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Poker Rules & Strategies I.

For poker player newbies, I offer up the following information as we begin your Poker 101 education. The real essence of the game is knowing your opponent, adjusting accordingly and learning the poker ‘lingo’.

The two most popular games dealt in poker rooms on and offline is Seven-Card Stud and Texas Hold’Em. You can also toss in the game of Omaha. We’ll do the rules first, and then strategies in Part 2. In both games, the player who bets first will be at a disadvantage, while the player betting last has the luxury of knowing how everyone else has played their hands.

The hierarchy of poker hands is best hand: royal flush, straight flush, 4-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, 3-of-a-kind, two pair, one pair to the lowly no pair.

Poker players bet against each other and not against the house.

Check the table postings for betting limits, and ask what the rake is--the percentage the house takes for providing a dealer and tables. It could be 5%, or a maximum dollar amount, a flat fee or hourly rate.

Generally, your buy-in should be 10-20 times the top bet, set a stop-loss limit and a win goal. Remember if you run out of chips, you will be allowed to continue to play out your card; however, you are excluded from betting in the remaining rounds. A side pot is started and goes to the highest-ranking hand between the other players who donated.

I would recommend that newbie poker players look for the low limit tables in the casino/poker room, observe before jumping in, or take advantage of the free lessons offered by most casinos on and offline.

Players betting options include 1) bet; or 2) pass (check) no bet made, you stay in the game; 3) call-bet the same as the previous bet; or 4) raise the bet -- often a limit of 3 raise bets in any round.

Seven-Card Stud:

Each player receives two cards face down, then four face up followed by the final card that is dealt face down. The ante (bet placed in the pot by each player before game begins), is usually 10% of the minimum bet. The cards are dealt one at a time to each player. After every player receives the initial two face down cards and their face up card, the first round of betting occurs, known as Third Street.

The player with the lowest card on the table starts the betting, a forced bet known as the ‘bring-in’. If two (or more) players have the same low card, then the card suit determines who bets first in this order -- clubs, diamonds, hearts, and finally spades. Each player in turn (clockwise) must then either call (equal the bet), raise the bet, or fold. When the betting is completed, the dealer deals another round of cards face-up to each player known as Fourth Street.

The player with the highest hand showing bets first. All other players follow. This sequence of betting continues with Fifth and Sixth Street. When a pair shows or it’s Fifth Street, a player can usually bet the high limit as posted. The last card Seventh Street, is dealt face down.

A final round of betting occurs followed by the showdown or revealing the hands. The highest hand wins the pot.

Texas Hold’Em

The casino dealer deals out two cards face down one at a time to each player. After all players receive their two cards, there is a round of betting where players can either call, raise or fold. Checking is not allowed on this round, (called blind betting).

The dealer now deals three cards face up in the center of the table called the ‘flop’. Another round of betting begins. The dealer places a fourth card face-up on the table followed by a betting round.

The fifth and final card is placed by the dealer face-up in the middle of the table, and this is the final round of betting. Players then choose their best five-card hand among seven cards--two cards dealt face down at the beginning of the game, and the five community cards in the middle of the layout. The winning hand is the highest poker hand.

Next stop is strategies and lingo in your Poker education.

Gayle Mitchell More about author This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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