The Art of Poker: A Beginners Guide

Welcome to this online guide for the game Of Texas Hold’em. This guide will give you a complete beginner’s crash course, and equip you with the skills to start your poker playing confidently. Poker is as much about instinct as it is tactical nous, and although our guide cannot promise you victories it can give you the best platform to only need to find your instinct.

Poker has become a global game, and in recent years has become popularized beyond the gambling fraternity. It is now enjoyed both professionally or simply as a past time by millions of people worldwide, and each day more and more are being attracted to this fun and tactical pursuit.

As Poker has become more popular, it has spread itself into the mainstream and away from a shadowy image. You can now see poker played by friends enjoying an evening together; while there are still those who play to win, and win big. Even in this aspect the game has been revolutionized as it is now seen on mainstream sports channels who air coverage of big stake tournaments. The advent of online poker has meant that people can now play from the comfort of their own home, and can take part in both huge stakes and low stakes matches.

With Poker now at the forefront of the gaming industry it will come as no surprise to learn that more and more casual punters are seeking the game out. If you are new to poker and still have some doubts about the game, or are unsure of the rules, then read our in depth beginners guide and release your inner poker star.

If you are playing in a full tournament then the dealer will not be a participant and will merely be the one who deals the cards and officiates the game. If you are in a casual game, the dealer may be assigned to one person or it may rotate through the group after each played hand. If you are a total beginner you just need to know that the dealer is simply the one who gives you the cards.

The blind is a forced bet that is issued to the players directly to the left of the dealer. A blind can be issued to anywhere between 0 and 3 of the players to the left. Without bogging a new player down with the technicalities of the blind in its basic sense it is there to stop players continually folding out of hands without losing money.

Now you are ready for your first game, but do not worry this guide will be here to help you every step of the way.

Firstly it is very important to know which cards you may receive can win you a hand, and at what point those hands can become relevant. Many newcomers fail to learn all the possibilities and can often squander a great hand by not knowing they are even holding it. That is why the winning hands are at the top of our guide starting, from lowest to highest.

High Card
If no player holds a better hand then the game is determined by who is holding the highest single card in their hand. For example if player 1 had a King, player 2 had a Queen, and player 3 had a Jack, then player 1 with his or her king would take the hand.

Two cards of the same value, for example two 10′s would be a pair. This is a risky hand because a high pair will often be tempting, but as it is still a low winning hand a play is fraught with danger. If another holder also has a pair then the player with the highest pair will win.

Two Pair
Two pairs of any value, for example two 10′s and two 5′s. Again in the event of a tie the single highest pair will determine the winner of the hand.

Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same number, example three 4′s. This is a good hand and often is enough to encourage a good bet, but be wary because even though the odds are getting slimmer there could be another player with a better hand. Look out for those bluffs!

Quite simply a running sequence of cards, for example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; although it is not required that they are of the same suit (Club, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds). Again the highest straight wins in the event of two players holding.

A flush is five cards from the same suit, but they do not have to be in sequence, so any selection of a single suit means a flush. If two or more players are holding a flush, then the highest single card will choose the winner.

Full House
A full house is a three of a kind and a pair combined. This is a great hand to have, and bets can be confidently played from it, and in the event of a tie the highest three of a kind wins the hand.

Four of a Kind
Four cards of any value, for example four 7′s.

Straight Flush
This is a straight and a flush combined, so any cards in sequence and of the same suit. For example 4, 5, 6, 7, and the 8 of Hearts.

Royal Flush
The Royal Flush is the holy grail of poker, and it is essentially a straight flush that encompasses the five highest value cards (10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace).
That completes our look at all of the winning hands in Texas Hold’em, and also part 2 of our guide. Be sure to check out part 3 where we will look at the rounds of the game.


