Community Cards in Poker

Community Cards are so called as in poker they are shared cards that all the players can use. Games like Texas Hold'em and Omaha are community card games in that they all utilize hole cards (private cards that only each player gets to see) and a number of shared cards, or community cards that players can use to make their best poker hand.

Community Cards in Hold'em

In Hold'em there are five community cards that are dealt and players will use the two cards The rules of poker differ from game to game. For instance, you are not obliged to play any of the community cards (or board cards) however by default the community cards would come into play, at least in terms of kickers.

In Hold'em, the community cards are dealt in stages with various rounds of betting in between. Once players are dealt their hole cards (these are the 2 private cards that players are dealt face down), there is a round of betting. All players still in the hand then have 3 community cards dealt, known as the flop. There is a further round of betting and then a fourth community card is dealt, known as the turn card. After a further found of betting there is the fifth and final community card dealt, followed by a final round of betting then showdown.

Unlike the hole cards, community cards are dealt face up, usually in the center of the table. A burn card is also often used before the flop is dealt, before the turn and before the river. This is normal practice in casinos and home games.

Importance of the Community Cards

The community cards are hugely important and unless bluffing, largely dictate how you play the hand. The first decision you will have to make in a hand of poker, is whether you should play your starting hand or not. Once the flop has been dealt, the using the board cards and the 2 hole cards in hand (if Hold'em), you will know whether you have made your hand or how likely it is that you will make it. Using the board cards and hole cards, you will know how many cards are left in the deck that would make you your winning hand (AKA 'outs').

The number of outs you have will determine how likely you are to hit this (often expressed as a percentage). Players base this percentage with value of the pot (see pot odds), to determine whether to call a bet. In this situation, the size of the bet becomes important to know whether a player is getting the right odds to make the call.

 
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