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Archive for November, 2012

How to read a Poker Player

HOW TO READ A POKER PLAYER

One of the key skills most good poker players have is the ability to read their opponents at the table. That is why you hear so much about “poker tells.” A “tell” is any physical reaction, kind of behavior, or habit that gives (or tells) the other players information about your hand. If you learn the most common tells, you can not only watch your own behavior to make sure your body language isn’t telling all your secrets, but also watch for the habits and tics in the poker players you’re at the table with. If you can accurately read your opponent’s tells, you’ll make the right decisions against them more often and win more money.

Everyone has their own unique tics and tells, and it’s great to watch individuals and pick up on their unique tells. Luckily, there are also a few involuntary and common tells that you can watch for even the first time you sit down with someone. As a general rule, remember that when a player acts strong, he’s probably weak, and when a player acts weak, he's probably got a really strong hand.

Poker Tells that Say "I Have a Good Hand!"

    • Acting Uninterested in a Hand While Still in It
      This is usually a sign of a strong hand. The player is pretending that he’s not excited about his cards – but he is.

 

    • Shaking Hands 
      During a hand, if you notice a player’s hands are shaking as she places her bet, she probably has gotten a really, really good hand. Perhaps the nuts.

 

    • Rapid Breathing
      Some players can control the shakes, but it's harder to control the automatic heart-racing that comes when you see pocket aces or hit the flop really hard. If you can see a player's chest visibly rising and falling, they have an excellent hand

 

    • Sighing and Shrugging
      If a player makes a show of sighing or shrugging, and says things like “Oh, I guess I’ll call,” or even “Why am I calling?” he probably is overacting and is trying to hide a big hand.

 

    • Glancing at Chips After Looking at Hole Cards
      When a player looks down and sees strong hole or pocket cards, she may glance over at her chips to see just how much she can bet.

 

Poker Tells that Say "I Have a Weak Hand!"

    • Staring Down Other Players
      If an opponent is staring you down, he’s trying to represent strength. Usually though, he has a weak hand – he might have something, but it’s something that can be beaten or drawn out on.

 

  • Holding Breath
    Often, inexperienced players will hold their breath if they are bluffing.

Poker Tells that Say "I Have a Drawing Hand."

    • Checking Hole Cards After a Flop
      If the flop shows the possibility of giving someone a flush or straight draw, watch for people re-checking their hole cards. They’re checking to see if they have a piece of it – whether that black Ace was a spade or a club. The player doesn’t have the flush or straight at that point, because if they did, they wouldn’t have to check, but she is seeing if she has a draw to it.

 

  • Taking a Long Time Before Calling a Bet
    If a player looks into the pot and seems to be doing some calculating in his head, he probably is. He’s most likely figuring out the pot odds to see if it’s worth it to try and catch the cards he needs to complete his drawing hand.

A final note: more experienced players may give off false tells, so the first thing to read about other players is if they’re novices or pros.

Mistakes made in Poker

Mistakes made in Poker

Want to know the top 10 poker mistakes? People who lose money at the poker tables keep making these mistakes over and over again.  They may know all the holdem strategy rules and wonder why they still lose money.  This is because they haven’t recognised the 10 key areas where their mistakes are made.

Have a look at our top 10 poker mistakes and see if you’re guilty of any of these. Don’t worry if you are, even the pro’s make one or more of these poker mistakes at some time.

Poker mistake 1:   Going on tilt.
This mistake was pushed to the top of the list as it’s got to be the mistake that loses players the most money and no one is immune to it.  We are all sway to our emotions especially in a stressful competitive environment where money is an issue.  Recognising this before you start to play will actually help you stay emotionally detached from the results of each hand and you’ll stay focused on the game.  Getting some exercise  before playing is a great way to clear the mind. Breathing exercises during the game can also help.

