Overview & Basics
Poker is one of the most varied and diverse forms of gambling in the world. There are countless variations of poker, and the many forms are appreciated and enjoyed the world over. Here are some of the more popular forms that can be found online today.
Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean stud poker is a variation of five card stud poker. This is a fun game that takes out a lot of the complications of dealing with other players that are involved in other game of stud poker. The players compete against the house as opposed to other players, and such have no need to learn the betting patterns or tells etc. that are required for stud poker. Instead of playing against other players, players compete against the house. There is also a progressive pot system in place with many online casinos. The pot or pay-out gets progressively higher the more the players bet.
How to Play
There are two bets in Caribbean poker: the ante, and the progressive pot bet. Every player is dealt five cards along with the house, and the house is required to turn over one of its cards. Every player is required to put in an ante on the ante up section of the table when every hand begins. Once the players view their cards, if they are able to double their ante or fold their cards. The players also have the option of paying into the progressive pot. Once the bets have been made, the dealer must review their cards and must have a king/ace combination or better to compete. If the house does not qualify, all players receive pay-out of even money against their bet but their progressive money bets stay in the pot. If the dealer qualifies, then all players including the house turn over their cards, with any player that has a hand greater than the house wins the bet. An added bonus for the game is that any player with a flush wins the progressive pot regardless of the dealer’s hand.
Advantages & Systems
One of the drawbacks of playing Caribbean style poker is the also one of the advantages. The requirement placed on the dealer of needing a qualifying hand can be quite a disappointment if a player has an exceptional hand if the dealer does not qualify.
Caribbean style poker is easy to pick up and play and can be very exciting if even for short bursts. The house easily has the odds in this game, but the simplicity and quick play makes up for it with many players.
Betting Options & Systems
The Ante that is called for will depend on the game you are playing, but the ante is the essence of the betting in Caribbean stud. After the player antes, they must decide whether or not to bet. The bet is up to the player’s discretion, but must at least double the initial ante.
Let it Ride Poker
Let it Ride Poker is a game that developed quite recently in 1993. The game is an offshoot of five-card stud poker, which is immensely popular throughout casinos.
How to play
Let it Ride Poker is played against the house as opposed to against other players. The game starts by all players placing bets on the three betting areas labelled 1, 2 and the money symbol ($.) All players are then dealt three cards face down, along with two community cards that are placed face down. Players must then view their cards and decide whether to leave their bets in place, or “let it ride.” If a player decides to continue and let their money ride, they leave their bets in the betting area. If they decide not to “let it ride”, they are able to remove one of their bets. After the betting and viewing has completed, the dealer will then flip over one of the community cards. Players are able to continue to leave their bets on the table to “let it ride” or they are allowed to take away one of their bets once more. After the second round of betting, and the second community card is flipped over, the winners are determined.
Pay-outs for let it ride depend on two different factors
- The amount of money wagered
- The player’s hand
A hand that consists of a pair of tens is required to win, and that bet equals a 1-1 payoff. Essentially, the better hand you have, the better the pay-off. Starting with a hand that is a royal flush is the least likely and highest payoff of 1000-1, and the lowest being a pair of 10’s.
Side bets can be placed on progressive systems and range from 100% of the pot for a royal flush, and 10% of the pot for a straight flush. Different amounts are paid for other combinations of winning hands on side bets that depend on the website the players plays let it ride poker.
A good suggestion when playing let it ride poker is to know when the odds are against you. Technically speaking, the odds are always against you, but sometimes they are more favourable. If all three of your cards are less than ten with no face cards (such as a king, queen, jack or ace) it is a good idea to remove your bet. The likelihood of you receiving two 10’s or face cards from the community cards is slim.
Another tip is to remove another bet after the first community card is flipped over and you do not have a pair of 10’s or higher.
Pai Gow Poker
Overview and basics
Pai Gow Poker is said to be a variation of the Chinese game of “Pai Gow” that is played with Dominos. The pace of Pai Gow poker is slow paced, as is dominos, and the game is played methodically with the player plays versus the bank. The game is popular with cerebral players, and games often stretch out for a considerable length of time. Since there is a chance the worst hand can actually draw a push by the house, the game can be frustrating or seem unfair. For instance, your five-card hand can consist of five aces, while your two-card hand can potentially lose if it is not also a high pair and if the banker happens to beat the two-card hand, which equals a push.
Pai Gow poker is played with a typical deck of cards, with one joker in play. The joker is a wild card that is used as an ace only, or to complete a flush or straight.
In online Pai Gow poker, instead of cards being dealt, the player can press the deal button to get the game started. Typically, one player competes against the banker, as opposed to up to seven in physical casino games.
