500
50NL $10.00 $50.00 $5000 $1000
100NL $20.00 $100.00 $10,000 $2000
200NL $40.00 $200.00 $20,000 $4000
500NL $100.00 $500.00 $50,000 $10,000
1000NL $200.00 $1000.00 $100,000 $20,000

14. Bankroll Management: Tournament Bankroll Requirements

Number of Players in Tournaments Number of Buy-ins Required
9 players 24 buy-ins
45 players 69 buy-ins
90 players 103 buy-ins
245 players 154 buy-ins
550 players 219 buy-ins
1,200 players 289 buy-ins
2,600 players 375 buy-ins

15. Full-Limit Hold’em (FLHE) Minimum Buy-in Chart

Limit Small Blind Big Blind Typical Minimum Buy-In
$0.02/$0.04 $0.01 $0.02 $0.20
$0.05/$0.10 $0.02 $0.05 $0.50
$0.10/$0.20 $0.05 $0.10 $1.00
$0.25/$0.50 $0.10 $0.25 $2.50
$0.50/$1.00 $0.25 $0.50 $5
$1/$2 $0.50 $1 $10
$2/$4 $1 $2 $20
$3/$6 $1 $3 $30
$4/$8 $2 $4 $50
$5/$10 $2 $5 $100
$6/$12 $3 $6 $100
$8/$16 $4 $8 $150
$10/$20 $5 $10 $200
$15/$30 $10 $15 $300
$20/$40 $10 $20 $400
$30/$60 $15 $30 $600
$40/$80 $20 $40 $800

We hope you enjoyed reading this complete, yet easy how to play poker guide, best of luck at the tables!