poker an introduction

Poker

Poker is a family of card games involving betting and individual play, whereby the winner is determined by the ranks and combinations of their cards, some of which remain hidden until the end of the game. Poker games vary in the number of cards dealt, the number of shared or “community” cards and the number of cards that remain hidden. The betting procedures vary among different poker games in such ways as betting limits and splitting the pot between a high hand and a low hand.

In most modern poker games, the first round of betting begins with one of the players making some form of a forced bet (the blind and/or ante). In standard poker, each player bets according to the rank he believes his hand is worth as compared to the other players. The action then proceeds clockwise as each player in turn must either match the maximum previous bet or fold, losing the amount bet so far and all further interest in the hand. A player who matches a bet may also “raise,” or increase the bet. The betting round ends when all players have either matched the last bet or folded. If all but one player folds on any round, the remaining player collects the pot and may choose to show or conceal his hand. If more than one player remains in contention after the final betting round, the hands are revealed and the player with the winning hand takes the pot. With the exception of initial forced bets, money is only placed into the pot voluntarily by a player who either believes the bet has positive expected value or who is trying to bluff other players for various strategic reasons. Thus, while the outcome of any particular hand significantly involves chance, the long-run expectations of the players are determined by their actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.

Online Poker

Online poker has seen incredible growth. In recent years, more and more poker rooms and networks were formed welcoming players from around the world. Online poker is essentially nothing more than normal poker. The only difference is that players are not sitting together in one room. They all sit at a virtual table, but you have the opportunity to talk in a chat with fellow gamers. The best thing about online poker is that you can play it from the comfort of your home on the couch. Maybe one is sitting in cold Germany with -4 degrees and another in Brazil with 30 degrees outside. Online poker allows players from around the world to unite around a table.

Here you find an overview of the best and largest online poker rooms in the world.-Click-

Most popular game types

There are many different variations. The most popular and well known is called Texas Holdem with Omaha being in second place. Both are community card games and different from Stud Poker or Draw-Poker variants. In Hold’em games each player is dealt 2 face down hole cards . During the process of a played hand players may build a 5-card hand out of their 2 hole cards and up to 5 community cards which are being dealt face up after up to 4 betting rounds. A hand can be won if all other players choose to fold their hand to one players bet on any given street. Or the best 5-card combination out of the 7 cards available (2 hole cards+5 community cards) wins the pot at showdown. Worldwide, No Limit Texas Holdem is the most popular variant. No limit means that each player can bet all of their chips at any time. There are also Fixed Limit or Pot Limit variants where a player can only bet a certain amount of his chips.

Betting Structure

The betting structure determines how much a player can bet or raise in a betting round. Again, there are some differences depending on the variant. In the No Limit variant, a player may wager his whole stack of chips at any given time of play . This is called an “All In”. The No Limit structure is used especially in Hold’em. The Pot Limit variant differs from the No-Limit variant by limiting the allowed betting amount to the amount of money already in the pot. Fixed Limit strictly limits the amount  a player can bet and raise  in each betting round .

Psychological Component

Poker has a strong psychological component. A good player can deduct which strategy an opponent uses by observing the game flow and player actions. He pays close attention to things like betting or playing behavior, the speed with which decisions were made, gestures and physical signs of weakness, strength or nervousness known as “tells”. Since the online game offers no opportunity to observe physical tells, other sources of information become more important. Examples are timing tells or betting patterns.

The Poker Boom

The popularity and interest increased at the beginning of the 1970s as the first World Series of Poker took place. However, the big and most recent boom started with the triumph of the amateur player “Chris Moneymaker” at the WSOP 2003. He qualified for free by playing a so called satellite tournament where he won a seat in the biggest tournament of the world. And in the end, he won $2.500. This event marks the beginning of the biggest poker boom up to date. Tournaments with previously small playing fields suddenly saw more than 8000 registered players looking to achieve what Moneymaker did. The  market exploded on- and offline and more and more players started to make poker the most popular card game of the world. Especially in Europe, where the game was not that popular before, player numbers increased a lot. In Europe, Germany, France, Italy, Russia and Spain are the countries with the most poker players. Another development is that more and more players, even beginners, play poker on the Internet. The providers also promote this with intensive advertising.

The boom also got boosted by an increasing number of poker shows being broadcasted on television all across Europe. But also celebrities such as Boris Becker, Rafael Nadal or Lothar Matthäus officially advertise for poker sites.

Development of poker in our society

For quite some time, Poker had a pretty bad reputation as gambling and was mainly associated with typical casino games such as roulette or blackjack. But although the distribution of the cards is random, there is a strong strategic and psychological component. Good players quickly maximize their winnings by knowing the probabilities and observing other players playing styles. Successful Poker is based on mathematical probabilities and various psychological and strategic aspects. In some countries it also been officially recognized as game of skill or even as a sport.

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About the Author

Daniel Berger

Hi Guys, I am Daniel the chief content manager of YourPokerDream.
I have been working in the poker industry for almost 10 years now.
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Latest changes

The last changes of the page “Poker – An Introduction” was made by Daniel Berger on June 05, 2019