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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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Other forms of poker


Texas Hold’Em, sometimes called just ‘Holdem’, has become possibly the best-known form of poker.  This is because it is the game played in the World Series of Poker in Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, which has been televised in the United States since the 1980s, and it is also the game played in regular series on two television channels in the United Kingdom.  In theory up to 22 people can play but in practice it is rarely played with more than eight.

Outline of the game

Each player ’s object is to make the best poker hand from the two cards he holds and the five common cards in the center of the table.  A player can use both of his hole-cards or one, or if he likes none, using the five common cards as his hand.  In this case he is said to be ‘playing the board’.  He cannot win with this, since the same option is open to all the other online poker players.

            In the televised game and in most casinos, a dealer is provided so that none of the players needs to deal.  A disc or ‘button’ is moved round the table deal by deal to indicate who the nominal dealer is.  In effect the professional dealer is merely acting for each player in turn.  It is customary in casinos, after the cards have been shuffled and cut, for the top card to be ‘burned’, i.e. discarded unseen.  This is to prevent possible cheating.

Blind bets

There is no conventional ante, but before any cards are dealt the first two players to the left of the dealer put in small bets known as ‘blinds’, which is short for blind bets.  The first blind, known as the ‘small blind’, is a percentage of the minimum bet, usually a half or a third, and the second blind, the ‘big blind’, is usually the table minimum.

When the blinds have been posted (pushed towards the pot) the dealer deals two cards face down to each player. The players examine their cards.

  1. The first player to speak in the first betting interval is the one to the left of big blind.  He cannot check because a blind bet has been made.  He must call, raise or fold.  Once the betting has gone all round the table, the two blinds may also call, raise or fold.  Small blind must obviously increase his stake to the level of the betting in order to call.  Big blind will have to increase his stake, too, if there has been a raise before the turn reached him.
  2. When all bets are equalized, dealer again burns the top card of the pack, and then deals three cards face up to the table.  These three are known as ‘flop’.  These cards (and the two more, which follow) are common to all players, and are called ‘community cards’.
  3. A second betting interval now takes place, and in this and subsequent betting intervals, the first player to speak is the nearest active player to the dealers left, not the first to bet on the previous round, as in Draw Poker.
  4. After the second betting interval, and the top card again being burned, a further face-up card is then turned up.  This is called the ‘turn’ or the ‘fourth street ’.  There is another betting interval another burned card, and a fifth face-up card called ‘the river ’ or ‘fifth street ’.
  5. The final betting interval now takes place, and there is a showdown.

*  Minimum and maximum bets

In a casino, and advisedly in games played socially at home, there will be minimum and maximum bets. In a casino, for example, the small blind might be one chip, the big blind three chips and each bet and raise for that round would be in increments of three chips.  Once face-up cards are dealt the bets and raises would be limited to increments of six chips up to the casino limit.  The televised games are no-limit knock-out affairs in which all players start with an equal number of chips and continue to play until one player has won all  the chips.

            For home games the blinds of one chip and three chips are recommended.  Since the blinds are regarded as bets it will be necessary for all players to stake at least three chips to stay in for the first round.  Three chips could therefore be the minimum bet or raise throughout, with say 10 as the maximum bet or raise throughout, with say 10 as the maximum on the first round and 20 once cards are displayed on the table.  That gives some scope for bluffing, although not as much as in the no-limit games.  The game is also played as a pot-limit game, where the limit for bets and raises is the size of the pot.


Flop the first three of the five community cards, dealt face up in Hold’Em and Omaha.
Turn or fourth street the fourth community card in Hold’Em and Omaha.
River or fifth street the fifth and final community card in Hold’Em and Omaha poker
On the button the notional dealer.  In a casino, where a dealer will deal the cards for all players, disc (known as the button) is passed round the table at each deal to indicate the nominal dealer, who is said to be ‘on the button’.
Under the gun first to speak in Hold’Em and Omaha, where except in the first betting interval, where he is small blind the first to speak is always the player to dealer ’s left, who is said to be ‘under the gun’.
Small blind the player to dealer ’s left, who before the deal makes a blind bet of an agreed amount.  It also refers to the bet itself.
Big blind the player to small blinds left, who before the deal also makes a blind bet of an agreed amount, usually two or three times the amount of the small blind.  It also refers to the bet itself.
Nut hand or nuts in games where cards are exposed, e.g. Hold’Em and Omaha, the best hand possible taking into account a player ’s hole-cards.  For example, if the player held ♥ A, ♥ 2 and the flop showed ♥ 10, ♥ 4, ♥ 3, he would hold the nut flush, an Ace flush being the best possible flush available to any player.  He would be holding the nut hand, this being the best hand possible at that stage.
Suited if the two cards dealt face down to the poker games player are of the same suit, they are said to be suited.


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