Understanding the Rules Of Poker

Understanding the Rules Of Poker

Poker is probably the oldest card game that is still played today and definitely among the most popular. There are many arguments that can be put forward to explain why this is so but the most convincing is the excitement involved. The fact that poker can now be played in UK poker sites adds to the overall popularity of the game.

Poker is not just a game of calculation but also a game of deception and wit whereby every player tries to bluff and outwit the rest. As they say, learning poker might take a minute but mastering the game could take a lifetime. The game has been around for centuries and has undergone a lot of evolution during that time. Online poker games that are played today are significantly different from their ancestor even though the basic principles underlying the game have continued to remain the same.

Types of Poker Games and Their Rules

Thanks to the evolution of poker over the years, there are numerous variants of poker that are played today. However the two most commonly played poker games in online poker sites are Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker. It is important to understand the rules of playing both games as well as how they differ from each other. This will give you a better understanding and the ability to play and win in any online poker game.

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is a community card game and is the most widely played of all the different types of poker games. The game’s origin can be traced back to the banks of the Mississippi River during and after the civil wars and the colonists when soldiers and miners used to play it to pass away the time. The rules of the game have not changed much over the years and the game is popularly referred to as the Cadillac of Poker.

When playing Texas Hold’em in UK poker sites, two cards, called hole cards, are given face down to every player. All the players are supposed to keep these cards hidden until the showdown, which comes after all the betting rounds.

There are 5 cards displayed at the center of the table on the river, turn and flop and they are referred to as community cards. Players can use the 5 community cards in conjunction with their two hole cards in order to try and make up the best 5 card hand.

  • The flop has the first 3 community cards
  • The turn has the first 4 community cards
  • The river has all the 5 community cards

The idea is for the players to try and make the best 5 card combination from the total 7 cards. There are many ways to do this. You could use both of your hole cards plus two community cards, one of your hole cards and 4 of the community cards or even choose to use none of your hole cards and all the 5 community cards.

The pot, which is the total amount of bets collected during the rounds of betting, is given to the winner and the winner of a Texas Hold’em poker game is the player with the best 5 card combination at the end of the game.

Here are two basic concepts that every player wishing to play Texas Hold’em poker must be aware of;

  • Blinds; the beauty of poker is that the winner takes the pot and so it won’t be that interesting if there was no prize in the pot. The bets placed in the pot are referred to as blinds and they are added to the pot before the game begins and before every new round of betting. There are usually two blinds, the big blind and the small blind (which is usually half of the big blind). The smaller blind is posted by the player who is seated at the immediate left of the button while the big blind is posted by the player immediately to his or her left.
  • Button; if you are playing at a brick and mortar casino or an online poker site then you do not have to worry about the button but it is an important part of the game if you are playing with friends. The button is usually a white disk that designates and keeps track of which player is the dealer. The person with the button deals first and then passes it to the player on his or her immediate left. The latter player will deal the next round of betting and the button keeps moving like that throughout the game. At the end of the game all players should have dealt at least once each.

Omaha Poker

Omaha poker is another very popular poker game and its popularity is probably only exceeded by that of Texas Hold’em Poker. The two games are very similar and anyone who knows one of them can easily learn to play the other in a matter of minutes. So instead of delving into the specific rules of playing Omaha poker, it is better to just review the Texas Hold’em poker rules explained above and then find out how they differ from those of playing Omaha.

Differences between Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker Rules

  • Number of hole cards; while Hold’em only allows players to be dealt two hole cards, the players in Omaha are dealt four hole cards.
  • Number of playing cards; in Hold’em players can any combination of their hole cards and the community cards. However although players have more cards in Omaha, not all the cards can be played and players have to play with their best combination of 7 cards to get a winning 5 card combination
  • Drawing; players at a Hold’em table usually only draw when they deem the pot odds to be in their favor and would be reluctant to do so otherwise. Omaha players, on the other hand, will have to draw much more often because better odds come with bigger drawing hands.

In closing, it is worth mentioning that poker rules are not set in stone and that is evident from the numerous variations of the game being played today. The only important thing is that all players agree on the rules of the table before the beginning of the game.