Poker Rules




Texas Hold’Em Rules

Texas Hold'Em or sometime also referred as just "Hold’em" is one of the most popular poker games in North America and Europe.

The game proceeds as follows:
A dealer button is placed to determine a nominal dealer. The player next to the dealer button on a clockwise rotation pays a compulsory bet called the small blind. Next player in line posts the big blind, which is normally double the small blind. Each player is then dealt two hole cards, also referred to as pocket cards, which are only visible to the player. Starting with the player to the left of the big blind, who is referred to as being "under the gun" may fold (muck his hand and take no further action in the pot), call (put in an amount equal to the big blind) or raise (put in an amount twice the big blind). Play continues in this manner around the table until all players have matched the current bet amount or folded. The blinds posted at the start of the hand are considered live and contribute to the players' bet - if no one raises before action gets round to the big blind, he has the option of checking and seeing a flop, or raising and re-opening the betting.

As betting completes after the cards have been dealt, three community cards, which are cards placed in the middle of the table face up and visible to all players, are dealt (this is called the flop). Another round of betting takes place, now starting with the first player left of the dealer button who remains in the hand. A fourth card is dealt (called the turn). Again, a betting round is completed before the last card is dealt (called the river). Each player who is still in the game will now need to take part in a final round of bets, where his or her hand is always comprised of the best possible five card combination of pocket and community cards. Check out our hand rankings page for the definitive poker hand guide.

For additional information, please view our Texas Hold'em rules page.


Omaha Poker Rules

Omaha is a game derived from Texas Hold'em. The only difference is that in Omaha players are dealt four pocket cards, and their final hand needs to be comprised of two out of those four pocket cards, and three community cards, regardless if a better hand could be achieved using more or fewer pocket or community cards.

A dealer button is placed to determine a nominal dealer. The player next to the dealer button on a clockwise rotation pays a compulsory bet called the small blind. Next player in line posts the big blind, which is normally double the small blind. Each player is then dealt four hole cards, also referred to as pocket cards, which are only visible to the player.

As betting completes after the cards have been dealt, three community cards, which are cards placed in the middle of the table face up and visible to all players, are dealt (this is called the flop). Another round of betting takes place, and a fourth card is dealt (called the turn). Again, a betting round is completed before the last card is dealt (called the river). Each player who is still in the game will now need to take part in a final round of bets, where his or her hand is always comprised of the best possible combination of two pocket cards and three community cards.

For additional information, please view our Omaha rules page.


Omaha Hi/Lo Rules

This game has grown very popular due to its frequently large pots. The game is played in the exact same manner as Omaha with one exception. In addition to being able to win a pot for the highest ranking hand, a pot is also offered for a low ranking hand. This means that you will be playing two hands at the same time. For a hand to qualify as a low hand, it’s highest card cannot be more than 8, and the hand comprised of the lowest high card below and including 8 will win the low pot. For example, a hand comprised of A, 3, 4, 5, 6 will beat a hand comprised of, A, 2, 4, 5, 7.

A dealer button is placed to determine a nominal dealer. The player next to the dealer button on a clockwise rotation pays a compulsory bet called the small blind. Next player in line posts the big blind, which is normally double the small blind. Each player is then dealt four hole cards, also referred to as pocket cards, which are only visible to the player.

As betting completes after the cards have been dealt, three community cards, which are cards placed in the middle of the table face up and visible to all players, are dealt (this is called the flop). Another round of betting takes place, and a fourth card is dealt (called the turn). Again, a betting round is completed before the last card is dealt (called the river). Each player who is still in the game will now need to take part in a final round of bets, where his or her hand is always comprised of the best possible combination of two pocket cards and three community cards for each of the low and high hand alternatives.

A player can win the entire pot amount by either holding the best high and low hand or if there is no possible low combination (there are not 3 community cards lower than a 9). If 2 players hold the same low or high hand, this section of the pot is split between the winning players.

For additional information, please view our Omaha Hi/Lo rules page.


5 Card Stud Poker Rules

This is the original form of stud poker, and is still played by many poker players despite 7 card stud being a more popular form today.

The game proceeds as explained below.

