Peter:'So, are you coming to the casino tonight to play Texas Hold'em poker?'
Juan:'I suppose so. But I think I'll just watch you guys play. I have gambled before in casinos, but I've only gambled my money in games of roulette and blackjack. I have no idea how to play poker.'
Peter:'It's not difficult to play. I'm sure you've seen people play it in films.'
Juan:'I understand the game, each player bets or gambles their own money in the game. The last player left or the player with the best cards wins all the money that all the players have gambled/spent on the game. But I have no ideas about what to say or what to do when I'm playing.'
Peter:'I'll explain it to you. You play poker to win the pot. The pot is the name for all money that the players bet or gamble during one game of poker. In poker, when a player gambles their money, they say the player puts in money or puts money into the pot.
The size of the pot increases during a game as players gamble/put in more money. The person who wins the pot is the person who is still playing in the game at the end and has the best cards, which is called the best hand.'
Juan:'I understand if your hand is four kings, it is better than if somebody else's hand is three 10s. But how many cards will I get to play with? 5 or 7?'
Peter:'In Texas Hold'em, they deal or give to each player two cards. These cards are dealt face down to each player, so none of the other players can see what type or number the cards are. These are called a player's hole cards.
Then during the poker game another 5 cards are dealt, but this time in the middle of the poker table and this time they are dealt face up, so all the players can see what type or number they are.'
Juan:'Who deals the cards? Is it another player?'
Peter:'When you're playing at home, yes. But in a casino, the person who deals the cards is called the dealer. He or she works for the casino and normally doesn't play poker in the game.'
Juan:'Ok. So how do you start to play?'
Peter:'Well, before you can play poker in a casino you have to convert your money into chips. These are small plastic circles/discs of different colours. Each colour represents a different amount of money (For example, a red chip represents $5).
When you have converted your money into chips, you go to a poker table where there is a seat available and wait until the current game finishes. You can also buy chips at the poker tables.'
Juan:'Is that it to join a game?'
Peter:'No. In a lot of large casinos, you can't just go to a poker table and sit down and start playing. In these casinos there is a waiting list to join the poker tables. You have to put your name down on this waiting list and wait until all the people in front of you on the list have joined a game. When it's your turn, they will call your name and tell you which poker table you're playing at.'
Juan:'Ok, that makes sense.'
Peter:'Also, to join most poker games you need to have a minimum amount of chips with you to join the game. This can be anything from $40 to $10,000 or more, it depends on the poker game. This is called a buy-in. Often a poker game on a poker table will have a buy-in of $40 to $100 to join.'
Juan:'Do you have any advice on choosing which poker table to join?'
Peter:'Because you are new to playing you should look to see what the minimum amount of money that a player can put into to the pot during a game is. This is called the minimum bet. This can be anything from $2 to over a $100. You should look for a poker table with a very low minimum bet, so you don't lose too much money when you're playing.'