When it comes to online poker rules, almost everyone remembers Texas Hold’em and some basics, but there are a lot more poker variants available online. Yes, Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular poker games online that attracts the major portion of the poker players around the world, but do you know that there are a vast number of poker games available that can provide you fun and entertainment even though not as much as like Texas Hold’em. But if you are really interested to know more about the best poker variantions then continue read through this guide, where we’ll be providing you with the list of top online poker variants, different poker rules, you will learn how to play along with the pros and cons of every game, poker strategy, poker hand rankings & more.
For some people all these poker categories will be new and being a poker beginning means that you will need to learn at least one of these to begin your new poker journey. Which one you choose is entirely up to you and they all vary and different pros and cons. Study the different ones here and decide which one you want to focus on and learn more about. For the experienced one maybe one or two of these categories are new. In these guides you will learn about them all and hence become a better poker player.
Players are dealt with a hand comprising of completely face-hidden cards. Players can change their hand by discarding cards they don’t want and then dealt with new cards. Five-card draw is one of the most popular variants of Draw Poker and has been around for a very long time. Draw poker have different rules but the goal is the same, to score the best hand by changing cards so your hand gets better than your opponent. This form of play is quite straight on and doesn’t take much practice to learn. It is the most classic form of poker and suits the beginner very well.
Players are dealt with a hand comprising of both face-up and face-hidden cards with several rounds of betting. Some of the popular variants of stud poker are 5 card stud and 7 card stud. This type of poker is a little bit more advanced yet quite easy to learn, especially if you played traditional poker before. The goal here is the same however; to get the best hand by using the cards you are being dealt.
Here players are dealt with an incomplete hand and a similar number of face-up cards are dealt on the poker table. Players that come up with the best 5-card hand is the winner. Some of the popular variants of community card poker are Texas Holdem and Omaha. Texas Holdem really skyrocketed in popularity in the end of the 20th century, mainly thanks to online poker. Today this version of poker is the most popular one online and is being played by hundreds of thousands of players all around the globe. Here there are more tactics involved than the other variations of poker, not only is the best hand the winning one but you also have to outsmart your opponent in order to win the pot.
As we uncovered above there are plenty of different kinds of poker. But in all of these variations there are different kinds of variations as well, which makes poker one of the games that vary the most. It is difficult to learn them all, particularly if you really want to dig in to all of them. This is a list of all poker variants covered in the guide:
Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular poker variants played by poker fans around the world. This is true because of the most of the popular poker tournaments across the world like World Series of Poker (WSOP), World Poker Tour (WPT) and European Poker Tour (EPT) all use this poker variant, especially the no-limit hold’em. The origin of the game can be traced back to early 1900 where it was officially played in Robstown, Texas whereas some believe that it could have been played a long time before that.
The popularity of the game slowly spread through the whole of Texas and only during the 1960s it is said to have reached the betting mecca, Las Vegas. And soon it became hugely popular that in the 1970s most of the casinos in Vegas included this poker variant and many Vegas Poker tournaments became popular. The game attracted the attention of the world when the events in the World Series of Poker (WSoP) was documented in the book, “The Biggest Game in Town”. The game is simple to learn as difficult to master as there are hundreds of game situations and there is a famous saying about this game that goes like “it takes a moment to learn, but a lifetime to master”. The objective of the game is to show the highest possible poker hand than your competitors in a hand of five cards.
In Texas Hold’em, players are dealt two-hole cards each and then five community cards are dealt to allow players to make the best five-card combinations. During the gameplay, the players have the option to check, call, raise or fold. The charm with Texas Hold’em is that you can win with a really bad hand, you just have to let your opponents believe that you have the stronger hand. But this takes practice and experience, and for you to believe in your own ability. But before you start bluffing it is good to have knowledge about the basic strategies, so here is one strategy that you can use:
Playing Texas Hold’em means that you have a few options to choose between when it is your turn. Learning these are simple and once you have you are ready to play Texas Hold’em. But knowing when to use them takes a lot of experience, because anyone can raise but the ability to raise in order to get your opponent to fold is more difficult. So in Texas Hold’em you do not only play your hand but you play your opponent's hand. So these are the basic phrases that you need to know to be able to play.
