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Below are the rules for playing poker online and live. If you have any questions please feel free to post them in our forum.

 
How to Play Poker
 
 

Texas Holdem

The aim of the game

OK, let's start at the beginning. Texas Hold'em is a fast-paced 7-card game that's the most popular, and most exciting, form of poker played today. If you've ever watched poker on the TV, chances are that you've seen Texas Hold'em. The all important aim of the game is to make the best 5 card hand that you can, using both the two cards that you're dealt face down and the five community cards dealt face up in the middle of the table. But more of that a little later.

The dealer button

Every hand, one player will get the dealer button (a small disk marked with a D). The position of the dealer is important, as the two players to the dealer's left post the blinds. The dealer button moves to the left after each hand, so everyone acts as the virtual dealer and everyone is required to post blinds.

Blinds

The player to the immediate left of the dealer posts the small blind, and the player to their left posts the big blind. The blinds are placed in the pot to kickstart the betting and give players an incentive to enter the hand. They also mean that the winner of hand can never walk away completely empty-handed. The size of the blinds are dictated by the stakes of the table that you're playing at. The small blind is typically half the minimum bet of the game, while the big blind is typically the same as the game's minimum bet. It's probably best illustrated by an example: if you're playing at a $2/$4 table, the small blind will be $1 and the big blind $2.

The Opening Deal
Once the blinds have been posted, it's time for some cards. Moving clockwise round the table from the dealer, each player receives two cards dealt face down that only they get to see. These are also called pocket cards or hole cards. It's now time to start some betting. That is why we're here after all.

Betting following the opening deal
At this stage, each player is betting on what hand they feel their pocket cards could lead to. The betting starts with the player to the immediate left of the big blind. For this round of betting, each player has three choices: to fold, raise, or call the big blind. As the players who posted the blinds have effectively opened the betting, each player has to at least call this bet to stay in the hand, so checking isn't an option at this stage. The betting goes round the table in a clockwise direction until each player has either called, folded or raised. If no-one has raised by the time the betting returns to the person who posted the big blind, this player may check his own blind, fold or raise. The first round of betting is at the lower level of table stakes, so in a $2/$4 game all raises are increments of $2. Once the betting is completed it's time to see the flop. Just a quick note on betting before you move on. The betting can't go on for ever, as we use the standard bet and three raises model. That is, for any round of betting there can be an opening bet and no more than three raises. After the third raise betting is said to be capped.

The Flop
Right, now the first round of betting is out of the way, it's time for the flop (things start to get really interesting now). The flop is the set of three cards that are dealt face up in the middle of the table, and each player can use these community cards to build their hand. The middle of the table where these cards are dealt is commonly known as the board. Now it's time for another round of betting, again at the lower levels of the table stakes. This time, the betting starts with the player to the immediate left of the dealer, regardless of whether the dealer is still active in the hand or not. The player to the left of the dealer will keep the initial action for the rest of the hand. Apart from that, the betting process is the same as pre-flop betting.

The turn card
Once the round of betting has finished, it's time for another card to be dealt face up on the board. This fourth card is called the turn card, and again can be used by all players to construct their hand. The betting after the turn is now at the higher level of the table stakes, so in a $2/$4 game all bets will now be increments of $4.

TheRiver
Four down, one to go. It's now time for the fifth and final community card to be dealt: the river. Now that all the cards have been dealt, each player remaining in the hand can now see what their best five card hand is. It's now time for the final round of betting, again at the higher level of the table stakes.

The Showdown
Ta da! It's now time to see who's the daddy and takes the pot: the showdown. Each player who's remained in the hand shows their cards, starting with the last person to bet and so on. The winner is decided using these universal hand rankings. If a player wins a pot by default, that is every other player has folded, there is no showdown and the winning player can decide whether to show their cards or not. Most people don't, it's always nice to keep people guessing.

A final note...
If that all seems rather complicated and likely to last an eternity, don't worry. It really is quite simple, and despite a few stages in each hand it passes very quickly. And if you're worried of getting stung while you're still learning how to play, make sure that you take full advantage of our play money tables. You can bet, call, raise and bluff to your heart's content, and it won't cost you a penny
.

Seven Card Stud

As in most forms of poker, seven stud uses a standard 52-card deck. The game is played at an eight-handed table.

Each new hand of seven stud begins with each player putting an ante into the pot. The ante is a payment into the pot before cards are dealt for the purpose of stimulating action. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game, the ante is 40 cents. Each player must ante each hand to receive cards.

When you first sit down at a table, you get dealt in immediately, after being prompted to ante. Since seven stud does not have blinds, you do not have to wait.

