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There are many different types of poker games to choose from, including popular Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, and Seven Card Stud as well as other versions such as Guts, Pan, Big 2 and Chinese Poker (also known as 13 Card Poker).
Cards are usually dealt completely or partially face down, depending on the type of poker game being played. The aim of poker is to make the best hand possible with a five-card combination. The player with the highest hand combination therefore wins the hand. Simple enough right? But often the player with the lowest hand can go on to win the pot – which is where the skill of playing poker comes in. More about this later – let’s familiarize you with the mechanics of poker first.
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, and awarded to the winning player of the hand.
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Staying in the game
During the hand, players place their bets with chips (coin-like tokens used to represent different values of money such as $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and so on). Each hand consists of a number of betting rounds during which players bet chips in order to stay in the game. Staying in the game implies that you have a strong hand, and could potentially win the pot.
If your hand is weak, and yet you choose to stay in the game regardless, you are taking part in a practice called ‘bluffing’ – pretending that your hand is stronger than it actually is. Those players who feel their hands are not strong enough to compete for the pot will withdraw from the hand, or ‘fold’. A successful bluffer will be able to convince others that his hand is higher, causing them to fold, often on hands that are stronger than the bluffer’s. This is the skill behind poker, and what has made the game so popular for hundreds of years.
As other players in the game could potentially be bluffing, it is important to know when to fold and when to continue betting. Making this decision depends on certain factors:
- The total amount of chips you have left
- Your position at the table
- The amount of chips other players have left
- The other players’ behavior in previous rounds
- The strength of your hand of cards
- And the possibility of the next card drawn being helpful to you
These are just a few of the factors to take into consideration when choosing to bet or fold – there are many others that could be taken into account. There is no one way to play a hand, as each hand is different, with a range of variables making every one unique. Because of this, it is very important to know when to play a hand, and when not to, as there are no second chances in poker.
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