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Learn Poker Rules!
This is where to get the basics!

This is the page to be at if you have never played poker before, and you need a starting point with poker rules. There are many different variations of traditional poker out there these days, so I'm just going to stick to the basics here, so you don't get confused. If you've never played poker before, you'll want to get familiar with the ranks of the different cards. It's pretty simple with poker, because it never changes; the cards are ranked the same whether you're playing Caribbean Stud, or Texas Hold'em. In all poker games, the cards are ranked in numerical order up to the face cards. So 2's are the lowest rank and 10's are the highest of the non-face cards. Of the face cards, Jacks are the lowest and Kings are the highest. And then there's the Ace. It's the highest ranked card of all. One of the best sites I've ever come across for poker rules is Pagat.com (http://www.pagat.com/). It's got comprehensive descriptions of rules for most card games you can think of, and poker is no exception. This is where I went when I wanted to find out about whether the suits are ranked differently in poker. Apparently, in standard poker, the suits have not bearing on the outcome of any hand. When two players have identical hands (aside from the suits of course), the pot is generally split between them.

There are some interesting variations on this though. With poker rules in Italy, there is apparently a standard suit ranking, and it's the reverse of what I would have thought it might be. The Italians rank the suits in the following order: hearts (high), diamonds, clubs, spades (low). I've always thought of the Ace of Spades as being the absolute highest card in the deck, but I guess it wouldn't be in Italy!

Now back to poker rules. It's pretty hard to write a comprehensive page on poker rules, because there are so many poker variations out there now that it would be impossible to cover the rules for all of them in just one page. But there is one basic commonality to all poker rules for all poker games, and this is it: Your hand must beat your opponent's hand in order for you to win, unless he/she drops out of the game before you do. The basics are the same for all types of poker, but there are a few variations that make this such a popular game. So basically, each player is dealt some cards, usually some face down, some face up. Depending on the particular variant of poker, the number of cards will be different. So the other players know what some of your cards are, but not what the others are, which makes it a game of possibilities and some guessing, some bluffing, etc. Then, as the game progresses, players making bets or dropping out at each stage, more cards are dealt, and the ranking of each players hand changes. Then more betting or folding, and more cards until the last card is dealt, and the remaining players "duke it out" for the pot. Each betting that he's got the best hand or folding due to the pressure.

You may in fact have a very poor hand; one that is not as good as one of your opponents, but because of the face-up cards, it may look the other way around. Sometimes in this case, all your opponents will gradually drop out of the game (called folding), leaving you the winner even though you didn't actually have the best hand. Sometimes it's exactly the opposite, and you fold, thinking you'd be sure to lose when you actually have the best hand.

As you can see, it's pretty hard to really get in depth with poker rules. There are so many different ways to deal and bet, that you'd pretty well have to have a separate page for a good description of each type of poker game. And I didn't event get into the rankings of the different hands you could be dealt. The reason for that is that I've got a separate page for poker hands that you can look at now. I'm sure some light bulbs will come on once you see that page. Have fun!

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