Poker is one of the most skillful and fascinating games ever devised, offering Players the chance to test their skills against other Players rather than the casino. Poker is as much a game of skill as it is strategy. There are many variations of Poker, and Texas Hold'em Poker is one variation in a group known as 'flop' games.
Texas Hold'em Poker
Aim Of The Game
The aim of the game is to have the highest ranked five card hand from a combination of the Player's two cards and five community cards. A Player can win by either obtaining the highest ranked hand or by bluffing the other Players into thinking they have a lower ranked hand and thereby folding (withdrawing from that round of play).
HOW TO PLAY
The Texas Hold’em Poker table seats 10 Players and a Dealer. In order to join a game the Player must have at least the minimum table stake. The Dealer will commence by shuffling the cards and asking the two Players to the immediate left of the ‘button’ position to place a first and second blind bet respectively.
If a participation fee is charged, each Player on the table must submit the required amount. All actions in Poker (call, raise, check etc), unless otherwise advised, occur in a clockwise direction beginning with the first active Player after the button position.
The Dealer then deals each Player two cards face down and a round of betting, commencing with the Player next to the second blind bet, takes place. After the first round of betting is completed, the Dealer deals three ‘community cards’ and exposes them simultaneously. This is known as the ‘flop’. Another round of betting takes place.
The Dealer then deals a fourth community card (the turn) and the third round of betting takes place. The dealing of the fifth community card (the river) is followed by the final round of betting. If there is more than one Player still active at the end of the final round of betting then a showdown takes place. If, at any time prior to the showdown, there is only one Player remaining in the game, that Player is the winner and will be paid all chips in the pot minus a small commission fee. If a participation fee is charged the winner will receive the entire pot.
During the showdown, the last Player to be ‘called’ may be required to expose their two hole cards. Any Player who can beat the hand of an exposed Player must also expose their cards. Players who cannot beat the hand of an exposed Player must push their cards face down towards the Dealer.
During the game Players may fold, call, call and raise or check in turn according to the appropriate rules. Players who do not have enough table stake to remain in the game may go ‘all in’. Each of these actions is described in the glossary of terms section in this guide.
POKER CODE OF CONDUCT
Players must adhere to the Casino’s Code of Conduct as failure to do so may result in the Player being removed from the Poker area. The following etiquette tips should be understood by all Players prior to sitting at a table.
Collusion: Any attempt to conspire with another Player to share knowledge of cards or to play in a manner that is to the detriment of other Players, will be considered as cheating and will not be tolerated.
Speed of play: From time to time it may take a Player a longer time than normal to make a decision. Players who consistently take excessive time to make decisions will be given a warning and removed from the game for further breaches.
Card protection: Players must ensure they do not show their cards, either deliberately or inadvertently, to another Player. If a Player becomes aware of another Player’s cards then all Players must be shown those cards.
Hiding or removing chips: Provided a Player maintains at least the minimum table stake, a Player may remove chips from the table between rounds of play. Players should be aware that it is considered bad etiquette to remove chips from the table.
Keep quiet/body language: During a round of play only English must be spoken. Foul or inappropriate language will not be tolerated. Players not involved in the game should be quiet and not comment on the continuing round of play in any manner. Players must also ensure that they do not display any form of body language that could be construed as communication with another Player.
Integrity of the game: A Player who sees an error made, or about to be made, must point out the error to the Dealer.
Announcing your intentions: Players should announce their intentions eg ‘call’, ‘raise’, ‘all in’ etc. All bets, unless verbally declared, must be placed in one motion. ‘String betting’ is deemed unacceptable conduct and could result in a Player being asked to leave the table.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
All in means a Player bets the remaining amount of their table stake.
Call means to make a wager that brings the Player’s total wager to that of the previous Player.
Check means the Player does not make an opening bet and remains in the round of play. A Player may only check when no other Player has a blind bet or an opening bet for that round of betting.
Community cards means cards dealt to the centre of the table which may be used by all Players to form their best possible hand. The first three community cards are known as ‘the flop’, the fourth as ‘the turn’ and the fifth as ‘the river’.
Fold means a decision by a Player to no longer continue with their hand for that round of play.
Hole cards means the original two cards dealt to each Player.
Pot means the total of all wagers made in that round of play.
Raise means to make a bet greater than the amount of the previous wager made.
String betting means a Player does not place their entire wager in one movement and does not verbally announce their intentions.
HOW THE CARDS RANK IN TEXAS HOLD'EM POKER
ROYAL FLUSH: The highest hand in Texas Hold'em Poker - the top five cards in the deck (10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace), all of the same suit.
STRAIGHT FLUSH: Five consecutive cards of the same suit, other than a Royal Flush. The Ace may also be counted as one.
FOUR OF A KIND: Any four cards of the same face value, plus any other odd card.
FULL HOUSE: Any three cards of the same face value, plus any other two cards of the same face value, (other than the face value of the first three cards).
FLUSH: Any five cards of the same suit, but not running consecutively in face value.
STRAIGHT: Five cards of two or more suits running consecutively in face value.
THREE OF A KIND: Any three cards of the same face value, plus any other two odd cards.
TWO PAIRS: Any two cards of the same face value, plus another two cards of the same face value (but different from the first pair), plus any other odd card.
ONE PAIR: Any two cards of the same face value, plus any other three odd cards.
THE ODDS OF WINNING
Texas Hold'em Poker is a card game of chance and skill in which Players may improve their chance of winning by using their experience and skill. After receiving two cards from the Dealer the Player may choose to stay in the game by placing the appropriate wager, or fold (ie withdraw from the round of play). The original betting round is followed by three other betting rounds. Players have the option to remain or fold during each betting round.
The House may charge a 'participation fee' or take a small commission fee for each round of play. A Player’s odds of winning are dependant on the number of Players at the table. For example, if there were ten Players at the table each Player’s odds of winning (not accounting for different skill levels) would be one in ten.