Wanna become a Poker Pro?! Basics and info you can’t afford to overlook!

If we were to go by the popular public opinion, poker is easily the most-loved gambling card game throughout the world, regardless of whether it’s played in any offline casino or an online one like Bet365.

All different variations of poker involve betting as an integral part of the gameplay, and for ascertaining the winner of every hand, depending on the different card combinations dealt to the players. All or some of these combinations may stay hidden until the completion of the game, as per the poker variant being played.

Poker games differ from each other on the basis of the number of cards dealt to the players, the number of community or shared cards, the betting method and the number of cards remaining hidden till the last hand.

Majority of modern-day poker games involve the start of the first round betting by imposed bets on one or more players. On the other hand, the standard poker games involve every player betting based on the rank he/she believes his/her hand is worth, in comparison to other players at the table.

Thereafter, the action proceeds in clockwise direction, with each player either folding his/her cards or matching (also referred to as calling) the maximum previous bet. If he/she chooses to fold his/her cards, he/she loses the amount he/she had bet so far, and any further interest in the received hand.

A player who’s willing to match the maximum previous bet, may also choose to increase or raise the bet amount. The betting round normally ends with all players either having matched the highest bet or having folded their cards. In the event that all but just one player folds his/her cards in a betting round, that player is entitled to collect the amount in the pot without the need of revealing his/her hand.

In case there’s more than one contender for the pot after the final betting round is through, every player must reveal his/her hand and the one with the winning hand is allowed to take the pot amount.

Barring the initial forced bets, the players must bet money into the pot only if they consider it right as per their strategy; implying that they may place voluntary bets either because of having good cards or for bluffing other players. Hence, although the kind of cards received by a player is completely a matter of chance, his/her long-run success at the game is determined by his/her actions based on his/her psychology, game theory and probability.

Poker gained immense popularity ever since it came into the mainstream gambling circles during the 20th century. It has emerged as a game that once used to be merely a recreational activity, limited to small enthusiastic groups, to something that’s actively played in closed-rooms and every offline and online casino throughout the world, including the likes of Bet365. Sometimes poker tournaments involve thousands of players, not to mention a large number of online and off-line spectators. Such popularity of poker has led to the emergence of professional poker players who continue to win millions of dollars in prizes.

The history of poker

If historians are to be believed, the game of poker originated from New Orleans in Louisiana, US back in the year 1829. It used to be played between 4 players and with a 20 card deck. Every player would bet on the most valuable hand received by a particular player.

From thereon, the game spread to the rest of the US through the Mississippi riverboats. Gambling used to be a common pastime of people travelling on these boats. Thereafter, it grew in popularity in the northern regions along the Mississippi River, and spread to the western areas during the times of gold rush, Poker emerged as an integral part of the officers and soldiers’ daily routines, while being at the frontiers.

Soon, this exciting game took the form of complete 52-card French deck poker, and it was then that the flash came into being. The ‘draw’ also got added to the game of poker before the year 1850. Many more additions were made to poker, including the straight draw and the popular 5-card stud poker during the times of American Civil War. Further American modifications happened in the following years, for instance the wildcard (sometime around 1875), split pot poker and lowball (sometime around 1900), and thereafter the popular community card poker around the year 1925.

The modern-day poker tournaments gained prominence in the permitted American casinos post the beginning of WSOP (World Series of poker) in 1970. Some of the early winners of WSOP were Puggy Pearson, Bobby Baldwin, Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. This was also the time when various poker strategy books were published, for instance David Sklansky’s ‘The Theory of Poker,’ Mike Caro’s ‘Caro’s Book of Poker Tells’ and Doyle Brunson’s Super/System.

By 1980s, poker became a sort of popular cultural recreational activity. 1990s saw poker finding its way across various casinos in the permitted states of the USA.

