Poker is a card game that may or may not involve real money; however it requires the players to still make bets. There are many different types of poker games, like Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi, and Seven Card Stud, which are the most popular. There are also other versions, like Guts, Pan, Big 2 and Chinese Poker (also called 13 Card Poker).

Cards are usually dealt completely or partially face down; it depends on the type of poker game you are playing. The most important part is that you try to make the best hand possible with a 5 card combination (see hand rankings). The player with the highest hand will win the hand. This looks simple so far, but it involves skill to put your opponents out so you can win the hand, even if you have the lowest hand.

The main objective in a poker game is to win the money from the pot, which is the sum of all bets placed by all players involved in the hand. The pot is placed in the center of the table. When a player wins a hand he is awarded the money from the pot.

During the hand, players bet in chips (a coin-like token that is used in casinos to represent money with different standard values like $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and so on).So, every hand has a number of betting rounds where players commit their chips to participate for the pot, which implies then that you must play having the strongest hand or pretend (bluff) you do so the others players decide to withdraw from the hand (fold).

It is most important to know when to fold and when to continue betting. There are different factors involved:

  • Your total chips left.
  • The position you are at the table.
  • The other players' chips left.
  • The behavior the other players' have had on previous rounds.
  • The cards you have.
  • The possibilities of the next card to be useful for you.

And many others that will shape the way the hands are played. There is no way to play one hand the same way as they all have different variables that makes them unique.

This is why it is so important to know when to go for a hand and when not to, as you will not have a second chance to repeat that same hand with the same specific variables.

So to win a hand you are reduced to two choices:

  1. You continue until the end of the hand involving money and show your cards at the end to compare against the other players and see who's got the best hand to determine the winner.
  2. Your opponents refuse to match the bet as they feel their hand won't make it through and fold the cards, giving you the win. Whether you had a better hand or not, if they all fold - you win.

Blinds are measured by the limit of the table, which is the how much money you can sit down with. There are 2 blinds, the Big and the Small; typically the Small Blind is half the amount of the Big Blind, but it can also be from one third up to two thirds of it.

Each betting round of the hand provides the following options to the players:

  • Check: As the first to act you have no previous bets that force you to involve funds, so you can pass on to the next player and continue active on the hand.
  • Bet: Again, as the first one to act you can choose to submit a wager with the intention of winning the pot and showing that you have a hand worth your money.
  • Call: This is an option you will have after someone else before you makes a bet or a raise, and it requires you to match the amount if you want to continue playing that hand.
  • Raise: Is the action you take after a player has made a bet or a raise prior your turn and you increase the last wagered amount places before you to at least the double.
  • Fold: The action you take when previous bets having placed and you do not wish to continue playing that hand, so you bet nothing but you return your cards to the dealer and stay out of that hand's action.

Each game has a strategy depending on various elements that combine to create a game style, this is where the fun is, by sharpening your skills to bluff, to play with the raises, to push your opponents to make a mistake or leave the hand is what makes the difference of winning or losing a hand, Ah! And of course, some luck is also good.