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encourages players to know the basic rules before going into a game. Knowing card values will give new players a good understanding of how the game works.
There are a number of different variations of poker and the rules for each version are slightly different. That being said, most versions of poker have the same foundations and it is crucial to be familiar with them before play begins.
Poker Hand Rankings
Generally, the basic hand rankings in poker are the same. In some variations of poker, the lowest hand wins but mostly the high cards trump the others. Just must make sure that you are aware of the hand rankings for the particular variation you are playing. The basic rankings are as follows, from highest hand to lowest:
- Royal Flush - 10, J, Q, K, A, all in the same suit
- Straight Flush - five consecutive cards, all of the same suit e.g. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 of Hearts
- Four of a Kind - four cards of equal numerical value e.g. 6, 6, 6, 6, X. The fifth card is irrelevant.
- Full House - 2 cards of one numerical value and 3 cards of another numerical value e.g. 7, 7, A, A, A
- Flush - Any five cards of the same suit e.g. 2, 6, 10, A, K of Hearts
- Straight - Five consecutive cards of different suits.
- Three of a Kind - 3 cards of the same numerical value, plus any 2 other cards e.g. 5, 5, 5, X, X
- Two Pairs - Two sets of cards of equal numerical value e.g. 3, 3, 8, 8, X
- Pair - A set of cards with equal numerical value e.g. 7, 7, X, X, X
Playing a Game of Poker
Before beginning a game of poker all players must place an ante. The ante is the initial bet that is placed by all players.
All poker hands consist of five cards. Even in games where a player holds more than five cards, he will have to select the five cards that he wants to use to make up his poker hand and the rest of his cards will be discarded. If you are playing a poker game that has wild cards, these cards can be substituted for any other card in order to make up a specific combination of cards. The wild cards must be determined before the game begins.
Once the player is holding his final five cards they will be compared with the other players' cards. Poker hands are ranked according to the rankings given above. If none of the players hold a combination listed in the hand rankings, then hands are compared according to the 'high card.' This means that the highest held card wins. If players hold equal valued highest cards, then their second highest cards are compared and so on until a winner is found.
Some of the more popular variations of poker include Texas Hold'em, Omaha
Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, Five Card Draw and Five Card Stud.