Check: The most common deceptive play used by most players where you just pass on your round to another player without doing any action. It means, you are waiting for next stage to decide upon your option. It does not necessarily mean that you have a weak hand since you can trap someone by checking with a good hand and wait for them to bet.
Raise: But if you see that you already have some combination and think that it could be a winning hand or if you want to scare your opponents and make them fold, you can raise the bet.
Call: Players who think that they got a strong enough hand to continue but decide against betting more money will call.
Fold: If you think that you don’t have a winning hand and don’t want to risk your money/chips, then you can simply fold and let other players continue with the action.
Before you start playing Texas Hold'em, you need to understand the basic rules of the game and how betting works. These are the basic one you need to know before entering a hand of Texas Hold’em. There are different betting rounds (Preflop, Flop, Turn and River) and during them you can take different actions such as:
In Texas hold'em the game moves clockwise where the dealer is a player which is denoted by a round disc in front of a player. After each round, the round disc or the button moves to the left and that player becomes the dealer. But when you are playing in live poker rooms, there is a separate dealer who takes care of dealing the cards and supervising the action throughout the game.
The players to the left of the dealer need to post blinds or forced bets. Yes, the first player to the left of the dealer need to place a small blind and the next player need to post a big blind. In other words, blinds mean you are placing bets without even seeing the 2-hole cards, which makes the game more interesting. In tournaments, players can even raise the blind amounts, but in cash games, the blind amount stays the same. The big blind is double the amount of the small blind. For example, if the first player posts a small blind of $1, then the big blind need to be $2.
Once each player is dealt with 2 cards, the betting starts with the first two players to the left of the players posting blinds. The player next to the big blind player is one who needs to play next and he can either call, raise or fold the cards. And once the player folds, he can no longer take part in the round.
If he chooses to the raise the bet, then the amount he can raise depends on the type of game he is playing. For example, in no limit hold'em, the minimum raise should be twice the amount of the big blind and the maximum raise amount can be the all the chips the player has in possession. It is called the “all-in” bet, where the player bets all his amount in the hand.
Once the player next to the big blinds plays, the action continues to the players around the table in a clockwise direction and every player has the same kind of options as whether to call, raise or fold. Once all players complete their play, the pre-flop stage is done and the action moves on to the next stage “the flop”.
In this round, the first three cards are dealt face-up and the second-round betting starts. Players who have folded in the pre-flop stage cannot take part any longer in the game and the remaining players and the action starts with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer. Here the players are provided with an additional option “Check” along with other options to raise, call or fold. If a player calls “Check” the action moves on to the next player. In real poker tables, normally the players tap their hand on to the table to indicate they are checking. Once all players complete their play, the flop round gets completed and moves on to the next round “the turn”. Generally, your poker odds of winning the pot goes down if there is a large number of players on the table.
In this round, along with the three community cards, a fourth card is dealt face up and the betting starts right away. And the players have all four similar options like the previous round to check, call, fold, or raise.
The next stage is “The River”, where an additional card is dealt face-up to start the betting. This is officially the last round of betting, but players can go on raise the bets and the rounds continue until someone calls.
If all remaining players continue their bets in the “the river” round, then all players need to reveal their two-hole cards and the winner with the highest hand will be announced. This is what it all comes down to. A really good poker player will almost know by now what kind if hand the opponent has and loosing at this point could be a big blow to the players stack of chips, cause it usuallt takes a lot of chips to participate in the game until this point.
Before you play online poker, you also need to understand the Texas Holdem Hand Combination Rankings. See the image below which shows the rankings in detail. Royal Flush is the top ranked hand and anyone with these set of cards is the winner of the pot undoubtedly. It is pretty easy to understand poker hand rankings and they are the same for all the most popular games including No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha and Seven-Card Stud and very similar for other poker variations/styles like Short Deck Hold'em (6+ poker).
To be able to play and win a player needs to know what hands are the winning hands. Knowing this is clearly the most important thing to know before one engages in a hand of poker. Royal flush is the most difficult one to get is rarely seen at any given poker table, some poker players will play their entire life without actually scoring a royal flush. The following hands are sorted with the most difficult hand in the top.
