The term Poker has, over the years, come to describe a variety of card games, all based on the common theme of betting, hand rankings and bluffing. As explained in our previous article, The History of Poker, the game may be one hundred years old, or possibly hundreds of years old depending on your standpoint.
There are now of course more varieties of poker than just the one and in this article we’ll concentrate on the three most popular versions. Firstly though, to aid in the understanding of the variations, poker works like this – each player is dealt a number of cards and the betting begins. Each player either believes his hand is the best or he is bluffing or he can fold and wait for the next round. The following games are all variation on this theme.
Draw Poker, or for our purposes here Five Card Draw is the most basic game and accessible to beginners. It dominated tournament play for many years but has now been largely replaced by, among others, Texas Hold’em.
Play begins and each player is dealt five cards. In a casino game there’ll be a blind, meaning that an obligatory wager amount is placed by one of the players to stimulate betting. In a home game an ante is used, meaning that all players place a small bet before the game starts.
After all players have received their cards, a round of betting begins and players can opt to increase the stake, to call (keep up with) the previous players stake or to fold. If there is more than one player left in at the end of the round, the remaining players nominate up to to three of their own cards to discard and be replaced from the remaining deck cards. A second round of betting then begins and as before, if there is more than one player remaining following this process the showdown starts and hands are compared to determine the winner according to the chart below. The winner then collects all the chips.