How do you play Poker?

Poker Guide - Texas Hold'Em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo & 5/7 Card Stud

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Poker Lingo

A five high straight (A 2 3 4 5). Also known as a Wheel.

Case Card
The last card of a particular rank that has not been seen during a hand and is believed to be in the deck.

Chop Chop
Splitting the pot when equal hands are drawn.

Drawing Dead
Trying to make a particular hand that, even if it is made, cannot possibly win.

Free Roll
When you have the nuts with more cards to come.

Gut Shot
An inside straight draw. (ie: you hold A K J 10 7)

The highest card in your hand that does not make a pair or trips.

Limp In
To call another players bet with a weak hand.

To fold and throw your hand into the discard pile; the discard pile itself.

The best possible hand that can be made in any given situation of a game.

Playing the Overs
An agreement among the players left in a game who want to play a higher limit.

A poker player who has a reputation for playing consistently low risk poker.

A poker player who plays a game nearly every night.

Winning several poker games close together in a short period of time.

Slow Play
To play your hand in a much weaker manner than it would normally call for in order to disguise its strength for a future betting round.

Under the Gun
Playing in the first position to the left of the dealer.


The dealer shuffles a standard 52-car deck (all players take it in turns to the dealer, moving clockwise round the table on each hand). Most Texas Hold’Em Poker games start with the two players to the left of the dealer putting in a pre-determined amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt. This ensures that there is always something to play for on every hand, (these amounts are called blinds).

Most often, the small blind (first amount put in by the player left to the dealer) puts in half the minimum bet, and the big blind (second to the left of the dealer) puts in the full minimum bet.

Each player is then dealt two cards face down. These are known as pocket cards. After all the players have checked their two pocket cards the betting begins, starting with the player to the left of the two who put in the blinds. Players can call, raise or fold when it’s their turn to bet.

After the first round of betting, the dealer discards the top card of the deck. This is called a burn card, once the top card is burned, the dealer flips the next three cards face up on the table, this is known as the flop. These cards are community cards which mean that everyone can use them to make their best possible hand.

Following the flop, another round of betting takes place, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. During this and all future rounds of betting, players can check, call, raise or fold when it’s their turn to bet. Players can only check if they are starting the betting or if the previous player has checked. Once the betting on the flop has finished, the dealer burns another card and places one more face up on the table. This fourth community card is called the turn. The player to the left of the dealer begins the betting again. The dealer burns another card before placing the final, face-up card on the table. This fifth community card is called the river.

Players can now use any combination of seven, the five community cards and the two pocket cards (known only to them), to form the best possible five-card poker hand. The fourth and final round of betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer.

After the final betting round all players who remain in the game reveal their hands. The player who made the initial bet or the player who made the last raise shows their hand first. The poker player with the highest five–card hand wins the pot.

Minimum bets/blinds can increase in value as the poker game continues. These amounts and the time intervals when they occur should be agreed by all the players at the start of the game.

How to Play
Texas Hold ‘em starts out by dealing out two cards to every player (called
pocket cards), followed by a round of betting. Then the dealer takes the top card from the deck and puts it aside. This is called a burn card. After the top card is burned, the dealer places the next three cards face up on the table. This is known as the flop. These cards are community cards, which mean that everyone can use them to make their best possible hand. Then there is another round of betting. The dealer then burns another card and flips the next community card from the deck face up. This card is known as the turn card. Another round of betting. Finally the dealer burns another card, and flips over the last community card. This card is known as the river card. The players have one last round of betting, and the high hand wins it.

You can specify just about any kind of betting limits that your group of poker players is comfortable with, but the ultimate version of this game is called no limit. This means that there is no limit on the betting in the game, but you cannot bet more than someone has to match. If someone bets all of their money, this is called going all in, and it becomes the last bet of that game, at which point the players that have called may flip their cards over and the dealer turns up any remaining cards to find out who wins the big pot.

Blinds are a form of betting in Texas Hold ‘em. Quite literally, they mean “blind betting”, which means that certain players are betting regardless of what cards they hold. These players are always to the left of the dealer. Before the cards are even dealt the player to the left of the dealer will put in his blind. After the cards are dealt, the next player in line will then be forced to call, raise, or fold as if the first player bet the blind. When the action comes back around the table the player who put in the blind has the option of raising his blind if it wasn’t raised already. After the flop, betting starts left of the dealer as normal. Obviously, when you are using blinds, it gives certain advantages to the position of each player. That is why it is important that the deal moves around the table, giving each player a chance to be in the blind position. If you are playing at a Casino, they will use a button to simulate the dealer position. When you are using blinds, there is no ante. The amount of the blind can be anything the players agree on.

Double Blind
If you are playing with five or more players, it can be a good idea to use a double blind. In this case the person to the left of the dealer puts up the small blind, and the next player puts up the big blind. The small blind is always half of the big blind.


