Like many players, the first time I sat down in a public cardroom, I was both nervous and anxious.  I was nervous to be playing at the table for the first time, but also anxious to take a seat and get those chips.  Fortunately, I didn’t lose too much money at my first public game, but the way I played, I very well could have.  I’d learned a few things about stud poker, but I knew very little about how to play and what to bet.  Don’t make the same mistake I did.  Before you head to the card club, or even to the next game with your friends, learn the following important basics of stuad poker play.

Hand Rankings

Which one is higher : a straight or a flush?  Does a diamond fulsh beat a spade flush?  If you have to think about these questions for even two seconds, don’t sit down at the table before you’re read this section.  Following is a brief description of each hand, from lowest to highest:

High Card:  Simply the highest single card.  A deuce is the lowest card, and an ace is the highest card in the deck.

Pair:  Any two cards of the same rank, such as 3 3.

Three-of-a-Kind (Trips):  Any three cards of the same rank.

Straight:  Any five, unsuited cards in a sequence, such as 4 5 6 7 8.

Flush:  Any five cards of the same – clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades.

Fll House:  A hand with a three-of-a-kind and a pair to go with it, such as three aces and two kings.

four of a kind (Quads):  Any four cards of the same rank.

Straight Flush:  Five suited cards in a sequence, such as the 4 5 6 7 8 of hearts.

Royal Flush:  The five highest-ranking cards suited and in order:  T J Q K A.  A royal flush is the best hand in poker.

When two hands are the same (when both you and your opponent have a flush, for example)  you do not split the pot.  The winner in such a case is determined by rank of cards.  Let’s say you have a straght of 7 8 9 T J, and your opponent has a straight of T J Q K A.  He wins, because his straight is to a higher card than yours.  When two players hold a full house, the rank of the three like cards determines the winner.  For example, let’s say you hold 4 4 4 A A, and your oppodent hold K K K Q Q.  Because his three kings are higher than your three fours, he wins.