Rules of the Game

The Basics

In its simplest form Poker is a very basic game, the strategy however is very complex.

The object of the game is to win the sum of money that is bet or wagered during hands of play that continue throughout the course of a game (minus the house charges or 'rake').

You can win the pot in two distinct ways, at the end of each hand you hold the best hand or you bluff your opponent and make them fold the hand they are holding, by making them think your hand is of a greater value.

Each game of poker starts with players putting a certain amount of money or chips into the pot. This is an obligatory bet, or fee and is called the "blinds". in some cases an ante is also paid which means every player puts a fixed nominal percentage of the minimum stake into the pot.

In Texas Hold’em or Omaha, blinds are paid by the two players to the left of the dealer (The dealer is designated by a button which moves clockwise around the table, to enable each participating player to pay the blinds and have the deal) this initial bet starts the pot.

The first player to the left of the dealer button places the small blind which is half the minimum bet and the next player places the big blind equal to the minimum bet. The rotation of the dealer button and blinds assures that every player gets their turn and no one position has an advantage over the next.

The blinds and in some cases ante's are the only mandatory wagers to be made and each player can then take opportunities to decide whether or not they wish to play on or fold. Each player can bet as much as they are able or allowed to depending on the game.

You have the opportunity to bet in turn the amount you can bet or the frequency of betting is determined by the game type, however If you are betting and nobody calls, you can win without having to show your cards. If the final bet is called, players cards must be shown and the player with the best hand wins, if a player "mucks" their hand then the hand is declared dead. If the amount in the pot is uneven and both players have the same hand, the pot is split, the first active player to the left of the dealer button gets the extra chip. In Hi/Lo games, the High always gets this extra chip.

Poker is an easy-to-learn game of friendly competition, but the strategy involved makes it a challenge to master. when combined with thought, strategy and environmental feedback, it can offer a great deal of enjoyment and challenge.
Posting Blinds

On Texas Hold'em tables and Omaha tables, to take part in the action, you must pay the blinds when it's your turn. In cash game play, you have the option of not paying the blinds, which will sit you out from the game play. When playing in tournaments, paying the blinds is obligatory and will happen even if you sit out from the table.

There are two blinds - the small blind and the big blind. The big blind is set at the lower limit of the table and the small blind is generally half the size of the big blind. At the start of each game or "Hand" the player to the left of the dealer button must pay the small blind and the next player must pay the big blind. In heads-up matches, the dealer pays the small blind and his opponent pays the big blind. The dealer button will move one place around the table and thus the blind paying players will change.

If a player misses paying the blinds in a cash game because he is sat out he will be expected to pay both blinds before he can re-join the game.

When a player joins a game, he will be expected to pay the big blind before he can take part, they can either pay the blind at the next possible opportunity or choose to wait until the big blind position.

When players are re-seated during tournament play, as the tournament progresses and tables are closed, we try to reseat them in a manner such that they are seated in the closest matching position in relation to the dealer button; this is done so they do not experience a loss (or a gain) due to the reseating.
Hand Rankings

A standard card deck contains 52 cards. there are four suits and each card has a ranking that runs downward from Ace-King-Queen and so forth down to 2 (two). The Ace, however, can be used as a 1 (one). The four suits are spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds.

Most poker games are played with seven cards some of which are community cards that everyone can use you must build the best 5-card hand. Possible winning hands are based in order of the odds of their occurrence and are ranked, starting with the highest:



Royal Flush:   Straight Flush:

A royal flush is the absolute nuts and can't be beaten. It consists of the ace, king, queen, jack and ten of a single suit. 

 

Five cards in sequence, of the same suit. In the event of a tie, the highest rank at the top of the sequence wins.




Four of a Kind   Full House:

Four cards of the same value for example four Jacks, and one fifth card or ‘kicker’. In the event of a tie, the player with the highest kicker card wins.

 

Three cards of the same value (a Set), and two other cards of the same value (pair). In the event of two full houses, the highest three matching cards wins.




Flush:   Straight:

Five cards of the same suit, not in a value order or sequence, the player holding the highest ranked card wins.

 

Five non-suited cards in sequence, the highest ranking card at the top of the sequence wins.


 
Three of a Kind ("Trips" or "Set"):


Two Pair:

Three cards of the same value, and two unrelated side cards, if two players are holding sets, the player with the highest set wins, if both players hold a set of the same value then the highest side card (‘kicker’) wins. 

 

Two cards of matching rank, two cards of different matching rank, and one kicker. If both players have an identical Two Pair, the highest kicker wins. 




Pair:

 

High Card:

Two cards of matching rank, and three unrelated side cards. In the event of a tie, the player with the highest, and if necessary, second or third-highest side card wins. 

 

Any hand that does not qualify under the categories listed. In the event of a tie, the highest card wins, such as ‘ace-high’.

All In

A player can never be forced out of a hand because he does not have enough chips to call the bet.

However, a player can only win (from each opposing player) as many chips as he bets or wages into the pot, If a player only puts 10 chips into a pot, he can only win 10 chips from each opposing player.

A side pot will be formed containing the chips over and above what an all in player has contributed to the main pot. The all in player has no claim to any chips held in the side pot, all three players would be eligible to win the main pot, but only the two players who contributed chips to the side pot would be eligible to win it.

Multiple side pots can get complicated when two or more players go all in, as a general rule, the first player to go all in is eligible for the main pot only. The next all in player is eligible for the first side pot and the main pot and the next all in player is eligible for the second side pot, the first side pot and the main pot, etc.
Basic Game Tips

Learn your opponents game by keep player notes on opponents the advantage of player  notes cannot be over stated, taking notes can help you keep a record should you play against the same opponents again.

Get hand histories when players don't show their hand at the river simply click on the hand number at the top right of the screen to switch to the Hand History screen where losing called hands can be seen. Showdown information can be crucial, as you can analyse a players' decision process.

Wait your turn before posting the Big Blind, this gives you invaluable time to evaluate your opponents, be patient, take notes and learn how your opponents play.

Learn to leave the table

If you find that you are being outplayed, or even if you are just unlucky at the table, it's okay to leave. Don't go on tilt trying to win your losses, other players will be more likely to make plays against you.

If the game gets short-handed and you are not familiar with short-handed play, then you may want to leave the game.

Protect your computer

Make sure you have adequate anti-virus software and use a firewall, please ensure you scan your computer often, to remove any add ware or spy ware, that sometimes maybe accidentally downloaded from the internet. Your computer security is up to you and you owe it to yourself to protect details and account access.

Use a four-color deck

If you wish to play multiple tables we recommend using a 4 colour deck, as it makes it easier to read the board and make quick decisions, remember you will probably find the optimum number of games to play.