dogs playing poker
The game is even found in art. (Image by David Mark from Pixabay)

Never Played Poker Before? Here’s How To Get Started

The game is ubiquitous, but for some people, the exact details of how to play might be a little hazy.

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dogs playing poker

The game is ubiquitous, but for some people, the exact details of how to play might be a little hazy.

Hobbies, games and leisure activities come and go. They are influenced by changing fashions and technological innovation, as much as every other facet of our lives. Yet card games have been around for centuries, and their popularity never really diminishes.  

We all know a card game or two, whether it’s blackjack, whist or that childhood classic, war. But there is one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Poker forms the centerpiece of numerous classic movies. There are poker pros who are treated like sporting celebrities and there have even been calls to make poker an Olympic event. You just don’t get that with “stop the bus,” and anyone who loves cards should know at least the basics of poker. Don’t be nervous: Once you take the first step, the rest will follow naturally. 

Understand the Basics

There are dozens of different types of poker, and from the outside it is easy to be overwhelmed. But while the number of cards dealt and the mechanism for exchanging them will differ, all poker games are based on the same fundamental scoring rules, whereby a royal flush of a 10, jack, queen, king, ace in the same suit is best, down to a single card being the lowest. In between, you have combinations like two of a kind, three of a kind, a straight, a full house and various others. Learn these basic combinations and how they rank, and you have the first building block in place.

Simple Solo Poker

There’s one type of poker that is ideal for getting poker scoring clear in your mind, and it is a game in which there is no risk of being shown up by the competition. Video poker is just you against the machine, and once you’ve played for an hour or so, the different hands will be second nature. There are various phone apps or platforms where you can play online. Betsafe poker is a useful resource, as in addition to the Game King video poker on offer, there are tournaments waiting for you when you are ready to take your game to the next level.

Beat the Dealer

It’s understood that going from video poker to an online tournament where you take on complete strangers might be something of a leap. But stepping stones are available in the form of poker variations like three-card and Caribbean stud.

These share similarities with blackjack, in that you play against the dealer, whose actions are pre-determined depending on his or her hand. Both games give you the opportunity to add some strategic thinking to the basics that you learned in video poker, specifically on whether to play or whether discretion should be the better part of valor.

Develop Your Game

The late Mike Sexton is credited with saying poker takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master. That’s just fine, and is the way it should be. After all, once you have grasped the basics, the fun lies in the journey. Good luck!

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