Whether you’re playing poker in a land-based club or on the Internet, the rules remain the same. The game is played with a pack of cards, and the goal is to form the best hand possible. If you’re lucky enough to make a five-of-a-kind, you’re the winner of the pot. But if you’re not, you can win by bluffing or betting your hand is the best.
Each player has a limit of chips at the beginning of the deal. The dealer has the last right to shuffle the cards before the betting interval begins. If you’re playing at a fixed limit game, your limit is usually the maximum you’re allowed to bet, but if you’re playing a pot-limit game, you’re only allowed to bet up to the amount you contributed to the pot in previous intervals.
The first player to act is the one who is required to place the smallest amount of chips in the pot. Often called the “big blind,” this person is the first to make a bet, but can also raise, check, or fold. If the first bettor makes a bet, all players must match it. If the player who made the bet checks, he’s said to “stand pat.” In later betting intervals, he may bet more, but can only call if all other players agree.
After the initial round of dealing, the player with the highest ranking poker combination is the first to bet. If no other player calls, the pot is won. If the hand is tied, ties are broken by the highest unmatched card and secondary pairs. For example, a pair of aces beats a straight flush, while a pair of jacks beats a pair of aces. For some games, the ace is treated as the lowest card.
In Texas hold’em, the first betting interval is followed by a second and a third. At each interval, the dealer deals a face-up card to each player. If no one calls, a showdown occurs. The highest-ranking hand in each hand is the winner. If there are two or more identical hands, the tie is broken by the highest unmatched card. If there is no tie, the remaining players compete for the pot. The first player who bets is the first to act in each round. The first bettor may call or raise in later betting intervals.
In stud poker, a player is dealt seven cards, some of which are face up. The players share five community cards, which are dealt face up on the table. Some of the community cards are used as wild cards. The ace can be used as the lowest card, while the king and queen can be used as wild cards to make a five-of-a-kind.
If a player has a draw, he can discard some of his cards and receive replacements from the undealt portion of the pack. The players may then bet or re-raise the amount they were originally betting. Generally, the limit is doubled after the draw.