Poker Rules & Poker Questions Answered
Here you will find many questions and answers on Poker Rules and how to play Texas Hold'em and other Poker Games. If you want to learn Poker Terms Click Here

Texas Hold'em
Hold'em poker (also known as Texas Hold'em) is the most popular poker game in the world. In Hold'em, players get two down cards and five community cards (which are face-up in the middle of the table). Your hand is determined by using the best five of those seven cards (in any combination) and the best hand wins the pot.

Omaha High
Omaha High (Omaha) is very similar to Hold'em, but has a greater variety of possibilities thereby making for some extremely exciting games. Omaha is a community card game played the same as Hold'em with the following two exceptions: Each player receives four face-down cards (pocket cards) to start and at the showdown each player must use two of their four pocket cards and combine them with exactly 3 board cards. At the showdown players MUST use exactly two of their pocket cards and three board cards.

Omaha 8 or Better
Omaha (8 or Better) is also sometimes known as Omaha High-Low or Omaha Hi-Lo. It is played like the high version of Omaha, except at the showdown the pot is split between the holder of the highest hand and the holder of the lowest qualifying hand. In Omaha (8 or Better), if you do not have two cards 8 or lower among your four down cards, you cannot qualify for low. If three or more cards 8 or lower do not end up among the five community cards, no low is possible. In that case, the pot will not be split (unless two hands tie for high).

Deuces Wild Poker
Deuces Wild is a version of Video Poker, all deuces are treated as wild cards. This means that whenever you get a 2, you can use that card as any card you like. You can therefore change it's face value and/or suit to work with the hand you have. With Deuces Wild, you have a far better chance of getting good hands. The casino compensates for this by offering a tighter payout schedule. You only get paid with a three of a kind or better.

Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker combines elements of the ancient Chinese game of Pai Gow and the American game of Poker. The game is played with a traditional deck of 52 playing cards plus on Joker. The Joker can be used only as an Ace or to complete a Straight, a Flush, a Straight Flush or a Royal Flush.

Jack Or Better
This is a game of draw poker. The dealer will deal you five cards face up. At this point you should decide which cards to keep and which ones to throw. To keep a card just click on the card you want to keep or on the hold button below it. Once you are finished picking the cards to be discarded click on the deal button and the dealer will deal your new cards. Depending on how many cards you throw, the same number of new cards will be dealt back into your hand so you end up with five. Whether you win or lose is determined by how good a poker hand you have.

Caribbean Poker
Caribbean poker - The Progressive (a five card hand that is a flush or better)
The second game that is going on inside the regular one is the progressive game. This game is an optional side game added the regular table game. This game is implemented and resolved every hand. The player makes the decision to play the progressive at the beginning of each hand. Then the benefits for getting a progressive hand are only valid if the player paid for the progressive at the beginning of that hand.

Here are poker rules for Texas Hold’em, possibly the most popular poker game played around the world!
The basic poker rules of Texas Hold’em are the same across most poker rooms, both online and in traditional casino settings. Players in this game get 2 cards each, and 5 more are dealt to the table which everyone can use as part of his hand. The poker rules call for 5 rounds of betting.

Generally, Texas Hold’em is played with anywhere from two to ten players. It is usually played with 2 blinds, which means the first 2 players to the left of the dealer must post small forced bets -- called “blinds” -- to start the pot. These bets are posted before the players receive any cards, which is why they are called “blind” bets. Habitually the 1st blind is called the Small or Little Blind, and his forced bet is equal to ½ of the minimum bet for that table. The 2nd blind, called the Big Blind, bets the minimum bet. In live games there may be one blind, multiple blinds, or none (players each paying an ante, instead), but online poker rules use 2 blinds.

Each player is first dealt two cards face down, after which the first betting round ensues. Poker rules call for the action to move in a clockwise direction from the dealer’s position. The first person to make a bet is the person sitting on the left hand side of the dealer. Each player (after the blinds, that is) makes a bet based on what kind of hand he expects to be able to form with these two, plus the community cards showing up later.

Next, the first three community cards are dealt. This is referred to the “flop” since they are dealt all at once. These cards are dealt face up so that everyone may apply them to his hand. Each player now makes another bet, which is based on how these three community cards affect his hand. The dealing of a community card, then a betting round following each card continues until five community cards are in the middle of the table and each active player has bet twice more.

