As a beginner, it is important to ensure that you have a firm grasp on all the basic rules. This is because any in-depth tactics that you begin to learn and employ pretty much assume that you understand the basic rules.
Without knowing what different hands beat which, for example, will not allow you to make accurate assumptions of what your opponents are doing. Anyone who knows poker well will be playing to a strategy based on what cards beat what, and if you don’t understand the basic concepts as to whether or not the five cards laid out are good, you will not be able to fully understand the strategies that you opponents are using.
This is simply because you won’t understand why they are doing what they are. If they are betting high and you can’t see that the cards in the center are actually pretty poor, then you may be tempted to simply fold, which will most likely be a bad move.
As such, understanding the more basic rules really is essential to doing well at poker. While you may not take it very seriously (after all it is only a game), if you really want to have fun doing it then you should try to learn more in-depth tactics. To do this well you obviously need to have the basic rules pretty much nailed and under your belt.
Without them, if you are having to constantly look up what beats what, you probably will not end up doing so well. As such, you certainly shouldn’t play professionally, but at the same time it can be quite fun to play in the company of friends.
Personally when I was first learning I found it amusing to play with friends who were equally as unsure as I was – it made the entire experience far more amusing, simply because we weren’t taking it overly seriously. At the same time I can understand though that those who do want to play seriously will not appreciate people who do not fully understand the rules and customs.
As such, when just playing with friends it is not essential to know what to say each round. I play with friends frequently who are good at poker, we still don’t know the main things to say each round to move it on, but it works. If you want to play in a more professional capacity however then it is a good idea to learn what you are meant to say to move the game on.
It really is up to you however, and you will know best the circumstances in which you are playing, so make a judgment call based on that. It really doesn’t matter in the long run, as said poker is simply a game, but if you want to really enjoy it then it can be the best way of going about things if you treat learning the most basic rules, at the very least, as a serious thing to do.