Mirage cardroom closes as players mourns poker’s past

cards

The closure of the Mirage cardroom represents not only a sign of the COVID-19 times, but a chapter ending in terms of poker industry. This is the venue where some of your favourite poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu cut their teeth. 

It’s also the venue that Mike McDermott is speaking about when he fails to take Teddy KGB to the cleaners in the perfect opening scene of Rounders. 

It’s predictable, in a way. Before the pandemic, poker rooms in Las Vegas were doing great business. After the closure of venues, some cardrooms struggled, others simply couldn’t come back. Those that have returned have done so with a limited capacity, with health measures that save lives, but lose seats. 

Unfilled seats have put poker rooms under even more pressure to close. Casinos know that table games make more money per hour than poker to a large degree. Poker is a loss-leader at several venues. It would appear that MGM’s Mirage cardroom is no longer able to accept that potential loss.

Temporary closures have become death knells to other venues, but the loss of the Mirage feels personal to a great number of poker players. There will always be another table, but it seems that, to many, things just won’t be the same again. 

Steve Vuoso commented: “I wish the Mirage remained the top room after Bellagio was opened. I preferred playing there so much more.”, leading to agreement from Kid Poker. Negreanu shared the felt with many luminaries who still play, of course, and David Baker was reminiscinet of good times too. 

“When I visited Vegas with dreams of playing poker [for] more than just fun, I played Mirage 10/20 limit and then took shots in the pro filled 20/40. What a time to be alive.” 

Plenty of other big names share that reflective rhetoric. cards

Jennifer Harman (“I remember. Great times.”), Layne Flack (“We, my good man, we grew up here. We put in a lot of hours at that good ol’ grind in the mid- to late 90’s, didn’t we.”) and Bruno Fitoussi (“I [played] every single day for almost 1 year in 1991.”) all looked back with fondness on the Mirage, which sadly will merely be the dictionary definition of the word, disappearing in front of players instead of appearing to be real once more. 

It might not be the last big cardroom to fall silent with the lack of riffling chips, whoops and hollers from outrageous bad beats and the shutter-click of winner pictures and tournament festivals taking place. Just a third of the poker tables that were running pre-pandemic are running today, with 21 poker rooms open compared to 34 in February.

The MGM Grand are giving away around $100,000 in freerolls that are made up of the bad beat jackpot accumulations at their three venues of The Mirage, Mandalay Bay and Excalibur. That will be of immediate comfort to the players who have their already sold-out tickets.

Sadly, the dozen tables on offer at The Mirage will be no more and a part of poker history will be consigned to just that.

Maybe if Rounders 2 ever gets made, Mike McDermott needing to travel to the famous tables at The Mirage might lead to a rebuild. Hey, we can hope.

Seven poker quotes from modern poker legends to inspire you

Poker Chips

Poker ChipsMonday morning can often feel like the morning after the night before for the highly logical reason that it is often exactly that – the morning after most of the biggest tournaments of the week, the Sunday Majors. 

We’ve cherry-picked seven of the best quotes from the best modern poker players to inspire you to have your best week at the felt so far. 

  1. “Study hard and realise it’s mostly hard work – never blame anything on luck.”

Multiple WSOP bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche’s words on 888poker’s Instagram page say it all – hard work will get you there, so put in the work. 