It is now time for the showdown. Each player tries to make the best five-card hand possible from the seven cards that he sees. Texas Hold’em poker rules dictate that a player may use both of his hole cards, one, or none to make his final hand. To use only the community cards as your hand is called “playing the board.”

The ranks of poker hands are standardized today but it wasn't always like that. Gone are the days when a poker player could make a skip, blaze or a tiger or any number of other exotic poker hands. Poker hands are ranked the way they are today because it's based on one cold, hard fact: the exact odds of being dealt that hard in exactly five cards. The more difficult it is to receive a certain five card hand, the higher it's ranked on the scale of poker hands.

One important point to make here is that a poker hand is determined by using only five cards regardless of how many you're dealt, how many cards you have to choose from or exactly which style or game of poker you're playing. Also, there is no such thing as any one suit taking precedence over another suit as in some bidding or trump card games. A royal flush in hearts is no higher or lower a poker hand than a royal flush in spades.

Remember to use all the cards on the board, especially when you make two pair. If you have A of hearts, 6 of hearts and the board is A of Clubs, J of Diamonds, J of Hearts, T of Spades, 4 of Diamonds, you're not beat just because your opponent has A of spades, 9 of spades. You both have Aces and Jacks with a Ten kicker.

Poker Hands Ranked in Order of Power

Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J,T of the same suit. There are only four of these possible, one for each suit.

Straight Flush: A hand that has five cards of the same suit in sequence.

4 of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank. The fifth card is irrelevant unless, in Hold'em, the community cards show the four of a kind.

Full House: Three of a kind and one pair. The three of a kind determines the highest full house in the event there is more than one full house in a hand.

Flush: Five cards of the same suit that do not make a straight flush.

Straight: Five cards in sequence but not of the same suit.

3 of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank

2 Pair: Two different pair with one odd card.

1 Pair: One pair with three odd card.

High Card: Five cards that cannot make any one of the above hands. In this case, the hand with the highest ranking card is the winner. Example of poker cards dealt, A-9-5-4-3 beats K-Q-9-5-4.

There are 2,598,960 ways to be dealt one particular poker hand in five cards. The following chart shows how it breaks down into all possible poker hands.

Odds of Being Dealt Certain Poker Hands
Royal Flush 649,739 to 1
Straight Flush 64,973 to 1
Four of a Kind 4,164 to 1
Full House 693 to 1
Flush 508 to 1
Straight 254 to 1
Three of a Kind 46 to1
Two Pair 20 to 1
One Pair 1.25 to 1

The only poker game that these odds apply to directly is 5-Card Stud, a game where you're dealt exactly five cards with no opportunity to draw or otherwise exchange your cards. The exact odds of being dealt the above hands in 7-Card Stud and Texas Hold'em will vary of course, because you'll have seven cards with which to make your best five card hand. But that doesn't change the fact that the above list is the agreed upon convention and it applies to all forms of poker.

Mistakes & Disputes
Any time you have a poker dealer dealing hands to players at the rate of 40 hands per hour, there's bound to be a few mistakes. Some of the more common errors are burning and turning the turn card before the action is complete, accidentally exposing one of the blind's first cards, miscalling hands on the river and pushing the pot to the wrong player.

Sometimes you'll look down and see AA - KK or AK and then hear the dealer say, "Bring 'em back" because of a misdeal. Keep in mind that those cards were never really yours to begin with because you would not have gotten them if the dealer hand dealt the hand correctly.

Mistakes and disputes are an integral part of the game of poker and you should stay calm and take it all in stride.

Sometimes a player will be involved in a hand and run out of money to bet before the hand is over. Since all casino poker games are table stakes only, you are not allowed to put more money on the table in the middle of a hand. When you run out of money and put your last dollar in the pot, you are said to be all-in and you cannot win any more money than what is in the pot at this point.

As an example, lets say you have QJ in the pocket and you have $14 in checks in front of you at the beginning of the hand. You call $2 to see the flop, along with two other players. The flop is T94 and you bet $4 and are called by the same two players. There is now $18 in the pot. The turn is the 6 and you check and call with your last $8. There is now $42 in the pot and you are now out of money. That $42 pot is all you can win since you ran out of money at the point.

The dealer puts that pot aside and all future betting goes into a side pot that you cannot win any part of, since you cannot put money into it. The river card is the K, making you the nut straight. One of the other players in the hand bets$8 and is called by the other player, creating a side pot with $16 in it. The dealer asks to see only the two hands involved in the side pot (hold on to your cards and don't show them to the dealer until asked), and awards the side pot to the player who has the best of the two hands.

