The Ultimate Poker Guide- How to Play Poker

Poker is a cutthroat card game played between two or more players However, unlike other card games like blackjack and baccarat, the dealer doesn’t take part in the gameplay directly. The dealer’s responsibility is:

poker
  • To deal the cards,
  • Keep an eye on gameplay,
  • And ensure the winner of each hand gets the pot.

The house or website hosting the game typically earns ready cash by acquiring a fraction of the pot or by charging the players some fee, known as the rake.

To date, depending on the region or the casino, there is a wide range of poker versions modified to fit the tastes of different casino players. Some of the game features that could vary include:

  • The dealing order
  • The system of betting,
  • And stakes of play.

Other determining factors include the tournament format or type of cash game, as well as the wagering rounds between the dealing procedures.

However, even though there are many different variants of the game, they are all guided by the same basic rules. Usually, the main aim of the game is to beat your challengers. This can be done through the following ways:

  • Either through having the best hand
  • Or forcing them to fold through a bluff.

You can as well hold outdo the rest of the other players and remain the last man standing in the hand for a win. A showdown takes place towards the end of a hand, wherein the players will have to display their hand. The player whose hand has the highest value becomes the winner of the pot. 

If you’ve ever had any questions about Poker in India, this is an exclusive guide of how to play poker. Whether you are a rookie trying to discover the ins and outs of the game or a seasoned player looking for extra pointers to sharpen your skill, this is your ultimate poker ‘hand-book.’

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The Popularity of Poker in India

Given that poker is prevalent in India, almost every online casino accepting Indians offers the game. There are numerous trustworthy offshore online casinos that offer their services to players in the country. You can easily join them for free and start playing the game, a well-liked leisure activity for most Indians.

What’s more, being that the game is also accessible online for free makes it even more worthwhile for Indians. You don’t have to spend money to have a good time. As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop with a stable internet connection, you can enjoy playing poker in a click.

Online Poker in India

With its titanic population, India is a nation that displays excellent potential when it comes to the enjoyment of poker games. Both the Eastern and Western cultures affect the lifestyle and career selections Indians make.

In light of this fact, the country relishes a strong history of various card games. Data indicates India has over one million poker punters, and with the betting craze that has recently immersed the nation, the figure will keep rising.

The Legality of Online Poker in India

The legality of casino games and poker in India remains an issue of great concern among locals who have an interest in gambling.

Technically, land-based casino poker is officially authorized by the law in two states – Sikkim and Goa. This is because these are the only two states to have passed a law that ‘CLEARLY SAYS’ gambling is legal.

Other states still rely on the very old and outdated The Daman, Diu and Goa Public Gambling Act of 1976.

This means that the lawfulness of poker and online betting remains a grey area in the majority of the states. There are cases where players from certain regions are restricted from accessing the top online casinos. Thus, accessing online poker sites in individual states is against the law.

What’s more, the Information Technology Act of 2000 prohibited those offering online services in India from hosting betting sites. In spite of these legislative obstacles, the online betting industry is still thriving. Indian players remain confident that the law will soon be changed so that they can relish the game.

Where Can You Play Online Poker in India?

Regardless of the lawful concerns about betting, players in India can still enjoy playing casino games online at numerous casinos. You are also free to join and play real money games from casino sites that are certified in other jurisdictions. You won’t have any issues with the Indian Government.

Better yet, for players who don’t really feel like spending their cash on the game, there’s still the option of playing for free. The challenge of the game will basically be the same, only that you won’t spend real money, and subsequently, you can’t earn real cash wins either.

How to Play Poker

Despite the fact Poker is a game of skill, it has some element of luck tied to it as well. In case you’re just getting started, you should take as much time as possible to learn how to play the game. There are numerous ways through which you can learn how to play poker.

  • You can learn about poker by reading books,
  • You can read online guides such as this one,
  • Or, you can watch video tutorials.

Below is a collection of guidelines and ideas to help you learn how to play poker.

