The first time I was asked to play poker, I had to confess I didn’t have a clue about it. Then after my poker-savvy friend who extended the invitation explained the rules to me, I thought, “Ah-ha! I now know that I will never, ever learn to play poker, and all of my friends just want me to lose my money.” However, I eventually discovered that poker is not impossible to learn, and furthermore, online poker and Internet casinos are fun!
Wondering what the rules are? Fortunately, Internet casinos have the same rules for online poker as you would play around your kitchen table. The two most popular poker games are Seven-Card Stud and Texas Hold ‘Em. In both varieties you choose the five cards that represent your hand, and the highest ranking hand wins. Sounds simple, right? Well, before you head off to those Internet casinos, let’s discuss the ranks.
Basically, there are ten possible hands. Here they are from highest to lowest:
1. Royal Flush: Five cards of the same suit in order from ten to ace (10, J, Q, K, A). If you have a royal flush, bet the House!
2. Straight Flush: Five cards of the same suit in order, but not necessarily the highest. A straight flush can be 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6; as long as it’s five in a row.
3. Four of a Kind: Four of the same value cards in any suit (four sevens, four queens, etc).
4. Full House: Three of one value card and two of another, any suit.
5. Flush: Five cards of the same suit, order doesn’t matter.
6. Straight: Five cards in ranking order, regardless of suit.
7. Three of a Kind: Three matching value cards, any suit (three fives, three aces).
8. Two Pair: Just like it sounds: two of one card, two of another, any suit.
9. Pair: Two matching cards.
10. High Card: If no one else in the game has any of the above combinations, the person with the highest card in their hand (Ace being the best) wins.
In Seven-Card Stud online poker, each player is dealt seven cards and chooses the best five to make their betting hand. With Texas Hold ‘Em, the Internet casino holds two cards in the “center” of the game, which each player can use in conjunction with their five dealt cards to make the best possible five-card combination. It can be a lot of fun to construct your poker hand once you learn the ranking order—and like me, you will find out that poker isn’t as hard as you think! Here’s a hint: keep a printed list of the rank of hands beside you while you visit the Internet casino. Nobody else can see you using it!