Here you see the odds (probability) for getting different five card poker hand combinations. As stated clearly here royal flush is very unlikely to get in a hand of poker. For you to get a royal flush it takes more than 600.000 hands which some players won’t play in their entire life. A pair however will come almost one time every second time which is clearly more likely. The top combinations are the best while the bottom ones are the worst.
Omaha is another variant of poker where player looking to make some bigger swings can opt for this game. In Omaha, players are dealt with 4 hole cards instead of 2 hole cards, but out of the 4 hole cards, players can only two from their hand. Like Texas hold'em, in Omaha poker also five community cards are dealt in 3 rounds flop, turn and river. And the betting rounds also have the same kind of rules like Texas hold'em poker game.
Pot Limit Omaha is played similarly to Texas Hold’em, where two players next to the dealer start with a small blind and big blind and the action continue across the table to the other players in a clockwise direction. The main difference here is in Omaha Poker, unlike Texas Hold’em where instead of 2 hole cards, four hole cards are dealt.
The other major difference between Omaha and Texas hold’em is that unlike the latter where the users can combine the 2 hole cards and the five community cards to form a high hand.
In Omaha, the players can only use 3 of the five community cards and need to use 2 of 4 hole cards.
So even if the five community cards have K♠ 9♠ Q♠ Q♥ 5♠ and the player has A♠ 2♥ 4♥ 5♣ the player cannot claim a straight flush. Because they need to use two from their 4 hole cards and 3 from the community cards and hence cannot claim it. But instead, if they have K♠ 9♠ Q♠ Q♥ 5♠ and hole cards A♠ 2♥ 4♥ 7♠, then they can claim the straight flush.
Betting works like Texas Hold’em where after the small and big blinds, the bets are placed in each round including the preflop, flop, the turn and the river.
Pot limit Omaha or Omaha High is a fast-paced action game and that is the reason this poker variant is hugely popular among high stakes poker players. Since the players are dealt with 4 holes cards instead of 2 cards, the variations that each player can get is much higher than Texas Hold’em and that is the reason that player making nuts is much higher in Omaha high.
When compared to Texas Hold’em, even having a two pair can make you a winning hand, but in PLO (Pot Limit Omaha), you never know what other users go as there is every possibility that other players got better hands than you.
Take for example, if the four hole cards dealt for you 10♠9♠8♥7♥ and during the river stage, if the community cards on the table are 7♠9♥K♥J♣2♦. Then you have a winning hand when you combine the 10 and 8 in your hand along with the 7,9 and J to form a Jack high straight (J♣10♠9♥8♥7♠). But beware, if someone holds a Queen high straight can defeat you easily. Hence when the betting gets heavier you need to rethink your best poker strategy and play accordingly.
In Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), the minimum bet allowed is the amount equivalent to the big blind amount and the maximum amount a player can place bet is the amount in the pot. But calculating the size of the pot is the trickiest part, if the pot amount is $20, then the maximum amount the first player can bet is $20. This is simple enough to calculate, but if there is already a bet placed, and if the next player wishes to raise his bet, then the maximum amount he can raise is the amount that would exist in the pot after the call. So if there is $20 in the pot and there is a bet amount of $10, then the maximum amount a player can raise is ($10+40=$50). But you don’t need to worry about that in online poker as all calculations will be done automatically and all you just need to do is place the bet as shown in the window.
Seven Card Stud was another highly popular poker variant before Texas Hold’em was introduced into the casinos. The game can be played with a minimum of 2 players and maximum of 8 players and the major difference between 7 card stud and Texas Hold’em is that in 7card stud there is no flop stage and there are no community cards dealt as well in some games.
The game is played by dealing 2 cards face down and one card face up before the first betting round starts and then 3 cards face up are dealt allowing the players to place their bet after every face up cards are dealt. Then it is followed by a face down card, the last round of betting gets completed and the player with the best 5-card wins the pot. In fixed-limit 7 card stud games, in the first two rounds only smaller bets are allowed and the larger bets are allowed when the fifth card is dealt.
