The popularity of online casinos is experiencing rapid growth among Canadians. At the same time, it’s challenging to find a game that’s more popular than poker. People are simply in love with it. With thousands of new players every week, poker remains the most sought-after card game in this country.
Most of those new players are, of course, beginners. Some are quite familiar with the rules, and they know exactly how to approach this card game. Others, however, aren’t so confident, and they wonder if their perspective on the game is correct. They feel their knowledge needs to be expanded, and they are willing to learn. Being completely aware of how frustrating the learning process can be, we created a detailed guide for every beginner.
Not only are we going to analyze the most common types of poker in great depth, but we are also going to teach you how to play every single one of them. Topics like legal regulation, game’s origins, and history will be covered in this play poker how-to as well. In short, everything you need to know about poker lies in front of you! Read on!
The History of Poker
When it comes to the origin of poker, historians are everything but united. In its various forms and incarnations, poker’s been around for more than ten centuries. Some claim it comes from 10th century China. Apparently, the Chinese emperor was amazed by something that could be called a domino-card game. He played it daily and even organized annual competitions with generous prizes. The game soon became very popular among regular people.
Others say poker is nothing more than the improved version of the ancient Persian card game. There seems to be both anecdotal and material evidence of people playing a poker-like card game throughout the Persian empire. Another popular theory is that poker actually comes from 17th century France. The game was called Poque and, allegedly, it first caught on among the working class Parisiens.
How to Play Poker for Beginners
These days, the game of poker is usually played with two standard 52-card packs. While the first pack is being dealt to players, the other is reshuffled and ready for the next deal. When the round comes to an end, a new dealer uses the second pack, and players get their cards for the next round. The previous dealer then shuffles the cards used during their round. The first player on the dealer’s left side is usually the one who cuts the deck.
Rules of Poker — What Is the Strongest Hand?
One of the first things you should learn is the value of every hand you could get. Even though many beginners struggle with this, we are sure it’s easier to remember them if they are laid out properly. For that reason, we present them, starting from the strongest and ending with the weakest. Here they are:
- Royal Flush — You have an ace, a king, a queen, a jack, and a ten, all of the same suit.
- Straight Flush — You have any five consecutive cards of the same suit.
- 4 of a Kind (Poker) — You have four cards of the same rank.
- Full House — You have three cards of one rank and another two of the other rank.
- Flush — You have five cards of the same suit, but they aren’t consecutive.
- Straight — You have five consecutive cards that are not of the same suit.
- 3 of a Kind — You have any three cards of the same rank.
- 2 Pair — You have two cards of the same rank and another two of the same rank.
- 1 Pair — You have any two cards of the same rank.
- High Card — You don’t have any of the combinations above. In case your opponent is in the same situation, the one with the highest card wins.
How to Play Poker for Dummies — Common Poker Terms
If you just saw a movie in which the game of poker is played, and you wonder what’s the meaning of all those words the players were repeatedly using, you need to read this. Just like many other games, poker has its own terminology. Before even approaching a poker table, you should know the meaning of the most common terms. They are as follows:
- Ante — This is the minimum amount you have to bet if you want to participate in the game.
- Blinds — Before the cards are even dealt, blinds are placed on the table. They can be in the form of real money, or in the form of casino chips. Blinds can be ‘big’ or ‘small’, and their purpose is to ensure bets are being made with each new hand. They circle around the table, from player to player, with every new deal.
- Button — In casino games, a button or a buck is the marker that shows who’s got the last move in the current deal.
- Call — If one of the players before you decides to place a new bet, you need to call to continue your participation. To call means to match the raised amount.
- Check — If no new bets have been made and you don’t want to bet either, you can simply check.
- Raise — If you decide to raise, you will increase the existing bet.
- Stud game — If you’re playing a stud game, you are dealt 5–7 cards (depending on the variant), and you have to use those cards to make your best hand. You don’t get any additional cards.
- Draw game — In draw games, you get a number of cards, and you can choose up to three which you’re going to trade. The number of cards you’re allowed to trade may depend on the version you’re playing.
- Community card game — If you’re playing a community card game, you’ll be dealt a number of cards that are only yours. These are the cards only you can see, and they are often called ‘hole cards’. At the same time, several cards will be placed on the table. These are called community cards because everyone can use them to make their best hand. Your best hand, therefore, will be a combination of your hole cards and the community cards.
As you can see, most of these words are not that complicated. However, without knowing them, it would be impossible to play.
How Is Poker Played? — Most Popular Poker Variations
Adopted by many different nations and cultures around the world, poker has evolved in various directions. Even though they all share some characteristics, every type of poker has unique rules. They are all distinctive and, depending on the region, widely accepted.
Without any doubt, the number one poker game in the world is Texas Hold’em. Quite often, when people say poker in Canada, they mean Texas Hold’em. The fact that it’s played in the World Series of Poker proves even professionals like it.
At the beginning of the game, you are dealt two cards. As it was mentioned before, these are also called ‘hole cards’ or ‘pocket cards’. Now you have to wait for five community cards. However, they are not all revealed at once. Instead, you’ll first see three cards being laid on the table, and they are called ‘the flop’. Next comes the fourth one, also known as ‘the turn’. Eventually, the fifth one, often referred to as ‘the river’, is placed on the table.
