All The Aces Daily Poker Column

What is Poker?

Poker is...

poker - what is poker? 

What is poker? Actually it’s a collection of games which share the same main concepts: Hand rankings, betting, bluffing, calling, folding and raising, depending in the main, on the quality of the hand in question. The driving force motive behind poker is to win money. It’s a money-driven game which is why it’s exciting. Without the will, aggression and experience which all games of poker require it would simply be a game of chance. But it isn’t. All of those other elements play their part in the eventual outcome of the game as evidenced by the fact that hundreds of professional players are able to sustain a very good living out of poker year in and year out. The game of poker is won by one player winning the pot which contains all of the bets that have been made during the process of the game. A bet is placed when a player believes he or she has the potential for a winning hand or at least wishes to give that impression to the rest of the players (A bluff!) The pot is won in two ways. If all your opponents fold against the betting before any hands are displayed “the last man standing” as it were, is the winner. The main cause of a win is the setting down on the table of the best hand, which automatically then takes the pot.

For those who have never played poker before, a visit to the site will enable you to join a tutorial for free which will explain with simple visuals the exact rules of the two most exciting online games: Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Suffice it to say to all beginners that poker is an easy game and can be learned in an hour or so, but, as all professional players are always pointing out: It takes a lifetime to master!

The successful players among you will have learned painfully, and hopefully early on, that in order to be good at poker you need to be able to shine a searing torch on all aspects of your own character. Why? Because you can be sure that a majority of good players you come up against will be doing it for you and if you have any weaknesses they can exploit, they will do: Mercilessly. Better to take an emotional scalpel to yourself first before someone else inflicts a bloodbath on your wallet. Whenever you see a player blaming the cards or another player or anything other than themselves for a bad run, you’re looking at a loser. Professionals like Phil Hellmuth will occasionally scream and roll around on the floor cursing, to let off steam, but you will very rarely see Phil or anyone of his stature direct blame outside of themselves. They know their own faults and are trying to deal with them. Sometimes by letting off steam.

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Q: What defines the ranking of a Full House?
The ranking is always defined by the trips (the three of a kind) and never by the pair. So if you have a pair of twos and three sevens. The sevens define the power of the hand. So if you were to be up against a pair of aces and three sixes, you would hold the winning Full House with your trio of sevens.
Q: I’ve been told by friends not to bother playing mid to low pairs at big tables? Is this good advice?
A: Not under all circumstances. It depends on your position at a large table. Obviously, with say ten players in a game, chances are someone is holding a bigger pair than you are. However, if you are on or close to the button, we’d advise playing a mid pair with the strategy of trying to land trips at the flop which would dramatically improve your chances. Pursue this strategy if the table is not inhabited by big raisers and as long as you have the sense to fold if the trips don’t arrive on the flop. Don’t chase beyond that point.
Q: I enjoy a gamble but I’m careful with money and I never risk more than I can afford. Is online poker an expensive hobby compared with say putting a few pounds on the dogs etc?
The beauty of online poker is that you can play for very low stakes which would simply not be economical in a bricks and mortar casino. A lot of sites run fixed limit poker games with 10-20 cent bets. A majority of players will start out in $2-$4 real money games, so if you truly are a disciplined person you can play on a small budget and enjoy the game for its own sake.
Q: In the opening round of seven card stud I’ve been told you HAVE to bet even if you don’t like your cards. Is this true?
A: Under certain circumstances it’s true. In seven card stud you are dealt two cards face down and one face up. If you have the highest face up card you are forced to bet first even if you don’t like your two hole cards. If two players both have an ace facing up, the player nearest to the dealer’s left has to act first.  If you don’t like the rules, move on to Texas Hold’em.

What is poker?

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ALL THE ACES poker column:
Sunday November
 13, 2005: 
What is poker?