  1. “Understand the ups and the downs of poker and if you get too high, or too low, you’re just not going to be around long.”Jason Koon’s words in this interview with CardPlayer Lifestyle’s Robbie Strazinsky are a great motivator to keeping an even temperament. The variance of poker can hurt at any time, but it can feel like there’s an extra pressure with the year end approaching. Mental strength is everything. 
  2. “One of the biggest lessons poker has taught me is to not be too focused on results but focus on the process and making good decisions.” Fedor Holz puts it brilliantly in this feature for High Stakes Database, with the German’s relentless pursuit of success now extending to business as well as poker with his Primed Mind app and Pokercode website enhancing the young European’s reputation around the world. 
  3. “I live two completely different lives. When I’m in L.A., I go out and party a lot; I love the nightlife scene there. But when I’m in Vegas or traveling to any tournament I’m super boring. I never drink. I never stay up late. I’m always super focused and I’m kind of a nit when it comes to getting enough sleep.”Justin Bonomo’s revealing interview on Poker Listings really opened a window into the all-time money list phenomenon’s lifestyle and duality. If you have a poker persona that you keep separate from your real life, then there’s still every chance you can be a success. 
  4. “Deal with your stupid mistakes and never let the past bring you down. You start blaming other things and you’ll never get back to where you want to be.” Bryn Kenney’s inspirational words on levelling with your own mistakes and improving your true self should drive you forward. No-one has won more than the New Yorker in live poker tournaments and it’s not even close. 
  5. “I find it to be a much greater accomplishment – and necessary – if through solidarity, we can get everyone at the bottom to all move up a couple rungs on the ladder. This can be done once we stop idolizing those who were able to make it to the top.” Daniel Colman doesn’t say much, but in this feature with Pocket 5’s, his staunch views on helping those weakest can be applied to everyday life, not just poker. Perhaps in this week, these words apply more than in many others this year, with the U.S. election results and the possible hope for a pandemic vaccine contributing to a sense of hope for many people. 
  6. “People call us gamblers while in reality poker is such a great lesson and the knowledge you get from our game is very applicable in a variety of real-life situations.” Mikita Badziakowski’s recent blog for partypoker is a great guide to have the self-respect for what you are doing if you’re striving for poker success. Just remember to pay it back or forward when you reach that promised land.

Whatever poker you’re playing this week, hold yourself well on and off the felt and it could be your most successful week at the felt this year. Believe.

EPT Online High Roller won by David Laka for $143,567

Ebt-online-high-roller

David Laka has won $1.6 million at the live felt, but he now has one of the most prestigious online titles to his name – the first of the 2020 EPT Online Series titles, too! Winning $143,567 for taking down the online event, Laka rode out a frantic final day of action on PokerStars to triumph in fine style.  

Ebt-online-high-roller

With just 29 players kicking off the action, by the end of late registration just 15 players were assured of profit, as the money places included just that number. Three registrations were permitted, with Laszlo Bujtas busting all three of his without profit. Others to fall by the wayside before the money bubble burst included Fedor Holz, Anatoly Filatov, Timothy Adams, Christian Rudolph, Sergi Reixach, Joao Vieira and Steve O’Dwyer all unable to ride out the rollercoaster of EPT gameplay. It would be Guntis Aleskins who would bubble the event, busted by Pascal Lefrancois, who would take those chips and run all the way to second place by the end of the event.  

Plenty more would have to leave before the final table was reached and they included Austrian powerhouse Matthias Eibinger with Christoph Vogelsang, Parker Talbot and Andrey Zaichenko also missing out.  

American player Chris Oliver was the first to bust the final table, losing the majority of his chips to Lefrancois, before he was joined on the virtual rail by countryman Jon Van Fleet. Finishing in 5th place was Croatian player ‘zufo16’, who cashed for $51,736, around $15,000 less than Russia player Vyacheslav Buldygin, who came 4th.  

With three players left, Artem Vezhenkov busted when his pocket sevens couldn’t catch David Laka’s pocket kings, and the cowboys had come at exactly the right time for the Spaniard. That gave him a 4:1 lead going into heads-up and Laka was in no mood to relinquish that chip advantage.  

By the end, Lefrancois had just eight big blinds with which to gamble and gamble he did, going all-in with jack-eight. Called by Laka’s king-ten, Lefrancois was at least left with two live cards, but the queen-king-king flop was the death knell on Lefrancois’s chances and ended the tournament two cards early for the winner, French player Lefrancois scoring a $111,234 result for finishing as runner-up, just a small amount behind the $143,567 that Laka would take home for winning the High Roller event.  

