Poker is the most played card game in the world. Millions of poker players spend hours on the best online poker sites trying to win tournaments or big stakes at cash games. This is our guide to playing poker to win big!
How To Play Poker
In poker, the players hold cards in order to assort winning combinations, called winning poker hands. Each player has the opportunity to fold, check, bet, call or raise over an opponent's bet. These chips are placed in a pot that is won by one of the active players at each round or split up evenly in case of a tie.
Poker is the most popular card game ever with over 100 million poker players worldwide. This stat grows even larger if you add land-based poker aficionados.
Most people know the world's favorite poker variant, Texas Hold'em Poker. However, there are a dozen widely-played poker variations and they do vary quite a bit. Most poker variants belong to one of these categories:
|Poker Variant Type||Definition||Examples|
|Community Card Poker||any variant of poker using cards facing up at the center of the table that are shared by all players||Texas Hold 'Em, Omaha Hold 'Em, Pineapple Poker|
|Stud Poker||any non-positional variant of poker in which players receive a mix of face-down and face-up cards over the course of multiple betting rounds||Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud High Low, Wall Street Stud|
|Draw Poker||any poker variation in which players are dealt their full hand but subsequently are allowed to draw replacements for unwanted cards||Five Card Draw, California Lowball, Gardena Jackpots|
|Chinese Poker||an easier poker variant based on poker hand rankings and for which luck is allowed to play a greater role||Chinese Poker, Open-face Chinese Poker Game, Pai Gow Poker|
The common thread between all of these different poker games is that they are all based around the same hierarchy of hands: high card, pair, two-pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four-of-a-kind, straight flush, royal flush. Texas Holdem is by far the most played poker variant.
The most-recommended basic poker strategy for beginners is to adopt a tight-aggressive playing style. In other words, be very selective before the flop with your hole cards, and more active once you enter a pot. But there are many more strategies poker players use and switch up to occasionally:
- Maniac strategy - enters nearly every single pot
- Loose-aggressive strategy - plays many starting hands, even the weakest
- Tight-aggressive strategy - very selective with its starting hands but very aggressive thereafter
- Loose-passive strategy - plays many hands but rarely raises or bets, mostly calls after the flop
- Tight-passive strategy - very selective with its starting hands, and mostly calls after the flop
- Nit strategy - only enters a pot with a very very strong hand yet gets scared to bet big
Many readers will wonder why would a player be a LAG and enter hands with weak cards. Mostly, it is so that when they play a very strong hand, nobody will anticipate it. They do lose a lot, but when they win, they win big too. At the other end of the spectrum, a tight-passive player will rarely yield big pots as opponents will know that they only enter when they hold very strong cards.
And the motto in poker amongst top players is to maximize your wins and minimize your losses.
Types of Poker Games
The right poker strategy is a changing one depending on the type of poker game you are playing in. Professional poker players engage in poker tournaments a lot differently than they do in cash games. Furthermore, within tournaments, you will adopt a different baseline strategy at sit & go than at a heads-up. Let's push this even further. Your poker betting pattern and playing style will even fluctuate at different stages of the very same poker competition.
They most common types of poker games are:
- Cash Games - ongoing games played with "real" chips and money at stake
- Tournaments - poker competition in which players progress while losers exit the competition until a single player stands as the champion
- Sit & Go - a type of poker tournament that starts when the desired number of players is reached
- Poker Tours - main events commonly televised all over the world with high ticket prices
- Satellites - tournaments with seats at a larger tournament as prizes
- Freerolls - free poker tournaments with small payouts for the best-performing players
- Heads-Up - a poker game in which players face each other one-on-one
- Deep Stack - a poker tournament in which players start with a very large amount of chips to favor a looser and more aggressive style
- Turbo - poker games in which the blinds increase rapidly and for which players are afforded shorter decision times
All these poker game types can be played either online on a popular poker site or in a land-based poker room.
20 Highest-Earning Poker Players
Obviously, net worth figures are estimated as nobody is in any of these players' multiple bank accounts. There is no sure proof way of authenticating such claims.
Much of a poker player's wealth is accumulated from massive live poker competitions (e.g. WSOP, WPT), high-stakes cash games, and a lot of sponsorships and brand deals.
Here are the top 20 highest-earning poker players.
Poker Events in 2021
The major poker events with worldwide reach include the World Poker Tour (WPT), the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the European Poker Tour (EPT), and the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP).
|Jan 10 - 20, 2021||WPT Montreal||Montreal, Canada|
|Feb 19 - 28, 2021||WPT Russia||Casino Sochi, Russia|
|Feb 7 - 24, 2021||MILLIONS Online||partypoker.com|
|Sept 2021||WPT World Online Championships||partypoker.com|
|TBD||2021 World Series of Poker||TBD|
|TBD||World Championship of Online Poker||pokerstars.co.uk|
|Mar 19 - 28, 2021||EPT Sochi||Casino Sochi, Russia|
Word of caution, though. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most poker main events are put on hold. Organizers do not want to commit to a date that may result in a last-minute cancellation due to force majeure.