The dealer then asks to see your hand to determine if you can bet the winner of the side pot. Since you have the best hand you are awarded the main pot of $42. You in effect got to play the river card for free (you don't have to fold when you're all in) but you couldn't win any more money when you made the best hand.

Q:P1 What are the basic rules of poker? What are the hand rankings in More Detail..
A:P1 [Michael Maurer]

Most variants of poker satisfy the following definition, but in a home game of course you are free to modify the rules as you see fit.

Poker is a card game in which players bet into a communal pot during the course of a hand, and in which the player holding the best hand at the end of the betting wins the pot. During a given betting round, each remaining player in turn may take one of four actions:

check, a bet of zero that does not forfeit interest in the pot
bet or raise, a nonzero bet greater than preceding bets that all successive players must match or exceed or else forfeit all interest in the pot
call, a nonzero bet equal to a preceding bet that maintains a player's interest in the pot
fold, a surrender of interest in the pot in response to another player's bet, accompanied by the loss of one's cards and previous bets
Betting usually proceeds in a circle until each player has either called all bets or folded. Different poker games have various numbers of betting rounds interspersed with the receipt or replacement of cards.

Poker is usually played with a standard 4-suit 52-card deck, but a joker or other wild cards may be added. The ace normally plays high, but can sometimes play low, as explained below. At the showdown, those players still remaining compare their hands according to the following rankings:

Straight flush, five cards of the same suit in sequence, such as 76543 of hearts. Ranked by the top card, so that AKQJT is the best straight flush, also called a royal flush. The ace can play low to make 5432A, the lowest straight flush.
Four of a kind, four cards of the same rank accompanied by a "kicker", like 44442. Ranked by the quads, so that 44442 beats 3333K, and then ranked by the side card, so that 4444A beats 4444K(*).
Full house, three cards of one rank accompanied by two of another, such as 777JJ. Ranked by the trips, so that 44422 beats 333AA, and then ranked by the pair, so that 444AA beats 444KK(*).
Flush, five cards of the same suit, such as AJ942 of hearts. Ranked by the top card, and then by the next card, so that AJ942 beats AJ876. Suits are not used to break ties.
Straight, five cards in sequence, such as 76543. The ace plays either high or low, making AKQJT and 5432A. "Around the corner" straights like 32AKQ are usually not allowed.
Three of a kind, three cards of the same rank and two kickers of different ranks, such as KKK84. Ranked by the trips, so that KKK84 beats QQQAK, and then ranked by the two kickers, so that QQQAK beats QQQA7(*).
Two pair, two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank and a kicker of a third rank, such as KK449. Ranked by the top pair, then the bottom pair and finally the kicker, so that KK449 beats any of QQJJA, KK22Q, and KK445.
One pair, two cards of one rank accompanied by three kickers of different ranks, such as AAK53. Ranked by the pair, followed by each kicker in turn, so that AAK53 beats AAK52.
High card, any hand that does not qualify as one of the better hands above, such as KJ542 of mixed suits. Ranked by the top card, then the second card and so on, as for flushes. Suits are not used to break ties.
(* Such match ups are only possible in games where there are wild cards or where community cards are shared, such as Texas Hold'em.)

Suits are not used to break ties, nor are cards beyond the fifth; only the best five cards in each hand are used in the comparison. In the case of a tie, the pot is split equally among the winning hands.

Several variations are possible when playing for low. Some games permit the ace to play low and ignore straights and flushes, making 5432A the best possible low, even if it makes a straight flush. Other games just reverse the order used for high hands, making 75432 of mixed suits the best possible low. Still others count straights and flushes against you but let the ace play low, making 6432A best. Note that in most games in which the ace plays low, a pair of aces is lower than a pair of deuces, just as an ace is lower than a deuce.

When a joker is in play, it usually can only be used as an ace or to complete a straight or flush. It cannot be used as a true wild card, for example, as a queen to make QQ43X play as three queens. When playing for low, the joker becomes the lowest rank not already held, so 864AX is played as 8642A, with the joker used as a deuce.

Although true wild cards are rarely seen in a casino, they are a popular way to add excitement to a home game. Wild cards introduce an additional hand, five of a kind, which normally ranks above a straight flush. They can also cause confusion when two players hold the same hand composed of different wild card combinations. The standard rules of poker do not distinguish between such hands, but some players prefer to rank hands using fewer wild cards above less "natural" versions of the same hand.