To begin a round, each player pays the ante which will be a fraction of the smaller bet (bets could for example be at $10/$20, and the ante could then be $1). Next, all players are dealt one card face down, and one card face up. The player with the lowest card facing up begins betting by making a bring-in bet. This bet will be half the smaller bet (in our example $5). If two players have the same value as the lowest card, the rank will be ordered by suit going from clubs as the lowest through diamonds, hearts and spades as the highest. Betting proceeds and players may bet up to the smaller bet ($10 in our case).

In the second round, players are dealt another card face up. The player with the highest combination of cards facing up begins betting, this will be the player nearest the dealer’s left in case of a tie. Bets will normally be a smaller bet ($10), but can be a high bet ($20) if one or more players have a pair in their cards facing up.

The third round is equal to the second, except that all bets must be done at the high level ($20).

In the fourth and last round, players are dealt a card face up, and with one card face down and the remaining four face up, the final betting round takes place, again at the higher bet amount. The winner will be the player with the strongest five card poker hand.

For additional information, please view our 5 Card Stud rules page.


7 Card Stud Rules

This game is played with a maximum of 8 players.

The first two cards (hole cards) are dealt face down, and the other players can’t see them. The next cards to be dealt are called Streets (3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Street), and they are dealt face up. The last card, the river, is dealt face down.

At the start of the round, the players must place antes. The ante is a fraction of the low bet limit and serves the same purpose as the blinds in Hold’em games.

After the 3rd street has been dealt, the player with the lowest face-up card starts the betting. If two players are showing cards of the same value, the order is determined according to their suits. The suit order is, in ascending rank: Clubs (lowest), Diamonds, Hearts and Spades (highest).

The starting player can either place a complete bet, or place a bring-in. This is smaller than the complete bet, and again like the blinds in other varieties, the player only needs to add the difference if the bet is completed and he decides to call. The other players can fold, call, complete the bet, or raise.

Once the bets have been placed, the 4th street is dealt. This time the player with the highest card or combination shown starts the betting, and there is no bring-in. At this stage, any player can bet at the high limit, which will be applied to all subsequent bets.

The same cycle is used for the 5th and 6th streets, and the river, except that the high limit is now applied regardless of whether it was used for the 4th street or not. After the river bets are placed, the highest five-card poker hand is formed from each player’s cards. The highest ranking hand wins.

For additional information, please view our 7 Card Stud rules page.


SOKO Poker Rules

Soko is played exactly like 5 card stud, except a 4 flush and a 4 straight counts as a hand. In other words, a hand such as 4567Q is not queen high, but is a 4 straight. A 4 straight and a 4 flush beat a pair, but lose to a two pair or better (4 flushes beat 4 straights). So the new rank of hands would be as shown below.

Hand ranking:

1. Straight flush
2. Four of a kind
3. Full house
4. Flush
5. Straight
6. Three of a kind
7. Two pair
8. Four flush
9. Four Straight
10. Pair
11. High card

5 Card Draw Rules

Five Card Draw is one of the first games which a lot of new players learn, due to its simple poker rules and popularity at home games. There are two betting rounds, one before the draw and one after the draw.

The size of the blinds is determined by the table's betting limits - the small blind is equal to half the lower bet amount, and the big blind is equal to the lower bet amount. For example - in a $2/$4 Fixed Limit Five Card Draw game, the small blind (SB) would be $1 and the big blind (BB) would be $2. At the start of a hand, the player to the left of the dealer button posts the small blind, and the player to his left posts the big blind. Then, starting with the small blind, five cards are dealt face down to each player, and the action begins with the player to the left of the big blind, who is referred to as being "under the gun". He may fold (muck his hand and take no further action in the pot), call (put in an amount equal to the big blind) or raise (put in an amount twice the big blind). Play continues in this manner around the table until all players have matched the current bet amount or folded. The blinds posted at the start of the hand are considered live and contribute to the players' bet - if no one raises before action gets round to the big blind, he has the option of checking and proceeding to the draw phase, or raising and re-opening the betting.

Once all betting is complete, the draw phase begins. Starting from the left of the button, each player selects however many cards he wishes to replace and discards them. Each player is then in turn dealt the same number of cards they discarded. Players can draw any number of cards from 0 (Stand Pat) to 5.

After all players have drawn cards, a second round of betting ensues. All players still left in the hand at this stage now turn their cards over. Each player uses all five cards in their hand to form their final five card hand using standard poker rules. The best hand at the showdown wins the pot, and if there are two or more hands of the same value, then the pot is split up into equal parts.

For additional information, please view our 5 Card Draw rules page.


