Poker games typically feature a forced bet, such as the Big Blind and Small Blind in Hold’em and Omaha or the Antes and Bring-In in Stud. These forced bets comprise the starting pot in any given hand of poker, which is the first incentive players have to win the hand. Action arising from the subsequent rounds of betting further increases the size of the pot.
Dealing Cards and Betting Rounds
After any initial cards are dealt, players are usually called upon to act in turn, moving clockwise around the table.
Each player can usually take one of the following actions when it is their turn to act:
Check – To check is to decline the opportunity to open the betting. Players can only check when there is no bet during the current round, and the act of checking passes the action clockwise to the next person in the hand. If all active players check, those players remain in the hand and the round is considered complete.
Bet – Players may bet if no other players have bet during the current round. Once a bet has been made, other players must ‘call’ by matching the amount bet, in order to remain in the hand.
Fold – Players who fold forfeit their cards and cannot win or act again during the current hand.
Call – Players can call if other players have bet during the current round; this requires the calling player to match the highest bet made.
Raise – Players may raise if other players have bet during the current round; this requires the raising player to match the highest bet made, and then make a greater one. All subsequent players are required to call the raise or raise again (‘re-raise’) to stay in the hand.Different variants of poker have different betting rounds, for example, most Stud games feature five rounds of betting, while 5-card draw usually only has two. Texas Hold’em and Omaha are the two most popular poker games in the world and have identical betting structures, with four rounds of betting known as pre-flop, the flop, the turn and the river.
The pre-flop betting round begins as soon as all players have received their hole cards, before any community cards have been dealt; betting on the flop occurs after the first three community cards are dealt; on the turn after the fourth community card; and on the river after the fifth and final community card.
On each betting round, betting continues until every player has either matched the bets made or folded (if no bets are made, the round is complete when every player has checked). When the betting round is completed, the next dealing/betting round begins, or the hand is complete.
Table Stakes and All-inAll games on our site are played ‘table stakes’, meaning only the chips in play at the beginning of each hand can be used during the hand. The table stakes rule has an application called the ‘All-In’ rule, which states that a player cannot be forced to forfeit a poker hand because the player does not have enough chips to call a bet.
A player who does not have enough chips to call a bet is declared All-In. The player is eligible for the portion of the pot up to the point of his final wager. All further action involving other players takes place in a ‘side pot’, which the All-In player is not eligible to win. If more than one player goes All-In during a hand, there could be more than one side pot.
The basis of Big Two is a race to get rid of your cards. It supports 2, 3 or 4 players with one deck, and up to 8 players with two decks shuffled together. You will be dealt 13 cards in each game, and you can play these cards in four different ways:
As Singles (just one card)
As Pairs (two cards of matching values)
As Triplets or “Trips” (three cards of matching values)
As Poker Hands (five cards forming a straight, flush, full house, four of a kind or straight flush)
Note: you must play a fifth card with four of a kind to make a legitimate five card poker hand. The game consists of a number of hands, each consisting of a number of rounds. Each hand begins by the players being dealt 13 cards (deal passes to the left after each hand).
The player who is dealt the 3 of Diamonds starts each hand (see below for how to discover this), and must make a play involving this card to begin the first round. For instance, they could just play the 3 of Diamonds as a single, or if they had a straight involving this 3, they could lead with that.
(If no-one has the 3 of Diamonds, the player with the next lowest card leads with that instead).
Whichever type of play is led, the next player clockwise around the table must play a higher card (or combination of cards) of the same type – for instance, if the player with the 3 of Diamonds plays a pair of 3’s to start the round, the next player must play a pair of a higher value.
Players can choose to pass if they don’t want to play, and must pass if they cannot play. When all other players have passed, the last player to successfully make a play has possession and can begin a new round with whatever play they wish.
Whatever type of play begins a round, all subsequent plays must be of the same type – for instance, if a player begins a round with a straight, the next player must play a higher straight or a better poker hand (e.g. a flush, full house, four of a kind or a straight flush).
The hand ends when someone successfully plays their last card. The winning player scores one point for each card in every other player’s hand, and this score is doubled for each 2 in the final play – for instance, if the player goes out with a pair of 2’s, their score is multiplied by 4 (2x2), and if they go out with four of a kind in 2’s their score is multiplied by 16 (2x2x2x2).
Play to 49 points or whatever score you choose.
Everybody antes into the pot. Each player takes a turn, starting with the left of the dealer until there is no money left in the pot. A turn consists of two cards being dealt face up and the player betting an amount of money whether or not the third card will fall in between the first two. A player may bet anything from zero to the pot. If the third card is in between, the player wins from the pot the amount that was bet. If the card is outside the first two cards, the player has to add the bet into the pot. If the third card matches one of the first two, the player must pay twice the bet into the pot.
The best possible two-card combination is an ace and a two: you only lose if an ace or a two comes up.