How to play
The game is played with up to seven players, including the house, or banker. Each player has two betting spots in front of them, and sometimes a “house commission” spot as well. The game begins with a round of betting on the two possible hands the players will be dealt. After bets are made, the dealer will deal seven cards face down to each player. The key to Pai Gow is to arrange two separate hands from the seven cards: one hand of five cards, and the second a hand of two cards. The banker will then arrange their hand in what is called “The House Way.” The house way of arranging cards is different in most casinos and depends on whether or not you are playing in an online or physical casino. After all of the hands are arranged, cards are flipped over from the five-card hands. Once the cards are laid down, the second two-card hand is flipped. The players with the best hands win. In the case of a tie between a player and the banker, meaning hands that are the same, the tie goes to the banker. If a player wins their five-card hand, but loses their 2-card hand, then it is a push. The reverse of the previous combination is true as well. To win, the player must beat with both hands and receives a 1-1 pay-out. In Pai Gow Poker, a player’s five-card hand must also have a higher rank than their two-card hand to play.
There are several of variations of the typical poker rules that come into play with Pai Gow Poker. One is that there is a possibility of five aces with the wild joker card, and this hand is the highest possible hand. Second, a straight that consists of ace, 2, 3, 4 5 is the second highest straight in the game. Each hand that wins must also pay a 5% commission to the house.
Tips and strategies
A solid strategy to consider when playing Pai Gow Poker is not only to concentrate on one hand, but try to make both hands as strong as possible. A royal flush is nearly useless if a 2-card hand is weak. Strength your chances of winning both hands by strengthening the 2-card hand, even if it is by weakening your strong five-card hand.
Texas Hold em’ Bonus Poker
Overview and basics
Texas Hold em’ is the grandmaster of all poker games. Once only popular across the American southwest, and predominately Texas, Texas Hold em’ is a verified worldwide phenomenon. The Texas Hold em’ industry is worth millions upon millions of dollars, with the World Series of poker being one of the highest watched sports and gaming events. Today, there are many players that make their living solely from playing online poker, with many being professional level at Texas Hold em’. Several players have participated and excelled in the world series of poker and gained their entrance through online tournaments. A hundred books have been written on Texas Hold em’ by mathematicians, scholars and former players, and hundreds of strategies and techniques exist. The game is so widespread that there are tournaments held in bars and coffee shops all over America, while the casino version of the game is also one of the highest drawing attractions.
Texas Hold em’ is a simple enough game to grasp quickly, but the strategy available is broad enough to make it a lifetime endeavour. Learning the art of the bluff is key, as is learning other players’ techniques, strategies and patterns. The approach and strategy is similar to chess with all of the factors that come into play. Learning the patterns and tendencies is even prevalent in the online game. If a player has certain betting patterns on different plays, makes certain plays at certain times, than knowing how that player reacts will give other players an advantage. It is said that Texas Hold em’ is more about strategy, “guts” and experience than any other card game.
The successful professional players that are currently in the limelight are as varied as any other profession. No other game or profession allows for such a wide array of personalities and techniques to succeed as Texas Hold em’. From methodical and aggressive players, to players that use physical imposingly appearances, to mind games and sex appeal, there is a successful player for almost every play style.
Texas Hold em’ poker is a fun and engaging game when playing online. Involvement is up to the player, and players can play anonymously or compete in tournaments with players around the world. Online play is also a great way to learn the rules of the game and get a solid understanding, and then move those skills into physical casinos.
Texas Hold em’ has several forms, be it online or physical. There are three types of games for Texas Hold em’.
- No limit
There is a minimum bet in No limit that is equal to the amount of the big blind. There is no limit on the amount that a player can be bet, but it must be at least the amount of the big blind. There is also a minimum raise that must equal the last bet or amount that was raised in the current round. Though there is technically no maximum allowed bet, there is the possibility of betting all of your chips. This move is referred to as “going all in.” Raises in No limit are also unlimited.
- Limit Texas Hold ‘em
Limit betting has a set amount that is determined before play starts and this number is the same amount as the big blind ante. Four bets are allowed per player per round, and on the final two card rounds, bets are double the size of the original big blind ante.
- Pot limit
Pot limit hold em’ is different that limit and no limit in that the bet maximum is the current size of the pot.