: Poker mistake 2Playing out of position

Playing out of position is another easy mistake to make.This is  especially true online where the play is fast, maybe you’ve loosened up your game a little too much and those marginal hands that are fine to play in the right position are going to kill you if you play them from the wrong position.
Unless you are the last or second last player to bet, don’t play weak hands even if you’re small blind. It’s just not worth it.  When you are in late position, you can make informed decisions on other players hands.  In early position you are essentially playing blind and can find yourself calling a small bet only to see it raised further round the table.  Playing out of position may not seem like the worst mistake in the world especially if you do everything else right, but added up, it can lose you a lot of money.

Poker mistake 3:  Playing too many hands
The mistake of playing too many hands can also be linked with going on tilt and wanting to beat another player that suckered you into losing lots of chips.  Bad players play too many hands of poker in the hope that they’ll hit it big on the flop.  If they’re clever they’ll fold  when the flop leaves them high and dry but quite often they compound the mistake by either trying to bluff their stake back or by betting through to the river on a long shot hand.
Here are three ways to get out of the mistake of  playing too many hands:

  1. By thinking of your hands coming in sets of five. With each hand that is dealt, ask yourself if this could be the best hand you are likely to get out of the five or if you should wait. This is not the way to play poker long term but if you are in a long running tourney then it can work and will help you to practise patience
  2. By printing  the pocket odds tables and use them to determine whether you should enter the pot or not.  Only use these online though – don’t take them into the casino!!
  3. Use an online odds calculator such as texas calulatem.  An odds calculator will give you real time advice on when to enter a pot.

Poker mistake 4: Playing too predictably
If you make the opposite mistake of playing too few hands (ie only premium hands) they other players will wise up to this and fold when you enter the pot. As a result you won’t get the best value for your hand and will ending up trailing in any tournament.  This is more of a problem in live poker as often in an online tournament (especially freerolls and small buy-in  tourneys) you’ll find someone to call your raise.  Varying your game, the hands you play and how much you bet will throw your opponents off guard and they’ll find it hard to get a read on you.  Remember to still play in position though.  The only time that you may get away with playing predictably is when you are chip leader by a large margin in the later rounds of a tournament just before you get to the money and you constantly re-raise pre-flop. Quite often other players will fold even when they don’t think you have a hand.  Remember though, that this kind of play cannot last forever though and you need to know when to pull back if a player calls your bluff.

Poker mistake 5:   Not knowing when to stop.
Poker is a fun game, but it’s also addictive.  Not knowing when to stop playing could well be the single most costly poker mistake you can make.  Every player needs to take a break from playing now and again.  If you’re break needs to be a few hours, days, weeks or months then so be it. You’re game will be all the better for it when you do  return to the tables.  If you find yourself wanting to play most days, playing even when you are on a ‘losing streak’ or even playing with money you don’t have, its time to stop for a while. Remember poker should be a fun activity not a drain on your resources.

Poker mistake 6:  Bluffing badly
If you’re the type of person who can’t tell a lie well, then you’ll be useless at bluffing in a live game. Bluffing online won’t be a problem but you’ll run into the problem of more unskilled players calling your bluff online.  One big mistake with bluffing is doing too often.  Unless you are in a head to head game where bluffing can be the biggest part of the match, then be very wary when carrying out a complete bluff.  In live games the main ingredient for bluffing is being able to read your opponents.  Online, you’ll be making a mistake if you think players will play well. Quite often they’ll play very loosely and call your big bluff only to get a lucky straight later on.

Poker mistake 7:  Not watching your opponents
In a live poker game you need to watch every step the other players make, few players are skilled enough to keep everything under their hat.  The great thing about analysing your opponents is, you’ll spend less time agonising over your own hand and will give less information away yourself. You are more likely to play your own hand correctly and without emotion and you’ll get a better read on the other players.

Poker mistake 8:  Playing when you’re not up to it.
To win at poker you need to be 100% focused on all aspects of the game. Don’t make the mistake of playing a poker game with any less than your full attention.  If you’ve had a bad day at work, this will impact on your game. If you are down about something, you won’t play as aggressively.  If you’ve been playing too long or too frequently then you’ll be jaded.  Recognising when you’re not ‘in the zone’ will save you from making a costly poker mistake.

