How to play poker

In this article you will learn how to play No Limit Hold´em Poker. We will describe every rule, hand ranking, and possible actions you can take when it’s your turn to play. Come and learn with us!

NL Texas Hold’em

To play poker we will need at least two players, up to a maximum of 9 per table. Each player gets 2 cards, and for each play/hand there will be 4 streets of betting. Since it is a no limit game, in each street you can bet whatever you want, or even go all in whenever you want. The purpose of the game is that, at each hand, you can make the best possible combination of 5 cards.

Ranking de mãos:

If, for each of these combinations of 5 cards, you use the two that were dealt to you, the stronger your hand will be.

Position at the table, blinds 15/30:

posições na mesa, pokerstars.pt
table positions, pokerstars.pt

One of the most important things to know when you start to play Poker, is to understand the importance of position at the table. You can see them at the image above.

SB = Small Blind (we have to put in 15 chips, in this example, and we will be out of position – very hard and uncomfortable to play from this position)
BB = Big Blind (we have to put in 30 chips, in this example. Having made this investment already, we will often have to defend and play against opponents raises)
UTG = Under the Gun (the worst position at the table, where we should play less hands, only strong ones, because we still have a lot of opponents to play after us)
UTG+1 = Under the Gun +1 (strategically similar to the previous one)
MP1 = Middle Position 1 (we will start to play a few more hands, with caution)
MP2 = Middle Position 2 (strategically similar to the previous one.)
HJ = High Jack (there are fewer opponents to act after us, we will start to play more hands, i tis easier to try and still the blinds)
CO = Cutoff (only the Button can play in position against us, we will play a lot of hands)   
BTN = Button (the best position at the table, we will always be playing in position – last to act – in every street. You should play nearly 50% of hands)                                                     

Possible actions when playing Poker:

In Poker you can take the following actions when it’s your time to play:

Check = Pass your turn to the next player without making any bet.
Call = You match the bet your opponent made.
Bet = Bet the size/value you want, that has to be at least one big blind. 
Raise = Raise the previous bet made from your opponent.
Fold = Give up the hand.                                

Starting to play:

PreFlop:

The dealer starts dealing cards to his left, one at a time, starting from the small blind, the last being dealt always to the Button. Preflop action starts at UTG, that has three options, raise, call or fold. When you only call from these positions it’s called a “limp”, a play that we discourage, strategically wise. You should always raise or fold when you are first to act.

If you raise, the next player, UTG+1, has the same options, raise, call or fold. And so on, every time the previous action ends.

Let’s assume everyone folded, and only the Small Blind called, that’s the end of pre flop play. The dealer then puts three cards on the table, called the “flop”.

Flop:

The first to act is the player nearest to the Button, on the left. In this case it would be the SB, that has two options, check or bet. After you check or bet, it’s the next player at your left time to act, in this case the UTG+1, that can check after you, call your bet, or raise.

If he decides to bet or raise, the action goes back to the SB. This flop actions comes to an end if there is a call to a bet, or a fold. If there is a check/check, or bet/call, we go to the “turn”.

Flop Pokerstars.pt
Flop Pokerstars.pt

Turn:

The dealer puts another card at the table. You now have the same action options as preflop, and if we don’t reach a fold, we get to the last card of this hand, the “river”.

Turn Pokerstars.pt
Turn Pokerstars.pt

River:

Starting the action again at the SB, and afterwards UTG+1. If we don’t reach a fold from neither of the players, even if it goes check/check or bet/call, the hand finishes and we get to the “showdown”.

River Pokerstars.pt
River Pokerstars.pt

Showdown:

As the hand in play comes to an end, and starting from the same order as before, all players turn their cards “face up”, and the strongest hand, from the ranking, wins and takes the pot.

Start to play now!


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