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So, how do you play poker anyways?

posted by N0Lif3 on - last edited - Viewed by 297 users

I've always regarded poker as simply being a game of luck and bluffing. I'm aware that there are poker masters in the world, people who find DEPTH in the game and regard it as a sport. I just don't see it. Care to enlighten me?

Here is how every game of poker has ever gone for me, in real life, in video games, and on those little handheld electronic poker games:

- Do I have doubles, or better, of 10's, face cards, aces?
- Yes? Save them, discard everything else.
- Hope for three-of-kind, full house, or a four-of-a-kind!
- Most always, a pair of queens is the best that I can muster.

That or if I have multiple face cards of the same suit, I discard and hope for a Royal Flush... that never happens. But hey, the great thing about video games is saving before a casino game, BETTING EVERYTHING, and simply loading my last save if things don't go my way. Always works in Dragon Quest games.

I pre-purchased this game months ago when it first popped up on Steam simply for all the inevitably great dialogue between Heavy, Max, and Strong Bad. The TF2 items are simply icing on the cake for me. I'll gladly accept the second Lugermorph that I'll be getting :)

15 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Texas Hold'Em plays a little differently than 5 card draw (which is what I think you're describing).

    In Texas Hold'Em you're only dealt two cards, which you bet on or fold out on based on what else you think you can build with them as the hand progresses.

    After that first betting round, three "community cards" are turned over in the middle of the table. If things are looking promising, you can again bet, or if it looks bad, you can fold out.

    Then a fourth card is turned over in the middle of the table, and betting repeats.

    Finally, a fifth community card is flipped, at which point final betting occurs.

    The goal is to make the best five card poker hand you can out of the seven cards available to you (the two in your hand and the five on the table).



    There are some other elements to this. That cycle of cards/bet/cards/bet/etc isn't guaranteed to happen every hand...

    For instance, players can go "all in," betting their entire stack of chips, forcing everyone else at the table to either match their bet, or to fold out. If someone matches the all in, a showdown occurs, where the hand basically skips to the end, bypassing all other betting rounds since there's no reason if someone's challenged with all their money, at which point all remaining community cards and everyone's hands are shown at once, to see who has the best cards.

    Or, for instance, if everyone but one person folds out before getting to the fifth community card, the hand's over and the one person left in collects whatever is in the pot.

    Of course since it's poker, it's all about odds/probability. I am still incredibly new at this, but when we've played after work team games, based on how people are betting, everyone else on the team says things like "oh I bet he has the Queen" or whatever. So, people who pay attention and play a lot can at least have a pretty good guess as to what's going on, from what's out on the table versus how people are betting. It's still a secret to me, though.


    Truth be told I know very little about playing poker, but from one newbie to another that's what seems to be going on :)

  • Give me all your chips!


    I believe there will be a tutorial for Poker Night, won't their, Jake?

  • Oh, awesome. I thought it was five card draw, that's what I always think of when people mention "poker." Yeah, Texas Hold'em is a much better card game and I'm glad that you guys chose it for this game. This could be really fun, I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for the quick response.

  • There is more skilled involved then say Blackjack, simply being able to read your opponents, while being able to keep your own cards a secret. of course in the game we have the ultimate poker face. ;) The luck aspect is just focused on what cards you get. The main difficulty in the game is remembering what hands are what.
    A royal flush is something I have yet to see.....

  • @N0Lif3 said: I'm aware that there are poker masters in the world, people who find DEPTH in the game and regard it as a sport. I just don't see it. Care to enlighten me?


    The best way to get insight on this matter is to go to the library and check out a copy of The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky. There are a great many other books on poker that can also help shed light on the subject, but Sklansky breaks it down into math and logic for you (don't worry, it's not complicated math at all). The most famous element of the book is the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, which goes like this:

    @N0Lif3 said: 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.

    He then devotes several pages to illustrative examples.

    Another side of the game is the adage, "poker is not a game of cards, it's a game of people". In a game such as no-limit hold'em, this holds particularly true. If you're playing against the right opponents (tight-passive ones, meaking they're selective about their cards and aren't very aggressive), you can win simply by hammering at the pot. If your opponents fold more than 50% of the time when you make a pot-sized bet on the flop, you automatically win. If you can instill fear into them, you can even help engineer such a situation, which is one of the techniques the legendary Doyle Brunson describes in his book Super/System. Sometimes poker isn't about whether you have a bigger pair in your hand, but whether you have a bigger pair in your pants!

    Going back to the mathematical side, poker is also a game of odds. There are some odds you need to know to be skilled in poker... nothing terribly complicated to remember, though. For example, suppose you hold two clubs in your hand, and two clubs come down on the flop -- you have four to a flush. Suppose everybody checks and the turn comes down a spade, which doesn't help you. Somebody bets, and you have to decide whether to call.

    You have nine "outs" to make your hand on the next card (an "out" is a card that, if you catch it, you will win), because there are nine more clubs left in the deck (assuming they're not in your opponents' hands). At this point you have seen five cards -- the two in your hand and the four on the board -- so there are 46 unseen cards. So 9 of those 46 cards are the ones you need: 9/46 = an approx. 19.57% chance of making your hand on the next card, which for simplicity we usually round up to 20%, or 1 in 5. Suppose somebody bets $25 at a $100 pot. (That's an unfortunately rare occurence for you in no-limit poker -- people usually bet the size of the pot -- but this is an example. :)) That means you call $25 to hope to win $125 (an odds ratio of 125:25 = 5:1), which is a clear call if you don't think anybody behind you will raise it. Four times out of five, your flush won't come on the next card, and you are almost certain to lose (assuming the flush draw is the only thing of value in your hand). So, on average, you will lose that $25 four times. But that fifth time, you will hit your flush and win $125. So you lose $100 ($25 * 4) but you win $125; hence, on average you will win $25 by calling. Figuring the odds this way is called calculating the "pot odds", since it's all about how much the pot offers relative to the size of the bet.

    Of course, poker players don't do all this complicated math in their heads. They just memorize a few basic ratios like "You need 4:1 odds to call when drawing for a flush". There are also other things to take into account, such as, "If I make my hand, will I be able to win even more money?" (this is called implied odds), or "How much can I expect to lose if I make my hand, but run into an even better hand?" (this is called reverse implied odds). So odds can get pretty complicated, but a good, experienced player can still usually grasp the essence of the situation without actually calculating the numbers.

    @N0Lif3 said: But hey, the great thing about video games is saving before a casino game, BETTING EVERYTHING, and simply loading my last save if things don't go my way. Always works in Dragon Quest games.


    I'm pretty sure Poker Night's not gonna let you do that (Telltale Texas Hold'em had no save feature... the tournament doesn't really run long enough to justify it), and I dunno what's so fun about that anyway...

  • You can always ask Tycho himself to teach you how to play. ;)

  • Poker is ALL about the bluffing and being lucky. LOL.

  • @fred1712 said: Poker is ALL about the bluffing and being lucky. LOL.

    Cant really bluff when you are a silent game character with no expressions then huh.

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