Poker mistake 9:  Limping into pots.
If you’ve had a look at some of the pocket hand odds you’ll easily see how important it is with strong hands to weed out some of the opposition. Not re-raising before the flop with a good hand is a bit poker mistake.  If you reduce the size of the field, your chances of winning increase markedly. The chances of winning with pocket aces drop from 85% with one opposing player to 31% with 8 players entering the pot.

It’s a no brainer:  limp into a pot and you’ll lose your advantage.

If you don’t lose the pot you’ll at least make less money from your premium hands than you should have.

Poker mistake 10:  Playing at too high a level.
You need to recognise if you’ve made a mistake jumping to a higher stakes game. It’s true that poker is the same regardless of the amount of money staked, but your stress level isn’t!  You have to assume that the skill of your opponents  is at a higher level also, although this isn’t always the case, especially when playing online.
There’s no shame in admitting you’ve made a mistake and drop back to a level you’re comfortable with. What’s the worst that could happen?  You may take a bit longer building up your bankroll but that’s better than continuing with your big mistake in poker and losing your money even faster!

Poker Tips for Begginners

Poker tips

There is a very steep learning curve in Poker. At the start a little information will take you a long way, but as you improve, the new information you learn won’t add as much to your game.

So if you are a beginner poker player reading this article, this is probably the most useful and money saving information you will ever read. If you absorb all of the Poker tips for beginners below, you may even turn from a losing player into a break-even or winning player.

These beginner poker tips won’t turn you into an expert player in ten minutes, but they will set you on the right track to becoming a winning poker player.

1] Don’t play too many hands.

A very common mistake that amateur players make is not being selective enough with their starting hands. Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking that ‘any hand can win’. Although this is true, some hands are more likely to win than others and will help you win more money, whilst others will help you in losing more money. So be selective about which hand to play.

Good starting hand selection is the foundation of every winning poker player’s game. Learn it!

2] Don’t bluff too much.

Another common misconception about poker is that you need to bluff to win. You may see spectacular bluffs on the WSOP shows, but these are edited to show the highlights of the tournaments and so give the wrong impression of the frequency that top players bluff. Bluffing in poker is not as essential as you think it is.

If you are a beginner online poker player, it is better to play your cards well rather than trying to bluff your opponents out of hands. It is good to try occasional bluffs here and there, but the real art of knowing when to bluff comes from knowledge and practice.

3] Think about your opponent’s cards.

It is vitally important in poker to think about the strength of your opponent’s hand, and not just your own. It is nice to have a big hand, but if you think that your opponent has a better hand than you, you should prepare to fold. For example a straight is a decent hand, but if there are four cards of the same suit on the board and your opponent pushes all in, do you still think you have the best hand?

4] Play against players worse than you.

This may seem obvious, but you will be surprised at the number of players who go against this simple principle. If you are better than the players who you are playing against, it makes sense that you will be a winner in the long run. If you were the 10th best player in the world, it would not be profitable to sit at a table with the top 9 players in the world.

Choose your games and limits just as carefully as the cards you play with. Good table selection will help you to find those fishy poker tables in the lobby.

5] Think about your position.

Table position is a very important factor in poker, especially in Texas Holdem. The best positions to be in are when you are last to act on the hand, for example, when you are on the button. This means that you gain knowledge about what kind of hand they may have before the action gets to you. Having good position in a hand can easily turn a losing hand into a winning one.

Position plays a much bigger role in no limit Texas Hold’em than you think. It can often be more important than the cards themselves, and make the difference between winning and losing a hand.

6] Pay attention to the game.

The best way to pick up tells is to watch your opponents and how they play in each pot. Even when you are not in the hand, you should still concentrate on the game to understand how your opponents play.

Hopefully you will see what moves the players make when they don’t have the best hand, and what moves they make when they do have the best hand. The more information you can get from your opponents, the better the opportunity you will have to beat them.

7] Don’t jump in at the high limits.

There are two reasons why you shouldn’t play for too much money as a beginner. Firstly, the players at the higher limits will be better than the players at the lower limits. There is less chance that you will be able to beat them and you will spend a lot of money trying to learn the game in the process.

