Today, this simplified version of poker is most commonly played in casinos.
Like the original version of the game, it is played with a deck of 52 cards and the goal is to compete against the other players at the table.
At the beginning of the game, which is played between 2 and 10 players, the Croupier will deal, to you and each of the other players, 2 face down ‘hole’ cards, which are yours, and which you alone know the value of. Then the Croupier places face up in the centre of the table 5 community cards. By combining your cards with the community cards your goal is to create the strongest hand by finding the best possible combination with 5 cards maximum. Or you can make the other players believe that you have a better hand than them by bluffing! The trick is knowing when to fold, call or raise. After a maximum four rounds of betting, the players still in contention lay their cards face up on the table. The game is won by the player with the strongest hand, or by the best bluffer if the other players folded first.
The combinations, from weakest to strongest:
- High card: a hand lacking any combination, it is simply the card with the highest value.
- Pair: a combination of 2 cards of the same value
- Two pairs: two times 2 cards of the same value
- Three of a kind: three cards of the same value
- Straight: A run of 5 cards in ascending value but not of the same suit
- Flush: 5 cards of the same suit
- Full house: three of a kind and a pair
- Four of a kind: Four cards of the same value
- Straight flush: A run of 5 cards of the same suit
- Royal flush: A run of 5 cards in ascending value, from 10 to Ace, of the same suit. It’s the best hand in poker!
When players have equal hands, the tie is broken with a Kicker. It’s the card, outside of those making up the combination, that has the highest value in each hand.
For example, imagine two players have a three of a kind with Aces. If the first player’s kicker is a Jack and the second player’s is a King, the second player wins. On the other hand, if both players have an equally valuable kicker, the pot is split evenly between them.