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Poker 101

Poker Basics

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For the interests of this article, we will focus on Texas Hold ‘Em card game.  Texas Hold’Em is a game of five cards that are dealt from a 52 cards deck.  The cards are standard playing cards.  Poker hands consist of five cards and the final winning hand is the best five card poker hand.  There are several variations and In Texas Hold’Em, players are given two cards and five community cards are dealt in the middle of the table.  Players bet, call, raise or fold their hands for the best poker hand.  Winner wins all the bets.  The five cards on the community are dealt, 3 first called the flop, then 2 called the turn and the final is the river card. 
  Poker Supplies
Poker Hands that Win

  • High card (if there bets are called to the river, the hand with the highest ACE card being the highest, then King, and so one WINS)
  • One pair (one pair is a two cards that match, 2-2, A-A)
  • Two pairs (of your five cards, you have two pairs such as 2-2 and 5-5)
  • Three of a kind (of your five cards, you have 3-3-3)
  • Straight ( a straight is numerical sequence where A=1, 1-2-3-4-5 regardless of suit)
  • Flush (a flush is where are five matching suits like all hearts, if there are two flushes, the one with the flush and higher card wins, A is considered the high card, there is no winning suit)
  • Full House  (this is also called a boat, it is a pair and a three of a kind)
  • Four of a kind (as it states, it is four matching numbers, the higher the card the better the rank)
  • Straight Flush (matching suit and numerical sequence)

Knowing what beats what is an essential as you can see from the community cards what your opponent may have and will help you bet, raise or call your bets.

Betting depends on the blinds.  If you are playing a tournament, betting action may also depend on the antes, timing and chip stack. 

Limit vs No Limit
It is exactly how it is written.  No Limit is what you usually see on TV where the infamous phrase “I’m all in” comes in.  You can win or lose in one hand.  So in No Limit you can push all your starting chips as a bet.  In Limit, there is a limit per bet.

Poker Chips & Poker Tables 

More info based on play:

Blinds are the small and big blind bet each hand that have to “ante” up, one and two from the dealer button.  This allows some $ to be in the pot.  The person after the big blind is first to act and the play goes clock wise.  The last person to act is the dealer button and thus has position.

Blinds are based on levels which are generally in one to two hour increments.  I can however, vary depending on where you play.  After each level, the blinds increase for example 10/20 to 20/40 which means small blind is 10 and big blind is 20 and then 20 and 40.

dealer table how to play poker poker strategy big blind strategy 

Stack size is king as you can imagine, the more chips you have, the more “power” you have, so to speak.  You win pots by having the better hand or causing your opponent to fold.  So having a healthy chip stack is desirable.  You should always be weary of the blinds and antes.  As the levels increase, blinds will go up and antes will be collected.  For example 100/200 ante 25, which means, small blind 100, big blind 200 and everyone gives 25.  If you do not play a hand for a while, you can see how quickly your chip stack will be cut down by just the blinds and antes.  The rule of thumb is to have ten times the big blind.  If you are in the middle of tournament and you have 3000 in chips and the blind are 150/300 ante 50, you must make a move because you are right at ten times the big blind.  If you have 3000 and the blinds are 15/30, you have a pretty good chip stack.

Finally, payout structures vary depending on how many entries there are.  Sometimes it is only the final table, that is, the final ten people.  This is important as you can see the psychology of your opponents on whether they want to make the “money” of they want to make “first”, there are very different styles of play for this.

When no one has bet yet and you are first to act, you can bet or check.  Check is not betting.  If you bet, the next person can call, raise or foldCalling the bet is matching the same bet, raising is betting at least double what you bet or folding.

Starting hand is the first two cards that each player gets.  These are the cards that no one knows.  The community cards is what is dealt in the center and shared by the table.  There are 169 starting hands in the combination of poker only half of them are considered playable.  With most tight tight players, only 5 hands are playable:  A-A, K-K. Q-Q, A-K, A-Q.  In position, there are more hands that are playable.  In position means later to act.  If you have position, you can make more decisions based on data.  In position, A-J, J-J, 10-10, pocket pairs and suited connector seem better to play.  Pocket pairs are any matching pair like 9-9 or 4-4.  Suited connectors are 4-5 spade or 8-9 heart.  People like playing these in position because if the whole table limped in (did not raise the big blind), you can call the big blind with a suited connected (8-9 heart) and get in the pot for cheap.  If you flop an 8-8-9 for example, you got a Boat (which you remember is a Full House) and will probably win the hand. 