As you can see from the picture above, it clearly shows how the cards are dealt in the 7 card stud game. Each player is dealt with two face down cards called the hole cards and then a face-up card called the door card or the third street is dealt. With these 3 cards on hand, the player can easily decide whether to continue with the hand or not. In total, 7 cards are dealt and it is up to the player to come with the best 5-card combination. The hand rankings or the winning poker sequence are similar to Texas Hold’em as even here the Royal Flush is the best winning hand and a set of cards with no pair is the worst possible hand.
While players place blinds as forced bets in Texas Hold’em, in 7 card stud poker, the forced bet is called as antes and need to be placed by every player in the table even before the 3 cards are dealt. So even before the cards are dealt, there is always some amount in the pot to start and the player who has the lowest ranking door card need to post the bring-in. So the person shall either bet with the minimum $5 bring-in amount or can complete by posting an amount of $10. And the betting action continues as every player has the option to either call, raise or fold. Once the betting is done, the players are dealt with fourth street card. And the gameplay differ in 7 card stud as the player who starts after the fourth street card is dealt is not the player who is next to the left of the dealer, but the person holding the high ranking door card.
Chinese Poker is another popular poker variant and only with a basic knowledge of poker can start playing this game. And one of the main reasons that beginners love to play this game is there is a lot of luck needed than skill to win. Hence, even beginners can make good winning if luck is on their side.
Chinese poker involves a maximum of four persons and every player is dealt with 13 cards from a single deck of cards. And the players need to divide their cards into 3 poker hands or sets also called as a setting. They need to have 2 sets of 5 cards each and the third set consisting of 3 cards.
The two sets comprising of 5 cards each are called as the middle and the back and the last set is called the front. And while dividing the set the players need to place the highest-ranking card as the back, while the lowest ranking cards need to be placed in the front. Remember the back hand needs to be stronger than the middle hand and the front as you can’t have a flush in the middle and a straight in the middle. Once all the players have completed dividing 3 sets of cards and the action starts in clockwise direction and players need to announce whether they are willing to play or fold. And before the players reveal their hands, they also need to announce their royalties. And the player who has the 3 flushes or 3 straights wins automatically irrespective what other players have got in their hands.
But normally the winner is considered by comparing both the hands of the player. First the top hand is compared, then the middle and lastly the bottom. The scoring system in Chinese poker works in terms of units, where players agree upon a certain amount of money before play starts. And once the 13 cards are dealt and players complete arranging in 3 sets, back, middle and front, each set is compared to the other player and player with the best hand in that particular set collects one unit from the other player. So even if you are second best, you still can win some good money at the Chinese poker game. IN some variants of Chinese poker, bonus points are awarded to players who win 2-3 hand. Because there are different stakes involved in the game, the same game can be played by different players at different stakes. For example, Player X can bet with Player Y for $100 per unit whereas other players can play for $10 per unit. The most popular scoring system in place are the 2-4 and 1-6 scoring methods.
In the 2-4 Chinese Poker scoring system, a player is awarded 1 unit for every hand they win and if they win either 2 out of 3 hands or all 3 hands an additional unit is awarded. But if there is a tie in one hand then no money is won by any person or if both the person wins one unit also then no money is exchanged.
In the 1-6 Chinese Poker scoring system, one unit is awarded for every hand they win and 3 bonus units awarded if they win all 3 hands.
In this Chinese Poker variation the players are dealt five cards in the beginning. These cards are arranged faceup on the table to the back, middle, and front hands. The cards cannot be rearranged later. Then the players receive a single card at a time for the remaining 8 cards. This means it's possible to make an illegal hand.
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Razz is another poker variant that became popular in the early 2000s and can be played with 2-8 players. It is basically a stud variant and similar to 7 card stud poker, there is no flop or community cards here. And the objective is to get the lowest possible 5-card hand out of the 7 cards.
The game play is very much similar to the 7-card stud poker game where every player is dealt with 2 face-up cards and a single face down card. Then 3 cards are dealt face-up and betting starts after every card is dealt and the players can decide whether to continue with the game or not after the first three cards are dealt. The two face down cards are called as the hole cards and the face down card is the door card. The players who don’t fold till the 7th street will be dealt with the last card face down and out of the 7 cards, the players need to come up with the best 5-card hand. And once 3 cards are dealt including the 2-hole cards and the door card, betting round starts.