With many more PokerStars EPT Online Series events to come, the next few weeks are sure to see some more big-name players win the most exciting prizes.  

EPT Online $5,200-Entry High Roller Final Table Results:  

Place 

Player 

Country 

Prize 

1st 

David Laka 

Spain 

$143,567 

2nd 

Pascal Lefrancois 

Canada 

$111,234 

3rd 

Artem Vezhenkov 

Russia 

$86,183 

4th 

Vyacheslav Buldygin 

Russia 

$66,774 

5th 

‘zufo16’ 

Croatia 

$51,736 

6th 

Jon Van Fleet 

United States 

$40,085 

7th 

Chris Oliver 

United States 

$31,057 

 

Could you become a poker pro during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Poker player

Poker playerThe global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted almost all industries and occupations around the world, and that includes the professional poker player. From playing live tournaments to crushing online, the poker pro has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

All action went from being live and at the felt for real to on a laptop, mobile device or tablet. For poker pros, life got tougher, but what if you aren’t currently a professional poker and want to become one? What could you do to put this pandemic to good use? 

  1. Train Hard

Poker begins and ends in your own mind. Training, therefore, is as important to a poker player as anything else. From training videos to strategy articles, building a solid base of knowledge to be a poker player is the most important way to start. 

There are many sites to train on, but while Upswing Poker might cater for more elite level players, they have free resources to learn from like many other sites such as PokerStars, partypoker or 888poker. 

  1. Start Playing Online Poker

Playing online poker is the easiest path into the game of poker right now, certainly from a recreational perspective and from a professional one, too. 

Which site you start on is down to personal choice, but it could hardly be a better time for you to try. With PokerStars, Unibet, partypoker, 888poker and GGPoker all providing great ways to start playing the game, start small and make sure that you review your hand histories and game sessions. 

Playing online poker is not a surefire way to make profit and takes time to turn professional, but if you blend a routine of taking to the tables, whether you prefer tournaments or cash games, with your every day job, you can grow your presence and improve your results. 

If you consistently make a profit, think about stepping up the levels, if the opposite happens, take your medicine and drop down the limits before trying again. 

  1. Practice Game Selection

When you do start winning, you want to be practicing good bankroll management, never dipping into ‘real life’ funds and making strong choices about what you play. Now it’s time to analyse your results. When do you win and when do you lose? 

Sometimes these can be fine margins, but it’s a little like being a sportsbettor for a business. You have to be cold-hearted with yourself, ruthless and honest above everything, certainly your ego. Like a sportsbettor might have to admit they’re no good at betting in-play compared to futures markets, you’re going to have to murder your darlings at this stage? 

If you love playing big buy-in cash games but you’re losing money in them and them alone, you’re going to have to cash out and step away. If you love tournaments but win at cash games way more consistently, you might have to bone up on MTTs between cash games sessions while you make money. 

Turning ‘pro’ isn’t about living some dream. It’s about turning something you’re good at into your career by choosing the optimal paths along the way. You can’t get stuck in the bushes, and poker is the best game in the world, because you’ll be able to step back into an area you leave behind in the future – it’s always going to be there waiting for you.

  1. Press Your Edge

Once you have established what you are most successful at as a poker player, it’s vital that you press your edge. In other words, this might simply mean to keep doing what you’re doing, but actually it’s a lot more specific advice than this. 

I know a great player who makes tens of thousands a year playing Heads-Up games in NLHE and while he loves the big action in MTT events, many of his best results have got headlines without his best play being talked about. A big live score might attract the headlines, but his HU games are his bread and butter – his path to earning up to $50,000 a year. If that doesn’t sound glamorous enough for you, then poker might not be your game, because it takes enormous hard work to stay at that level and win consistently in an arena where it’s easy for players to avoid taking a shot against you. 

