We list poker rules for several different variations of poker. Click on the links below to go to the respective poker rules section. Click an arrow Top of Page to return to the poker rules links.
The Basic Rules of Poker
Most poker games use 52 cards. The card ranking is as follows Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 being the lowest, Ace (The Ace may also be the lowest card depending on the variations you are using, but it is usually the highest).
There are four suits; spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. No suit is higher than another. All poker hands contain five cards, the highest hand wins.
The use of Wild Cards depends on the variations, wild cards take on whatever rank or suit you want it to take. A wild card can either be a separate card added like a joker or you may specify a certain card in the standard deck to be wild like deuces, or whatever else.
The number of cards dealt is dependant on what type of game you are playing: 5 card stud, you are dealt five cards and 7 card stud, you are dealt seven. I know this is obvious, but I don’t want anyone to get confused. Five card draw is the standard poker game where 5 cards are dealt to each player face down.
Ranking of the hands -it wouldn’t be a bad idea to print a copy of this for use during your first poker game, but I would recommend memorizing it to prevent uncontrolled laughter from your opponents.
Betting – In most poker games you start the betting with an ante just to get the cards dealt. The ante is dependent upon who you are playing with, a friendly game would usually have an ante of a penny, nickel, or dime, I personally like a nickel ante when playing with friends. The money is put in the center of the table and is called the pot. At the end of a hand the highest hand, of the players that remain (some may have folded), wins the pot.
You have three choices when the betting gets to you (betting is handled in clockwise order) and here they are:
Call-betting is enough to match what has been bet since the last time you bet. An example would be if you bet 25 cents and somebody than bid 35 cents when to you you would owe 10 cents. If you Call then you would put the amount that you owed into the pot and you would stay in the hand.
Raise-when you raise you first put enough in the pot to match what has already been bet and then you would raise the pot by putting an additional amount in (a friendly game would usually have a limit to how much money you could raise). So let’s say the initial bet was 25 cents, you would have to put in 25 cents and than say I’ll raise you another 25 cents. Now the other players will either Call, Raise, or fold.
Fold-dropping out of the current hand and losing the possibility of winning the pot. You don’t have to put money in and you would only lose the ante, if it’s on the first turn, or whatever you put in the pot later. As the Kenny Rodgers song says, “you gotta know when to fold them.” Sometimes it is just better to get out than waste good money on bad cards.
Betting is always dependent on the people you are playing with and the rules that they prescribe. Games between friends should always have low limits set on the ante, the amount you could raise, and the top amount the pot could grow to. These rules are best because winning a big pot is never worth losing a friend over. So set the ante at a nickel, the raises at a quarter, and don’t let the pot go over a few dollars. This is the best way to handle a friendly game.
A quick example of a game of Five Card Draw: Everyone puts in the ante and five cards are dealt face down to each player. Then a round of betting occurs. Then the player can discard up to three cards (4 if your last card is an ace or a wild card, this rule is set by the players) and get (from the deck) as many new cards as they discarded. Then there is another round of betting, and then hands are revealed and the highest hand wins the pot.
There are the basics, use them wisely, learn the strategy of poker, and have fun.