Q:P3 How is Texas Hold'em played?
A:P3 [Michael Maurer]

Texas Hold'em is a "community card" game, meaning that some cards are dealt face-up in the middle of the table and shared by all the players. Each player has two down cards that are theirs alone, and combines them with the five community cards to make the best possible five-card hand.

Play begins by dealing two cards face down to each player; these are known as "hole cards" or "pocket cards". This is followed by a round of betting. Most hold'em games get the betting started with one or two "blind bets" to the left of the dealer. These are forced bets which must be made before seeing one's cards. Play proceeds clockwise from the blinds, with each player free to fold, call the blind bet, or raise. Usually the blinds are "live", meaning that they may raise themselves when the action gets back around to them.

Now three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table; this is called the "flop". A round of betting ensues, with action starting on the first blind, immediately to the dealers left. Another card is dealt face up (the "turn"), followed by another round of betting, again beginning to the dealer's left. Then the final card (the "river") is dealt followed by the final round of betting. In a structured-limit game, the bets on the turn and river are usually double the size of those before and on the flop.

The game is usually played for high only, and each player makes the best five-card combination to compete for the pot. Players usually use both their hole cards to make their best hand, but this is not required. A player may even choose to "play the board" and use no hole cards at all. Identical five-card hands split the pot; the sixth and seventh cards are not used to break ties.

Q:P4 How is Omaha Hold'em played?
A:P4 [Michael Maurer]

The rules of Omaha are very similar to those of Texas Hold'em. There are only two differences:

Each player receives four hole cards, instead of two.
One must use *exactly* three community cards and two hole cards to make one's hand.
The second difference is confusing for most beginners. These examples show how it works.

Board Hole Cards Best High Hand
===== ========== ==============
As Kc Qc 8d 2d Ac 2c Jd Th Jd Th makes ace-hi straight.

As Kc Qc Jh Td Ac 2c Jd 8h Ac Jd makes ace-hi straight.

As Kc Qc Jh Td 3c 2c Jd 8h Jd 8h makes pair of jacks. No straight
is possible using two hole cards.

As Ks 8h 9d 2s Qs 4h 4d 4s Qs 4s makes AKQ42 "nut" flush.

As Ks 8s 9s 2s Qs 4h 4d Qd Qs Qd makes pair of queens. No flush is
possible using two hole cards.

As Ts 8s 8h 4d Td Tc Ad 9c Td Tc makes TTT88 full house.

As Ts 8s 8h 4d Td 8c Ad 9c Ad 8c makes 888AA full house.

As Ac 8s 8h 4d Ah 2h 3h 5h Ah 5h makes trip aces AAA85. No full
house is possible using two hole cards.

As Ac 8s 8h 4d Ah 2h 3h 4h Ah 4h makes full house AAA44.
Omaha is often played high/low, meaning that the highest and lowest hands split the pot. The low hand usually must "qualify" by being at least an 8-low (the largest card must be 8 or lower). One can use a different two cards to compete for the high and low portions of the pot, and the game is played "cards speak" rather than "declare". Aces are either low or high, and straights and flushes don't count for low. Since everybody must use two hole cards to make a hand, the board must have three cards 8 or lower for a low to even be possible. Players often tie for low, and the low half of the pot is divided equally among them. Some more examples:

Board Hole Cards Best Low Hand
===== ========== =============
As Kc Qc 8d 2d 8c Jc Jd Th Jd Th makes the low hand JT82A, which
does not qualify as 8-or-better.

3d 5h 8d Tc Ts Ac 2c Jd Th Ac 2c makes the "nut low" 8532A.

3d 5h 8d Tc Ts Ac 3c 4d Th Ac 4d makes 8543A.

3d 5h 8d Ad Ts Ac 3c 5d 8h Any two make T853A, not qualifying.

Ac 2c 3d 4h 5s Ad 2d Th Td Ad 2d makes "nut low" 5432A.

Ac 2c 3d 4h 5s 4d 5d Th Td 4d 5d makes "nut low" 5432A.

5h 7h 8d Ac 2c Ad 2d Th Td Ad 2d makes 8752A, but the nut low is
5432A with a 3 and 4. On the flop we
had the best possible low, but the turn
and river "counterfeited" us.
As in all split-pot games, the real goal of playing any hand is to win both halves of the pot, or "scoop". Thus, hands that have a chance to win both ways are far superior to those that can only win one way.