Overall Classification of Poker Games

As we’ve already stated, the basic principle in the majority of poker versions is the same. All poker games are meant to challenge your wit and throw in a thrill factor as well, just like any other casino game. The long list of poker games that exist today can thus be categorized into four major classifications.

Based on the procedure used in dealing cards and making bets, below is the classification of poker games online:

üStraight Poker

For Straight poker, which is the oldest poker variant, every single player is dealt a whole hand to play in one round.

  • Stud Poker: Here, the cards are dealt with in fixed permutations. Players will simultaneously receive a couple of cards facing up and several others facing down. For every round, players will be given a chance to stake their wagers.
  • Draw Poker: A whole hand is dealt facing down to all players seated on the table. On top of that, after the first playing round, you could be provided with a chance to get rid of your cards for a fresh hand.
  • Community Card Poker: Players here will receive an incomplete hand of cards facing down and several other community cards. The community cards are often placed at the center of the table.

Kicking the Game Off

So, you’ve made up your mind to play one of the most exhilarating card games in history. But like anyone who tries something new for the first time, you are probably hesitant. You’re not entirely sure whether you have what it takes to bite the bullet and place wagers online.

Texas Hold’em, one of the most popular poker games, is also one of the most straightforward poker variants to learn. Having said that, our exclusive tutorial will take you through what is needed to get started with Texas Hold’em poker.

However, that doesn’t mean that what you’ll learn in the next section only applies to Texas Hold’em. Many of the terms here are applicable all across the board, whichever game of poker you play. And as long as you understand the range of concepts we’ll cover here, you’ll be ready to handle virtually any variant of the poker game.

The very first step to playing poker in India is signing up at a decent online casino and depositing some cash into your account. After that, choose your preferred game. Once you sign into the portal, you’ll be furnished with a wide array of poker variants. See below for an outline of what it takes to play poker.

Rules of Poker

Again, even though poker rules are quite similar, a significant chunk of the rules do vary from one variety of poker to another. The fundamental rules are identical across games, and the same also applies to how the poker hands are ranked. If you aren’t familiar with the strongest hands, or rather the hands that give you more edge, things could quickly go south. That is to say, you’re susceptible to losing all your stack of chips, accidentally. Here is a highlight of the different poker hands that you’ll come across, in descending order;

Royal Flush

The Royal Flush is the strongest possible hand in poker, but it’s also the rarest. It forms when you receive a straight flush that begins with a 10 and goes up to an Ace in the same suit. For instance, a poker hand of A♦ K♦ Q♦ J♦ 10♦,would become a Royal Flush.

Five of a Kind

This is a hand that contains five cards of a similar rank. The rank of this hand is higher than that of a straight flush. However, since there are only four cards of each rank in the standard deck, the ‘five of a kind’ can only be possible with the presence of one or more wild cards.

Thus, you should bear in mind that depending on the wild card rules of the game, there are cards that are designated to stand in for any other card in the deck. For instance, if you have A♥ A♦ A♣ A♠ and a Joker, you will have a five of a kind, Aces combination, where the Joker completes the hand as a bug – a wild card that acts as the fifth ace in the hand.

A Straight Flush

This is a combination of Straight and Flush. You will have A Straight Flush if your suit has 5 cards whose rank successive in value. Besides, straight flushes are ranked by the value of the card that has the highest value in hand. For instance, this hand, Q♥ J♥ 10♥ 9♥ 8♥, can also be referred to as a queen-high straight flush. In case you were wondering a royal flush is an ace-high straight flush

Four of a Kind

This hand is also referred to as quads. Just as the name implies, this is when a player’s hand contains 4 cards that are of a similar rank and a fifth card of a different rank. However, the quads hand should not be confused with a Five of a Kind hand, which forms when there are four cards of a similar rank and a wild card in the hand. An excellent example of a four of a kind hand is; 9♣ 9♠ 9♦ 9♥ J♥.

