In casinos, the game Poker is very popular and you will always find a poker table in any establishment in Kenya. This game always stands out among other casino games. Now that online casinos have become commonplace, online poker has become ubiquitous.
If you want to play the game and win money from it, you must learn how it’s played and how to get an edge. This article highlights every aspect of the popular game so that you can start playing today.
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History of Poker
The origins of poker are not exactly known, with some historians claiming it is based on As Nas from Persia. What we do know is that its origins can be traced back to Poque played in France in the 16th century and brought to the US in the 19th century where the name was anglicized to poker. In the US, the game was popularized and became one of the most popular casino games to this day.
Common Terms Used in Poker Games
These are some common terms used to describe various activities in the game:
- Check – to avoid making any bet, similar to placing a bet of zero.
- Bet – refers to the amount of money players have added to the pot.
- Raise – to increase the amount of the current bet.
- Fold – a player’s decision to forfeit any winnings in the pot.
- Call – to place a bet equal to the most recent bet or raise, sometimes also referred to as see.
- Button – a marker that is used to show who the dealer is.
- Blind – a forced bet made by the player to the left of the dealer.
- Big blind – a subsequent blind bet made by the second player to the left of the dealer, which is also larger than the blind.
- All-in – when a player commits their entire chip stack to the pot.
- Bluff – the action of raising or betting even when you don’t believe you have a good hand.
- Rake – a commission taken from the pot by the house.
- House – the place hosting the game.
- Pot – the total amount of money players wager during a single hand.
- Community cards – cards presented in the middle of the table for all players to share. Also called board cards or simply the board.
How to Play Poker
The round begins when one of the players is assigned the role of dealer and they deal two cards to all players at the table including themselves. The player to the dealer’s left goes first, and there is a forced blind bet then the rest of the players can either call, fold or raise.
Now the dealer will place three cards face up in the middle of the board, called the flop. Another round then ensues beginning with the player to the left of the dealer and each player can once again choose to call, fold or raise.
After the second round, the dealer will place a fourth card face up in the middle of the board, called the turn. That will initiate another round of betting and then the dealer placing a fifth card on the board, the river, followed by a final round of betting.
Now the showdown occurs and the player with the best hand wins. Hand rankings in descending order are five-of-a-kind, royal flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full-house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two-pair, one-pair, and jacks or better.
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Main Variations of Poker
Considering that poker is the most common casino game, many players have added unique rules and features that have borne these popular variations:
Texas Hold ’Em – You can identify this variant by the two cards dealt to players and the five community cards revealed in each round of betting. It is the most common poker variant and even played in international tournaments like the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Omaha Hi – This variant is characterised by the players being dealt four cards and the revelation of all five community cards at the start. Players’ hands are then ranked based on exactly two of their hole cards and three from the community cards.
5-Card Draw – Each player receives five cards to start and a round of betting takes place. Players can then choose up to three cards they would like to have replaced, and another round of betting takes place. After this, players reveal their cards and the highest ranked hand wins.
7-Card Stud – Players first receive two cards face down and one face up. Then players receive four more cards, three being face up and one being face down. After every card dealt players will make a round of bets, ending with the showdown where players discard two cards and keep five.
Others – Besides the above variants, there are many more less common ones such as:
- 3-Card Poker.
- Short deck.
- 5-Card Stud.
- 7-Card Draw.
- High/Low Chicago.
Playing Live Poker Compared to Online Poker
Nowadays, a lot of poker players have moved from a live setting to play online poker. To understand how they compare, let us look at arguments from each side.
In Favour of Live Poker
The most obvious advantage of live poker is being able to perform live reads on other players from their tells. Many poker players rely heavily on reading others’ tells, and it can be a disadvantage for them while playing online.
A Case for Playing Online Poker
Online casinos do not charge a high rake on poker games, which results in bigger wins and the freedom to place smaller bets. That makes the game more welcoming to players compared to live poker tables that usually have a high minimum stake.
Online poker is unique as it offers unlimited flexibility because you can play at any time, place, or from any device.Furthermore, players are treated to a multitude of poker variants including video poker unlike in a casino where the house hosts poker tournaments for pros.
What About Live Dealer Games?
Some online casinos offer live dealer options that come close to appearing as an actual casino, but the experience is very different from the physical one. It’s not all bad, though, because unlike a real casino you can choose which table you want to play and who to play against. In addition, it is possible to make a bet on a player if you trust their ability.