In Razz, flushes and straights don’t count. The best hand in RAZZ is lowest straight (A-2-3-4-5), since ACE is of the lowest value here. A player with A-2-3-4-7 loses to a player holding 2-3-4-5-6, since 6 is lower than 7.
Omaha Hi-Lo is another popular poker variant where the winnings are split between the player with the highest hand and the player with the lowest hand (split pot) if the lowest hand is topped by an 8. If that condition is not met, then the player with the highest hand will win the entire pot money himself. And one more interesting aspect that a player can both win the high and the lower half of the pot as well. And when a player wins both then it is termed as scooping.
Badugi is one of the latest entrants in the world of poker and slowly starting to gain a lot of traction as the gameplay seems to be exciting and action-packed throughout. The gameplay is much similar to 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, Badugi employs a completely unique system to choose the winning hand. The name Badugi is seemed to have originated from the South Korean word “baduk” meaning black and white.
Badugi Poker is basically a blind game where the player seated to the left of the dealer posts the small blind and the person next to him posts the big blind. Read below to understand the game rules.
The game moves clockwise to the left of the dealer and every player is dealt with 4 cards facedown
The betting starts after all the players are dealt 4 cards with the player starts betting next the big blind
Once all players place their bets, the drawing round starts
The player to the left of the dealer now has to decide how many to discard and how many new cards to receive
The dealer deals all new cards at once to the player and the game moves on to the next player and so on
A player can even choose not to discard any cards, which is called as standing pat
Once the new cards are dealt with all players, the second round of betting begins and the same pattern is followed by discarding and adding new cards
This pattern goes on until all players except one, fold their cards
RANK OF CARDS: K, Q, J, 10 ,9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A.
OBJECTIVE of the game: Win the pot by having the lowest hand with no two cards of the same suit or rank.
Once the betting rounds are over, the player remaining wins the pot.
Short Deck Poker or Six-plus hold’em is another variant of the Texas Holdem Poker as it follows the same basic poker rules as Texas Hold’em with a little difference as instead of a 52-card deck, a 36-card deck is used here. In this 36 card deck, 16 cards including 2s,3s,4s and 5s are removed leaving the deck to start from the 6s till the As. Similar to Texas Hold’em, the Aces are the highest or the lowest when calculating straights.
The gameplay is much similar to Texas Hold’em where two-hole cards are dealt with each player followed up by five community cards and four streets of betting rounds including the preflop, flop, turn and river.
The betting can be either no-limit or fixed limit games and the same hand ranking rules also apply here. Since the 2s till the 5s are removed in this game, some rules change here:
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HORSE is a popular mixed poker variant and is played by players interested in winning big cash games and players looking to have some entertainment playing a mix of poker games. Playing this game also removes the specialty one has in a single game and requires a player with skills across multiple poker variants. It is often considered that a real professional in Poker is determined when he plays mixed poker variants like HORSE. Even individuals who like to test their poker skills can choose to play these mixed variants occasionally. Horse Poker (H.O.R.S.E) is a mix of five poker games and it stands for:
HORSE Poker is rotated between each game as every game is given a round each. First the game begins with Fixed Limit Hold’em and the rotates through every other game like Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Stud and 8-or-better games. Once the last 8-or-better game is completed, the action continues again with Fixed Limit Hold’em and goes on until a winner is determined. In online HORSE games, you can easily see which game is played right now as the name of the game is displayed at the top of the table all the time. And during the switch between each game, the button for the player freezes so that it prevents players from skipping blinds or paying extra blinds.
5 card draw is another poker variant that is also known to be the simplest form of poker variant and is basically a video poker. Hence, beginners starting to learn poker can start with this game. Also known as Cantrell Draw, the five-card draw is not very much played in many casinos since the 5-card draw is not as popular as the 7-card stud and the Texas Hold’em.
In five card draw, the game begins with players to the left of the dealer posting small blinds and big blinds.
The first round starts with the player dealing to the left and the second round starts with the one who started the first round. Each player is dealt with 5 face down cards one at a time and the remaining cards in the deck is placed alongside.
Betting round starts and if more than one player remains after the betting round, a draw round starts where each player is allowed to replace their cards with new ones.
