How To Play Basic Poker: Playing Cards Guide For Beginners

The basic rules of poker date back at least 200 years. This popular pastime has rightly earned a reputation as one of the best card games in the world. 

An extremely inclusive game played by millions across the globe, players of all ages and genders can compete on a level playing field.

In this article, we’re going to learn how to play basic poker. So if you’re ready, let’s start learning playing cards!

learning playing cards

Basic Poker Rules: How To Play Basic Poker

First of all, it’s important to point out that there are several different poker games to play. The term “Poker” encompasses a whole family of different games which share some common elements.

All poker games use the standard deck of 52 playing cards, for instance. Some variations also include jokers, but most standard poker games do not.

In order to form a poker hand, you must always use five cards. Some poker games offer you more than five cards to build your hand. But no matter how many are available, your final hand must always feature five cards.

Poker Hand Rankings

Another key component of all types of poker games is the hand ranking system. No matter what the game, this hierarchy applies.

  • Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit.
  • Four of a Kind: Four of the same value plus any other card.
  • Full House: A combination of three of a kind plus one pair.
  • Flush: Five of the same suit in any order.
  • Straight: Five consecutive cards, such as 9-8-7-6-5, of different suits.
  • Three of a Kind: Three of the same value with two unpaired cards.
  • Two Pair: Two pairs and a random fifth card, such as 9-9-5-5-K.
  • One Pair: Any pair, with three unconnected cards, for example Q-Q-A-5-2.
  • High Card: Take the highest card in the hand if it doesn’t fit any other category.

An ace high straight flush is the best possible poker hand, known as a Royal Flush.

poker basics

No Limit Texas Hold’em

When most beginners talk about poker, they are thinking of Texas Hold’em. This is one of the best adult card games as it’s extremely popular with gamblers and is frequently seen on television. A majority of the highest profile tournaments are No Limit Texas Hold’em events. 

All players receive two cards each, called “hole cards”, which are face down and remain private at all times. As the hand progresses, five shared cards are placed face up on the table. 

These “community cards” may be used by all players, giving a total of seven. Remember that a poker hand always consists of five cards, so two will remain unused.

  • Flop: The first three cards, all turned up at the same time.
  • Turn: A fourth card, revealed after the flop betting is complete.
  • River: The fifth and final card.
basic poker rules


Among the poker basics you need to master are the betting rounds. In No Limit Hold’em as the name implies, there is no maximum bet. You can wager all of the chips in front of you if you wish.

When there is no bet in front of you, your options are as follows:

  • Check: Stay in the hand but decline to put money into the pot.
  • Bet: Make a wager and force others to pay if they wish to continue.

If you are faced with a bet, your options are:

  • Call: Continue in the hand by matching the bet in front of you.
  • Raise: Increase the amount required for opponents to continue by betting further.


Before the cards are dealt, the two players immediately to the dealer’s left are forced to pay a bet. These “blinds” are what ensures there’s always something worth playing for. These move around one seat every hand, to ensure all players pay their share.

The “Big Blind” is twice the size of the “Small Blind” and is what dictates the minimum raise size. For instance, if the Big Blind is $1 and you wish to raise, you must raise at least $1 for a total bet of $2. 

It’s legal to raise to a total of $2.50, for instance. But it’s not allowed to make it $1.50 to play, as that’s a raise of just $0.50.


There are four betting rounds in Texas Hold’em, known as streets. The first round of betting takes place after you receive your initial two cards and before we see any community cards.

After the pre-flop betting has closed, the dealer reveals the three “flop” cards and a new round of betting occurs. Once finished, we see the “turn” card and bet again, before the final “river” card is dealt. 

This round of betting is the last. If more than one player remains at the end, we reveal the hole cards and determine a winner.

Poker Games List

Here are just a handful of the many different poker games which exist:

  • Texas Hold’em
  • Omaha
  • Five Card Draw
  • Seven Card Stud
  • Razz
  • Omaha High/Low Split
  • Chinese Poker
  • Badugi

Poker Tournaments and Associations

There are dozens of poker associations around the world, all of which offer various tournaments. Perhaps the most famous is the World Series of Poker, which hosts a collection of events every summer in Las Vegas, including the $10,000 Main Event.

The World Poker Tour is possibly the biggest rival to the WSOP. Though many regional associations also exist, such as the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. 

At a local level, most cities around the world have casinos and poker clubs with tournaments. Here you can hone your skills before progressing to the bigger events.

poker card games

Buy From Best Playing Cards Printer

If you’re learning how to play poker, then a good deck of playing cards is absolutely essential. 

As tempting as it might be to purchase a cheap pack of cards, it’s a false economy. The poor quality cardboard bends and tears after just a few uses, while a spillage can be terminal.

The best playing cards are made from polymers like cellulose acetate or PVC. They are extremely hard-wearing, difficult to mark and you can even wipe them clean. Care for them well and they can quite literally last for a lifetime.

WJPC is a professional playing card manufacturer and has manufactured many quality playing cards.They are not only highly durable, but also make fantastic gifts.

Also, they are suitable for all of the best family card games, but also drinking games and even magic card tricks.

playing card games

Other Games To Play With a Deck of Cards

Hopefully, our guide on how to play basic poker has helped you to understand the game. But if not, don’t worry. There are many other enjoyable playing card games which might be more suitable for you. 

Why not read up on the rules of some of the following instead?

  • Crazy Eights
  • Rummy
  • Hearts
  • Spades
  • Go Fish
  • Cribbage


Poker is a game that’s simple to learn, but that can take a lifetime to master. A perfect blend of risk, psychology, and memory, it can be extremely good fun to play. 

Hopefully, thanks to our guide to the basic poker rules, you’re now well on your way to getting started.