Making the most of your hand

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Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

There is an old cowboy song that goes something like, “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. I have a sneaky suspicion that the song is more a metaphor about love relationships – but the saying is just as true for playing poker.

Poker is as much about strategy as it is about luck. Any successful player will tell you that you need to know how good of a hand you have. Knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em will determine whether you win big or lose a bundle. In an effort to help out all of my fellow players that are new to the game of poker, I have listed all of the winning hands in the order they win (the first one being the one that can’t be beaten all the way down to the last one being the one that can be beaten by just about anything.)

Straight Flush -This hand is almost impossible to get. A straight flush is a five card sequence of the same suite. (For example: 2, 3,4,5,6 of diamonds; 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack of spades, etc) Ante high if you have this hand.

Four of a Kind – This is four cards of the same value. This hand beats everything but a straight flush. (For example: four cards each with the numerical value of two, etc.) You want to bet high with this hand.

Full House – This hand consists of a pair and three other cards of the same value. (For example: two cards with the numerical value of five and three cards with the numerical value of ten.) This is an excellent hand so you can bet with confidence.

Straight – All five cards are in number sequence. The cards do not have to be of the same suite. (An example of this hand would be: 2 of diamonds, 3 of hearts, 4 of diamonds, 5 of spades, and 6 of clubs.) If you have this hand you can bet with confidence but should consider what other players have bet.

Three of a kind -This hand consists of three cards of the same numerical value. (An example would be three cards of the numerical value of five.) This hand is more common so you should take this into consideration when placing your bet.

Two Pair – If you have two pair then you will be holding two cards of one numerical value and two cards of another. (An example would be: two cards with the numerical value of five and two cards with the numerical value of eight). This hand is also common so bet low or fold.

A Pair – To get a pair you only need two cards of the same numerical value. (For example: two cards with the numerical value of five).

In rare occasions there are no winning hands. In this scenario the person holding the highest cards wins. In poker the ace is the highest card followed by the king, queen, jack, ten, etc.