Poker Game Rules

Game rules for Poker:

The basics

Poker originated in the saloons of the Wild West and has probably the most game variants. It is played player against players and not just against the dealer as in Blackjack, and there is a lot of psychology involved during play.

Poker is played from a standard deck of 52 cards. Some variant games use multiple decks or add Jokers or Wild Cards.

The cards are ranked in descending order starting from the highest; Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. Ace can be high or low. There are four suits; spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs, but no suit is higher than another.

Each player is dealt five cards and is called a hand. The hand highest in ranks wins. In some games there are Wild Cards or Jokers, which can be labelled whatever suit and rank the possessor wishes to.

The Ranking of Poker Hands

The ranking of poker hands starting from the highest are as follows:

1. Five of a Kind (with a Wild card or Joker)
2. Royal Flush
3. Straight Flush
4. Four of a Kind
5. Full House
6. Flush
7. Straight
8. Three of a Kind
9. Two Pair
10. Pair
11. High Card

Five of a Kind is only possible when using wild cards and is the highest possible hand. If more than one hand has five-of-a-kind, the higher rank wins; e.g. five Aces beat five kings, which beat five queens, and so on.

Straight Flush is the best natural hand. A straight flush consists of five cards in sequence and of the same suit. An Ace high straight-flush is called a Royal Straight Flush or Royal Flush and is the highest natural hand.

Four of a Kind is a hand that contains of four cards of the same rank. The hand with the highest rank of four-of-a-kind beats other four-of-a-kind hands. If there are many wild cards, as used in some game variants, there could be two four-of-a-kind hands with the same rank. In this case, the hand with the higher ranking fifth card wins. This rule applies to hands that tie, such as a pair or two pairs. Dead heats split the pot.

Full House is a hand consisting of three-of-a-kind and a pair. Again, where Wild Cards are used, ties are compared first by the three-of-a-kind ranking, then the pair.

Flush is a hand consisting of cards that are all of the same suit in any order.

Straight is a hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence, such as 5-6-7-8-9. An Ace may either be high (A-K-Q-J-10) or low (A-2-3-4-5).

Three of a Kind is a hand similar to the four-of-a-kind hand, except that if the remaining two cards are a pair, then it becomes a Full House.

Two Pair is a hand that contains two pairs only.

Pair is a hand that contains one pair only.

High Card is a hand that is none of the above and is a weak hand. If no player has a pair or better, then the hand that contains the highest ranking card wins. If multiple players tie with the highest card, then the second highest card decides, followed by the third and so on.

Playing Poker

In most games players must 'ante' a nominal amount just to have the cards dealt. Once the cards are dealt, the betting starts. Players bet into the pot in the middle of the table and it is done in turn clockwise.

The player with the highest rank showing, is the first to speak and to bet. He can either bet or check. By saying 'Check', he passes the decision to bet to the next player who can also check. If all players check, then it is the end of the round. Everyone opens his cards and the highest hand wins.

Only after one player places a bet the real betting starts. Each player in turn can either 'Call', 'Raise' or 'Fold'. To fold is to pass or drop out of the round and not play. To call means willing to match the bet, and the same amount must be placed on the pot. To raise means to match the bet and add an extra bet.

Say you start with a $5 bet. If someone else raises $10, he puts $15 in the pot. When your turn comes again you need to add $10 difference to the pot to stay in the game, and if you want you can also raise or even say 'Pot'. Pot is a raise to the maximum, which means to bet the same amount as the total money available in the pot.

If there are no more raises and all the cards have been dealt, then it is the end of the round. Everyone opens his closed cards and the highest hand wins the pot.

Seven card stud poker:

Game summary

Of all the poker games most commonly played in public cardrooms, Seven Card Stud is probably the most popular. In this game, each player is dealt seven cards of their own: two cards in the hole and one face up, followed by an opening bet. Then three cards face up, with a betting round after each card dealt, and a final card in the hole with a final bet. (CC) C bet; C (bet); C (bet); C (bet); (C) bet. The player makes a hand using any five cards from the seven dealt. The highest hand wins the pot.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Game summary

A casino table game based on the standard 5-card stud poker game played on a Blackjack-type table. Some casinos also offer a progressive jackpot paid to high ranking hands. This table game is played with one deck of cards.