  1. Convert Your Results into a Job

If you’re pressing your edge, making a consistent amount of profit and spending a lot of time playing poker it might be a strong decision to make the leap to going pro. Whether you can gradually fade out your existing day job or have the funds behind you to cut the parachute, you need to be professional about kicking off your career proper in poker. 

Are you looking to build a long-term career in the game or is your ideal scenario getting so rich that you can afford to effectively retire or invest your money outside of poker? What is the worst thing that could happen and how would you cope with it financially? What hours are you going to work and how professional is your physical poker set-up in terms of technology and working environment? 

All these questions should be considered deeply before you make the break, and even then you need to ask yourself whether you truly love the game. Are you always going to want to play for a job even if you’re experiencing the worst downswing of your life? 

Can you cope and do the people around you respect playing poker as a job? The answers to these questions really do all need to be positive ones for you even to consider going pro and we wouldn’t advise you to do so unless they are. 

If you have everything in place, however, the world is your oyster and poker is growing despite being restricted to online play at present. That will change in the future and if that’s the moment you hit the big time and win a major event, all the work with be worthwhile.

The only question remains… are you all-in? Or do you fold? 

Negreanu down six figures as online advantage tells for Polk

Online Poker

It was always going to be different on the online streets. After the novelty and nuance of Daniel Negreanu’s victory live on PokerGO in the first 200 hands of his ‘Heads-Up Feud’ against Doug Polk, the action moved online to WSOP.com… with vastly different results. 

As Kid Poker then commented, “Current Tally – Hands played: 624 of 25,000, Results -$101,792.78 Long way to go and I’m excited to get back to it!” 

There is a long way to go, a very long way to go at 24,376 hands, rendering the results so far a drop in the ocean. But if the opening online sessions are anything to go by, Polk’s advantage online is going to be huge. Backed at 4/1 on Poker Shares and backing himself in big money bets against players such as Phil Hellmuth, Polk is comfortable as the betting favourite, as well might he be given he’s currently schedule to play 99.2% of the match one his turf rather than Negreanu’s. 

Some of the feedback on Twitter to Negreanu’s briefing has been at polar opposite ends of the scale. 

“The chair has to go. You are getting too comfortable like you are playing a $50 tournament. This is not a friendly game.” Was one comment, made in regard to Negreanu’s purpose-built chair (by his good lady wife) to help him relax while he’s playing the contest. Online Poker

Andriena Nutt writes off Kid Poker’s chances, saying : “Buy out now Danny, judging by the online match, you’re going to get ‘rekked’, keep [your] $$ for your strengths!” 

Nicholas Myers comments: “Shocker…live real poker, Polk gets smashed. Online with his precious cheat sheets and he wins.” 

With a long way to go, Negreanu will have to pull up his socks if he’s to hang onto Polk’s cattails in the first few hundred hands. If he can, and can get his own statisticians onto Polk’s play in the same way the self-confessed ‘truck driver’ assuredly will. 

As for Polk, he was more than pleased to end the first major online session of the battle in good shape. 

As Polk later commented, “I won 200k but I still feel bad because I made more misclicks in my session than a man 2 tabling in a recliner.” 

He can’t resist getting a dig in, can he? 

You can watch the highlights and live streams of the game on GGPoker’s YouTube channel over the coming months, and it’s likely to be unmissable stuff if the first two sessions are anything to go by. 

Categories
Poker Strategy

Poker Kill Pots

To kill a pot means to post an overblind that increases the betting limit. A full kill is double the amount of the big blind, and doubles the betting limits. A half kill is one-and-a-half times the big blind, and increases the betting limits by that amount. A kill may be optional in a game, and is often used at lowball when a player wants to be dealt in right away instead of waiting to take the big blind. A kill may be required in a game for any time a specified event takes place. In high-low split games using a required kill, a player who scoops (wins all of) a pot bigger than a set size must kill the next pot. In other games using a required kill, a player who wins two consecutive pots must kill the next pot. In this type of kill game, a marker called a kill button indicates which player has won the pot, and the winner keeps this marker until the next hand is completed. If the player who has the kill button wins a second consecutive pot and it qualifies monetarily, that player must kill the next pot.