In seven stud, the deal position does not rotate as in blind games. The nominal deal position is indicated by a white disk called the stud button. The stud button is always by seat 8, and each new deal always starts at seat 1. The first card of each succeeding round always goes to the first active player (one who either has equaled all the bets thus far, or has gone all in, that is, run out of chips with which to call) to the left of the stud button. If you rotate the table to change your position, the stud button also rotates. This makes it clear where the deal position is. This is important in those few situations in which two or more players have identical boards. After the first round, if hands are tied, the hand closest to the left of the stud button begins the betting.

When the antes are in place, the dealer distributes two cards face down to each player and then one card face up, starting with seat 1. The two downcards are called hole cards. Your hole cards appear face up on your screen, but don't worry; only you can see your hole cards. Only the backs of every other player's hole cards appear on screen. Every other player has a similar view, with only his own hole cards visible. You can tell which are your hole cards and which is your upcard, because the hole cards are situated lower than the upcard. You can see the upcards of all the other players, and they can see your upcard.

Seven stud, as any form of poker, is about betting. Seven stud has five betting rounds. The sizes of the bets depend on the structure of the game. All seven stud games at Full Tilt Poker are limit games. Usually the first two rounds are at one level, and the next three at double that level. There is one exception to this, in which sometimes the second round of betting is optionally at the higher level. We'll get to that in a moment.

Third Street

On the first round (known as third street), the betting starts with the player having the lowest upcard. This bet is a forced bet. The bet must be at least a specified minimum, in which case it is called the bring-in, but can be more. The bring-in is usually one-fourth the lower limit. If two or more players have the same rank of upcard, who must make the bring-in is determined by suit, in reverse bridge order (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades). This is one of the few times that suits have any bearing in poker. For example, if three deuces appear on the first round in this order, 2s, 2h, 2d, the holder of the 2d would be required to make the bring-in bet.

In the picture above you have the lowest card. You must make a bet. You have two choices only. You can:
  • open for the bring-in
  • complete the bet, that is, increase the bet to the lower limit
You choose your action by clicking in a dialog box. While you can always complete the bet, you will find players usually open for the minimum. If everyone folds, you win the antes, and the next hand is dealt.

Normally everyone would not fold for a bring-in, however.

If you open for the bring-in, each succeeding player has three choices:
  • fold
  • call, that is, match the bring-in
  • complete the bet, that is, increase the bet to the lower limit
If you or anyone else completes the bet, each succeeding player has three choices:
  • fold
  • call, that is, match the bring-in
  • raise, that is, increase the preceding bet

Each player in turn has the same three choices. If there has been a raise, each player who chooses to continue must either call the total bet thus far or himself raise. In any one round of betting, there can be a maximum of one bet and three raises. The bring-in plus the completion count as one bet in the first round. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game, you open for the 50-cent bring-in, another player completes the bet to $2, and then two players raise. That makes the total bet $6. This is the equivalent of three bets, and another player could make one more raise. Doing so would cap the betting for that round, that is, cause it to reach the maximum.

If you fold for a raise, your cards are removed from play and no longer appear on the screen.

Fourth Street

Once the betting for the round is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to fold or match the total betting, the dealer deals each active player a second upcard (fourth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting.

The betting on fourth street normally proceeds at the lower limit. The exception is that if any board shows an open pair, any player may choose to bet or raise at the higher limit. Once a bet has been made at the higher limit, subsequent raises must be at the higher limit. For example, in a $2/$4 game, the betting on fourth street normally proceeds in increments of $2. If one of the players has an open pair, that player has a choice of betting either $2 or $4. If that player bets $2, any other player can call the $2, raise $2, or raise $4. Once a bet or raise of $4 has been made, the betting must proceed in $4 increments. Specifically, if one player starts the betting at $2 in a round in which an open pair appears, and someone raises that bet by $4, you cannot reraise by $2.

On fourth and all successive streets, the betting always starts with the player showing the highest board. If two or more players have the same high board, the betting begins with the player closest to the left of the stud button. In the picture, since you are closer to the stud button than the other player who holds ace-deuce, you are first to bet.

The situation is exactly the same if the tied hands are pairs. For example, if two players show 7-7, the one closer to the stud button starts the betting.

Don't worry about having to figure out which player starts the betting. The software prompts you when it is your turn to act. It also presents all the options available. All you have to do is click the choice you want.

In all rounds after third street, the player first to act has two choices:

  • check, that is, make no bet
  • make a bet at the proper limit for that round
If no one bets, each player in turn has the same choices. It is possible in every round except third street for no betting to occur. No betting in a round is called being checked around.

If anyone bets, each succeeding player has three choices:
  • fold
  • call, that is, match the bring-in
  • raise, that is, increase the preceding bet

A player who checks retains his cards. If someone bets, when the action returns, a player who previously checked has the preceding three choices. To check and then raise when the betting returns is known, reasonably enough, as check-raising. If you check with the intention of raising, you of course risk the possibility that no one will bet.

Fifth Street

Once the betting for fourth street is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to check or match the total betting for the round, the dealer deals each active player a third upcard (fifth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on fifth street are always at the higher level.