Round 1 – pre-flop
The pre-flop is where each player is dealt 2 cards called pocket cards (or hole cards) in a clockwise order, beginning the game and the first hand.
As you look at your cards the options available to you in round one are to Bet, Call, Raise, and Fold (to fold is to leave that round and hand). Firstly you will have to evaluate the two card hand you are holding and then decide upon your course of action dependent on the quality of those cards. Each player will have to meet the blind and bet the same amount, but if one chooses to raise the bet the other can either fold, re-raise the bet, or Call.

Round 2- The Flop
After every player has finished the pre-flop, and has placed bets based on the cards they are holding they will be given the three community cards. These three cards are called the Flop and will give you an idea if you will be able to build a winning hand like the ones listed in part 2 of this guide. Each player can use these three cards to determine if they will stay in the game, and the cards will remain in the middle of the game surface.

The same rules of betting take place this time except that the Bet is replaced by the Check. The check is when a player does not wish to fold, but is unwilling to open the round of betting.

Round 3 – The Turn
In round 3 of the game a fourth card is added to the three already in the community at the center of the table, and this fourth card is called the turn. Now you will have six cards (2 in your hand, 4 on the table) in which to try to make the best possible winning hand. Again you can fold if the cards are not to your liking, or conversely if they are you can again Check, Raise, or Call.

Round4 – The River
After the third round of betting is finished there is a fifth card added to the four community cards, and this card is called the river. You are now left with seven cards to make the best possible five card hand that you can, and what you can come up with will determine who will win this hand.

Again your options are to Check, Call, Raise, or Fold. A mistake many make is to have too much pride to fold at this stage if things have not gone to plan, if you can learn to live to fight another day then you will win more in the long term.

The Showdown.
At the completion of all the rounds of betting any remaining players in the hand will be asked to show their hands of the best five card combination they have. If player one reveals his cards and it is clear that you have lost you are not obliged to show your cards, you can merely declare the loss and place your cards face down. If you wish to show them you can, but there is no need. However if you are holding the best five card hand then you can claim your winnings for that round.

That is the end of our beginners guide to poker. We hope that it will help you as you embark on your poker adventure, and refer back to it at any times in which you get a little lost. You now possess the tools to at least enjoy a game of poker and to take that first baby step on the bottom rung of the ladder. Although this guide can help, nothing can replace experience, so get out there and play some poker!

In Poker Online Playing Badly Can Help You Win

 ”It is better to make people think you are a bad poker player, then to play and remove all doubt. Don’t play to impress, play to win.” Michael Gersitz

For all you poker players out there who feel confident of your skills going into a game, how about taking a leaf out of Michael Gersitz book and convince players that you’re a bad player when you’re playing poker online, in order to lull them into a false sense of security and then reverse the tables. It’s a tried and tested technique and if you’ve ever seen Paul Newman in the classic pool shark movie, The Hustler, you’ll know exactly how this concept works. If you haven’t I would thoroughly recommend taking a couple of hours out, just to see this great film. It will inspire you to play badly trust me.

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Free Online Poker Is All Work No Gain

The concept of free poker may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, considering the fact that betting is such an intrinsic part of poker. So what happens when you take the money away, does that mean that anyone can bluff whenever they want or take you all in, with no consequence of their actions? Well the way it works when you play free online poker, most of the time is that you are often rewarded with points if you win your games and the more points you get, the higher up the leaderboard you get. In essence the aim of the game is become the best poker player, with the highest amount of points, so really it is a competition for reputation.

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US Poker Online Legislation Looks Hopeful This Year

It looks like this year may herald the start of significant changes in US legislation regarding playing poker online. The Obama registration has been under a great deal of pressure by lobbyists who are attempting to make online poker legal. According to John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, which has over 1 million players,

“There’s a significant reason to believe Congress should do something this year. It’s our No. 1 priority, that there are strong consumer protections, so our members can go to a site that is safe and secure, and they can deposit their money and get it back when they want it. Those things aren’t guaranteed right now.”

Clearly the current situation is causing a lot of problems for players who have had their account frozen or their assets seized and are no longer able to play. Any players in the States who do continue to play online poker are putting themselves at considerable risk as there is no decent legislation that will protect in the event of a dispute between players and operators.

