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Poker Rules

Poker Rules in General


Poker is a card game, which like any other game has its rules. Very often poker is directly associated with its most popular variation – Texas Hold'em. However, it is very important to note that poker has almost a hundred different variations. This includes Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7-card Stud and Razz, along with the not-so-common Double Flop Hold'em, Pineapple, Cincinnati, Lame-Brain Pete and Split in the Ocean. Most of these games have rather similar poker rules, but each one of them is unique and has its own charm.

However, before starting to learn the rules of poker, it is necessary to get acquainted with the main poker terms, slang, phrases and abbreviations used both on and off the table. You may find a detailed poker term section at OnlinePoker10 as well.

How to Play

Poker might be played with a different number of cards depending on the game variation. 32, 36, 52 and 54-card decks can be used. The most common is the standard 52-card deck. The main goal of the game, in any poker variation, is to make the opponents put as much money into the pot as possible and then win it by either collecting the best card combination or by making everyone at the table fold their cards (step out of the game), usually by bluffing. During the game players collect certain card combinations (hands), which usually consist of 5 cards. According to the poker rules, a poker table may contain from 2 to 10 players. The card value is standard and includes the cards from 2 to A (Ace). The international poker rules state that T stands for 10, especially at the online poker sites and poker rooms. The Ace in poker can act both as the highest and as the lowest card, meaning that A may also stand for 1.

All poker games begin with the cards being dealt by the dealer. Each new distribution of cards is considered a separate poker hand. The hands are divided into betting rounds in which the players make their moves one after another. In some cases, an ante applies - this is a forced bet made by all players equally prior to being dealt cards. In others, a 'big' and 'small' blind applies. One player will be responsible for contributing the big blind, whilst the player to their right will 'post' the small blind. At the conclusion of each hand, the big and small blinds change players, rotating clockwise ensuring that all players will need to eventually post blind bets.

Poker Moves

In different types of poker the player moves are the same. Poker rules state that on their turn the players can make one of the following moves:
  • Make a bet
  • Call – put the same amount into the pot as the opponent
  • Raise – increase the bet by contributing more than the opponent
  • Fold – give up the cards and forfeit the rest of the game
  • Check – make no contribution to the pot but not to fold either, if none of the opponents have made a bet, leave everything as it is and open another card.
When it comes to the betting rounds, the poker rules are the same to all the variations of the game. Every betting round is considered to be finished when all the players either made the bets of the same amount or folded. All the bets are then collected to form the pot. When the last betting round is over, the winner is revealed after the showdown of the cards. The player who has the best card combination wins the game. According to the same poker rules, should there be at least two equally good card combinations, which after the showdown appear to be the strongest in the game, the players should split the pot. However, the game may not end with a showdown, if all players but one fold their cards, the remaining player collects the pot. One of the best poker tactics is to bluff in order to make the opponents make large contributions to the pot and then fold their cards. Bluffing is legal in poker, it coincides with the poker rules and is a very important part of poker strategy.

Hand Rankings

According to the poker rules, hand strength is yet another significant element of the game. Card combinations in poker are the following:
  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a kind
  • Two Pairs
  • One Pair
  • High Card

Poker Game Types

As is has already been mentioned, there is a large number of poker games and variations and their rules are different as well. Most of the new poker players tend not to bother themselves too much, quickly learn the Texas Hold'em rules and go straight to the poker tables. However, as they get bored with the classic Texas Hold'em, they storm the Internet in search of the poker rules for the not-so-common variations of the game.

Texas Hold'em

Poker rules: Texas Hold'em Poker – at the moment Texas Hold'em is the most popular poker game in the world. It is definitely the number one poker variation when it come to the world's biggest poker tournaments and events, such as WSOP, WPT, EPT etc. Texas Hold'em is the most widely televised game of poker as well and the most popular form of the game at the casinos and online poker rooms. Texas Hold'em poker rules are very simple and easy, therefore new players are usually able to learn the game very fast.

Best online poker rooms to play Texas Holdem: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Titan Poker, 888 Poker, Poker770.

Best online poker rooms to play Limit Texas Holdem: Titan Poker, Poker770.

Omaha High

Poker rules: Omaha High Poker – Omaha is very often call the “future poker game”. Omaha requires far more skill and knowledge than any other poker game, it has a clear distinction between high, low and pot limit games. Omaha is becoming increasingly popular, especially among the poker pros at the major poker events.

