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All About Poker

Gambling

Picking up a new hobby can be a great experience. Whether it’s arts and crafts, reading or writing, gardening, or cooking, a new hobby opens an exciting new world of possibilities. Those with a lot of time on their hands might even consider sharpening their online casino Poker knowledge at Spin Palace. Which is why we’ve put together this guide of tips, tricks and knowledge that any new player should know before playing online Poker.

Cards and Poker chips laid out on a wooden table. Source: Pixabay

The history of Poker

The exact origins of Poker are still under debate to this day. Some believe the game was developed by the Chinese during the 10th century. Others believe the game was more likely of Persian, French, or even German origin.The most prevalent and likely scenario seems to be that Poker was based on different parts of different games.

The name “Poker” is believed to be derived from “Poque”, a French card game involving bluffing and betting. A similar game from Germany, “Pochspiel”, also involves bluffing and has players tap the table with a finger when choosing to pass, just like modern Poker.

Whatever the case, Poker landed on the shores of the United States with the arrival of the French in New Orleans around 1480. From there it spread up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers via steamboats, and then across the rest of the country via train and wagon routes.

Poker became a mainstay of the Wild West because of its cutthroat nature. It was thought that being a good Poker player was likely a sign of a steady hand and a focused eye, the traits of a good gunslinger.

Because Poker was understood as a game of skill rather than a game of chance, it was never met with the same laws as other gambling pursuits. This allowed it to flourish in the United States. It eventually caught on in Casinos and is today the most played card game in the world.

Modern Poker

Poker was officially classified as a “mind sport” in 2011 by the International Mind Sport Association. The reason for this is that while it doesn’t involve lots of physical exertion, it does involve mental stamina and focus over prolonged periods of time. Other games in this classification include bridge, chess, and backgammon.

While Poker has evolved into many different variations over the years, one of the most popular is Texas Hold ‘Em. While the exact origin of the game is unknown, it is believed to have originated in Robstown Texas during the early 1900s. Texas Hold ‘Em eventually spread to Las Vegas and surged in popularity. Today Texas Hold ‘Em is the most widely played form of the game today and is generally synonymous with Poker itself.

Some of the big names in modern Poker include Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, Johnny Moss, Thomas Austin Preston, and Benny Binion. Each of these players helped to shape the modern game of Poker and popularize it as a mainstay of casinos the world over.

A person’s hand playing with a stack of Poker chips. Source: Pixabay

How to play Poker

Each game of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker is played by 2 - 10 players sitting around a single table. The basic objective of the game is for the player to make winning combinations using the cards in their hand and the community cards shared by all players. The game takes place over several rounds and players throw money into a central “pot” to be won. The player with the highest winning combination is the winner and takes all the money in the pot.

Each player has chips of different values which make up the total of the money they are able to bet with. Each round, two players sitting beside each other are declared as the “big blind” and “small blind”. These players must put in the minimum bet amount and half the minimum bet amount respectively. These “blinds” are bets that ensure there is money in the pot to be won before the hand even starts.

Once blinds are posted, the dealer will deal two cards face down to each player at the table. Players must then look at their cards in secret and decide if they would like to play by matching the blinds in the pot. If a player decides to “bet” more money into the pot, then the other players must decide if they would like to “call” by matching the raised amount.

Players also have the option to “check” if no one has raised and they do not wish to raise either. They may also “fold”, which means they bow out of the hand, or can “raise” the bet amount even higher.

Once everyone has called or folded, the dealer will play “the flop” by dealing three cards face up on the table. These cards are community cards which can be used by all the players in conjunction with the cards in their hands. Once the flop is dealt, players must again go around the table checking, calling, betting, raising, or folding as they see fit with their strategy.

Once betting is done, the dealer will then deal “the turn” which consists of just one more card placed face up. Players then repeat the checking, calling, betting, raising, or folding process. All the while players should be watching the other players for tells that show if they’re lying about a bad hand, or trying to conceal a good one.

After this third round of betting, the dealer will deal “the river”, the final community card for the hand. Players will then engage in one more round of betting before finally revealing their cards. The player with the highest combination of cards is the winner and takes everything in the pot. A player can also win by forcing all other players at the table to fold either through bluffing or aggressive betting.

A winning Poker hand fanned out in sequence. Source: Pixabay

Poker hand combinations

There are a number of Poker hands and combinations which a player can use to win a hand of Poker. Let’s explore each of them from weakest to strongest.

The lowest winning hand is a High Card. If no players at the table have any combinations, the player with the highest number value card wins.

Next is a Pair which consists of two cards of the same value. The higher the value of the cards, the more powerful the pair. The next combination is Two Pair which is simply four cards making two separate Pairs.

Three of a Kind is exactly what it sounds like. Three cards, all of the same value.

A Straight is a sequence of five cards whose values occur in a straight sequence. For example, 2-3-4-5-6.

A Flush consists of five cards all of the same suit.

A Full House consists of Three of a Kind AND a Pair.

Four of a Kind is self explanatory. Like Three of a Kind, but with one more.

A Straight Flush is a sequence of five cards who are all of the same suit. For example, the 2-3-4-5-6 of Diamonds.

A Royal Flush is the most powerful hand possible. It consists of a sequence of Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten, all of the same suit.

Beginner Poker tips

A good tip for beginners new to Poker is to avoid playing too many hands. A good benchmark is to try and play about 18-20% of the hands with 8 or more players at the table. This means folding straight away if the first two cards dealt are bad. It’s more beneficial for a beginner player to go in with good hands than trying to bluff with poor ones.

Another tip is for players to try and avoid calling when they don’t know what else to do. Betting is always stronger than calling and even a small bet can force the other players to fold. The more players that fold, the better the chances of winning the pot, even if it's small.

Playing video Poker

Video Poker is a little different to Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. While the combinations used are the same, the flow of the game is a little different. This is because Video Poker is based on Five-card Draw Poker. It also doesn’t involve playing against other players and as such bluffing is not a factor.

A hand of Video Poker begins with the machine dealing the player five cards. The player then decides which cards to keep, and which to discard. This goes on for several rounds at the end of which the player is paid out based on their hand.

The amount paid out to the player is determined by the amount bet by the player multiplied by the payout for the winning hand. The payout for each hand in a Video Poker game can be clearly seen on the game’s pay table.

Ready to play

Players should now know everything they need to get started playing Video Poker at Spin Palace online casino. As the most popular card game in the world, new players can get a taste of what makes it so special.

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