5 Card Draw Low 7-A Poker Rules

The game is played by 2 to 5 players. This is a strip-deck game; this means that cards 2,3,4,5 and 6 have been removed. The deck contains cards from 7 to Ace. If there are five active players at the start of the hand the sixes should also be in the deck. The game is played with a dealer button, a small blind and a big blind just like Texas Hold’em. The player to the left of the dealer posts a small blind and the player to the left of the small blind posts a big blind before the cards are dealt. Five cards are dealt face down to each player.

After the deal, the first betting round starts. At the end of the first betting round, each player may discard and draw up to five cards. If there are not enough cards left in the deck, the discarded cards are shuffled and used again. A second round of betting ensues, followed by the showdown.

The winner of the hand is the player who holds the highest hand according to standard strip-deck poker hand rankings. Ace can also be used as the lowest (wild) card in a straight, i.e. A-7-8-9-10 (A-6-7-8-9 in case of the 6’s being used). If the 10 high straight is suited with an ace as the lowest card, it qualifies as a straight flush. This also applies to the 9 high suited straight in case of the 6’s being used.

Hand ranking:

1. Royal flush
2. Straight flush
3. Four of a kind
4. Flush
5. Full house
6. Straight
7. Three of a kind
8. Two pair
9. One Pair
10. High Card

For additional information, please view our 5 Card Draw 7-A rules page.


Betting Structures

Fixed limit: Fixed limit means that the amount you can bet is set. These games will be called $3/$6 or $1/$2 games or similar. In Hold'em, the amount that can be bet pre-flop or on the flop is the first number. In a $0.50/$1 game, you will be able to bet $0.50 at a time. On the turn and river, the second number is the only amount that can be bet. In that same $0.50/$1 game, players bet $1 at a time after the turn card is dealt.
There is a limit of four bets per player per betting round.

No limit: No Limit is only offered in Hold’em. No limit Hold’em offers no betting structure. You can bet as little or as much as you like at anytime, with a minimum of the corresponding big blind value or when raising, at least the same amount as has been bet. Anytime, from your first two cards all the way to the river, you can say those two magic words, "all in".

Pot limit: Pot Limit is a structure where the maximum bet is based on the size of the pot. The "pot" is defined as the amount of money in the pot plus all bets currently on the table (these are the bets of all players who bet prior to you in the hand).


Ring Games - Missed Blinds Rules

Missed big blind: If a player misses the big blind for any reason, then that player may not play in any hands until the sum of all blinds are made up. The game will place an “ML” button in that seat to declare the missed big blind. The game will ask the next active player to the left to post the big blind for the hand. If the missed player returns to the game before the big blind comes back to his/her seat, the player is required to make up the sum of all blinds, “Post all.” The small blind portion is dead and must be put into the pot before the hand is dealt. However, a player may avoid posting dead by waiting for the big blind to arrive at his/her seat naturally.

Missed small blind: If a player misses the small blind for any reason, then that player may not play in any hands until the small blind is made up. The game will place an “MS” button in that seat to declare the missed small blind. The game will ask the next active player to the left of the big blind to post a big blind for the hand as well. The original big blind player will “catch a break” and get the button on the next hand. The player who had missed the small blind cannot return until after the button has passed. If the missed player returns to the game before the big blind comes back to his/her seat, the player is required make up the small blind. The small blind is dead and must be put into the pot before the hand is dealt. However, a player may avoid posting dead by waiting for the big blind to arrive at his/her seat naturally.


Poker Hand Rankings:


1. Royal Flush



This is the highest poker hand - An ace-high straight of one suit.


2. Straight Flush



Five cards of the same suit in sequence - such as J-10-9-8-7.


3. Four of a Kind



Four cards of the same rank - such as four queens.


4. Full House



This consists of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.


5. Flush



Five cards of the same suit.


6. Straight



Five cards of mixed suits in sequence - for example Q(S)-J(D)-10(H)-9(S)-8(C).


7. Three of a Kind



Three cards of the same rank.


8. Two Pairs



A pair is two cards of equal rank. In a hand with two pairs, the two pairs are of different ranks (otherwise you would have four of a kind).


9. Pair



A hand with two cards of equal rank and three other cards which do not match these or each other.


10. High Card



Five cards which do not form any of the combinations listed above. When comparing two such hands, the one with the better highest card wins.

Comments