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Poker Rules

Poker is a relatively easy game to learn but it is a difficult game to master. The basic rules will get you started to play then it is up to you how far you want go.

With all poker games the objectives are the same and the winning hands never change. (See the right hand column for the order of winning hands).

Usually played with between 3 and 7 players and always with a full pack (excluding Jokers), the objective is to finish with the highest-rated combination from a five-card hand.

Cards are dealt to each player to determine who will deal first. The player with the highest card starts the dealing. In most professional games a Dealer will be supplied and a marker will be placed next to the player from where the dealer starts to deal.

All words in bold letters are explained below in Poker Talk. We will use the rules for Texas Hold'em Poker.

Betting:

The player to the left of the dealer will place a "Small Blind" Stake or Bet in to the Pot and the player to the left will place the "Big Blind" in to the Pot. Blinds are set before the start of the game. For example: 10cents/20cents blinds - The Small Blind being 10cents and the Big Blind being 20cents. These are obligated stakes and all players who want to play the Hand will have to stake the same as the Big Blind to play that hand.

Two cards are dealt to each player. Players to the left of the big blind have the option to Play or Fold. When the play comes back round to the Small Blind, they have the option of Playing or Folding. If they decide to play then they will have to stake another 10cents to make up the difference of the big blind. This way every player has staked the same amount of money to play the hand.

Once all the player who want to continue the Hand have placed their stake in to the pot the first three cards are dealt (Also known as The Flop) then the second round of betting starts.

Depending on the cards in your Hand determines how much you want to bet. For example: If you hold a pair of Kings and another King appears in the Flop then you have a pretty good hand to continue playing - Three Kings.

Once the second round of betting is finished then the fourth card (The River) is turned by the dealer. Betting starts again. Once this round of betting is finished then the fifth card (The Turn) is dealt. Betting starts again.

During the game you can try and Bluff other players by raising the stakes. To Raise players increase the bet. Player who want to continue the hand can either Call or fold. If no player raises the stakes then the next player has the option to Check or raise.

Once the betting is finished and depending on if players are still in the game, then the cards are turned over to see who has the best hand. The player with the best hand wins the pot.

Poker Talk:

  • Stake: The amount of money to be placed in to the Pot
  • Bet: The same as stake.
  • Small Blind: The first stake to be placed by the player directly to the left of the dealer.
  • Big Blind: The second stake to be placed by the player directly to the left of the small blind.
  • Pot: The middle of the table where players place their stake.
  • Play: To continue playing in the game.
  • Fold: To discard the cards in your hand and cease playing in the game.
  • Hand: The cards that you hold or the game being played.
  • Flop: The first 3 cards dealt on the table.
  • River: The fourth card to be dealt on the table.
  • Turn: The fifth and last card to be dealt on the table.
  • Raise: To increase the stake.
  • Call: To stake the same as the player who has raised.
  • Check: To play without increasing the stake. Only if no player has raised the stake.
  • Bluff: To try and trick players in to thinking you have a better hand than them.

Variations of Poker

Straight Poker

Players are dealt a hand of 5 cards each and play throught the rounds of betting with no chance of changing any cards. When all the betting is finished, the hands are compared and the player with the best hand wins the pot.

Draw Poker

Players are dealt 5 cards and the betting starts. A player can drop out during this round. Once the betting is over, players have the chance to discard any cards from their hand and Draw new cards from the top of the deck.

Another round of betting takes place and players can chosse to stay in the game or drop out. The remaining player compare hands and the winner takes the pot.

Five-Card Stud Poker

Each player is dealt one card face-down and one face-up. Players can look at their face-down card and leave it face-down. The player with the highest face-up card starts the betting or folds their hand.

After the first round of betting players are dealt another face-up card with the player with the highest scoring cards opens the next round of betting. This process is repeated twice more until each player has one face-down card (The Hole Card) and four face-up cards.

The betting continues once more round the table before the players reveal thier Hole Cards to determine who wins the pot.

Stripped-Deck Poker

Similar to Draw or Five-Card Stud where there are only 3 or 4 players. All the low cards - 2 to 5's- are removed from the deck. This increases the chance of high-scoring hands.

Wild Card Poker

In this game players agree that one of the cards in the deck - usually the deuces - can count as any other card.

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Poker Hands

Whichever poker game you are playing, the rankings of the various hands never change. The hands are, in decending order:

Royal Flush:

Ace, King, Queen, Jack & 10 of the same suit.

Straight Flush:

Five cards of the same suit in numerical order.

4 of a Kind:

Four cards of the same numerical value, the highest being 4 Aces.

Full House:

Two of one numerical value and three of another, determined by the value of the trio.

Flush:

Five of the same suit but not numerical order, determined by the highest card or, in the event of a tie, the second highest.

Straight:

Five cards of numerical sequence but not of the same suit, determined by the highest card.

3 of a Kind:

Three of the same value, determined by which is numerically higher.

2 Pairs:

Two different pairs, determined by the highest pair in each hand or, in event of a tie, the second pair.

1 Pair:

Determined by which is higher or, in event of a tie, by the highest card in the hand outside the pair.

High Card:

If none of the above is held, the winner is determined by whoever holds the highest card, or, in the event of a tie, the second highest card.

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