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The Dice Players' Guide to Poker

The traditional card game of poker can make for a strategic and engaging pastime for dice enthusiasts. If you’ve already played the dice poker version, you’ll have some idea of how challenging this game can be. But if you’re completely new to the world of poker then read on for the key things that you need to know. 

Poker variants

There are actually many different types of poker variants that are played today, both in offline and online poker rooms and casinos. Three of the most common types of poker variants that you’ll come across are Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi (or Pot-limit Omaha) and 7-Card Stud. 

Texas Hold’em - arguably the most popular poker variant, which is played by amateurs and pros alike all over the world. 

The game follows a clockwise format, and begins with players putting forward their blinds. Two hole cards are then dealt to all players, and after the first round of betting a further three “community cards” are dealt onto the table to form the flop. All the players in the game are able to use the flop cards to improve their poker hands. 

After subsequent rounds of betting, two more community cards are dealt, the turn and the river. This is followed by one final round of betting, with all remaining players having to show their hands at the end of this. The player with the best 5-card hand, made up of their initial hole cards and the community cards, is declared the winner. 

During each betting round, players are able to call, raise, or fold. 

Omaha Hi - another globally popular variant, this game is typically played with a pot limit, which is won by the player with the highest hand at showdown. 

Omaha Hi follows the same format as Texas Hold’em, except that four hole cards are initially dealt to players instead of two. The aim is to still have the best 5-card hand, comprised of two of the four hole cards and three of the five community cards. 

The increase in hole cards means it's much easier to make good hands when playing this variant. 

7-Card Stud - before Texas Hold’emcame to the forefront of the poker world, Stud poker was actually the most common form played. 7-Card Stud differs a lot from the aforementioned games. There are no community cards and each player receives their own, individual hand.

At the start of the game all players put forward an ante, upon which they are dealt three cards: one face down and two face up. The player who has the lowest value face-up card then has to either place a smaller “bring in” bet, or make a complete bet of a smaller increment of the value of the game. 

After the first betting round, players are dealt another face-up card, but this time it’s the player with the highest face-up value who has to make that complete bet. This is followed by two more rounds, with an additional face-up card dealt in each. Again, it’s the player with the highest face-up cards who has to act first by placing the increment bet. 

During Seventh Street, each player still in the game receives a final face-down card, giving them a total of 7 cards. From this, it’s the player with the best 5-card hand who wins. 

Hand Rankings

As a beginner, it’s almost certain that you’ll first start out playing Texas Hold’em poker, but each variant has its own rules regarding the type of poker hands that you can play. Let's take a look at the poker hands available under the traditional “high” system, which is used to play all the variants we mentioned above. 

  • Straight Flush - five cards of identical suits in numerical order. The royal Flush - which consists of ace, king, queen, jack, ten - is the best possible type of straight flush. 
  • Four of a kind - four cards of the same value along with a “kicker” (side card). 
  • Full House - three cards of the same value, and two cards with a differing matching value. 
  • Flush - five cards belonging to the same suit. 
  • Straight - five cards of any suit in numerical order. In a straight hand, the Ace can be both high and low value, i.e Ace K Q J 10 is the highest possible straight, with 5 4 3 2 Ace being the lowest. 
  • Three of a kind - three cards of the same value, with any two other side cards. 
  • Two Pair - two sets of pairs (value) and a side card. 
  • One Pair - two cards of the same value and three side cards 
  • High card - any other hand that doesn’t match the ones listed above. 

Tips on playing

As much as poker is a challenging and exciting game, it’s important to keep things in check when you’re first starting out, especially if you want to keep your losses to a minimum. 

One of the best things you can do as a new player is to fold more than you play. Okay, you may spend many of those first games just sitting at the table, but this is a great opportunity to watch other players and study the ways in which they’re playing. 

The same applies when you don’t have a strong hand to play. Although poker is a game in which any hand can win, there’s no getting away from the fact that certain hands are much more likely to win than others. 

Finally, steer clear of those higher limit games until you’ve got some solid experience under your belt. The players that you’ll find at higher limit tables are much more advanced than lower limit players, meaning it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to beat them and you’ll end up spending a lot to stay in the game. 

It goes without saying, too, that you should only spend what you can afford to lose - that’s the golden rule of bankroll management.























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