Poker: The Basics

If you’re a sports betting fan and have never played poker before then you are in for a treat. But just exactly how do you get started?

Choose a Game

There are so many variations of poker in the world, but the most common, and one of the simplest to learn is No-Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE). NLHE is a game played with just two cards in your hand (otherwise known as hole cards) and five community cards known as the flop, turn and river. Other variations of poker include Seven Card Stud, Pot-Limit Omaha and Three Card Brag.

A Deck of Cards

Most games of poker are played with a simple 52-deck of cards. Jokers are removed from most games, but can be kept in the deck if wild cards are introduced (wild cards are cards that can be used as any card in the deck). Always have more than one pack of cards at any one time. This way if a deck becomes marked (i.e. there is a specific mark on a certain card) then you can always carry on playing with a new deck.

Understand the Rank of Hands

For the wide variety of games where the highest ranked hand wins, the rank of hands is generally the same. The hand ranking descends as follows: royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, pair and high card.


Poker just wouldn’t be poker without some form of currency to gamble with. The easiest way to do this is to just play with cash. But in some forms of poker it is often better to play with chips that substitute for the actual monetary value.

So choose a game, get your hands on a deck of cards, understand what the best hand is, get hold of some chips and off you go.