Each player is dealt with new cards and the second-round betting starts and finally the showdown starts where the player the best hand is declared as the winner.
2-7 (Or Deuce to Seven) Triple Draw is a game in which the low poker hand wins the pot at showdown. To explain in detail, it is a form of ‘Lowball’. It is a ‘draw’ game, meaning that you are dealt 5 cards, and may discard from 0 to 5 of them on the draw, and receive that same number of replacement cards. In Triple Draw, each person has the opportunity to draw 3 times, though you may ‘stand pat’ (not discard any cards) on any or all of the draws.
When the betting is complete the best 2-7 Lowball hand wins the pot
Hands combinations are counted from the highest card in the hand
The best possible 2-7 Lowball hand is 7-5-4-3-2 (cannot have the same suit)
Straight, flush and pairs are bad for you
Having a straight does not destroy your hand but makes it less valuable. Any hand without a flush, straight or pair will beat any hand with a pair, no matter how low the cards are
The Ace is only used as a high card
Because the Ace is a high card Ace to Five is not considered to be a straight but an A-5 high
When the player with the winning hand has received the pot, the player who was to the left of the dealer becomes the new dealer on the next hand
This is the round sequence for 2-7 Triple Draw Betting. If you will memorise the information above and below, you will understand the basic rules.
Five cards dealt to each player
First betting round begins with player to the left of big the blind
First draw begins with player to the left of a button
Second betting round begins with player to the left of a button
Second draw begins with player to the left of a button
Third betting round begins with player to the left of a button
Third draw begins with player to the left of a button
Fourth betting round begins with player to left of button
Showdown (if reached)
Make sure to remember these 2-7 Triple Draw Basics, these will help you to learn the game and improve your strategy.
Good starting hands have a deuce
Never draw three cards
Be cautious if you have a six in your hand
Position is very important
Always bet if you are in advantageous position
Select cards carefully, you have to be both Tight and Aggressive
If you are just a beginner, then master your strategy by learning how to play poker by playing low limit poker games and acclimatise yourself with the basics of the game. There are a lot of poker schools and poker training websites available online that can help you with hand analysis, poker mindset, hand reading, aggression, tilt-control, bankroll amangement etc.
Poker is all about getting the best-hand possible and in order to get that one need to be patient and should not get emotional in the game. Emotions will only hurt you for good and there is every chance you could lose more money in just seconds. According to the fundamental theorem of poker introduced by David Skylansky, which states that: “Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose”.
Poker has grown so big there are actually schools teaching out different poker strategies. This will be suitable for both the beginner but also poker player that has experience in playing poker for many years. If you want to take your game to the next level, then you have to join some of these poker training schools. Once you try them out, see what works best for you.
There are very many different kinds of formats to play on when playing at a poker site. This is great, because regardless of what kind of player you are and what needs you have right now you will find a format that suits you, whether it’s tournaments, cash games or sit and go poker. These are the most popular online poker game formats. Pick the ones you like and focus on them rather than playing everything or just any random games.
Select a preferred poker site from this list, grab a bonus and enjoy the game. There are hundreds of different poker sites to choose from online and it can be difficult to find the right one, but here you find the ones that we recommend. These ones comes with great poker offers and their poker sites are well known and have a good reputation. We know that choosing a poker site is a big commitment so make sure you choose one that suits you the best. We recommend these brands so you will definitely find your favourite one.
If you still want to learn more about poker and how to play there are plenty of material online. Even though we have provided complete guides and examples there is endless of information you can study to increase your chances of winning at poker. It can takes years and years of practice to actually become a really good poker player, so make sure you do not only study various strategies but also make sure you put them into practice. There are plenty of poker sites where you can play without playing for real money, those sites can be a good start for a poker beginner. Here you will find some useful poker books and study material, make sure to check it out and pick what's best for you.
This guide should have provided you with all the information you needed about the online poker variations, their rules, hand combinations and gameplay. To start playing poker is quite easy and we presented a number of different poker sites where you can play your first hand. But if really want to begin your poker career on a good note and with greater luck we suggest you read our guides which we presented above. If you have done so already we can only congratulate you, you are now a better poker player with a greater chance of winning your next hand. And remember, at poker you don’t play your own cards, you play your opponents. Good luck!