Rules of Kill Pots

  • The kill button is neutral (belonging to no player) if:
    • It is the first hand of a new game.
    • The winner of the previous pot has quit the game.
    • The previous pot was split and neither player had the kill button.
  • In a kill pot, the killer acts in proper turn (after the person on the immediate right).
  • There is no pot-size requirement for the first pot or “leg” of a kill. For the second “leg” to qualify for a kill, you must win at least one full bet for whatever limit you are playing, and it cannot be any part of the blind structure.
  • If a player with one “leg up” splits the next pot, that player still has a “leg up” for the next hand. If the player who split the pot was the kill in the previous hand, then that player must also kill the next pot.
  • A person who leaves the table with a “leg up” toward a kill still has a “leg up” upon returning to the game.
  • A player who is required to post a kill must do so that same hand even if wishing to quit or be dealt out. A player who fails to post a required kill blind will not be allowed to participate in any subsequent game until the kill money is posted.
  • Kill blinds are considered part of the pot. If a player with a required kill wins again, then that player must kill it again (for the same amount as the previous hand).
  • When a player wins both the high and the low pot (scoops) in a split-pot game with a kill provision, the next hand is killed only if the pot is at least five times the size of the upper limit of the game.
  • If you are unaware that the pot has been killed and put in a lesser amount, if it is a required kill pot with the kill button face up, you must put in the correct amount. If not, you may withdraw the chips and reconsider your action.
  • In lowball, an optional rule allows players to look at their first two (sometimes three) cards and then opt whether to kill the pot. The pot can no longer be killed if any player in the game has received a third card. To kill the pot voluntarily, you must have at least four times the amount of the kill blind in your stack. For example: If the big blind is two chips, and the kill blind is four chips, the voluntary killer must have at least 16 chips prior to posting the kill. If this rule is used, it is in conjunction with having the killer act last on the first betting round rather than in proper order.
  • Only one kill is allowed per deal.
  • A new player is not entitled to play in a killed pot, but may do so by agreeing to kill the next pot.
  • Broken game status is allowed only for players of the same limit and game type. For this purpose, a game with a required kill is considered a different type of game than an otherwise similar game without a required kill.
Categories
Poker Strategy

Poker Buttons and Blinds

In button games, a non-playing dealer normally does the actual dealing. A round disk called the button is used to indicate which player has the dealer position. The player with the button is last to receive cards on the initial deal and has the right of last action after the first betting round. The button moves clockwise after a deal ends to rotate the advantage of last action. One or more blind bets are usually used to stimulate action and initiate play. Blinds are posted before the players look at their cards. Blinds are part of a player’s bet, unless the structure of a game or the situation requires part or all of a particular blind to be “dead.” Dead chips are not part of a player’s bet. With two blinds, the small blind is posted by the player immediately clockwise from the button, and the big blind is posted by the player two positions clockwise from the button. With more than two blinds, the small blind is normally to the left of the button (not on it). Action is initiated on the first betting round by the first player to the left of the blinds. On all subsequent betting rounds, the action begins with the first active player to the left of the button.