How to Play
In casino Texas Hold em’ poker each player at the table takes turns being the dealer. This is not the case in online poker, but the player serving as the dealer still alternates – this can be signified with the ‘dealer button’ as the player serving as the dealer has a button labelled dealer placed in from of them. The player that is to the left of the dealer has a button labelled small blind, and the player to the left of the small blind has a button labelled big blind. The dealer will deal out two cards face down per player, and then flip over three community cards called the flop. The small blind places a small bet for a forced ante such as 5 chips. The big blind will then place a forced ante of double the amount of the small blind. Players then make bets on the combination of the community cards and their own cards. If players decide to bet, they place their bet, if not they decide to fold. After betting has stopped, the dealer then deals another card called the turn. Betting commences, ends, and then the final card is placed on the table called the river. Once betting has ended players flip over their cards, and the best combination of the player’s two cards and the community cards wins.
Hints & Tips
The best starting hand in Texas Hold em’ is a pair of aces. Because of the use of the community cards, the best starting hand often does not end up winning. A good rule of thumb when playing is to be tight and to consider the chances your hand has to win. What are called pocket pairs is always a good starting hand, obviously the higher the better. When betting, consider the cards that are in your hand as well as the community cards many things can be determined about what other players may have by how they bet once the flop cards are laid down.
Players that play tight do not take unneeded or undue risks. They evaluate the cards on the table and play accordingly. They also play fewer hands, but the hands that they do play are good hands with a solid probability of competing.
The Royal Flush is the highest possible hand in poker and consequently, the least likely to happen. The hand is simply the highest straight flush, that is, five cards consisting of a ten, jack, queen, king and ace all of the same suit.
The straight flush is just below the royal flush in rank and consists of any combination of cards that follow one another such as 4,5,6,7 and 8 all of the same suit.
Four of a Kind
The four of a kind is another rare hand. It consists of all of the same type of card, such as four aces.
The full house is made up of a three of a kind, and an additional pair. Example: three 10’s and a pair of twos
A flush consists of five cards of the same suit that are not in order.
A straight is made up of five cards that are in order, but not of the same suit
Three of a Kind
This hand has three cards of the same kind, such as three aces.
The two pair hand has two pair of cards that pair up or match. Example: a pair of 2’s and a pair of aces
The second lowest hand or the lowest named hand is the pair. This consists of two cards of the same kind.
A high card hand comes into play when no other hands that are “named” are in play. The high card hand is the hand with the highest single card in competing hands.
Three Card Poker
Three-Card poker is a relatively new game. Created by inventor and poker player Derek Webb, the game has seen a steady rise in popularity since its invention in 1994. Three-card poker is very easy to learn and pick up and is a fast-paced game with few complexities. Because side-bets are not allowed and there are only three cards in play, the game is simple for both players and dealers alike.
Players are allowed to bet against the dealer, or place bets on their own hands or both. If a hand does not contain a pair or better hand, than the hand with the high card wins.
The rank of hands in three-card poker differs from other game of poker. The rankings of three-card poker hands starting with the weakest are as follows:
- One pair
- Three of a kind
- Straight flush
The first play is when a player bets against the dealer. This play is called the Ante wager. The object of this play is to have a hand that is of higher rank than the dealer’s hand. The dealer must have a queen or higher to qualify. The player decides whether to bet, and then must place a bet equal to the ante. If the dealer decides or is unable to play, it is considered a push. If a player gets one of the three highest ranks and wins, the player will receive what is known as an ante bonus.
The second type of betting or play is called the Pair Plus. In Pair Plus play, the player is trying to acquire a pair or higher to win the Pair Plus bonus. No matter the hand the dealer receives, the player will win the bonus. The pair plus bet is totally separate from the ante bet and exists as a kind of side game. A player may play the ante bet only, the pair plus only, or both the ante and the pair plus bets.
Pair Plus and Ante bet
This is a combination of both bet styles, and there are two separate pay tables for this combined bet.
Pay-outs for Three-card poker
Pair: 1-1 Odds
Flush: 4-1 Odds
Straight: 6-1 Odds
3 of a Kind: 30-1 Odds
Straight Flush: 40-1 Odds
Ante- Play pay-outs:
Straight: 1-1 Odds
Three of a Kind: 4-1 Odds
Straight Flush 5-1 Odds
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Hints & Tips
A solid tip is to play tight when playing three card poker. Do not play if you do not have a queen card or higher. This increases your chances when competing against the dealer who needs a minimum of a queen to qualify. In its essence, the tip for three card poker ante play is to bet on Q-6-4 and fold on anything lower. Players tend to like to play both the ante and pair plus, with a fair few only playing pair plus. The house edge on the pair plus is normally around 2.3% and it makes sense to play the pair plus only when you are winning as it is possible to lose a lot quite quickly if you always play the pair plus – though you could win a substantial payout if you hit a big hand!
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