Full House

Full House, also known as a boat or a full boat, is a hand that has 3 levels of a similar rank plus a pair of a different set of cards. For example, a hand with three jacks and a pair of aces is categorized as a flush. 

A Flush

If you acquire 5 cards having a similar suit, irrespective of their worth, that’s a flush. And their rank doesn’t have to be sequential. Therefore, for instance, a hand that comprises J, 8, 5, 6, and 4 of spade makes up a flush.

You should also know that the value of a flush relies on the card that holds the highest rank in the hand. Likewise, the name given to the flush is derived from the card with the top-most rank in the hand. For instance, the hand here (J♠8♠5♠ 6♠4♠) is a jack-high flush.

A Straight

This is a hand that contains any five cards of successive ranks, irrespective of their suit. For instance, a hand with 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.Like the flush, the value of a straight relies on the card that holds the highest rank in the hand. Similarly, the name given to the straight is derived from the card with the top-most rank in the hand.

Three of a Kind

Also referred to as a trip or a set, this is a poker hand that consists of 3cards in a hand having a similar rank. For example, a hand that comprises of 6♥ 6♦ 6♠ Q♣ 4♠is a trip. When it comes to the hand’s value, the value of a trip relies on the rank of the triplet, then the other cards follow.

Two Pairs

This is a hand containing two pairs of cards, each pair having a similar rank and one more card with a different rank. i.e., the first pair has the same rank, the second pair having a different rank, and the last card from a different rank.

An excellent example of a two-pair hand is J♥ J♣3♣3♠ 9♥. For the hand’s value, the rank of the highest value pair will first be considered, then the lowest value pair in the hand, and the last card will follow. The same will also apply for the naming of the par. For instance, the two pairs above could also be referred to as two pair, jacks over threes or two pair jacks and threes or simply jacks up.

A Pair

When a hand has got 2 cards of a similar denomination, and three other cards having different denominations, it is known as a pair. The value of this hand will be based on the rank of the pair, then the rank of the three other cards in succession. Additionally, a pair will be named based on the rank of the 2 similar cards. For instance, a pair with a 9♣ 9♦ Q♠ J♥ 5♥can be referred to as a pair of nines or one pair, nines.

High Card

This type of hand is also known as nothing, or no pair because the cards that make up the hand don’t fall into any other hand category. A High Card hand will help you win the pot in case none of your counterparts in the game have one pair or a higher hand. You should, however, bear in mind that the value of this high card hand will be based on the highest-ranking card, and the value of the remaining cards will follow in succession. For instance, a hand having a Jack plus an Ace will beat a hand having an Ace and a 9. This is because the Ace High Card has a Jack Kicker.

Playing Your First Hand

Online poker has an order that must be followed while playing. When playing with other players, the player seated to the left of the dealer starts. As a player, your main aim is having a hand that has the highest value than what other players or the dealer has. Good hands have cards of a similar suit that tail each other (like 7, 8, and 9) or pairs such as 2 Kings.

As soon as it’s your turn to play, you’ve got 4 main choices to make. These are:

1.Bet

Making a wager basically takes place when you become the first one to put money in the pot. Therefore, the players following you will only be able to fold, call, or raise.

2. Fold

When you fold your hand, it essentially means you’re giving up hence you can’t win.

3.Call

Calling means making a wager to match the existing wager made by the player who played ahead of you.

4. Raise

A raise implies you’ll be increasing the worth of your existing wager to a better amount.

When Should You Bet, Fold, Call or Raise?

From the sections that we’ve already covered, you already have a clue on what makes a winning hand. For a good number of poker variants, you need to calculate your moves wisely. While the game demands a bit of aggression, calling in most 5-card poker games can prove to be a costly blunder.

At any rate, you should at least try your best to have on pair before you start placing bets. With one pair or a higher ranking hand, you can effortlessly bet and still raise without a lot of pressure or risk. However, in case you’re not feeling poised enough, you may perhaps consider folding.