Rules for Using Blinds

  • Each round every player must get an opportunity for the button, and meet the total amount of the blind obligations. Either of the following methods of button and blind placement may be designated to do this:
    • Moving button: The button always moves forward to the next player and the blinds adjust accordingly. There may be more than one big blind.
    • Dead button: The big blind is posted by the player due for it, and the small blind and button are positioned accordingly, even if this means the small blind or the button is placed in front of an empty seat, giving the same player the privilege of last action on consecutive hands.
  • A player who posts a blind has the option of raising the pot at the first turn to act. (This does not apply when a “dead blind” for the collection is used in a game and has been posted).
  • In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button.
  • A new player entering the game has the following options:
    • Wait for the big blind.
    • Post an amount equal to the big blind and immediately be dealt a hand. (In lowball, a new player must either post an amount double the big blind or wait for the big blind.)
  • A new player who elects to let the button go by once without posting is not treated as a player in the game who has missed a blind, and needs to post only the big blind when entering the game.
  • A person playing over (playing his own chips in a temporarily absent player’s seat until the absent player returns) is considered a new player, and must post the amount of the big blind or wait for the big blind.
  • A new player cannot be dealt in between the big blind and the button. Blinds can not be made up between the big blind and the button. A new player must wait until the button passes.

    See Explanations, discussion #3, for more information on this rule.
  • When a player posts the big blind, it serves as his opening bet. When it is his next turn to act, he has the option to raise.
  • A player who misses any or all blinds can resume play by either posting all the blinds missed or waiting for the big blind. If a player chooses to post the total amount of the blinds, an amount up to the size of the minimum opening bet is live. The remainder is taken by the dealer to the center of the pot and is not part of the player’s bet. When it is his next turn to act, he has the option to raise.
  • If a player who owes a blind (as a result of a missed blind) is dealt in without posting, the hand is dead if the player looks at it before putting up the required chips, and has not yet acted. If the player acts on the hand and plays it, putting chips into the pot before the error is discovered, the hand is live, and the player is required to post on the next deal.
  • A player who goes all in and loses is obligated to make up the blinds if they are missed before a rebuy is made. (The person is not treated as a new player when reentering.)
  • These rules about blinds apply to a newly started game:
    • Any player who drew for the button is considered active in the game and is required to make up any missed blinds.
    • A new player is not required to post a blind until the button has made one complete revolution around the table, provided a blind has not yet passed that seat.
    • A player can change seats without penalty, provided a blind has not yet passed the new seat.
  • In all multiple-blind games, a player who changes seats will be dealt in on the first available hand in the same relative position. Example: If you move two active positions away from the big blind, you must wait two hands before being dealt in again. If you move closer to the big blind, you can be dealt in without any penalty. If you do not wish to wait and have not yet missed a blind, then you can post an amount equal to the big blind and receive a hand. (Exception: At lowball you must kill the pot, wait for the same relative position, or wait for the big blind)

    See Lowball, discussion #7, for more information on this rule.
  • A player who “deals off” (by playing the button and then immediately getting up to change seats) can allow the blinds to pass the new seat one time and reenter the game behind the button without having to post a blind.
  • A live “straddle bet” is not allowed at limit poker except in specified games.
Categories
Poker Strategy

