How to play poker: step by step guide for beginners

Although it has existed for centuries, the game of poker has achieved all this notoriety only in recent decades, also thanks to the spread of online casinos, the poker rooms of physical casinos, but also the famous poker tournaments that are now played all over. the world.

For a beginner, as well as an intermediate player, it is very important to know the rules of poker before even sitting down at the table.

This article will explain how to play poker , to give you an idea of ​​how to play even just to play a few games with friends.

The appeal of poker in contemporary culture is strong. Over the years, numerous films, books and songs have attempted to describe the glamor and tension that accompany poker games, following the huge winnings but no less those sensationally lost games.

Here, to make this game a fun pastime, it is necessary to start from the question how to learn how to play poker, but also to go deeper to understand different variations of the game.

In this guide we will try to understand the basic rules of poker and its main variations, so that you can begin your own personal journey in this wonderful and equally intricate world.

It will be luck that will make you a good player, but knowing the basics of this game will surely give you an edge.

What is poker and how is it played?

Poker is a card game for two or more players whose aim is to win the largest number of chips on the table by trying to get the best possible combination of cards .

To play poker you use a deck of 52 French cards divided into four suits, two blacks and two reds: hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds.

To begin, the dealer deals a card to each player in clockwise order, until all players have two cards in their hand, which must remain hidden.

Popular variants of poker, such as Texas Hold’em, are based on four betting rounds:

  • The pre-flop round , which begins as soon as all players have received the two cards to keep hidden
  • The flop , during which the first three community cards are shown
  • The turn , which begins after the fourth community card is revealed
  • The river , during which the last community card is revealed.

Finally, we have the so-called showdown , that is the phase in which the players are called to discover their cards in hand so that it is possible to decide who has the best hand.

The goal, of course, is to try to win all the chips on the table. To do this, you can also choose to bluff , or to make other players believe that you have a good combination of cards in hand.

Alternatively, with a little luck, you can clearly try to combine the cards in order to get a winning hand.

How many people can play poker?

Poker is considered a game for a minimum of two and a maximum of seven players, although the ideal would be to play it with six or seven.

Furthermore, some variants of poker can also be played by more than seven players, up to over eleven in the largest tournaments.

Let’s try to understand in more detail, depending on the main variations of the game, in how many people you can play poker.

Full ring

The full ring game mode is one of the most common and includes a maximum of ten players, including the dealer. This does not mean, however, that to play poker in full ring mode you have to be ten: you can also play with nine or six or seven players.


When playing short-handed , the maximum number of players allowed is six. Again, you can play even if the number of players is less.


Finally , heads-up poker is a real head-to-head, one-on-one. This is a typical game mode above all of online poker, even if nothing prevents you from trying it even live.

Learning to Play Poker: Basic Rules for Beginners

Now is the time to get to the heart of the game! Yes, poker has many variations, but some basic rules are common to all, and to learn how to play poker well you will still have to start here.

Playing well at poker is not easy, it must be admitted: it takes years and a lot of practice to learn how to play with the right awareness. In fact, some poker players even believe that this card game is not a game of luck, but rather a game of skill.

In any case, the basics of poker should and can be understood by everyone. So, now that we have already reviewed the basics of how to play poker, we can go into more detail on the rules of this hugely popular card game.

Hand rankings in poker

One of the first things to know about poker is that each hand has a different value and it is therefore important to know the value of the individual cards, which we will analyze in detail later.

In general, however, we can say that knowing the value of the hands is essential to be able to decide the winner and to understand which strategy to use to beat the opponents and get the best hand.

In some variants of poker, for example, the player with the highest value hand wins, while in others, such as low poker , the ranking is reversed; therefore, whoever has the lowest value hand wins.

Mandatory bets

Most variants of poker require mandatory bets to be placed at the start of the game.

In Texas Hold’em, for example, there are the small blind and the big blind : the small blind is the bet for whoever is to the left of the dealer, while the big blind is usually double the small blind. , or what will be the minimum bet from that moment on.

Depending on the game, players may also be required to place an ante, a mandatory bet that has a lower value than the small blind.

The dealer and the symbolic dealer

The dealer, as you can guess, is the one who deals the cards: in casinos, this role is always covered by a professional, also because it is up to the dealer to manage problems and disputes in case there are any.

The symbolic dealer, on the other hand, is the one who determines the order of play and bets. In casinos, usually, it is possible to find a token whose purpose is to indicate the player who holds this role, that is a simple disk with a do on it the written dealer .

When you play at home in an informal way, as there is no professional dealer, the symbolic dealer also takes care of the management and distribution of the cards.