How to Play Poker - Card Games

One of the most enjoyable card games anyone can play is Poker. There are hundreds of variations of poker and people play this game both professionally and with friends and family. Years ago, during the Depression, people got together on weekends to play cards with family and friends. A deck of cards then, as it is now, was very inexpensive and could provide hours of entertainment. Throughout the years, people found many different ways to enjoy poker, by implementing different rules in the game.

There are basically two types of poker: Draw poker and Stud poker. In draw poker, players get to discard a certain amount of cards and pick up new cards. Five card draw is the standard form of poker and is often seen being played in western movies. Stud poker does not have a draw; whatever hand the players get is the hand they play.

Poker is an easy game to play and once one learns the concept it is easy to learn some of the hundreds of different varieties of the game. Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Some people use the two jokers in the game, others do not. All poker hands consist of five cards. Even if players are dealt seven cards or more, only five cards can make up the poker hand.

There are four different suits in a regular deck of playing cards: Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades. Each suit has an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. The Ace can be high or it can be used in place of a one, unless otherwise specified in the game. The highest hand to get in regular poker is a straight flush. A straight flush consists of all cards in numerical order of the same suit. If the straight goes up to the Ace, for example the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of hearts, this is considered a royal flush and a sure winner when not playing with wild cards.

Next to a straight flush, the best hand to get is four of a kind, as in four Kings. After that is a full house, which consists of three of one card and two of another. Next to a full house is a flush, which is all cards in no particular order of the same suit. After that is a straight, which is all cards of no particular suit, in order. After that comes three of a kind, followed by two pair and finally, a pair. If no one has a pair, the person who has the highest card wins, such as an Ace. Although in most poker games, this is unlikely.

If playing with wild cards, which means that a designated card or joker can be used to pretend it is another card, the highest hand to get is five of a kind. Five of a kind is the only hand that beats a straight flush and can only be attained when using wild cards.

While professional poker players use strategies such as bluffing, which is pretending to have a better hand than they do in order to drive others out of the game, most people playing in a family friendly setting do not resort to these tactics. People can bet in poker using chips, money or even pretzels. While it is sometimes fun to bet, poker can also be played for enjoyment without betting.

Poker is an easy game to learn and fun to play. It can be played by anyone who is old enough to understand the concept of high and low cards and can provide families with hours of entertainment.