There are four rounds of betting. You can lay your first bet as soon as you get your ‘hole cards’.The second round of betting happens after the first three community cards are placed on the table. The third round of betting begins after ‘the turn’ is revealed, and the fourth round happens after ‘the river’ is flipped. As you’re probably guessing, Texas Hold’Em is a community card game.
This is another community card game that’s omnipresent in both land-based and online casinos throughout the world. We could say it’s somewhat similar to Texas Hold’Em; however, a few differences make it even more complex. Just like in Texas Hold’em, there are four rounds of betting, and it can be played by as many as ten players. What’s different is that you’ll be dealt four ‘hole cards’.
Right after that, all the community cards will be revealed without any delays. This makes the whole game more unpredictable. The thing is — you don’t get to see how other players behave, as new cards appear on the table. Consequently, you have fewer clues you can base your assumptions on. On top of that, you have to combine only two ‘hole cards’ and three community cards.
A few decades ago, things were much different when it comes to the popularity of various types of poker. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the Seven-Card Stud was the most common variant of poker in North America. It used to be the game beginners were taught first, as this is a rather slow version of poker that’s very easy to learn.
In the Seven-Card Stud, there are no community cards, and betting limits are almost always fixed. In the beginning, you’ll have to pay an ante (mandatory for all participants), and you’ll get three cards. Two of them will be facing the table so you can’t see them, and one will be face-up. If your face-up card is the lowest on the table, you’ll have to ‘bring-it-in’. The bring-in is usually five times the ante.
At that exact moment, you can also choose to ‘complete’. This means you want to raise the bet and, in most cases, it has to be at least two times the bring-in. The game continues with every player having an option to fold, bring-in, or raise. Eventually, the fourth card is dealt face-up to every player. This card is often referred to as ‘the fourth street’. Once again, the betting begins, and every player shows their highest value cards (using face-up cards only).
The game continues, and every player gets another face-up card both on the fifth and on the sixth street. The culmination of the hand is the dealing of the seventh street. The catch is — every player will get their seventh card face-down. All the players who are still in the game after the last round of betting have to show their cards and have the best five-card poker in order to win.
This is a stud game and, as the name itself indicates, it can be played in two ways. If you’re playing Low Chicago, the player who gets the lowest spade face-down card will win half of the pot. In High Chicago, things are exactly the opposite. The player who gets the highest spade face-down card will win half of the pot.
The other half of the pot is won by the player who has the best poker hand. Should you have both the winning spade and the best hand, you’ll win the entire pot. What’s also interesting about Chicago is that it can easily be combined with other variants of poker. Consequently, this often happens to be the case in casinos across the globe.
Often seen in the old Wild-West movies, the Seven-Card Draw is another famous version of this exciting game. Since cowboys obviously liked to keep it simple, it doesn’t take too long to explain this variant. The game begins with every player being dealt five cards, together with a round of betting. As soon as the betting is over, every player can trade as many cards as they want.
When the draw is finished, another round of betting commences. Eventually, every player has to show the cards and the one having the best five-card poker wins. As you can see, this version is for those who like bluffing and can call a bluff. The fact that you can’t see your opponents’ cards during the game makes the ability to read other people’s behaviour even more important. Here’s another game that’s suitable for rookies.
How Is Poker Played? — Practical Advice
After all these explanations, it becomes rather obvious that luck isn’t the only thing you need in order to win in the game of poker. Knowing the terminology and rules is a good start. However, without at least some experience and knowledge of psychology and probability, you won’t make significant results.
Experience is essential because it can help you stay calm, no matter if you’re winning or losing. It’s good to know that every streak comes to an end, and things can change quickly in this game. When we say psychology, we mean the ability to assess other people’s behaviour. You should always notice the changes on your opponents’ faces during the game.
When it comes to probability, it’s all pure math. If the game is played with a standard 52-card pack, one card can appear only once. The same number can appear four times. Knowing facts like these, in combination with what you see on the table, can help you significantly increase your chances. And, in the end, there is the most important ingredient — luck!
How to Play Poker Without Chips?
If you’re playing a friendly game with your pals, you don’t need any chips. You can simply use pieces from any other board game you have. Coins, nails, and paper clips also seem appropriate. Anyway, once you choose a substitute for chips, the most important thing is to properly assign the value to each piece. Every player has to know how much each piece is worth. After that, you’re good to go!
Is Playing Poker Legal in Canada?
Since there are many rumours surrounding this game, some beginners often wonder if it’s legal to play poker in Canada. In short, there’s nothing to worry about. Playing poker, both in land-based and online casinos, is perfectly legal in all Canadian provinces. What’s even better — there are numerous reliable poker sites available in Canada, so people don’t have to go anywhere. They can enjoy their favourite game from the comfort of their home.
The game of poker is outstandingly exciting, and it keeps attracting numerous players of all ages and sexes. In fact, the number of poker sites available in Canada is expected to grow over the next few years. With so many versions available, any player can find the one that satisfies their needs. So, if you’re sure you remember all the rules, pick the one you like the most and start your poker journey!