Poker Rules and Overview
The hottest game in the casinos and online is of no debate: it is poker. Poker has been a classic card game for hundreds of years. Not only is it easy to learn, the real fun comes from the communal fun inherent in the game. While it is true there are many versions of poker, what remains unchanged is the fact that you must bluff and “posture” against a group of other players.

Poker is believed to have originated in Persia, as As Nas, but “grew up” in Germany as a form of Pochspiel. No matter where and when it was born, by now, poker has taken on a life of its own.

There are many variations of poker, and by saying “many”, I am being conservative. In general, as a card game, at its heart is outwitting other players around the table. The point is to convince the other players that you can beat their hand. This is the true essence of poker, and what truly sets it apart from any other game in the casino.

To be able to play any variation of poker, you must learn the winning hands. There are charts and graphs by the smartest minds at MIT to show the progressive breakdown, but that isn’t totally necessary. To begin, there are weaker and stronger hands. In fact, most hands you will see start from the worst hands, so let’s begin there:

High card: none of you cards match suit or follow any pattern. The highest card in your hand is the only option.

One pair: Maybe you have two “3s”. That is a pair–although not a good one. To win, the only other competing hand must have a pair lower than yours.

Two pair: Now you have two pairs of cards. Maybe a pair of “3s” and “10s” this time, for example. Not bad! Hopefully your opponent doesn’t have better pairs.

Three of a kind: you made out with three “7s”, for example. Well done!

Straight: Now we are getting in the “big leagues”. A straight is a numbered run of cards in any suit. For example, a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 is a straight and hard to beat in real play.

Flush: Really! All five of your cards are the same suit. If you are holding all hearts, for example, you are almost unbeatable!

Full House: Well, almost. A full house will beat a flush. A full house is a five-card with a two and three pair. For example a 5, 5 and 7, 7, 7.

Four of a Kind: Good luck, it is almost impossible to get all four of any card.

Straight Flush: The “Holy Grail” of the card hands, the straight flush is not something to hope for, but more like a once-on-a-lifetime-lightening-strike. A straight flush is all five cards in order and of the same suit. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of spades, for example.

Now that you have the winning poker hands, the rest is quite easy. Choose the poker variation that you prefer. There are communal and solitary games to choose from. The most popular poker game in play now is Texas Hold’em. Hold’em is a communal card game, which means that the dealer places five cards on the table for all players to play from and gives you two personal cards. Of these seven cards, you must make the best possible five-card hand of all players to win. Can you imagine the fun involved in this game! Everyone already knows the five table cards that everyone can play from and the measly two personal cards make all the difference.

As you can imagine, poker is a game of both skill and bluffing. There is room for luck, but the winners are more than lucky. To get your feet wet in poker is a process. If you are ready to dabble in this game, there are many free sites that you are welcome to give a whirl. Play poker with “play” money to feel how the flow of the game moves, but only a real wager can give you the true excitement of poker.