Additionally, since chance is involved in poker, it isn’t always possible to depend on the value of your hand to win; and that is where bluffing comes in. You should also try to analyse your competition by checking for signs of weakness then use the bluffing strategy with susceptible players. When you understand your opponent’s strengths, weakness, and style of play, you will often get the upper hand on most occasions.

Poker Playing Styles

One of the aspects that make poker a fascinating game is that you can play the game using a range of different styles. In most cases, how you play depends on how much you are willing to spend and the amount of risk you are ready to take.

The main approaches you can take when playing this game include:

  • Tight’– a tight player will often play very few hands, and these few hands are usually the best hands.
  • ‘Loose’– the opposite of tight. Playing a range of different hands with more willingness to lay bets.
  • Aggressive-involves riskier betting, opening pots, and placing huge wagers. This approach is aimed at putting others under pressure.
  • Passive’passive is the opposite of aggressive, calling more often than wagering, allowing the opponent to control how the action unfolds. A passive poker player typically avoids confrontation and tries to avoid loss as much as possible.

From the above styles, types of poker players are typically a combination of two of the above. i.e., Tight Passive, Loose Passive, Tight Aggressive ad Loose Aggressive. The best poker players are those who can ‘alter gears’ and change their approach at the table, making them exceptionally unpredictable.

If you’re a newbie, on the other hand, then it would be better if you concentrated on the ‘tight-aggressive’ permutation playing style. Taking on this kind of approach helps you enjoy the perks wagering aggressively without blazing through your bankroll. Moreover, this style is also best for long-term success as it gives you the discipline to be patient and stops you from losing out on less significant hands. As you get better in the game, you can then loosen up and vary your gaming style.

Poker Playing Strategy and Tips

Now that you have the basics right at your fingertips, there are a handful of strategies that can make you a much better player. Oh, and by the way, even if you consider yourself an expert, there are still tips that could be handy in your game play. Here’s a breakdown of excellent tips that will work well for newbies, alongside a couple of advanced ideas to take into account when you become a pro. 

· Choices for the Newbies

You should first decide whether you want to play poker for fun or earn real money. Bear in mind that it will take lots of time and effort for you to play at a level where you can win consistently. And while it’s not wrong to stick to play poker in the free-to-play mode, without suffering actual losses, it will be more difficult for you to learn from your mistakes. To stay sharp, play for free first and practice a couple of moves, then switch to real money and put your strategies to the test. 

· Make Good Decisions and the Outcomes Will Follow

Never expect to win every time you play. It’s not how the real world works. Even the world’s most experienced poker layers lose at times. Your key objective ought to be to play your best in all sessions. By giving it all you can in terms of wit, and calculated moves, your ratio of wins to losses will improve as you advance. The mistake that most players frequently make is judging their poker ability based on the outcome of every single session. You need to make the most feasible play on every occasion. Getting closer to this will improve your results.

· The Basic Math of the Game

Being an arithmetical game, poker is a game of imperfect information. Simply put, winning poker, in most cases, begins with the choice of starting hands to play. If you go into the pot with the best hand more often than your challengers do, you will win more times than them.

· Going Past the Starting Hands

Even though your hand at the start of the game matters a lot, that’s just but a piece of the puzzle of poker strategy. You also need to work on your play for the hand or hands that follow. One thing that often separates pros from amateurs is that pros tend to play much better than their challengers during the follow-up hand or hands after the starting hand

It’s all about the choices that you make at the very end of each rounds. Work the pot odds, distinguish your betting patterns and try to understand how your opponent is playing, and bluff when you can. You should also be patient and still be aggressive when it counts. Don’t forget to take advantage of your position if you feel like you have the edge over your opponents in the game. Don’t wait to become an overnight pro, small improvements often add up and after a while, your skills get sharper and your number of wins start racking up.

· Stay Objective, Don’t Make Emotional Decisions

Not thinking emotionally is one of those meta-skills that ought to be part and parcel of a winning player’s strategy. If you aren’t careful, your opponents can use your emotions against you if you let them do so. Emotions can ruin your game of poker resulting in poor decisions and loss of cash.

