Poker Rules and basic Guide
As a beginner, you would want to win your first game. You can achieve this objective only when you have strengthened your basics about the game. If you know very little about Poker, there is no way you can win a game. Before you play, you have to gain some elementary knowledge about how the game is played.
Betting process involves certain rules. As a player, you can put in one bet into the pot. Other players in the table must call the bet or they have to fold. The choice of putting or not putting in any money into the pot is yours. If no one bets, the game continues with all players still in the hand. Only when someone else bets, you have to take a decision. When there is a bet made to you, you can either Fold, Call or Raise. In Fold, you do not put in more money. However, you are out of the hand and therefore, cannot win any money. If you have put any money into the pot, you cannot take it back. In Call, you put in money that is equal to the amount that has been bet. You continue to stay in the hand and the next card is dealt if nobody raises. In case there are no more cards, there is a showdown. In Raise, you put in money that is equal to the money bet plus the raise. Here, other players have to call your raise or they should fold. They can also re-raise you if they want.
A Showdown takes place when there are no more cards to deal and there is more than one player left. After the cards have been dealt and all players have called on the last betting round, the players have to show their hands. The player with the best poker hand is the one who wins all the money in the pot. In case of a tie, all tying hands share the money in equal amounts. The last person to raise or bet out will be the first person to show the hand. It will then continue clockwise. Players can also fold without showing.
There are instances where everyone except one player folds. In such cases, that person doesn’t have to show his hand and he wins, by default, all the money in the pot, after the rake or the house’s share is deducted. The rake is usually a few cents for every dollar.
After you have gained the elementary knowledge about betting, you need to develop some betting tactics for a winning hand. When some other player raises you and you feel that you have a strong hand, you can reraise him and force him to put in another bet to stay in the hand. The number of reraises varies depending on the poker rooms. A few poker rooms let two players reraise each other infinitely. There are limits in other poker rooms. In limit poker, most online poker rooms limit you to 4 bets for every betting round.
Check-raise is an effective betting tactic. If you have a strong hand, you can take more than one bet from an opponent. So, after you check, your opponent bets and then, you can raise him. If he calls now, you can win two bets from that player if your hand is strong. You have to be careful with this tactic because there is a possibility that your opponent might also check. And, he might have a better hand and therefore, you stand the risk of a reraise from him.
Check-call is another effective strategy where you realize that there is a possibility of your opponent having a better hand than you. In such cases, you can check and call.
Another important aspect of Poker is the concept of Blinds. When players get pocket aces, there is a possibility that they might fold. This is stopped by forcing every player to pay a ‘tax’ on his hand. This tax is in the form of blind bets, which is more commonly known as Blinds. One player puts in a big blind (BB) in each hand and he is followed by the player in front, who puts in a small blind (SB).
Even when you do not like the cards, you have to pay the Blinds. Other players in the hand have to call or raise the blind bet or they must fold. The player who put in the small blind has to pay the difference of the Big Blind and the Small Blind to stay in the hand and call.
Position is very essential in a Poker game. When a person bets before you, he actually provides you information, which you can use to make your bet. Moreover, he has to make the bet without any information about your bet. This puts you in a better situation than your opponent.
When you have learnt the basics of the game, you stand a good chance of winning your poker game. Remember, great Poker players always stick to the basics.
Among the Poker games, 7-Card Stud is one of the most challenging. Playing 7-Card Stud Poker requires a lot of skill, memory and strategy. To play 7 Card Stud, you need to develop the skills required to be able to strategize for a winning hand. This is possible when you have a complete understanding about the nature of the game.
In stud games, you can gather most of the information about the game by knowing the betting limits. This information includes the nature of the game, player expectations and the size of the bankroll that you should have before you sit in.
To win a Poker game, a player’s strategy should involve card memory and card analysis. You should be able to remember the cards on the table and analyze their significance in the game. Observing the upcards will give you an idea about how the cards might influence your chances or the chances of other players.
Playing the Cards
There are four basic types of card play in 7 Card Stud Poker – Trips, High Pairs, Three to a Flush and Three to a Straight.
Three of a Kind is better known as Trips. It is the best opening hand in 7-Card Stud. When the rank is higher, it is better. Trips can win you a round without improvement. You can be flexible with your betting and positioning in the forthcoming streets.
Trips are so effective that when other players know you are holding trips, they usually fold. So, make sure that you do not give it away right at the start. Take it slow. Bet without providing hints about your hand. Check or Call whenever required till you reach the high streets, where you can pull more money into the pot.
Try to keep as many players in the hand as possible when you are holding trips, since you are most certainly going to beat them. Indulge in ‘slow play’ so that more money comes into the pot.
When you have reached the high streets (5th-7th), you have to make sure that others pay to stay in the hand. When they are still in the 5th street, it is highly unlikely that your scare cards (aces or kings) would drive them away. They would want to stay and see the 7th street.
Keep an eye on your opponents’ cards that might give any hints of a threat to your winning chances.
High Pair is the second best starting hand after Trips. It is even better if the paired cards are not open cards, because open cards can be seen by others. They can deduce your hand that way. When the paired cards are in the hole, you have a good position for an opening Bet or Raise or a re-Raise.
Bet strongly in the 3rd and 4th streets since this is the best time to eliminate as many players as possible for cheap.
When you have a good door card (a 10 or a Jack) and the high pair is in a hole, you are in a good position to Raise. For example, the Raise will mislead other players into believing that you are moving on the Paired 10s, and they will respond accordingly. This will help you drag them in deeper, in the later streets.
When you have reached the 5th street, there is a high probability that the remaining hands, without an evidently strong position (non-paired open hands), are draw hands. This is when you should raise and eliminate them.
When you have reached the 6th or the 7th street, Raise if you have not been beaten by the open cards and you've improved on the Pair. If this is not the case, you must consider Folding, or Check when there are no Raises to match.
Three to a Flush
Three cards to a Flush is a ‘drawing’ hand. When your doorcard is Faces or Aces (A, K, Q, J), your Raise will give an indication that you have a High Pair. In case your door card leads, following a Raise and re-Raise will most probably go unnoticed.
When you have a weak door or no High cards, you must get to 4th street for as cheap as possible because you are facing high odds against the completion of your hand. Fold without showing when you realize that any of the cards you need is with another player.
When you have reached the 5th street, you need to have the fourth to the Flush if you wish to bet further. When you have got it in your hand and if a High Pair is out, it is a good idea to Raise. The odds against your completion are still quite reasonable.
When you have reached the 6th, the odds against your completion are high. Muck (fold without showing) if there is no chance of an out.
Three to a Straight
Three to a Straight is again a ‘drawing hand’. This is, however, a lot tougher to complete than the previous hand. When you have reached the 4th street, it is better to Fold unless all of your cards beat the up cards. When you realize that you have still got an Outside Straight, your odds against completion are still reasonable and you can continue playing. In case, you draw a fourth to the Straight and you are left with an Inside Straight, it is better to Fold unless you are holding the two highest up cards.
When you have reached 5th street, odds against your completion are 2 to 1. Only if you still have two of the highest up cards, you must consider a Check or Call to get to the 6th. It is better to Fold, otherwise.
In the 6th street, your odds are very high at 5 to 1. There is no point continuing if your cards are ‘dead’. In case your open cards still lead, you must consider a Raise. When you are facing a double Raise, it is better to Muck.