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Why kids should learn poker

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

By Joseph and Gene McPhail

Grandalf (i.e. our Grandfather, Gene McPhail) taught us how to play poker today!

Poker is a card game that can teach kids many useful skills including risk management, strategic thinking, emotional control and how to read people. Poker also introduces many useful concepts like probability theory, positive skew, and rank ordering.


Poker hand consists of five cards. The combination of cards determines the score of your hand. The hand with the highest score wins! The best possible hand is called a "Royal Flush". The worst hand is "High Card" which has none of the combinations below and is thus scored only on the highest card.

Game Play

There are lots of different versions of Poker. In this article I will explain the rules for Texas hold'em. The goal of a Texas hold'em is to use your "hole cards" and in combination with the "community cards" to make the best possible five-card poker hand.

Before cards are even dealt, the rules of the Poker game being played may require that each player put an initial contribution, called an "ante," of one or more chips into the pot, to start it off. In our game we had to "ante" $0.10 or ten cents.

To begin, each player is dealt two cards face down. There are the "hole card". There are then three stages of betting:

  1. Flop - 3 Community Cards

  2. Turn - 4 Community Cards

  3. River 5 Community Cards

After these three stages of betting you have five community cards face up in the middle of the table. Each player is free to use the community cards in combination with their hole cards to build a five-card poker hand.

Each stage gives players in turn a chance to bet. This is the key to Texas Holdem strategy. Players take turns betting on their hand. Each player to the left, in turn, must either fold, call , or raise.

  1. Fold - This means you stop playing that round, usually because you have bad cards.

  2. Call - This keeps you in the game by matching the highest payment into the pot.

  3. Raise - This keep you in the game and requires others to pay more into the pot.

When a player drops, they lose any chips that have put into that pot. Unless a player is willing to put into the pot at least as many chips as any preceding player (call), they must drop out (fold).

A betting interval ends when the bets have been equalized - that is, when each player has either put in exactly as many chips as their predecessors or has dropped. There are usually two or more betting intervals for each Poker deal. After the final interval there is a "showdown," which means that each player who remains shows their hand face up on the table.

The best Poker hand then takes the pot.


By Aila and Dad


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