Poker is one of the most popular table games in the world, with tournaments and tables aplenty at casinos. So, how do you play poker? Well, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you should follow some basic steps. That’s why we have created this guide so that Kiwis can learn how to play poker in a general sense. There are many variants of poker, but almost all of them follow a basic formula.

However, these variants will have extra rules and bets that should be observed. We’ve created further guides for NZ players who need to brush up on these Poker variants. These Poker guides have been linked below. For now, continue reading to start learning how to play Poker. If you’d like to try any variant, we recommend playing Poker for fun online.

How to Play Poker Like a Pro

How to Play Poker for Beginners Step-By-Step Guide

Before starting a game, we recommend that a new player should learn Poker hands and etiquette. Essentially, good etiquette in the game requires that you pay attention to the game. Knowing when your turn starts is essential at live Poker tables. Keep conversations to a minimum and reveal your hands in one go. When playing Poker online, practising etiquette will help you to keep the pace. With these rules in mind, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Choose a Variant – Poker has many versions, so it’s important to choose one you understand. This will dictate your bets and overall game play.
  2. Place your Bets – once you’ve opened a Poker game from the lobby, you’ll need to place a bet. In some variants, there will be a normal bet and a side bet.
  3. Get Your Cards – the dealer will shuffle the deck and start dealing the cards. Some games will force you to show one card. Still, it’s best to keep your hand hidden.
  4. Call, Bet, Match or Fold – in any Poker variant, players will start each round with a bet. Also, players will be able to call, match or fold depending on the bets made.
  5. Showdown – the showdown is the final round of the game, and all hands must be revealed. The winning hand will have the highest value. We’ve provided a table below for the hand values.

Learn How to Play Poker at a Casino

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to look at the basic terminology of Poker online. This is vital to being able to play the game. We’ve covered this on our online Poker page, but we’ve also listed the most common terms below. As always, we recommend keeping a list nearby while playing, especially of the Poker cards values and terms.

  • Check – choosing not to bet until another player does
  • Fold – folding is when a player chooses to leave the game
  • Call/Match – matching a bet before yours
  • Raise – to raise the overall bet for the round
  • Third Street – third card dealt, usually face down except in Stud variants
  • Fourth Street – fourth card dealt, usually face down except in Stud variants
  • Fifth Street – fifth card dealt, usually face down except in Stud variants
  • Sixth Street – sixth card dealt, usually face down except in Stud variants
  • Community cards – shared cards used to make final hand
  • Flop – usually the first three cards dealt after a player’s hand
  • River – this is the last card to be dealt

Learn How to Play Poker at a Casino

What are the Basic Poker Rules?

In any game variant, there are some official Poker rules. Firstly, the game must be played with a standard deck without Joker cards. Gamblers will receive five or seven cards from the deck. Secondly, there must be at least two players. Lastly, gamblers can choose to play with chips (this is optional in friendly games). After that, the rules will depend on either a Stud or Draw format.

Stud Poker Rules

For Stud Poker, players will receive either five cards or seven. Kiwis will assess the strength of their hand and place bets accordingly. The player who bids the most chips will win unless another player matches their bet. In that situation, the remaining players will have to show their hand, and the highest hand value wins.

Draw Poker Rules

In Draw Poker games, New Zealanders will receive five cards, and then bet. Remaining players will be able to trade cards by discarding and drawing again from the deck. If you are dealt an Ace, you can trade all four cards.

Basic Poker Hands

Winning at Poker relies on the value of your overall hand. So, what makes one hand more valuable than another? Well, as a general rule, face cards are considered higher value. This means that the Jack, Queen and King are the highest ranking, combined with the ten and the Ace. Those five cards are known as Five of a Kind.

Basic Poker Hands

Some Basic Poker Strategies

There is rarely a fool-proof strategy for winning Poker games every time. In fact, any strategy claiming otherwise is a lie. The only way to win Poker hands every time is by cheating or card counting. These methods are impossible when you play poker online, and will get you banned from casinos in New Zealand. However, there are a few basic strategies that could help you bluff your way to the top.

  • Tight Poker Strategy – this strategy depends on folding and being selective with bets. Usually, gamblers will be able to walk away without losing too much.
  • Aggressive Tactic – for this strategy to work, Kiwis will need to bet and raise as frequently as possible. In effect, you’ll be intimidating other players out of the hand.
  • In Position Approach – sitting at the end of the round will allow New Zealanders to use other players’ moves to their advantage. Strategic bets and plays are the name of the game here.

Basic Poker Odds

  • A pair — 17 to one (5.9%)
  • Aces — 221 to one (0.45%)
  • Suited ace-king— 331 to one (0.3%)
  • Set with a pocket pair flop — 8.5 to one (11.76%)
  • Two-pair flop without pocket pair — 48 to one -1 (2.02%)
  • Four of a suit or flush by the river — 1.9 to one (35%)
  • Open-ended straight by the river — 2.2 to one (32%)
  • Three-of-a-kind flop, full house by the river— two to one (33%)

Intermediate How to Play Poker Tips

Once you’ve got the basic Poker rules down, it’s time to start varying your strategy. This will depend on a lot of factors, but the experts recommend that Kiwi players start with the following:

  1. Bluffing – everybody knows that you need a good Poker face, but using it will depend on other players and how much is in the pot. Poker hands will also count
  2. Sizing Up – keep a careful eye on other players and how they behave, then adjust your play style.
  3. Raising Often – this works well with a bluff, and can force other players to show their hand.
  4. Knowing Poker Hands – if you know the right card combinations, it’s easier to implement the above steps. Also, it’s good to remember that high pairs will work better in the flop.
  5. Poker Chips – if your stack is low, it’s important to know when to fold and when to bluff. Always play to the end if you have Aces, and avoid bluffing if you have a strong hand.

Intermediate How to Play Poker Tips

Learn to Play Poker like a Pro

Now that you got the basics, we recommend reading through these Poker game guides. They break down the most popular Poker versions for New Zealanders. Keep in mind that there’s no guaranteed strategy to win Poker every time, and you’ll do great!

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