Despite the fact that poker is an age-old game, it remains as popular as ever before. Whether you enjoy online or live poker, the fun never ends. The fundamentals of poker are a common denominator in all games. Psychology, strategy and good fortune are ha
The history of poker reveals a game that is many hundreds of years in the making. Some gaming historians pin the game’s origin to an ancient Persian game known as As Nas which was played in the 16th century. Others believe that poker can be traced back to 10th-century China during the Song Dynasty. However, the modern-day poker variants that we have come to enjoy are French in origin. Poker came to America during the Civil War between 1861 & 1865. Multiple variants exist, including 5 Card Poker, Draw Poker, Wild Card, Split Pot Poker, Community Card Poker and Lowball. The world's most popular poker variant – Texas Hold'em – gained international stardom in the 1970s. The game has undergone dramatic innovations, being featured at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the World Poker Tour (WPT) and other glittering events. Online poker received a boost when Chris Moneymaker hit a $2.5 million win at the 2003 WSOP Main Event. Moneymaker won his seat to this prestigious tournament via an online poker satellite. The rest is history!
The lingo that is used in poker is a reflection of the multicultural influences on the game. Below are some commonly used poker terms:
- Ante – the minimum wager that players must place into the pot prior to playing a game of poker
- Bad Beat – this refers to losing a game when you were holding a strong hand to begin with
- Blinds – mandatory bets that are placed based on your position from the dealer button. The small blind and the big blind are blind bets
- Buy-In – the chips you have bought to allow you to play in a poker game
- Community Cards – these are dealt face up in the centre of the table for all players to use
- Flop – the first three community cards dealt into the centre of the table
- Turn – the fourth community card placed into the centre of the table
- River - the fifth and final community card placed into the centre of the table
The most prominent poker variant played today is Texas Hold'em. The dealer (represented by a button) shuffles a standard deck of 52 cards. Directly to the left of the dealer is the Small Blind and to the left of the Small Blind is the Big Blind. The button moves in a clockwise fashion around the table so that each player participating in games of Texas Hold'em assumes the dealer position. Prior to each hand, the Small Blind bet is placed (50% of the lower limit of the table), followed by the Big Blind (the lower limit of the table). Each of the players at the table receives 2 hole cards face down. Betting begins with the player left of the Big Blind and continues around the table so that each of the active players has had an opportunity to bet. Players can check, call or fold accordingly. After the dealer burns the top card, the first three community cards are dealt. These are known as the Flop. Betting action continues around the table. Next, the dealer will deal the fourth and fifth community cards known as The Turn and the River. After each of these hands is dealt, a round of betting ensues. Players are tasked with forming the highest ranking 5 card hand from any combination of the 2 hole cards and 5 community cards.
Since poker is a game of skill, there are many ways to improve your game. Your success in poker depends entirely on the strategy that you adopt. Poker experts place tremendous emphasis on intuition, psychology and patience in poker. The game should be played with one's mind, not one's heart. In other words poker is a game of careful calculations, checked emotions and strategic gameplay. It's imperative to understand the rules of the game before you play for real money. Players will want to gain as much exposure to poker as possible by playing casual games, free games, enjoying online poker games and so forth. Basic strategy is at the heart of all poker games. Many facets of poker are explained by basic strategy such as bluffing, when to hold and when to fold, playing loose aggressive, or passive and so forth. The general rule is to play premium starting hands only. Players should also fold 70% of the hands that they are dealt, and not feel obligated to play every single hand. Be sure that you have a sufficient bankroll to play poker games as you will go through many ups and downs during your poker sessions.
- As mentioned above – don't play every hand as that is a sure recipe for disaster
- Watch what your opponents are doing at the table – this can only be done if you sit out more hands than you play
- Learn to identify your opponents’ tells
- Play with your head and not your heart
- Focus your attention on the community cards – the Flop, Turn and River and see how you can use them to your benefit