Secondly, you only want to play at limits you can afford. You should not play at limits where you are going to drop money that you cannot afford to lose.

Without bankroll management, you will never be able to become a winning player, even if you use perfect strategy.

8] Don’t pay too much for draws.

You will often find yourself holding half a hand that only needs one card to complete your flush or your straight. As a general rule, if you opponent is betting heavily, it is unlikely to be profitable to chase after these draws. However, if there is only a small amount of betting it may be wise to call in the hope of making your hand. If the amount your opponent bets seems too big to warrant a call to make your hand, then don’t.

9] Suited cards aren’t that great.

The ultimate beginner mistake (that even some intermediate players make) is over-valuing suited cards. Flushes are not as common as you think, and if you limp in with your two small suited cards, there is the chance that you will lose all your money to a higher flush if the flush does come.

Playing poker and not using a training site is like planting crops and not using fertilizer. Maximize your results with a poker training sight.

Just because your cards are of the same suit, it only improves that hand by 2% compared to if your hand was not suited. This marginal improvement is too small to warrant calling pre-flop raises, so learn to fold the small suited cards. You will be saving yourself some money in the long run.

10] Know the rules.

As obvious as it seems, there is no substitute for knowing the rules of the game. You don’t want to find yourself calling a player all in, thinking that your straight beats his flush and losing all of your chips. There is no way you can be a winning poker player if you don’t know the fundamental rules of the game.

Furthermore, each card room and casino may have its own unique set of rules that you must abide by, so make sure you familiarize yourself with them before jumping into aame.

How to play Omaha Poker

Play Omaha Poker

Omaha  poker, usually known simply as Omaha , is very similar to Texas Holdem . There are two main differences somewhere between the games:

  1. In Omaha, instead of they receive only two hole cards, each golf player receives four.
  2. In Omaha, grinders must use exactly two of their situation cards in combination with three community cards in order to their five-card poker hand .

Conceptually, Omaha Poker is pretty much the same game of Holdem. Let’s take a look at the rules:

  1. A small dealer button identifies one player as the dealer. The entire dealer button moves clockwise around the office, and is passed at the end of every hand.
  2. All blinds, antes or other required bets really needs to be put into the pot before any cards are typically dealt. In Omaha. After the required craps bets have been placed, four hole cards are typically dealt face down to each player. An absolute betting round begins, beginning with the player left of the big blind. This player is probably ‘under the gun’.
    1. The player with the the left of the dealer posts some of the small blind . friction material
    2. The ball player two spots to the left of the dealer writes the big blind.
    3. Generally, the small shade is half the size of the big blind.
  3. Once betting has designed in the first round, three community cards are typically dealt face up, for all players to work. A second betting round follows the deal, you start with the player in the small blind. This bet round is known as the ‘flop’, or ‘Third Street’.
  4. Once betting has submitted on the flop, one community card is undoubtedly dealt face up, for all players to work. A third betting round follows the deal, beginning . again with the player in the small shade. This betting round is known as the ‘turn’, or ‘Fourth Street’.
  5. Once bet has completed on the turn, a final general public card is dealt face up, web pages players to use. A fourth and finale betting round follows the deal, beginning when with the player in the small blind. Associated with betting round is known as the ‘river’, perhaps ‘Fifth Street’.
  6. Once all bet is complete on the river, any grinders remaining in the hand must show straight their cards. All players still implicated must compare their five-card poker two hands. The pot is handed over to the player applying the highest ranked hand.

Omaha Hi-Lo (Omaha 8):

Omaha Hi-Lo , usually known as Omaha almost 8 , is structurally the exact same game of Omaha Hi . May well, however , one fundamental difference:

  1. Into Omaha 8 , grinders can aim to make either the best extraordinary poker particular hand, or the best low on-line poker hand. In the event that one player shows down a winning extraordinary hand, and the other shows down an absolute low hand, the two players split the whole pot. In order to win the full pot at major, a player must have both the best high and low particular hand, or there must be no low hand in enjoy.

