Poker - The Basics
Poker - The Basics

You probably know a little about poker already. It's a case of betting on the quality of your cards, and end up claiming the pot. The name Poker is of German origin, "Pochenspiel", which means something in the area of "Bragging Game".
There are three main variations of the game. A brief summary:

1.Draw Poker is the basic form. Each player is dealt five cards, and may try to better his hand by discarding 1-5 cards and draw a corresponding amount from the pack. This variant of Poker was popular in the heydays of cowboys and gunmen, hence its appearance in any Wild West Movie.

2.Stud Poker. The drawbacks of Draw Poker are several. There are only two betting rounds, one before the discarding of cards and one afterwards. Further, you have very little data to evaluate your opponents' hands, thus basing your game a lot on probabilities and very little on facts. Now enter Stud Poker...

o In 5-card Stud, each player initially receives one card down and one card facing up. A round of betting ensues, before the players receive one more card up and another round of betting starts. In total, the players receive four cards up and one down, and there are four rounds of betting.

o 7-Card Stud explores the traits of Stud Poker even further, and is recognized as the most widely played variant after WWII. Seven cards are dealt to each player, of which the first two and the last are face down. The best poker hand, of five cards chosen from the seven in a player's hand, wins the game. With a lot of open cards and lost cards, and a total of five betting rounds, there's something here to cater to all tastes; it appeals to the psychologist and the mathematician in you. The downside is that this is also one of the most difficult types of poker to master. And the increased number of betting rounds also ensures higher pots - a feature if you like high-risk play, a downside you don't.

3.Widow Poker is also a very popular game today. The term 'widow' denotes the series of cards dealt face-up in the middle of the table, forming a part of all player hands. Holdem and Omaha are notable sub-variants of widow-poker.

o In Holdem, each player receives two cards down. These cards, his holdings, he will combine with five common cards (the "widow") to form the best possible five-card hand. This is the most popular game among professionals.

o Omaha is a very similar treat, the main difference being that the player initially receives four private cards into his holding, not two. Two of these - no more, no less - must be combined with any of the five widow cards to form a five-card hand. Needless to say, it's easier to produce good hands in Omaha than in Holdem, resulting in the misconception that Omaha is a sort of "lite" version of Holdem.

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