Poker is more than just a card game. To some, it’s a career, a gateway to millions on the turn of a card. To others, it’s a sport to be enjoyed on ESPN. And to most who have never played it, it’s a source of drama, danger, and suspense – at least, that’s the impression we get when our only exposure to it is movies like The Sting and Casino Royale.
The problem with these perceptions of poker is that they make it sound so inaccessible. But nothing could be further from the truth. It’s simple to master the basics, and the wonders of technology provide ample ways to hone your skills without having to face another player over a card table. Let’s get started.
There are dozens of poker variations, each with its own rules in terms of how many cards are dealt, whether cards can be discarded, how and when to bet, and so on. But these are details. Every poker game is about having the best possible hand, so before you do anything else, you need to get these clear in your mind.
They go from a high card to a Royal Flush with pairs, straights, and so on in between. It’s easy to look them up online, but the best way to get them fixed in your mind is by starting to play. And the best game for an absolute beginner is video poker.
This is the best starting point for several reasons. First and foremost, the rules are simple. Second, it’s just you versus the machine, so nobody will think less of you if you make some initial blunders. Third, there are numerous free video poker apps you can use to train on.
You’ll be dealt five cards and can choose which to hold and which to discard. The discarded ones are redealt and that’s your final hand. Download an app like Video Poker Lounge and see how you get on. You’ll soon be playing with confidence.
Live casino games
From video poker, the next step is a game where you are up against the dealer but still not competing against other players. This live dealer poker NJ game is probably the most popular choice. In 3-card poker, basic ranks are the same, but with fewer cards in your hand, there are fewer potential combinations, as the full house or four-of-a-kind bets are out of the equation.
Alternatively, there is Caribbean Stud poker. This is a variation that’s appearing at more and more casinos. Put simply, it follows the same premise as three card poker, but with five cards instead.
Advancing your game
These games will get you acquainted with poker basics. From there, you can graduate to virtual tournament play against other players in games like Texas Holdem. Again, there are apps where you can practice without laying down any real money.
So why not make a start and enjoy your poker – it’s easy to do even as a beginner, and regardless of what you might see on the big screen, it’s really not the wild west out there!