Mastering the Art of Bluffing in Poker

Mastering the Art of Bluffing in Poker

Some players — and it’s only a few of them, to be sure — never bluff. After you figure out who they are, playing against them is easy. If they bet once all the cards are out, you can safely throw your hand away unless you believe that your hand is superior to theirs. If it is, you should raise.

Other people are habitual bluffers. When they bet, you have to call as long as you are holding any reasonable hand. Although habitual bluffers will also make real hands every now and then, the fact that they bluff far too often makes your decision easy. By calling, you’ll win far more money in the long run than you would save by folding.

Keep ’em guessing in Poker

No easy answer exists concerning players who bluff some, but not all, of the time. Opponents who bluff some of the time are better poker players than those found at either end of the bluffing spectrum. Better players, of course, can keep you guessing about whether or not they are bluffing. And when you’re forced to guess, you will be wrong some of the time. That’s just the way it is.

Of course, you may be able to pick up a tell (a revealing gesture) and know when your opponent is bluffing, but that’s not too likely in most cases. The sad truth is that players who keep you guessing are going to give you much more trouble than predictable opponents.

In most low-limit games, players bluff much too often. After all, when you play fixed-limit poker, all it costs is one additional bet to see someone’s hand. And the pots are usually big enough, relative to the size of a bet, to make calling the right decision.

Here’s an example: Suppose the pot contains $90, and your opponent makes a $10 bet. That pot now contains $100, and the cost of your call is only $10. Even if you figure your opponent to be bluffing only one time in ten, you should call. By calling, the laws of probability suggest that you’d lose a $10 bet nine times, for a loss of $90. Although you’d win only once, that pot would be worth $100. After ten such occurrences, you’d show a net profit of $10. As a result, you could say that regardless of the outcome of any particular hand, each call was worth one dollar to you.

The threat of bluffing in Poker

The threat of a bluff is just as important as a bluff itself. A good player — one who bluffs neither too often nor too infrequently, and seems to do so under the right conditions — has something else going for him, too. It’s the threat of a bluff. Does he have the goods or is she bluffing? How can you tell? If you can’t, how do you know what to do when he bets?

These answers don’t come easily, and even top-notch players are not going to have a terrific batting average in most cases. As a result, the threat of a bluff combined with the bluff itself, is designed to help a player win some pots that he would otherwise lose and to win more money in pots where he actually has the best hand.

After all, if you have the best hand and come out betting, your opponent won’t always know whether you’re bluffing or not. If a lot of money is in the pot, he’ll probably call. That’s the less costly error. After all, if he were to throw the winning hand away and relinquish a big pot, that’s a much more costly faux pas than calling one additional bet.

Bluffing and the threat of bluffing go hand in hand. A bluff can enable a player to win a pot he figured to lose if the hands were shown down. The threat of a bluff enables a player with a good hand to win more money than he would if his opponent knew he never bluffed.

Best table position for Poker

Best Table position for Poker

Some definitions, first: "Having position" on another player means he acts before you. "First position" means you act first. If you're dealt-in in fourth position, but the blinds and the player UTG ("Under The Gun", first to speak after the blinds) folded, you will be in first position for the rest of the hand (until you fold, at least). "Last position" is your position relative to all the other players still in the hand, meaning that even if you're not dealt in on the button, you're still in last position if no one will act after you (i.e. they players after you folded).

Position and Expected Value

l cut right to the chase: Position matters, because it will affect your expected value of any given hand. There are situations where you might gain a lot more from being in early position than in late position, but as a general rule of thumb, most hands get their best value in being last to act, and this is the key point: At showdown, all positions are the same - but being in last position means you'll have much better control of the pot size, and can therefore extract maximum value out of your monsters, while keeping it to a minimum when you expect you might be beat. The importance of this may be obvious, but let me state it for the record: As everyone, in the long run, gets dealt the same amount of good and bad cards,the difference between winners and losers is the amount they win when they win, and the amount they save when they lose.

