BASIC "POKER" RULES

Poker is a game of many flavors as it has taken on a variety forms over the years. There are many different versions of poker rules and strategy from all around the world. Here, we will cover one of the most basic and common forms of Poker called "Five Card Draw," which provides an excellent foundation to build on when learning the many varieties of Poker. 

Gaming Items
Standard 52-card deck.

Players and Personnel
Dealer - Handles all of the cards.
Between 2 and 6 players

Object of the Game
The object of the game is to obtain a 5-card combination or "Hand" of cards with the highest value according to the type of Poker that you are playing. Each card is ranked in value.

Card Ranking from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. (Aces can count as high or low) 

Suits of Cards: Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades. All suits have equal value.

Basic Rules of Play
Generally, most types of Poker require each player to "Ante up" by placing a minimum amount of money/chips on the table or in the "pot" prior to any cards being dealt. The cards are then shuffled and each player is dealt 5 cards usually in a clockwise direction.  Players examine their cards to decide if their current hand can beat all other player's hands. A round of betting now occurs at which time all players can either "Call" "Raise" or "Fold." Below is an explanation of the three options.

  • Call: Betting enough money or chips to match what has been bet by other players since the last time that you bet. On the first round of betting, the player in the first position can "check" which means that he or she does not owe anything to the pot because the pots value has not been increased yet.

  • Raise: Betting enough money or chips to match what has been bet by other players since the last time that you bet and then increasing the value of your bet. Usually, there will be a maximum limit that you can raise per round.

  • Fold: You are dropping out of this hand of cards losing any money or chips that you have contributed to the pot. Your cards are placed face-down on the table and are never revealed to the other players. You do not have to bet any more money.

Once every player has either bet or folded, each player has the option to  replace or "discard" up to three cards from his or her hand in hopes of obtaining new cards that will increase the value of the hand. Once all players have had the chance to receive new cards, another round of betting begins. This cycle continues until all players either "call" or "fold" out of a particular round of betting. (If any of the players "raise" during the betting round, the cycle continues.) At this time, all players must reveal their hand of cards. The player with the highest hand value wins the pot.

Poker (Five-card draw) Hand Values
Below is a list of Poker hands ranked from highest to lowest in hand value.

  • Five of a Kind: The highest hand possible and can only be achieved when using wild cards. All cards have the same face value.
    Ex. Having 4 queens and a wild card taking on the value of a queen.

  • Straight Flush: Five cards of the same suit that are in ascending order. Ex: (4,5,6,7,8) of spades. Like a regular straight, you can have and 'ace' that counts as either a high card or low card. Ex: (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten) of Hearts where the 'ace' is the high card. This is also called a Royal Flush. A hand where the ace counts as the low card or 1 would look like  (5,4,3,2,1) of hearts.

  • Four of a Kind: Four cards with the same value in a hand. Ex: 4 of Diamonds, 4 of Hearts, 4 of Spades, 4 of Clubs, 9 of Hearts.  If two players have a "four of a kind" hand, the hand with the highest value set of cards wins. Ex: player A has (5,5,5,5,K), player B has (9,9,9,9,2). Player B would win. In certain versions of poker where there are many wildcards, it is possible that two or more players might have equal "four of a kind." hands. In the event of a tie, the hand with the highest value fifth card would win. 

  • Full House: Three of a kind and a pair. Ex: Queen of Spades, Queen of Hearts, Queen of Diamonds, 4,4. If two players have a full house, the player with the higher value first three of a kind wins. Ex: King of Spades, King of Hearts, King of Diamonds, 4,4 beats Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts, Jack of Clubs, 4,4. 

  • Flush: All of the cards are of the same suit. Ex:(2,4,6,7,9) of Spades. In the event of a tie, the person holding the highest valued card wins. Ex: (2,3,5,7,J) of Hearts beats (3,5,6,7,9) of Clubs because the high card out of the two hands is the Jack. In the event that two or more players tie on the high card, the 2nd highest card determines the winner from all hands. Ex: (2,4,5,9,J) of Diamonds beats (4,5,7,8,J) of Clubs. Both of the hands contain a Jack as the high card, therefore the second highest card in each hand is used to determine the winner. The second highest card is the 9 of diamonds in the first hand which beats the 8 of Clubs in the second hand.

  • Straight: Five cards of any suit in ascending order. Ex:(3,4,5,6,7) of any suit. An 'Ace' can counts as either a high card or low card. Ex: (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten) of any suit where the 'ace' is the high card. A hand where the ace counts as the low card or 1 would look like  (5,4,3,2,1) of any suit. In the vent of a tie, the hand with the highest straight wins. Ex: (3,4,5,6,7) of any suit beats (2,3,4,5,6) of any suit.

  • Three of a Kind: Three cards with the same value and two that are not a pair. Ex: 7 of Hearts, 7 of Diamonds, 7 of Spades, 2 of Clubs, 6 of Clubs. If two or more players hold the same hand due to wild cards, the player with the highest valued card of the remaining two cards wins. Ex: (5,5,5,2,9) beats (5,5,5,2,4).

  • Two Pair: Two sets of distinct pair of cards. Ex: (2,2,K,K). The highest set of pair wins in the event of a tie. Ex: (5,5,7,7) beats (4,4,5,5).

  • Pair: One pair of cards in the hand. Ex: (5,5,7,J)
  • High Card: This is any hand that does not have any of the properties of the hands listed above. In the event that no player has at least a pair, the player with the highest card wins.






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