Popular Poker Games: A Primer

Poker remains one of the most popular table games in the world, with millions of players all around the globe. Part of that, of course, has to do with the incredible adrenaline rush that comes with winning a big hand. But it also helps that, while house rules can change from neighborhood to neighborhood, the basics of poker are much the same whether you’re visiting an exotic location in Europe or playing someplace closer to home, such as the Colorado Casinos.

For example, the basic form of poker is five-card draw, in which five cards are dealt to each player, who then gets one chance to discard and re-draw cards to improve his or her chances of winning. Betting generally occurs before and after the draw, and an ante also is required to get into the game.

Seven-card stud adds a new wrinkle, because some of the cards being dealt are placed face up in the center of the table, for all players to share. Here, the typical run of game play starts with two cards dealt face down to the individual players, followed by a third that goes face up. Once a first round of bets is made, the dealer then shows three more face-up cards, with betting in between each. Finally, a seventh card is dealt face down to players, before another chance to bet. But again, the goal is putting together the best overall five-card poker hand.

Somewhere between those two types of poker is Texas Hold’em, which, to be clear, isn’t limited to the Lone Star State. Texas Hold’em players are dealt two cards face down, then three cards are turned up on the table as the “flop.” After one round of betting, two more single cards are turned over on the table, in separate rounds, and players try to make up the best possible five-card hand based on what’s available.

Of course, there are just about as many poker variations as there are cards in a poker deck, so another thing to keep in mind is the mental aspect of the game. You might not be able to do anything about the luck of the draw, but your best bet for a successful night of poker, according to expert Toby Bochan from About.com, is to:

  • Fold your hand early if it doesn’t look like a winner.
  • Bluff rarely, and never do it just for the sake of doing it.
  • Don’t play if you’re already in a bad or upset mood.
  • Pay close attention to other players and other cards.
  • Stay within your limits, in terms of both skill level and betting.

As a final tip, it also can be helpful to combine gaming with other lifestyle activities, for a change of pace. A case in point: If you’re visiting Blackhawk, you could also take a trip to nearby cities such as Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins or other Silver State locations.

Good luck!