Some examples:

You have
K♥ 9♥
and are in last position. The board is
7♥ A♣ 8♥ 5 6♠

You're holding what is likely to be the best hand. You're pretty sure your opponent has at least a pair of aces, maybe two pair, maybe even a set. If you were to act before him, in this situation, and bet out on the river - would he raise? But now you don't have to worry about it - it's his problem. He has the tough decision of whether or not to bet his strong hand or not, knowing that if you have a 9, you'll raise it and he will have lost an extra bet. He also knows that if he checks, he risks missing an extra bet to a worse hand who would just check behind him. 

You, having position on him, however, don't have this problem. You will bet if he checks, and raise if he bets. Your decision will always be the right one, his won't. As poker is about making the correct decisions, your position in this case gives you the advantage of information - or rather, denied your opponent the advantage of information. This is the most commonly stated advantage of position, but it's rarely stated exactly what you should do with it. Let me show you an example of when it might really matter: 

You have
A♥ A♠

and are last to act. The board shows
A♣ Q♣ 8♠ 3♥10♣

There has been some action all throughout the hand, mostly between you and the first player to act, but there are two players who have simply been calling all the way to the river. Now, the first player bets, the second player raises, and the third player 3-bets! What hands would suddenly come alive with that ten? Probably a straight and/or a flush. You had a great hand until the river, but you should probably lay it down. Your position saved you a lot of money here.

It's hard to trap when you're in position

Having position is a blessing and a curse. You're hard pressed to trap anyone when you're last to speak - if your monster is checked to you, you need to decide whether to bet to protect your hand, or if you should check to try and induce a bet from someone before you on the next street. If you bet your trip aces, chances are everyone will just fold, and you'll feel a bit bummed out over that, because you could have won a monster pot. And if you check, you're giving a free card that could give anyone a draw that will beat you. No fun. 

Against typical players (whatever that means), I'll often represent strength in this spot. Slowplaying has its uses, but most people often fall victim to the FPS (Fancy Play Syndrome) where they're so caught up in their attempts to trap that they miss out on good ol' big pots. In fact, being in last position and betting into a board with two aces on it will so often be conceived as a steal attempt, that you're likely to get calls from people who just plain can't believe you actually have it. They won't raise you, but they'll call. Use that against them, and bet your hand when you have it. If nothing else, it might give you a better chance of stealing the pot those times where you bet with nothing out of last position, if their memory is good enough to recall you doing that with an actual hand from time to time.

In Closing

The reason hands go up in value when you're in last position is a combination of several elements, but the important lesson that I want you to learn here is that it's not because hands themselves get better, it's that your long-term expected profit from them increases because you will be able to make better decisions, and you'll get to control the table. The reason 10h-9h is playable from the button but not from UTG, for instance, is not only that you risk being raised preflop by some later player if you limp with it, it's also that the times when you actually hit your hand, you're not going to be able to extract enough money from it to make it worth the times you swing and miss. 

Best table position

Best table position

 

Good starting hands In Poker

Good starting hands in Poker

The best no-limit Hold’em players are selective when it comes to the hands they choose to play. For someone just starting out it is a good default strategy to be selective as well, and only get involved when you’re likely to be in a decent spot thanks to your starting hand.

Properties of Starting Hands

We can start out by dividing starting hands into two groups — paired hands (two cards of the same rank) and non-paired hands (two cards of different ranks).

Pairs

Being dealt a pair doesn’t happen that often in Texas Hold’em. In fact, you are only due to be dealt a pair about once every 17 hands. Still, it is important to know how to play pairs when you do get them, since they can often prove very lucrative if played correctly — and costly if not.

Within the group of paired hands are “premium” pairs (AA-QQ), “medium” pairs (JJ-99), and “small” pairs (88-22). When it comes to the premium pairs — aces, kings, and queens — you are always going to want to play. These are big “made” hands that usually don’t really need a good flop to continue to be strong, although sometimes the flop might not work well for you. In any event, before the flop you’ll almost always want to be raising and getting involved with your premium pairs.

Medium pairs — jacks, tens, and nines — are hands you often will want to play too, although these hands aren’t always going to be obvious leaders after the flop. And with small pairs (eights through deuces), you want to see a flop cheaply and hopefully hit a “set” (three of a kind), in which case you will often have a chance to win a big pot.

