How to play poker for beginners

how to play poker for beginners

How Do You Play Poker

There are several different variations on the core game of poker. We’ll get into these different poker types later, but each shares a number of common threads.

The main objective of poker is to use the cards you’re dealt to create the best five-card hand possible – or to convince other players that you have the best hand, even if you don’t!

Poker card rankings
The cards in a deck are individually ranked, from top to bottom:

A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.

When you’re creating your best hand of five cards, you’re usually looking to make a:

Straight Flush

Four of a Kind
Full House
Three of a Kind
Two Pair

…in order of strongest to weakest. Usually, the higher the value of the cards in that hand, the stronger it is. For example, a pair of Aces beats a pair of Queens, and a straight that runs 7-8-9-10-J beats one that runs 5-6-7-8-9.

Check out our full guide to poker card rankings and hands to find out how to make the most of the cards you’re dealt how to play poker for beginners.

Poker positions

Although you’ll usually stay at the same seat at the table, the position you’re in when it comes to poker’s order of play changes with every hand, relative to who’s dealing the cards.When there’s a non-playing poker dealer, a Button is used to indicate your position for each hand, with play proceeding left-to-right around the table.


If the ‘action’ – or order of play – starts with you, then you’re in Early Position.
If it comes to you last, then you’re in what is known as Late Position.
If you’re somewhere in between the two, you’re in Middle Position.

Poker positions affect betting strategy for various reasons. You might be entering a stake (known as a ‘blind’ bet) before you’ve even seen your cards.

If you’re the first to act, you have less information as to how ‘strong’ your opponents are, and might get raised or re-raised. If you’re the last to act, you have more information – and might even be able to ‘steal’ those blind bets with a cheeky raise, if everyone else has folded.

As you learn poker skills, you’ll understand that position can be a big factor in determining how often a certain hand or player will win how to play poker.

Be sure to bookmark our guide on to find out exactly where you stand (or sit, in this case!).