Here the player competes against the dealer's hand. Each player makes the opening bet called 'ante'. Players then have the option to bet $1.0 to participate in the progressive jackpot. Players win all or part of the progressive jackpot with a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House or Flush.

Players place the opening bet 'ante'. Then the dealer deals in turn giving five cards each face down, including himself except for the dealer's fifth card, which is face up. After examining the cards, the player must decide on one of two options:

Either place a bet on the 'play' mark equal to the 'ante' amount and continue the game, or
Fold and withdraw from that round and forfeit the 'ante' wager.
Once all the players made their decisions, the dealer will open his or her cards. The dealer's hand must contain an Ace-King or better to qualify and challenge the players hands, otherwise the dealer folds and only the 'ante' wagers are paid, at 1:1 irrespective of ranking. The 'play' bet is returned to the player.

If the dealer's hand qualifies with an Ace-King or better, then the players cards are opened and compared against the dealer's. If the dealer's hand is better than the player's hand, then the player loses both, the 'ante' and 'play' wager.

If the player's hand is better than the dealer's, then the dealer pays the player for both wagers; the 'ante' and the 'play'. For the 'ante' the payoff is fixed at 1:1 irrespective of the hand ranking. For the 'play' wager the payoffs vary according to the ranking of each player's hand.

The payoffs may differ between casinos but basically they are as follows:
  • A Pair - Even Money
  • Two Pairs - 2 to 1
  • Three of A Kind - 3 to 1
  • Straight - 4 to 1
  • Flush - 5 to 1
  • Full House - 7 to 1
  • Four of A Kind - 20 to 1
  • Straight Flush - 50 to 1
  • Royal Flush - 100 to 1
Irrespective of the dealer's hand, if a player has a hand that qualifies for the progressive jackpot, the player wins according to the ranking of his hand.

If two or more players win, the winnings are shared. The jackpot payoffs are as follows:
  • Royal Flush - 100% of the Jackpot
  • Straight Flush - 10% of the Jackpot
  • Four of a Kind - $100
  • Full House - $75
  • Flush - $50
House advantage 5.22%

Let it ride poker

Game summary

Let it ride is a poker variation. The object of the game is to get a pair of 10s or better using three cards dealt to the player and two "community" cards given to the dealer. In this game everyone plays against the casino.

To start with, each player makes three bets of equal amount. Then the dealer gives each player three cards and takes two community cards placed face down. After seeing their first three cards each player has the choice to take one of their three bets back or to leave it out and 'let it ride'.

Then the dealer turns over one of the two community cards, which apply to all hands on the table, and each player has the option to take out another bet or to 'let it ride'. The player may leave their bet in or take it out the second time irrespective of their first decision.

The dealer then shows the second community card.

Winners are paid based on hands which have a pair of 10s or better with a pair of 10s paying even money, as follows:
  • Tens or better 1 to 1
  • Two pair: pays 2 to 1
  • Three of a kind: pays 3 to 1
  • Straight: pays 5 to 1
  • Flush: pays 8 to 1
  • Full house: pays 11 to 1
  • Four of a kind: pays 50 to 1
  • Straight flush: pays 200 to 1
  • Royal flush: pays 1,000 to 1
House advantage 3.5%

Pai gow poker

Game summary

Pai Gow Poker is a mixture of the ancient Chinese game of Pai Gow with classic American poker. It's played with a standard 53 card deck, including a Joker. The Joker can only be used as an Ace, or to complete a Straight or a Flush.

The game is one-to-one, the player (or players) plays against the banker, each competing to make the best possible hand. Due to a rather slow pace and a lot of ties pai gow poker is less intense than most casino games and a modest bankroll can usually last a long time.

Each player is dealt seven cards. The cards are arranged into two hands: a 2-card hand and a 5-card hand. Rankings are like the classic poker. The highest 2-card hand is Aces and the highest 5-card hand is a royal flush.

The 5-card hand must be higher than the 2-card hand. For example, if the 2-card hand is a pair of fours, the 5-card hand must contain a pair of fives or better.

The object of the game is for the player to have both hands to rank higher than those of the banker. If the player wins on one hand but loses on the other, it's a push and no money changes hands. If one hand ranks the same as the banker's hand, it's a tie but in this case the banker wins. Winning hands are paid even money, less a 5% commission. Losing hands lose the amount wagered.

House advantage 2.5%

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