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Introduction to Playing Poker (Beginners Guide)

So your new to poker - well every poker player has been in your shoes at one time or another. We all started at some time or another and there's no better time to be getting involved. There are always tons of great promotions and materials available online to help you improve your game.

To give you a very brief background, Poker has been about for a very long time, since the early or mid-1700's and spread throughout the Mississippi River area by the early 1800's. Poker are for the most part a community card games, including the most popular of all, Texas Hold'em. There are many different types of poker games and variants and they vary in how cards are dealt, betting structure, how the cards are dealt, limits and whether the pot is split between the high or low hand. As you are just getting started we will use Hold'em for any illustration purposes in this article. Hold'em is a very exciting and fast paced game. When you play you can either play no-limit, limit or pot limit Hold'em. The limits are fairly self explanatory. In no limit, you can push your entire stack into the pot, in limit, you can only raise double the initial bet, and pot limit, you can only bet the size of the pot.

There are a few things to remember in any poker game. There will always be a dealer button on the table, usually in front of a player. This indicates who posts the blinds, automatic bets which serve the purpose of ensuring that there is money in every pot (otherwise there would be no incentive for players). In any poker game there will be these automatic bets and the action (play) will move clockwise round the table. In Hold'em, there are 4 rounds of betting. Initially all players are dealt 2 cards that no-one else can see (face down) which are known as Hole Cards. Looking at these cards players have the choice to either play the cards or fold (throw them away). Left of the dealer button, the first player will post the small blind and the player next on the left will post the big blind, usually twice the size of the small. The player on the immediate left of the big blind who is still in the hand will be the first to act. If he chooses to call, check or raise, going left round the table, anyone wishing to stay in the hand must match in chips the biggest bet made.

All players in the hand then have the first 3 community cards placed on the table. These are face up cards that all players can use. The idea around poker is that you use the cards in your hand with the community cards on the table to make the best poker hand. The beauty of poker is that no-one knows what you have in your hand so it is possible to try to represent and better hand than you have. If you make a raise and all other players fold, you will win the value of the pot. In Hold'em after the first second round of betting (on the flop), there is an additional community card dealt, known as the turn. Again in clockwise order going round the table there will be bets and to stay in the hand you must match the bet. After the betting on the turn, there is one final card dealt known as the river and a final round of betting. All players still in the hand then turn over their cards and the best 5 card poker hand wins the pot. This is known as the showdown.

The dealer button then moved round one place clockwise and a new hand is dealt to players.

The key really is, particularly when starting out are the Hole Cards that you are dealt. Try not to play any old two cards. You want to play selective cards to maximize your chances of winning the hand. When starting out, be careful with your money. Don't play out of your comfort zone.

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Interesting Facts

Poker is one of the top favorite sports and games on TV. According to TV ratings, it comes third after football and car racing in that order.

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