Omaha Hi-Lo

Poker rules: Omaha Hi-Lo Poker (8 or better) – Omaha Hi-Lo is easy to find at the most of the casinos and online poker rooms. It is very similar to Omaha High poker, however, with a few distinctions. It is also growing in popularity both in online and in live poker games.

Best online poker rooms to play Omaha: PokerStars, 888 Poker, Full Tilt Poker.

7/Seven-Card Stud

Poker rules: 7-card Stud Poker – one of the easiest poker games with the most simple rules. Before the Texas Hold'em explosion, 7-card Stud was the most common and the most popular poker game. According to the 7-card Stud poker rules, the game can be played by any number of players from 2 to 8.

5/Five-Card Stud

Poker rules: 5-card Stud Poker – the earliest form of stud poker, originated in America during the Civil War. Unfortunately, 5-card Stud has now lost its popularity and is no longer even a part of WSOP, although the 5-card Stud poker rules are really simple and easy to learn. However, the game is still popular in some countries, especially in Finland. There is a rather wide range of 5-card Stud variations from traditional Hi-Lo and Canadian Stud to not that common Mexican Stud, Telesina and Crocodile Stud. This poker game may also be played with jokers which may be used to replace Ace or a missing card in a straight or a flush.

Crazy Pineapple

Poker rules: Crazy Pineapple Poker – a game very similar to Texas Hold'em, only instead of two hole cards the players receive three. According to the rules of Crazy Pineapple poker, one of these cards has to be given up: in some of the games before the flop, in others – after. The rest of the game is the same old Hold'em, so there's no need to learn any additional poker rules which makes the game more and more popular.

Double Flop Hold'em

Poker rules: Double Flop Hold'em Poker – the person to come up with this game must have been someone who liked Hold'em, but got bored with its classical order. In this game the community cards (flop, turn and river) are dealt twice. The bets are made both for the “upper board” and the “lower board” as the cards are distributed at the different sides of the table. That is the main difference in poker rules between the Double Flop and the regular Hold'em game. Every player receives two hole cards and collects the best combination for each set of community cards. The Double Flop poker rules forbid mixing the card sets, therefore the players collect two different card combinations.

Deuce to Seven Triple Draw

Poker rules: Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Poker – the goal of this poker game is to collect the lowest possible unsuited 5-card combination which at the same time would not be a straight. In other words, the strongest possible hand in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw is 2-3-4-5-7. A suite or a straight weakens the hand. However, unlike in the other draw poker games, in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Ace cannot be used as the lowest card and only represents the highest.

Ace to Five Triple Draw

Poker rules: Ace to Five Triple Draw Poker – a variation of poker which also has the purpose of collecting the lowest possible card combination. The best hand is A-2-3-4-5 which is called the “wheel”. In this game straight and flush are not regarded as a disadvantage of the hand and Ace acts as the lowest card. A-2-3-4-6 is the second-best card combination, called “Number 2” or “4-6”. The rest of the poker rules of the game are the same as in Deuce to 7 Triple Draw.

Kill Game

Poker rules: Kill Game Poker – a variation of poker which is usually played as a limit game. If a player wins a pot of a certain predetermined value, or two hands in a row, they must post a “kill blind” upon the start of the next game. The “kill blind” can be posted from any position at the table and is usually twice a size of a Big Blind. Kill games decrease the role of luck and chance in poker as well as the possibility of “bad beats”.

Heads-Up

Poker rules: Heads-up Poker – this kind of poker recently became very popular at the online poker rooms. Unlike the other poker games, heads-up can only be played by two players. This game can be played according to the poker rules of any variation of the game with any limits. However, the heads-up poker strategy differs from any other poker game and requires additional knowledge, poker experience and skill.

Strip Poker

Poker rules: Strip Poker – usually played live among close friends or at the online video poker sites. There are no specific poker rules for playing this game, except that the person who loses the hand has to give up their clothes instead of money.

Razz

Poker rules: Razz Poker – a game that coincides with the poker rules of the 7-card Stud. The only difference is that the player who has the worst hand, wins the game. In Razz every player receives 3 cards: 2 hole cards and one – open, then 3 more open cards and later on – one closed. After the distribution of the cards, every player has a hand consisting of 7 cards. At the showdown, the player having the worst five-card combination collects the pot. Ace is considered to be the lowest card. The best hand in Razz is A-2-3-4-5 (the wheel). The poker rules of this game are a bit unusual, but that is exactly what makes this variation of poker interesting and provides it with the unique charm.