Poker Odds
Pot odds is the calculation of the pot to qualifying a call.  The best way to calculate this is to count how many cards you have to make the hand MINUS how many has been dealt and divide it.  This is the ratio.  Then you calculate the total bet divided by the bet itself.  If the ratio is 4:1, then it is worth it.  Let me give you an example.

You have 6d7d and the flop is 8d9dAs6h
The pot is 100 and the person bet to you 50
You have outs to calculate:  you can get the 5 and the 10 to get a straight, 6 for a full house and a diamond to get a flush
So you have a total of 4+4+2+9 cards (let me break it down (there are four 5’s, four 10’s, two 6’s because there are already two 6’s in your hand and the community, and nine diamonds because in a full deck there would be twelve and since your hand has two and the community has two there are four less)
The total is 19 outs and the total deck left is 52-8 cards dealt= 44 left so it is 44/19=2.31:1, you need to have 2.3 to 1 and the bet is 1.5 to 1
The bet is 100+50 bet (150/100) or 1.5:1
You are qualified to call.


Implied Odds now that you understand pot odds, implied is using that information and making a call based on implied odds.  If you were in position and everyone five people limped in for a pot size of 50 and you need another 10 to limp to see a flop.  You would have 5:1 in return if you hand hit.  This is the idea of implied odds.

Poker Supplies 

Four Types of Personality
As you can see, playing poker is multifaceted, knowing which starting hands to play, poker odds, the community board, and there is tremendous impact on the person you are playing.  I will generalize some of the personalities of poker, but what you must know is that as you become more advance, you must be able to become all the personalities of these players.

This picture below shows the four major types and then the subtypes that can occur all around you as well as yourself:  calling station, fish, internet player, baby, and poker pro.  There are four personality types that range from tight to loose and aggressive to passive, you can see where the differences are.  The calling station is exactly what it is, someone who likes to call with marginal hands all the way to the river, it is pretty annoying and usually is a sign of someone new to poker.  They get reinforced because they may hit their hand on the river so be wary if they are all the way to the river with you.  You can get them out by betting aggressive after the flop.  The fish is an unskilled and loose non aggressive types of player.  Like calling stations it can be lucrative because they will play marginal hands and play tight against them.  I coined my own “baby” term because there is a type of player who complains and gets on your nerves and really should not be playing.  They are unskilled, calling station fish.  Tight aggressive play is the best to get them out quickly.  There is the lock player, the player who plays so tight, conservative and only plays premium hands.  This is a really good player to steal blinds from and push around a bit.  With the introduction of the internet, we have the launch of Internet Crazies who are young whiz kids, rich, crazy, and know math stats.  They have no scared money and are very aggressive.  The best way to beat them is to call more frequently and raise less.  Finally, the skilled player.  They are difficult because they vary their play, they know the statistics and emotional side to poker.  The best way to beat them is to also vary your play and make it difficult for them to know what you are doing. 

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poker personality styles fish

Common poker terminology
A-game:  best game mentality
Add-on:  this is used for rebuy tournament which is the point of the tournament where the player can add on for one more rebuy
Ammunition:  chips
Bad beat:  when the odds, probability, % where all in your favor and your opponent got the better % on you, that is a bad beat
Bubble:  the one position that stands between making the money and not
Card dead:  no good cards, I have been card dead all day
Crack:  got beat “he cracked my aces”
Image:  what people think about you, your branding, this is important because it is the idea that you have given people, like you are tight only playing good cards
Read:  that you or someone has got on you, I got a read on him so I folded my aces.
Sweater:  someone who stands court side and sweats the player, gives good vibes and supports him
Zone:  mental game is on

Poker Chips & Poker Tables 

Poker hand nick names
AA-American Airlines
AK-Big Slick
K-9-Dog hand
J-5-Jackson five
10-2-Doyle Brunson (he won two WSOP titles with this hand)

Poker Tournaments
WSOP World Series of Poker
WPT World Poker Tournament

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**This does not make any claims, only based on personal testimony.

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