Same as Texas Holdem, but players are dealt four cards. Each player must use only two of their pocket cards to make the best possible five card hand.

Each player is dealt five cards down. Then five community cards are placed face down in the centre of the poker table. These cards are turned up one at a time, followed by betting intervals for each card.

Southern Cross
Each player is dealt either two, four, or five cards (dealers choice) and ten community cards are formed in a cross shape in the centre of the table (see diagram). These cards are turned over in a clockwise pattern (you can turn them one at a time, or together outside to inside) followed by a betting round. Each player can use the cards from only one of the rows of community cards.

Stupid Louie
Each player is dealt five cards. Ten cards are then put in two equal rows of five each on the centre of the table. The first card in the top row is turned over. If any player has a matching card, they must discard it to the table. Then the first card on the bottom row is turned over, which is a community card. There is a betting round. This continues until all the cards are turned over.




Hi-Lo poker is a variation that can be added to most games. In it, the highest hand splits the pot with the lowest hand. The lowest possible hand you can get would be: 2 3 4 5 7 (no flush). Stud games, Anaconda, and Omaha are traditionally good games to play Hi-Lo, though just about any game can be played this way.



To be honest, if you can play Hold’em, you’ll pick Omaha up in no time at all. If your Hold’em is a little rusty, we suggest a quick refresher course by using our in-depth how to play Texas Hold’em guide. You should then come back to this page to find out the variations in Omaha.

Like Texas Hold’em, Omaha is a community card game where your one and only aim is to make the best five card hand that you can from the cards you’re given and the cards that are dealt face up in the centre of the table. So far so good, just like Hold’em you say. But whoa, hold on there, as this is where it all gets a little bit different…

As you’ll know, in Texas Hold’em each player receives two cards that only they can see (their “hole cards”) before the five community cards are dealt face up. In Omaha, each player is dealt four hole cards. Before you think whoopy-do, there’s a catch. Unlike Hold’em, where you can use any combination of hole and community cards to make your best five card hand, in Omaha you must use two of your hole cards and three community cards when making your hand. So, just to recap, as this is important: when making your five card hand, you must use two of your four hole cards, and three of the five community cards. Voila!

Apart from that, the game follows the same patterns as Texas Hold’em, with the same blind structure and betting rounds. If you’re not sure about all that, you’ll get everything you need to know in our how to play Texas Hold’em guide.




5/7 Card Stud
Deal two cards face down, and one card face up to each player. Betting round. Deal the next four cards (or two in five card stud) face up followed by a betting round for each one. Deal the last card face down followed by’ a final betting round

Low in the Hole
Same as 5/7 card stud. but with the lowest card face down in each players hand wild. Players can pay to have the last card placed face up so it cannot change their wild card (dealers choice).

Same as 7 card stub but with 3’s and 9’s wild. If you get a 4, you can buy an extra card face down (the dealer calls the purchase price). Some dealers call the 4’s progressive, meaning the extra card for each 4 gets more expensive as the game goes on. Some dealers also play variations where you have to buy your wild cards or he forced to fold.

Midnight Baseball
Same as Baseball, but all seven cards are dealt face down. Players DO NOT look at their cards, and place them in any order in front of them. The player to the left of the poker dealer starts by turning over his top card and betting (or calling). The next player in line then has to turn over his cards one at a time until they beat the previous player’s card(s), followed by a betting round. Play continues like this until there is a winner. If a player turns over all of his cards and cannot beat the previous player’s cards, they are out of the game, and the betting for that round reverts to the previous player.

Roll Your Own (Mexican Stud)
Deal three cards to each player. Each player places one of the three cards face up on the table (this is called the roll), followed by a betting round. Deal one card to each player, and repeat the roll, until all seven cards are dealt. Some dealers call this game that you do not roll your last card.

Shifting Sands
Same as Roll Your own. hut the low card in the hole is wild.




Basic Guts
Two cards are dealt to each player (only pairs and high cards can win the game). Each player holds his cards approximately two inches from the table (face down). The dealer says “1..2..3...Guts!” at which time each player either holds his cards or drops them. The best hand holding wins the pot, and poker players who held and lost match the pot (a limit can be put on the game). If all the players drop, everyone re-ante’s and the game continues. The game ends when only one player stays. After every round, the players cards are put into a discard pile, and new cards are dealt from the top of the deck. The deck is reshuffled only after it can no longer deal a new game.

Monte Carlo
Same as Guts, but with three cards. Straights and Flushes can be played, Trips beat both, and a Straight Flush beats Trips. Some people play this game with a “Granny”. The winning player has to beat an imaginary player, taking three cards off the top of the deck. If the “Granny” wins, the player has to match the pot and the game continues.

Screw Your Neighbor
Same as Monte Carlo Poker, but after the cards are dealt, each player passes an unwanted card to the left. Game play continues as normal.

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