Sixth Street

Once the betting for fifth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player a fourth upcard (sixth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on sixth street remain at the higher level.

Seventh Street

Once the betting for sixth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player a final card, face down (seventh street or the river card). Players still in the hand participate in a final round of betting. The betting proceeds exactly the same as the three previous rounds.

Showdown

Once the betting for seventh street is equalized, the betting is over, and there is a showdown. Remaining active players show their cards and the best hand, comprised of the best five cards from among each player's seven, wins. The software determines the winning hand, and awards the pot to the holder of that hand.

Players do not show their cards simultaneously. The showdown takes place in a specified order.

The software shows the cards of the first player to have bet or the last player to have raised in any previous round. (If there was no betting on the river, the cards of the first player to have bet or the last player to have raised on sixth street would be shown first on the showdown-and so on.) If the next active player has a better hand than the one just shown (or ties it), the software shows his cards. If the next active player does not have a better hand, the software offers that player a choice. He can show his cards, if he wishes, or he can just get rid of the cards (muck). The software treats each remaining active player in turn the same-either turning over the hand if it is better than (or tied with) any shown thus far or offering the choice of showing or mucking-and awards the pot to the best hand

Don't worry about inadvertently misreading your hand and accidentally throwing away a winner. As long as you have called to the end, the software awards the pot to the winning hand-and reports in the chat box the value of that hand. You may, for example, have been concentrating so hard on making a flush that you don't see that, while you missed the flush, you actually had a straight. The software makes sure that if your hand is the best at the showdown you win.

If the betting is not equalized on seventh street, that is, one player bet or raised and no one called, there is no showdown, and the software awards the pot to the player who made that uncalled bet. This is the case on any previous street, as well. If it happens on earlier streets, no further cards are dealt, because the hand is over.

Sometimes a player runs out of chips before all the betting is over. In such case, one or more side pots are created, and the software awards appropriate main and side pots. When a player is all in, a bet or raise can be made that is not called, but a showdown still takes place.

Players often do not show losing hands. You are entitled, however, to see any cards that were active at the showdown even if they were not shown. Click on LAST HAND to bring up a new window that shows the results of the last hand and all the active cards. You can also specify in that window any previous hand (up to the last 50 in your current session) on which to get a report.

Razz Poker Rules:

Each player starts with two hole cards and one upcard; there are then three more rounds of upcards, with betting after each card, and a final downcard, just as in stud. Each player ends up with seven cards: four face up and three face down.

The player holding the best low hand using any five of their cards wins the pot. Aces are always low, and flushes and straights have no effect on the value of a hand. Also, it's good to remember that drawing a pair will not hurt your hand. The best possible hand is A-2-3-4-5.

Each new hand begins with every player putting an ante into the pot. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game, each player would ante 40 cents. The ante is not like a blind, and does not count toward any future bets.

In the first round, the betting starts with the player having the highest upcard. This is a forced bet, and the software will automatically put the specified minimum bet (called the bring-in) into the pot.

Each player can then fold, call the bring-in, or complete the bet (that is, raise to the lower limit). Once the bring-in bet has been completed, there is a limit of three reraises. All future rounds have a three raise limit, as well.

The betting on fourth street always proceeds at the lower limit. Unlike 7-card stud, an open pair does not affect the betting limit. All bets and raises on fourth street will be increments of the low-limit bet. For example, if the low limit bet is $5, it can be raised to $10, and then reraised to $15. On fifth street, the bets start at the higher limit, and remain at that limit through the final round of betting.

After the last round of betting, the software will award the pot to the best low hand.

 

Omaha Poker Rules:

The best possible five card poker hand, using exactly two hole cards and three community cards, wins the pot.

Betting Rounds

1.The dealer deals each player their own four cards face-down (pocket cards)
2.1st betting round
3.The dealer burns a card then turns over three community cards face-up
(the flop)
4.2nd betting round
5.The dealer burns another card then turns over 1 more community card (the turn,4th street)
6.3rd betting round
7.The dealer burns another card then turns over 1 final community card (the river,5th street )
8.Last betting round
9.Showdown (Every remaining player shows hand with bettor showing first)

All remaining players must use their two pocket cards and the three boardcards.

RULES OF OMAHA

1. All the rules of hold’em apply to Omaha except the rule on playing the board, which is not possible in Omaha (because you must use two cards from your hand and three cards from the board).

OMAHA HIGH-LOW

Omaha is often played high-low split, 8-or-better. The player may use any combination of two holecards and three boardcards for the high hand and another (or the same) combination of two holecards and three boardcards for the low hand.

RULES OF OMAHA HIGH-LOW

1. All the rules of Omaha apply to Omaha high-low split except as below.

2. A qualifier of 8-or-better for low applies to all high-low split games, unless a specific posting to the contrary is displayed. If there is no qualifying hand for low, the best high hand wins the whole pot.