How’s Your Poker Face?
Everyone and their mother likes to pretend like they have a good poker face, but how many
people really even understand how to play the game? Not only is poker a difficult game to
play, there are TONS of variations on the theme, making it nearly impossible to get two
people together who play the same kind of poker the same exact way. Most people will
concede that it is a gambling game involving cards and not showing your emotions, but the
way in which you delegate points and what exactly constitutes a win is highly debated. So
where exactly did this crazy card game come from?
In 1829, actor Joseph Cowell wrote of a game in which players would be dolled out cards
from a 20 card deck, and players would bet on whose hand was worth more points. But
that’s not exactly how we play modern poker. In 1843, Jonathan H. Green wrote of a similar
game spreading throughout the southern part of the country and out to the north, along the
Mississippi River. Eventually it even made its way west, around the same time as the gold rush.
Modern poker is played with a 52-card deck, a traditional English card count. This change came
about after the spread of Cowell’s favorite new wager involved pass time. It isn’t until 1850 that
the first evidence of the 52 card deck can be found in writing, and even then most of the country
was still using the old 20 card set. After the introduction of the larger deck it became much
easier for the card game to evolve into the modern rendition we all know and debate today.
A typical game of poker is broken down into rounds. Depending on the version you are playing,
you are dealt cards for each round. The first round is mainly made up of breaking down your
initial hand and deciding how you want to proceed, depending on your games specific rules. For
the purposes of our explanation, let’s pretend we’re playing a pretty simple, bare bones sort of
game. In the first hand you want to evaluate what cards you have and determine which cards
you want to keep and which ones you want to give away. If you have a pretty solid hand you
may only give away one or two cards in exchange for fresh, hopefully better, ones. If you have a
really crappy hand you may just fold right then and there. (Folding is the act of withdrawing your
hand. It does not withdraw your bet.) At the end of each round you place bets. If you think your
hand is solid enough to win the whole thing, you bet accordingly. If you aren’t so sure you might
provide a more timid bet to start. This continues until the hands are revealed and one person
takes the pile.
Keep Your Game Face.
The key to poker is strategy, no matter what variation of the game you are playing. This does
not necessarily mean being able to count cards, though. Often just being able to maintain a
straight face, a poker face, if you will, is enough to win or lose a game. If you show too many
emotions on your face then others might quickly know you are a strong or weak target and pull
out/take advantage accordingly. If you ensure that no one can know or guess if your cards are
strong or weak, you have a higher chance of winning the entire thing, even if you are bluffing.
The key to becoming a successful poker player mostly rests in your faces ability to control its
Once you have the basics down and your face all worked out, you can start to try the other
variations of the game. From 5-card stud to Texas hold em’ and everything in between there are
tons of types of poker you can play. The best part about this game is that you can play it with
your family or you can play it with your friends. It’s a versatile game with many different ways to
play that will always leave everyone in good spirits. As long as you aren’t playing for real money,