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Play Online Poker & Learn How To Read Yourself

“Whether he likes it or not, a man’s character is stripped bare at the poker table, if the other players read him better than he does, he has only himself to blame. Unless he is both able and prepared to see himself as others do, flaws and all, he will be a loser in cards, as in life.” – Anthony Holden

Anthony Holden’s words couldn’t ring more true and work like a dream when you’re playing poker offline. However they can also be applied to when you play online poker. The reason for this is simply that we don’t think enough about the singles we’re giving off when we play poker and this is one of the main reasons why we might lose hands.

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Nevada Gaming Control Board Recommends Poker Licence for Bally Technologies

Nevada continues to lead the charge towards the legalization of internet poker, with the Nevada Gaming Control Board recommending that Bally Technologies be granted a license to offer Nevadans the ability to play real-money poker online. This was closely followed by a similar approval for software provider International Game Technology.

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Play Online Poker and Learn to Handle Your Losses

“You cannot survive without that intangible quality we call heart. The mark of a top player is not how much he wins when he is winning but how he handles his losses. If you win for thirty days in a row, that makes no difference if on the thirty-first you have a bad night, go crazy, and throw it all away.” – Bobby Baldwin

Bobby Baldwin is a legendary poker player from the 1970s who lives in Las Vegas and is CEO and President of Project City Center, the gigantic hotel and casino development on the main Las Vegas strip. Clearly this is man who knows what he is talking about. I mean the high stakes signature poker room in the Bellagio is named “Bobby’s Room” after him! So any of you who like to play online poker, should listen closely because there is no doubt that you will profit from his gems of wisdom.

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Australia Debates Legalisation of Online Poker Games

Australia is the latest country to join the debate about whether or not gambling laws need to be relaxed, following the release of a departmental report yesterday. The report, which recommends the liberalization of the industry and the introduction of that harm minimization standards, is thought to be the first steps towards legalizing many forms of internet gambling, beginning with online poker games.

Proposed changes include the legalization of online poker tournaments and live in-play sports betting, which is currently available via phone or in person. Micro-bets will continue to be illegal. The liberalization of the industry would be contingent on the introduction of harm minimization standards, which include self-exclusion, pre-commitment, dynamic warnings and easily accessible spending data.

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Free Online Poker Or High Stakes? The Choice Is Yours

I’ve been asked plenty of times what are the best deals and places to play poker and my answer is always the same, it depends what you want. At the end of the day everyone’s different and we don’t all want the same thing, some people might want to make a big deposit and play for high stakes, others might be happy to simply play free online poker, the choice is all yours.

So in order to decide exactly where you want to play, we’ve established our poker comparison website, where you can make up your mind over where to play and be well equipped to know exactly who’s giving away the biggest bonuses and the most amount of rakeback. We’ve reviewed well over 30 of the best poker sites out there in order to come up with a definitive list of where to play and our top 5 poker sites sets out what we believe to be the very best of poker sites available.

We also include a run down of the highest poker bonuses available online and where you can enjoy the best no deposit poker offers around. We also have an Exclusive Offers section where you’ll be able to

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Play Poker With The Stars To Enjoy The Real Deal

“As for poker, I’ve stayed away from that, even though when I was in Vegas for Ocean’s Eleven, I would get accosted by these guys begging me to play. They just want to take my money. They see me, think “actor” and see some easy money” – Matt Damon

Reading Matt Damon’s comments, I find it hard to have any sympathy for him as quite clearly he has enough money to lose playing poker and not notice he lost any in the long run!

You see we need to get more people like Matt Damon to play poker. Not only does it help add some celebrity kudos to the game, which is always nice but in the long run, it attracts other celebrities with more money than sense to start playing, which means there should be rich pickings for the likes of us.

One of the huge advantages of playing online is that no one knows who you actually are unless you tell them and this anonymity can certainly be used as an asset.

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