Playing Free Poker Vs. Playing with Real Money
The main problem with free poker is that you never make any money. Playing for free also becomes boring very quickly. But when you play with real money, you will always be excited at every draw and eager to win some bets.
Online casinos will encourage players to use real money through bonuses. You can take advantage of these to make more money. Besides, you can even get a chance at a bad beat jackpot if you had a sufficiently strong hand and lose to a stronger one.
Free play is not completely worthless, though, as it provides an opportunity for players to learn the game. Many new players lose because they do not understand hand rankings and end up making the wrong bets. Therefore, free play is a great resource for learning and practice.
Common Strategies to Help You Win More Poker Games
If you want to win more poker games, here are some strategies you can use:
Bluffing – Done appropriately, bluffing can be used to intimidate opponents into folding even when they may have a better hand than you do.
Know When to Fold ‘Em – Bad players either fold too often or too rarely and end up losing. A good strategy is to fold whenever you’re unsure whether you should call, fold or raise, walk away by folding.
Play Fewer Hands Pre-Flop – Before the flop, you should only play a few hands. Not only does this keep other players unaware of your hand, it also preserves your bankroll for subsequent rounds.
Do Not Be the First Player to Limp – If you are the first to call the big blind, the players behind you enjoy better odds and you’re less likely to win. Only do this when another player has already limped to increase your odds.
Defend Your Big Blind – The big blind position effectively gives you a discount and better pot odds. Because you’re also the last person to act, you’re also at a better position to make a profitable call.
Play Tight and Aggressive Games – You don’t have to play every hand dealt, and in so doing you simplify your game and only play hands that are more likely to win.
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How To Identify The Best Online Poker Platforms
Although there are a lot of online poker platforms, before choosing the right Kenyan online casino for you, these are some things to consider:
Is the Casino Licensed? – Gaming regulators ensure that an online casino does not disappear with players’ money and that the games are not rigged. This is why you should confirm that a casino is licensed.
Do You Receive Any Free Offers? – Who doesn’t like free offers? Casino bonuses and promotions give you an opportunity to keep playing for free and perhaps even winning more money.
How Many Poker Variants Are Available? – Every player has a particular preference of poker variation, and you must choose a platform that offers your preferred variant.
Is It Easy to Deposit and Withdraw Cash? – Find out which methods are accepted for deposits and withdrawals, as well as the time it takes to process these transactions. It is important that you can quickly deposit and withdraw your money as you please.
How Good Is the Gaming Experience? – Different casinos use different developers, and the decision will determine how good the games are. To find out, try playing for free before making a cash deposit.
As computers and monitors became popular, poker transitioned to the screens to create video poker. The game is largely derived from five-card draw poker.
A player first receives five cards, and they can hold up to 5 cards before selecting Draw. The player’s final hand is then assessed based on the ranking. The winnings will depend on the payout table, which varies by the game’s variations such as:
- Jacks or better.
- Tens or better.
- Deuces wild.
Playing Poker on Your Mobile Device
Game developers nowadays pay attention to players using mobile devices, and many have made poker available on these devices. In most cases, players can access a flash-based website through their web browser without having to download an app.
That being said, you must try different platforms to find the best one in terms of performance. A good mobile app should offer the full range of features without compromising on performance and the design of the platform.
Basic Tips for Beginners on Playing Poker
As a new poker player, you should remember these simple tips:
Make Use of Free Bonuses – If a casino offers free cash and spins, use these to practice and make some money without risking your own money.
Start with Low Stakes – When you begin playing, use low stakes to help you understand the strategy without risking a lot of your money.
Select Games Carefully – Do not play against players who are better than you because you will be more likely to lose.
Always Consider Your Position – The dealer has the most profitable position in a game, so you should increase your wager when you’re the dealer.
Avoid Playing Multiple Tables Simultaneously – It is important to concentrate on your game, which will be impossible when you’re playing many tables.
After learning more about poker, it should be clear that the game is quite diverse in style and requirements. Poker is well worth the effort and mastering it completely. This is a profitable game that requires good theoretical training and regular practice in a particular type of poker. The good news is that anyone can become better at the game just by following a few simple strategies.
Practice these strategies and follow the tips described in this article to become a better player and make money.
To achieve the highest ranked hand compared to other players.
Yes. Folding is essentially forfeiting any money you had bet.
Very many variations of poker exist including Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hi, 3-card draw, etc.
By far the most popular poker game is Texas Hold ‘Em. It is even played at international tournaments.
There isn’t one single winning strategy. Players must instead combine different winning strategies to succeed.
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