H.O.R.S.E.

Poker rules: H.O.R.S.E. Poker – a game of mixed poker variations. It includes Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, 7-card Stud and 7-card Stud Hi-Lo (Eight or Better). All these poker games are played at the same table one after another. Once a predetermined number of hands have been played, the type of game is changed. The H.O.R.S.E. players need to be real poker pros, know the rules of all the games that are played, be good at them in order to win and to be able to change their game strategy quick.

There are more mixed poker games, derived from H.O.R.S.E.:
  • H.O.S.E. – same as H.O.R.S.E. only without Razz
  • H.O.E. – H.O.R.S.E. without Razz and 7-card Stud
  • H.O. – Texas Hold'em + Omaha Hi-Lo
  • O.E. – Omaha Hi-Lo + 7-card Stud (Eight or Better)
  • H.A. – Pot-Limit Texas Hold'em + Pot-Limit Omaha
  • Omaha Hi-Lo Mix – Fixed-Limit Omaha + Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
  • Hold'em Mixed – Fixed-Limit Hold'em + No-Limit
  • Eight Game Mix – Fixed-Limit 7 to Deuce Triple Draw + Fixed-Limit Texas Hold'em + Fixed-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo + Razz + Fixed-Limit 7-card Stud + Fixed-Limit 7-card Stud (Eight or Better) + No-Limit Texas Hold'em + Pot-Limit Omaha.

Badugi

Poker rules: Badugi Poker – poker game similar to Texas Hold'em and Triple Draw – Four Card Lowball. Although Badugi is a rather new poker game, it is becoming increasingly popular although the poker rules of the game are not that simple. At the beginning of the game each player receives 4 hole cards. Every card is then changed to the one from the deck at the end of every betting round. The Badugi poker rules state that the players have to collect a four-card combination. Badugi is a lowball poker game. Ace is considered to be the lowest card, therefore A-2-3-4 is the best card combination. Please note: the card combinations in Badugi poker are treated differently from those of poker games discussed in the previous paragraphs. For example: a combination including A,2,4,9 would go as 9-4-2-1 (nine Badugi), which in comparison to 3,4,5,6, (6-5-4-3 – six Badugi) would be a weaker hand and would loose. Such are the Badugi poker rules.

Manila

Poker rules: Manila Poker – it is an Australian poker variation played with a 32-card deck. The Manila poker rules are rather simple and very similar to the ones of the Omaha poker. Each player receives three hole cards along with 5 community cards dealt on the table. Players need to use two of their own and three cards from the table to make their hands. In Manila poker, flush is a higher card combination than full house and Ace is considered to be the strongest card.

Pinatubo

Poker rules: Pinatubo Poker – one of the non-standard poker games. Pinatubo poker rules are similar to those of the Manila poker, only a round of increasing the bets is avoided between dealing the second and the third community cards. This means that after dealing the first community card and the increasing of the bets, two more community cards are opened in a row.

Cincinnati

Poker rules: Cincinnati Poker – in comparison to all the previously discussed poker games, Cincinnati poker stands out by a rather large number of cards used in the game. Every player receives 5 hole cards with 5 community cards being dealt on the table. After the opening of each community card, players make their bets. The game includes five betting rounds. The goal in Cincinnati poker is to collect the best five-card combination by using any of the players 5 hole cards as well as any of the community cards. The poker rules are a bit unusual, but easy to learn and to play.

Iron Cross

Poker rules: Iron Cross Poker – a poker game very similar to Cincinnati. However, in Iron Cross poker, the 5 community cards are not dealt one after another, but all at the same time. An interesting thing is that the cards are dealt in a cross – one in the middle and the other 4 on each side of the first card. After the open cards are dealt on the table, the players make their bets. Usually the card in the middle is the joker. The strongest and the weakest hand are the ones to win the game. The card combinations must consist of five cards, however, they have to follow the strict Iron Cross poker rules - the combination must include the player's 5 hole cards + 3 cards either from the horizontal or the vertical part of the cross.

Tic Tac Toe

Poker rules: Tic Tac Toe Poker – a variation of poker, which probably uses the most cards. Nine cards on the table form a square (3x3), however, they are dealt in three stages of three cards being dealt horizontally: the upper line first, then the lower and the middle one at the end. The betting rounds come after dealing each of the three-card line. The players make their card combinations by using their 2 hole cards and one of the card lines at the table, either horizontal or vertical or even diagonal.
 
 
 
 

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