Poker Tournament Rules

  • Whenever possible, all rules are the same as those that apply to live games.
  • Initial seating is determined by random draw or assignment. (For a one-table satellite event, cards to determine seating may be left faceup so the earlier entrants can pick their seat, since the button is assigned randomly.)
  • A change of seat is not allowed after play starts, except as assigned by the director.
  • The appropriate starting amount of chips will be placed on the table for each paid entrant at the beginning of the event, whether the person is present or not. Absent players will be dealt in, and all chips necessary for antes and blinds will be put into the pot.
  • If a paid entrant is absent at the start of an event, at some point an effort will be made to locate and contact the player. If the player requests the chips be left in place until arrival, the request will be honored. If the player is unable to be contacted, the chips may be removed from play at the discretion of the director anytime after a new betting level has begun or a half-hour has elapsed, whichever occurs first.
  • A starting stack of chips can be placed in a seat to accommodate late entrants (so all antes and blinds have been appropriately paid). An unsold seat will have such a stack removed at a time left to the discretion of the director.
  • Limits and blinds are raised at regularly scheduled intervals.
  • If there is a signal designating the end of a betting level, the new limits apply on the next deal. (A deal begins with the first riffle of the shuffle.)
  • The lowest denomination of chip in play is removed from the table when it is no longer needed in the blind or ante structure. All lower-denomination chips that are of sufficient quantity for a new chip will be changed up directly. The method for removal of odd chips is to deal one card to a player for each odd chip possessed. Cards are dealt clockwise starting with the No. 1 seat, with each player receiving all cards before any cards are dealt to the next player. The player with the highest card by suit gets enough odd chips to exchange for one new chip, the second-highest card gets to exchange for the next chip, and so forth, until all the lower-denomination chips are exchanged. If an odd number of lower-denomination chips are left after this process, the player with the highest card remaining receives a new chip if he has half or more of the quantity of lower-denomination chips needed, otherwise nothing.
  • An absent player is always dealt a hand, and is put up for blinds, antes, and the forced bet if low.
  • A player must be present at the table to stop the action by calling “time.”
  • A player must be at his seat when the first card is dealt on the initial deal or he will have a dead hand. “At your seat” means within reach of your chair. This rule is not intended to condone players being out of their seats while involved in a hand.
  • As players are eliminated, tables are broken in a pre-set order, with players from the broken tables assigned to empty seats at other tables.
  • The number of players at each table is kept reasonably balanced by the transfer of a player as needed. With more than six tables, table size is kept within two players. With six tables or fewer, table size is kept within one player.
  • In all events, there is a redraw for seating when the field is reduced to three tables, two tables, and one table. (Redrawing at three tables is not mandatory in small tournaments with only four or five starting tables.)
  • A player who declares all in and loses the pot, then discovers that one or more chips were hidden, is not entitled to benefit from this. That player is eliminated from the tournament if the opponent had sufficient chips to cover the hidden ones (A rebuy is permitted if allowable by the rules of that event). If another deal has not yet started, the director may rule the chips belong to the opponent who won that pot, if that obviously would have happened with the chips out in plain view. If the next deal has started, the discovered chips are removed from the tournament.
  • If a player lacks sufficient chips for a blind or a forced bet, the player is entitled to get action on whatever amount of money remains. A player who posts a short blind and wins does not need to make up the blind.
  • All players must leave their seats immediately after being eliminated from an event.
  • Showing cards from a live hand during the action injures the rights of other players still competing in an event, who wish to see contestants eliminated. A player may not show any cards during a deal (unless the event has only two remaining players). If a player deliberately shows a card, that hand may be ruled dead and the player penalized.
  • Inappropriate behavior like throwing cards that go off the table may be punished with a penalty such as being dealt out for a length of time. A severe infraction such as abusive or disruptive behavior may be punished by eviction from the tournament.
  • The deck is not changed on request. Decks change when the dealers change, unless there is a damaged card.
  • In all tournament games using a dealer button, the starting position of the button is determined by dealing for the high card.
  • The dealer button remains in position until the appropriate blinds are taken. Players must post all blinds every round. Because of this, the button may stay in front of the same player for two consecutive hands.
  • New players are dealt in immediately unless they sit down in the small blind or button position. In these two cases, they must wait until the button passes.
  • In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button.
  • At stud, if a downcard on the initial hand is dealt face up, a misdeal is called.
  • If a player announces the intent to rebuy before cards are dealt, that player is playing behind and is obligated to make the rebuy.
  • All hands are turned face up whenever a player is all in and betting action is complete.
  • If two (or more) players go broke during the same hand, the player starting the hand with the larger amount of money finishes in the higher tournament place for point and cash awards.
  • Management is not required to rule on any private deals, side bets, or redistribution of the prize pool among finalists.
  • Private agreements by remaining players in an event regarding distribution of the prize pool are not condoned. (However, if such an agreement is made, the director has the option of ensuring that it is carried out by paying those amounts.) Any private agreement that excludes one or more active competitors is improper by definition.
  • A tournament event is expected to be played until completion. A private agreement that removes all prize money from being at stake in the competition is unethical.
  • Management retains the right to cancel any event, or alter it in a manner fair to the players.
Categories
Poker Strategy

Poker Hand Rankings

Poker hands from highest to lowest

Royal flush
A, K, Q, J, 10, all the same suit.

