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Introducing Poker
Ranking Hands
The sequence of play
Betting Interval
Betting Small and Big Blinds
Table stakes
Using wild cards
Probability of holding
First betting interval
seven card stud
Other forms of poker
Texas Hold'em Basic Hand
Five - Six card Omaha
Poker Sense
Slow Playing
Other Gambling Card Game
Seven-card Brag
Gin Rummy

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The game is Texas Hold’Em and there is no limit.  Player 5 is dealer.  Small blind (player 1 ) puts in five chips an big blind (player 2) puts in 10 chips.

First betting interval

  • Player 3, with his two Kings, bets 20 chips.
  • Player 5 raises 20, and all the others fold.

1ST BETTING INTERVAL   Two Kings is an excellent start, and player 3 is right to bet positively on them.

Second betting interval

  • At the flop Player 3 completes triple Kings.  He decides on a slow-play bluffing and checks.
  • Player 5, with two kings, an Ace kicker, and the chance of a straight, bets 50 chips.
  • Player 3 calls.

2ND BETTING INTERVAL  With such a good hand, player 3 decides to play slow in order to entire player 5 to bet further.

Third betting interval

1  The turn helps neither and both check.

3RD BETTING INTERVAL   The 3 does not help either player.

Fourth betting interval

  • The river, too, is neutral.  Player 3 checks again.
  • Player 5 bets 100 chips.  He has two pairs, Kings up, and reckons player 3, on his tentative betting, can have no better than the same, in which case player 5’s Ace kicker will be vital.
  • Player 3, having sprung the trap, raises 200 chips and whatever player 5 does now, will win an excellent pot.  Had player 3 not checked twice and called once, player 5 probably would not have bet so confidently against him.

4TH BETTING INTERVAL  Player 5 falls for player 3’s bluff, thinks his
two pairs are unbeatable and bets heavily.

Key rules of poker etiquette

Poker is a game where money can changes hands in large sums very quickly, leading to strong emotions.  In the old Wild West these might have led to six-shooters being drawn.  To prevent the modern equivalent of a gunfight, standards of behavior are expected at the table, and some are noted here.

  • At all times play should be seen to be above board.
  • Each player is responsible for his own cards and chips (or cash), and should keep both in full view at all times.
  • A player should not show his cards to another player who might have folded, or hold them out of sight of others.  When not being examined, they should be face down on the table.  Nor should chips (or cash) be secreted away in pockets – they should be on the table at all times.
  • A player should not touch another player ’s cards or chips.
  • Players should not discard cards, or make any action indicating their intent   to do so, out of turn.
  • Players should not call or bet out of turn.  Any such act might clearly affect the decisions of other players.
  • When discarding, a player should make sure that other players have no chance to see which cards he has discarded.
  • Ideally at no time should a player show his cards except at a showdown.  If, after the showdown, a player who folded and therefore took no part in it, feels the need (often in exasperation ) to show the hand he folded then all other players must see it, not just his particular friends.
  • A player should not discuss a hand while it is in progress, even if he has folded.
  • Making misleading remarks is bad form.  Saying something like I’ll risk a little on an Ace ‘when holding three kings, is regarded as bad practice by most players, although in some American schools it might be considered legitimate bluffing.

  • Players should not discuss the hand after it is over.  It is not good etiquette to spark a post-mortem discussion after the hand has finished – other players are not likely to be interested.  In particular, other players’ play should not be criticized, nor should ‘helpful’ advice be offered to other players, who will probably resent it.
  • It is in order, in fact desirable, to help the dealer if he makes an error, but not to criticize him.
  • Discards should be passed to dealer in a careful manner, not thrown across the table (especially as this might reveal what they are).
  • A player who goes all-in should announce the fact, so that all players, especially the dealer, know the situation.  The dealer should announce the fact to all.
  • A player going all-in, thus creating a side-pot, must not display his hand until the final showdown.  To do so could affect how the players remaining in the side-pot behave.
  • When betting, the bet should be clear and not in the nature of a ‘feeler ’.  A player might say ‘I bet ’ or ‘I raise’ and wait imperceptibly (perhaps fiddling with his chips) for a reaction before deciding how much to bet or raise.  Similarly ‘I call..’ can become ‘..and raise’ according to an opponent ’s reaction.  Bets like this are called ‘string bets’ and are illegal.  Players who do this should be asked to make their bets quicker and clearer.
  • When putting chips into the pot a player must be careful that he does it in an orderly way so that all can see the amount.  He must not disturb chips already there as this would confuse the picture.
  • A player should treat all other players at the table alike.  He should not bet more gently against a friend than he would against another.
  • It is bad etiquette to take too long to consider one’s hand before acting at each betting interval.  Some casinos have rules limiting thinking time, say to two minutes, and by agreement this can be applied to private games.  It is timed accurately and starts only from when another player requests it, not from some notional idea of how long the player has had.

Should any disputes arise, players should respect the majority opinion.

*  Betting on a certainty

some friendly poker schools think it is bad etiquette for a player who is holding an unbeatable hand (a royal flush in Draw  Poker, for the hole-cards that complete the best possible hand when combined with the board in Hold’Em or Omaha ) to continue to bet.  One can see the argument that says one shouldn’t take cash from friends by betting on a certainty, but on the other hand if one cannot make a packet on the best hands what is poker about?  Nobody is forced to bet against you.


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