Non-paired Hands

When it comes to non-paired hands, there are three primary factors to consider when evaluating their strength: high-card value, suitedness, and connectedness. High-card value is most important, with suitedness and connectedness coming next with roughly equal importance to each other.

High Card Value

High card value refers to the rank of your two cards. Hands like A-K, A-Q, A-J, and K-Q have two high cards that make those hands preferable to play. Hands with just one high card such as A-6 can be played, but can also get you in trouble since they compare unfavorably to hands with two high cards. Meanwhile, hands with a couple of low cards (e.g., nine and below) are more marginal – you’re probably better off folding those hands in most situations.

Suitedness

A non-paired starting hand can either be suited or non-suited. Generally speaking, if you are going to play a non-paired hand it is preferable for it be suited, since that increases your chances of making a flush. Thus, when comparing starting hands, a suited hand like Ah-Kh should be valued a bit higher than Ah-Kc.

Connectedness

One other factor to consider with non-paired starting hands is connectedness, a term that refers to how close in proximity the two cards are in rank. Hands like Q-J, 9-8, and 6-5 are “connectors” and thus have more ways of making straights than non-connected hands. “One-gap” hands like K-J, 9-7, and so forth are also preferable to hands with larger gaps.

Keep all of these different factors in mind — whether your hand is paired, consists of high cards, is suited, or is connected — when evaluating the strength of your starting hands.

Poker Rules to learn to play

Poker Rules

Basic Terms:

Hand: A player’s hand is the combination of cards he holds.

Play: A single game, from one shuffle to the next is called a play.

Pot: The pot is the accumulated pool of money bet by players over the course of a game. A round of poker is a battle for the pot, and the winner of any round wins it as a prize.

Hand Tie or Split Pot: If two players have the same hand then they divide the pot equally between them. When the pool is not exactly divisible then the left over amount goes to the player who called the highest bet.

Ante: An enforced bet that must be made by all players before any cards are dealt. An ante encourages action in a game.

Rake: A commission charged by a poker room for every hand played. The rake is usually taken as a percentage of the pot in a given hand. For example, if the rake is 10%, and a pot reaches a final of $10, the rake will be $1. Poker rooms generally use rake as their sole source of revenue.

Showdown: After the last round of betting in a round of poker, a showdown occurs- players must turn over their cards, and compare their five-card poker hands.

Betting Terms:

Call: A player may call a bet by putting an amount of money exactly equal to the bet into the pot. For example, if Jim bets $2, and Brian wants to call Jim’s bet, Brian must put $2 into the pot.

Fold: A player may fold his hand by laying down his cards, and forfeiting further play in a round of poker. For example, if Jim bets $2 and Brian wishes to fold, Brian must surrender his cards to the dealer, and will remain inactive for the rest of the round.

Raise: A player may raise a previous bet by putting an amount greater than the bet into the pot. A raise must be at least double the size of the previous bet. For example, if Jim bets $2, and Brian wants to raise Jim’s bet, Brian may put $4 or more into the pot.

CheckA player may pass his turn in a round of poker without taking any betting action, only if there are no previous bets in the round. This is known as a check. For instance, if Brian is first to act on the flop in a hand, he has the option of checking his hand, which will put the action on the next player.

Hand Rankings:

Know the order of cards, from low to high- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack (J), Queen (Q), King (K) and Ace (A). The ace (A) can usually double as the lowest ranked card as well as the highest. Card suits do not affect ranking- for example, the king of hearts and the king of spades are equal. Final hands in poker are always based on the total rank of five cards.

Familiarize yourself with the definitions of different hands, and with the value of each type. The different categories of five-card poker hands are as follows, from weakest to highest: One Pair, Two pair, Three of a kind, Straight, Flush, Full house, Four of a kind, Straight flush and Royal flush. A given hand beats all hands listed before it.