The popularity of poker reached new heights during the starting years of the 21st century, mostly due to the introduction of hole-card cameras and the ease of playing poker in an online casino, which turned this age-old game of cards into a mainline spectator sport. Now, the viewers could not only follow the poker drama and action on television, but also play from the comfort of their living rooms. In fact, the 2003 edition of WSOP witnessed Chris Moneymaker, an accountant who had never played even a single round of professional poker, ending up winning the main event. He found his way to the $ 10,000 tournament through a $ 40 multi-table satellite, and then turned his $ 40 stake into a $ 2.5 million fortune.

What followed is something of a popularity phenomenon for the game of poker, commonly referred to as the ‘Moneymaker Effect’! New poker tours started emerging, including the likes of European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour.

Year 2009 saw the formation of International Federation of Poker in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IFP became the poker’s official governing body and has since been involved in the promotion of the game in the form of a mind sport.

How is it played?

In the casual play version of poker, the right to deal poker hands rotates among the different players at the table, and is marked using a token referred to as the buck or dealer button. When the game is played in an offline or an online casino, it’s the house dealer who handles the cards distribution to the players. Nevertheless, the button (in the form of a white plastic disc) gets rotated in the clockwise direction among different players, for indicating the nominal dealer and for determination of the betting order. Normally, the cards are always dealt in the clockwise direction, one card at a time.


Forced bets are imposed on one or more players, usually in the form of a blind or an ante bet (sometimes even both). The cards are shuffled by the dealer and are then cut by the player sitting on his/her right.
Thereafter, the dealer hands out a specific number of cards to the players sitting at the table, one at a time, starting with the player on his/her left.

The dealer may deal the cards either face-down or face-up, based on the type of poker variant being played. After the cards are dealt, the players may indulge in first of the many betting rounds. Their hands may develop in one way or the other after every round of play, usually through the additional dealt cards, or by replacement of the cards that were dealt to them earlier. All the player bets are accumulated in a central pot after completion of every round.

The hand may end immediately if only one player bets in a certain betting round and all others fold their cards, refusing to match or call that player’s bet. In that case, that one player is awarded the money gathered in the pot, without the need of a revealing his/her cards. This marks the closing of that particular hand, and beginning of a new one. Many seasoned poker players indulge in bluffing during the play, something that distinguishes poker from various other card games, especially the ones that also use the poker hand rankings.

In case there are more than one players remaining after the last betting round, these players are required to have a showdown, in which they reveal their hidden cards on the poker table and evaluate them against the others. The pot money is handed to the player who has the best hand, depending on the type of poker game being played. A poker hand normally comprises of 5 cards. In the game variants that involve more than 5 cards dealt to the players, it’s the best 5-card combination that determines the winner. The method of playing poker remains the same, no matter where you’re playing – in an offline setting or an online casino like Bet365. (Please note, Bet365 is counted amongst the best bookmakers in the business. You can learn more about it at).

A quick look at the 4 important poker variants

The game of poker can be played in various ways by essentially following a certain basic pattern, and using different betting and card-dealing protocols. Regardless, the same hand-ranking method or hierarchy is used in all variants. Let’s take a quick look at the four main variants of poker as follows:

Straight draw poker
In this game, complete 5-card hands are dealt to all the players, and they must bet in one single round, raising and re-raising their stakes depending on their strategy. Oldest among the family of poker games, straight draw poker has its roots in a game called Primero, which later took the shape of 3-card brag, gaining immense popularity during the American Revolutionary War. It’s enjoyed in several parts of UK even today.

Stud poker
In this game, cards are dealt to players in a pre-decided combination of face-up and face-down rounds, each one followed by a betting round. Next-oldest in the family of poker games, this one became immensely popular as poker graduated from the 3-card to the 5-card version.

Draw poker
In this poker variant, complete face-down hands are dealt to all the players, and they’re allowed to change or improve their hands by discarding undesirable cards in an effort to improve their hands. One of the popular examples of draw poker is immensely popular 5-card draw.

Community card poker
A variant of stud poker, community card poker is also frequently referred to as ‘flop poker.’ In this game, complete face-down hands are dealt to the players, followed by placement of face-up community cards at the center of the poker table. All players are free to use one or more of these center cards for making their best 5-card hands. Omaha poker and Texas Hold Em poker are two highly popular types of community card poker games.