This article is an absolute Beginner’s Guide to Hold ‘Em Poker, which is the most popular poker variant to date. While we try to be as exhaustive as possible, there are far too many nitty-gritty details that we would probably end up writing an ebook.
Hence, we created this guide that focuses on the most important things to help you not look like a beginner.
Know the rules of the game
Texas Hold ‘Em Poker is easy to learn but difficult to master. And compared to other casino games in Sacramento, it’s much easier to know your table position, the fundamental rules, and the strategies and skills that can help you win a pot.
This popular poker variant uses a standard deck of 52 playing cards with four suits of 13 cards each, namely, hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. Meanwhile, the cards in each four suits are king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and jack.
Aces can be a low card below a 2 or a high card above the king. The cards’ highest to lowest rank is listed from ace down to 2. Also, note that none of the four suits have a higher rank than the others.
Familiarize yourself with the hand rankings
Initially, it can get confusing to differentiate between pairs, flushes and straights.
The hand rankings in this poker variant are the same as many traditional card games and casino games; this means that the highest possible hand is a royal flush, whereas the lowest possible hand is 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 of at least two different suits.
Use the cheat sheet below for reference:
⧫ Royal flush – ace, king, queen, jack, 10 all of the same suit
⧫ Straight flush – five cards in sequential order from the same suit except ace high
⧫ Four of a kind – four cards from the same rank, like four queens or four kings
⧫ Full house – three cards of the same rank plus two cards of a different rank, like three jacks and two tens.
⧫ Flush – any five cards of the same suit. If two or more players have a flush, the one with the highest card wins. And if they have the same highest card, the next highest one wins, until one person has a higher card than the other opponents. Meanwhile, the pot will be split if all five cards are of the same rank.
⧫ Straight – consisting of five cards in chronological order of at least two different suits. (This means that the ace can create a high straight or a low one. Examples include 5, 4, 3, 2, and ace OR ace, king, queen, jack, and 10.)
⧫ Three of a kind – three cards of the same rank, like three aces or three 4s.
⧫ Two pair – two cards from the same rank and another pair of the same rank
⧫ One pair – two cards of the same rank like two queens or two kings
⧫ High card – If your five-card hand is not included on the list mentioned above, your high-card hand is designated by the highest card in your hand. And in case it’s a queen, and you lack a high-ranking card listed above, your high hand is a queen.
(Note: If two or more hands tie, the pot is then split between the winning hands. A “tie” must be of five identical cards. On the other hand, when two players have the same 2, 3, or 4 card best hand, the remaining cards will determine the winner–this is called a kicker.)
Learn the poker vocabulary
Use the list below for reference:
Blinds. Often placed by two players to the dealer’s left before any cards are dealt. There are two types of blinds: the small blind that is to the dealer’s immediate left that has half of the minimum betting amount; and the big blind that’s two to the left of the dealer has has the full amount of the minimum bet. For example, if the game has a minimum bet of $20, the small blind is $10, whereas the big blind is $20.
Pot. The money bet in a hand of poker.
Suited. When there are two hold cards of the same suit (e.g., 9-10 suited)
Flop. These are the first three community cards that are all flipped simultaneously after the dealer has burned one card.
Community cards. These are the five cards on the table available for each player’s hand; they come in three actions, namely, the flop, the turn, and ultimately, the river.
River. This is the fifth and final community card turned after the dealer has burned one card.
Raise. A move to increase the bet.
Kicker. This is an unpaired card used to decide the better hand in case one or more players have the same pair, two pairs, or three of a kind. The “kicker,” also called the high card, wins the pot. For example, when two players possess an ace and there is an ace on the table to make a pair, the one with the highest card has the kicker, ultimately winning the game.
Turn. It’s the fourth community card turned after the dealer has burned one card.
Check. This means “to not bet.” It’s similar to checking out what your opponents are doing. But you can only check if no bets have been made. And if there has been one, your option is to either call or raise.
Button. This poker chip indicates the dealer position at the table and rotates to the left hand. If one or two players are eliminated, they usually take over the actual dealing, although the button must continue going around to the left among the remaining players. This allows everyone to determine who will act first.
Call. This means making a bet equal to the last raise.
Fold. This means that you forfeit the cards and bets you’ve made.
Hole cards. Also called “pocket” cards, these are the first two cards dealt to each player.
Know the basic table etiquette rules
Always pay attention to what’s happening at the table; you don’t want to make accidental folds or make bets before you’re supposed to. Not only do these mishaps cause you to lose money, but they can also interfere with the game’s progress.
These are the other basic table etiquette rules to keep in mind:
Keep your cards and chips on the table and in sight. You don’t want others to think that you’re cheating, or worse, you’re no longer participating in the game.
Be courteous to everyone, e.g., inform them if you need to go to the bathroom or take a more extended break.
Learn the basic poker strategy
Poker is a game of strategy and skills rather than luck. In fact, some people have successfully turned it into a profitable profession after years of deliberate learning and practice.
Read our basic poker strategy to get a head start.
Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Beginners Guide
Now that you know the basics of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, from table etiquette and lingos to hand rankings and fundamental strategies, why not visit Sacramento’s number 1 poker venue Capitol Casino?
Visit us at 411 N 16th St., Sacramento, CA, 95811 or contact us at 916.446.0700 or [email protected].