  1. One pair consists of two cards out of a five-card hand with the same numerical

    ONE PAIR

    rank. For example: A-A-K-7-6 (a pair of aces), or J-J-8-5-3 (a pair of jacks). If two players show down one pair hands of the same rank, they must compare their next highest card (the kicker) to determine the winner. If the two hands have equal kickers, then the next highest card must be compared- and so on. For example, A-A-7-6-5 (a pair of aces, 6 kicker) beats A-A-7-3-2 (a pair of aces, 3 kicker), since the 6 is a higher ranked card than the 3. 

  2. Two pair consists of two different pairs of cards and one other card in a five-

    TWO PAIR

    card hand. Examples of two pair hands are A-A-K-K-5 (two pair, aces and kings, 5 kicker), and J-J-10-10-7 (jacks and tens, 7 kicker). If two players both show down two pair hands with equal top pairs, the lower pairs are compared, and the highest wins. For example A-A-K-K-5 (aces and kings) beats A-A-J-J-3 (aces and jacks). If both pairs are the same, the kickers are compared. For example, A-A-10-10-5 (aces and tens, 5 kicker) beats A-A-10-10-4 (aces and tens, 4 kicker). 

  3. Three of a kind consists of three cards of the same numerical rank in a five-card

    3-of-a-kind

    poker hand. Examples of three of a kind would be A-A-A-3-2 (three of a kind aces), and 5-5-5-K-J (three of a kind fives). If two or more players show down three of a kind hands of equal rank, then the players must compare their kickers. As with pair hands, the hand with the highest kicker wins. For example, K-K-K-A-10 (three of a kind kings, ace and 10 kicker) beats K-K-K-A-9 (three of a kind kings, ace and 9 kicker), since 10 is higher in rank than 9.

  4. Straight consists of five cards in sequential order, of different suits. For example,

    A STRAIGHT

    6-5-4-3-2 is a 6-high straight. Q-J-10-9-8 is a queen high straight. 5-4-3-2-A is the lowest possible straight, and is known as the ‘wheel’ 

  5. Flush consists of five cards in non-sequential order, all of the same suit. For example, A-9-7-5-2 of hearts is an ace high heart flush. K-J-8-6-3 all of spades is a king high spade flush. If two players both show down flushes, then they must compare their top cards to

    A FLUSH

    determine a winner. The highest ranked card wins. If       these are equal, then they must compare their second highest cards, and the highest wins. If those are equal, then the third highest cards must be compared- and so on. For example, J-9-7-5-2 of hearts beats J-9-7-4-3 of hearts, since the 5 is of higher rank than the 4. 

  6. Full House consists of three cards of the same numerical value, as well as a

    A FULL HOUSE

    pair. It is useful to think of a full house as containing both three of a kind and a pair. For example, A-A-A-5-5 is a full house, aces full of 5’s. 6-6-6-2-2 is a full house, sixes full of 2’s. If two players show down full houses with three of a kinds of equal rank, the hand with the highest ranked pair would win the pot. For example, K-K-K-8-8 would beat K-K-K-2-2. 

  7. Four of a kind consists of four cards of the same

    FOUR OF A KIND

    numerical rank, and any other card. An example of four of a kind would be, A-A-A-A-3 (four of a kind, aces). 

  8. Straight Flush consists of fivecards in sequential order,

    STRAIGHT FLUSH

    all of the same suit. For example, 7-6-5-4-3 of hearts is a 7-high straight flush.

  9. Royal Flush consists of A-K-Q-J-10, all of the same suit. A royal flush is simply

    ROYAL FLUSH

    the highest possible straight flush- however because of its very high value, it is given a separate name. The suit of the royal flush does not matter- all of them are equal.

  10. Any five-card poker hand that does not fit into one of the above categories is simply known as a high-card hand. When comparing two such hands, the one with the better highest card wins. If the highest cards are equal the second highest cards are compared. If those are equal, the third highest cards are compared, and so on. For example, A-J-9-5-3 (ace high, jack kicker) beats A-10-9-6-4 (ace high, 10 kicker), since the J is higher ranked than the 10. 


Pure Play Poker tips and strategies

Pure Play Poker tips and strategies

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