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The basic rules

The best way to learn how to play Texas Hold’em poker for free is to play right here on SodaPoker.com.

It’s the best way to discover the game, meet (and beat!) new people simply have a lot of fun without risking any real money.

Before you start playing, here’s a quick brush up on the basic rules of the game, and a few easy strategies you can learn to use right here on Soda Poker.

Poker’s ultimate goal

Poker is a game that is played with 52 cards (no jokers!), and the ultimate goal is to form the best combination of 5 cards with the 7 available cards: you will be dealt 2 private cards, while the 5 others will be common to all players. The player with the best hand wins all the chips in what’s called the pot, that’s made up of all the bets made by the players during the hand.

But we’ll get back to that.

There are three ways of making a hand:

With the 2 private cards and 3 of the common ones

Combination of two private cards and three common cards
The best combination here is the pair of 10’s. No other player has a better hand.

With one the private cards, and 4 common cards.

One private card and four common cards
In this example, 2 players have the best hand, a straight from 3 to 7. But they both only used one of their private cards, and 4 of the common ones. In this example, they will split the pot.

Using all of the 5 common cards.

Combination of five common card
The best combination available is the one on the table. That’s a straight from As to 5. None of the players will use either of their private cards and will once again share the pot.

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Combination ranking

Here are all the winning combinations that can be made in a poker game, ranked from the weakest to the strongest. If you want to become a good poker player it’s very important that you know them at all time so that you don’t make the wrong decision!

High card (kicker)

High card (kicker)

A pair

Two cards of the same strength with three other cards of any value. The pair of aces being the strongest and the pair of two’s the weakest.

A  pair

A double pair (twin pair)

Double pair

Three of a kind

Three of a kind

Straight

5 cards in a numerical sequence, but not of different suits (hearts, clubs, spades or diamonds).

Straight

Flush

5 cards of the same suit, with no numerical order.

Flush

Full house

3 cards of the same value, combined with 2 other cards of equal value.

Full House

Four of a kind (quad)

Four cards of the same strength with one other card of any value. The quad of aces being the strongest and the quad of two’s the weakest.

 Four of a kind

Straight flush

Five cards of the same suit in a sequential numerical order.

 Straight flush

Royal straight flush

Five cards of the same suit in a sequential numerical order for 10 to as. It’s the strongest hand in Poker and very rare.

Royal flush

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Positions

Positioning is one of the most important aspects of poker, and it’s what allows good poker players to lay down strategies.

Positions are divided into three groups:

Positions change clockwise after every hand. Meaning you will have a different position to play in every time.

Positions on the poker table

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The typical poker hand

Card distribution:

Before the cards are dealt, the 2 players coming straight after the dealer will lay down what’s called “blind bets”. The first to play will lay down the small blind, worth half of the big blind the second player will have to place.

Each player then receives 2 cards; that each player will be the only one to see.

Card distribution: blind bets

Once the blind bets are placed and that each player has been given 2 cards, the first betting round begins. The first play to go is the one to the left of the big blind.

This player can:

To sum up, in order to enter the hand, each player will have to at least pay the minimum bet (equal to the big blind). If a player bets more that the value of the big blind it’s what’s called a raise. If the player believes his hand is beaten, he can abandon the hand by folding.

If a player raises, the following players must at least pay the amount raised in order to enter the hand. But of course, players can also fold at any time.

Once this first round of betting is completed, the dealer turns over the first three common cards (the FLOP).

The Flop
In this example, all the players have betted the amount of the big blind, so the dealer is about to turn over the flop.
 After the flop

Once the flop is on the table, the first player to speak (also called UTG for “under the gun ») can:

All the other players will have to pay the bets (if there is any) in order to see the 4th common card (the Turn).

 The Turn

It’s the same action as on the flop. The first player to go (on the dealer’s left) can:

All the other players will have to pay the bets (if there is any) in order to see the 5th common card (the River).

 The River

As in all the previous betting rounds, players will have to agree on a final bet before the showdown. Players then all reveal their hands, and the best combination wins the pot.

Showdown
In this example, only 2 players decided to bet on the river.

The winning player is the one with 2 pairs (kings and fives). The other player hand an weaker hand (twos and fives).

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