If, for instance, you’re on a losing streak, your challengers could push you to make poor plays if they notice that the losses are getting to you. They could do this if they notice that in your emotional burst, you’re attempting to compensate for your losses. 

If you ever feel like you are in such a situation, it would be best if you left the game and cooled down. The game will still be there after a few hours. In fact, the game is going to be there tomorrow and the days after that. Clear your mind before your next gaming session.

· Understand the Value of your Playing Position

Your position in poker essentially means where you sit relative to the position of the dealer or dealer button. With each hand, the dealer button changes position in a clockwise direction. Thus, your position will also change after each hand. Being the last player usually gives you a strategic advantage as you already know how your challengers have acted.

For this tactical edge to favour you, it is wise to play weaker starting hands if you are in the late position. The extra advantage of a late position opens you up for greater flexibility and more choices as the hand plays out. However, since the position of the dealer’s button keeps changing, that advantage is shared between every player to keep the game fair.

· Knowing Your Odds and Outs

Odds are used to express the probability of something occurring. Now let’s consider a frequent situation in poker: You’ve got 4 clubs that are waiting for the final club to fall on the river. This will complete your flush and you will be the winner of the pot. A 52-card deck has 13 clubs, and you have 2 in your hand and an additional 2 on the board.

This leaves 9 cards remaining. Subtracting the 6 cards (2 in your hand and 4 on the board) leaves 46 cards that might come on the river, of which 9 will win you the pot. The 9 cards are referred to as your ‘outs.’ Therefore, the odds of you making the flush are 37/9 (9 cards out of the 46 will make your flash whereas the other 37 will not). Given that the ratio is 37 to 9, it implies your odds of making your flush are just about 4 to 1.

· Calculating the Odds of the Pot

Pot odds is the ratio between the chips you can win against the chips you must put in the pot. Using the example above, let’s say you’re playing a heads-up game against an opponent who is expecting you to hit your club on the river. Let’s assume that we already have ₹1,000 in the pot, and your challenger wagers their last ₹1,000. You can call, expecting to hit the club, or fold.

For such a situation, you’re expected to pay ₹1,000 as well to try winning ₹2,000, which is pot odds of 2 to 1. However, as we know from the previous example, the odds of hitting your flush are approximately 4 to 1. Going for a 4/1 risk for a payout of only 2 to 1 isn’t a good play. You are better off folding your flush draw. But then, let’s say there was already ₹9,000 in the pot when your challenger put in their last ₹1,000. In this situation, you would be asked to pay ₹1000 to try winning ₹10,000, bringing the odds of this pot at 10 to 1. Being presented with a payout of 10 to 1(10/1) when taking a 4 to 1 risk is a great move, so in this situation, you need to call.

· Make Your Bluffs Count

The higher the number of players you’re up against, the better the odds that at least one of them will have a strong hand. On the other hand, you’ll also find circumstances in which a properly-timed bluff can win you a pot you may otherwise lose.

When a player bluffs, they are trying to get their challenger to fold the best hand. Typically, bluffing is a good idea if you have a weak hand that you would like to fold before to the flop, or a hand that you wouldn’t want to spend your chips on. That way, you’ll get a second chance to win.

A winning hand convinces your challenger that you have the cards that will beat them. So, you need to consider how your play appears to them. If you were holding the cards with the highest value on the table, would you have played the hand how you played? Is the ‘story’ you’re telling via your actions at the poker table coherent and logical? If you decide to bluff, make it count!

What’s Next?

Now that you understand the basic poker rules and some strategies to help you win, why don’t you give the game a try? Remember, playing poker is supposed to be fun, don’t chase your losses or get too cocky after bagging a massive pot.

Play with moderation, focus on enjoying the thrill, and try to earn the bragging rights of edging out your opponents, Why don’t you sign up in a top online casino accepting Indians such as Comeon casino or Dafabet. At these casinos, you can play poker either for free or real money. Good Luck!