Straight flush
Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit.

Four of a kind
All four cards of the same rank.

Full house
Three of a kind with a pair.

Flush
Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence.

Straight
Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit.

Three of a kind
Three cards of the same rank.

Two pair
Two different pairs.

Pair
Two cards of the same rank.

High Card
When you haven’t made any of the hands above, the highest card plays.
In the example below, the jack plays as the highest card.

Categories
Poker Strategy

How to Play Various Poker Games

Texas Hold’em

In hold’em, players receive two down cards as their personal hand (holecards), after which there is a round of betting. Three board cards are turned simultaneously (called the flop) and another round of betting occurs. The next two board cards are turned one at a time, with a round of betting after each card. The board cards are community cards, and a player can use any five-card combination from among the board and personal cards. A player can even use all of the board cards and no personal cards to form a hand (“play the board”). A dealer button is used. The usual structure is to use two blinds, but it is possible to play the game with one blind, multiple blinds, an ante, or combination of blinds plus an ante.

 

Rounds of Betting

  • Opening deal
    – Each player is dealt two cards face down, which are known as hole cards or pocket cards.
Pocket Cards

 

Card-back
Card-back


 
  • First round of betting
    – Starting with the player to the left of the big blind, each player can call the big blind, raise, or fold. The big blind has the option to raise an otherwise unraised pot.
  • The flop
    – The dealer burns a card, and then deals three community cards face up. The first three cards are referred to as the flop, while all of the community cards are collectively called the board.
Flop

 

3
J
9



 
  • Second round of betting
    – Starting with the player to the left of the dealer button, each player can check or bet. Once a bet has been made, each player can raise, call, or fold.
  • The turn
    – The dealer burns another card, and then adds a fourth card face-up to the community cards. This fourth card is known as the turn card, or fourth street.
Flop

 

3
J
9



The Turn

 

K

 
  • Third round of betting
    – It follows the same format as the second round, but the size of the bets have usually doubled in limit games.
  • The river
    – The dealer burns another card, and then adds a fifth and final card to the community cards. This fifth card is known as the river card, or fifth street.
Flop

 

3
J
9



The Turn

 

K

The River

 

A

 
  • Final round of betting
    – It follows the same format as the second and third rounds.
  • The showdown
    – Using the best five-card combination of their hole cards and the community cards, the remaining players show their hands, with the bettor or last raiser showing first. The highest five-card hand wins the pot. (In case of a tie, the pot is evenly split among the winning hands.)

Other Texas Hold’em Poker Rules


These rules deal only with irregularities. See
Button and Blind
use for rules on that subject.

  • If the first or second hole card dealt is exposed, a misdeal results. The dealer retrieves the card, reshuffles, and recuts the cards. If any other holecard is exposed due to a dealer error, the deal continues. The exposed card can not be kept. After completing the hand, the dealer replaces the card with the top card on the deck, and the exposed card is then used for the burncard. If more than one hole card is exposed, this is a misdeal and there must be a redeal.
  • If the flop contains too many cards, it must be redealt. (This applies even if it is possible to know which card is the extra one.)
  • If the flop needs to be redealt because the cards were prematurely flopped before the betting was complete, or the flop contained too many cards, the board cards are mixed with the remainder of the deck. The burn card remains on the table. After shuffling, the dealer cuts the deck and deals a new flop without burning a card.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #2
    , for more information on this rule.

  • If the dealer turns the fourth card on the board before the betting round is complete, the card is taken out of play for that round, even if subsequent players elect to fold. The betting is then completed. The dealer burns and turns what would have been the fifth card in the fourth card’s place. After this round of betting, the dealer reshuffles the deck, including the card that was taken out of play, but not including the burn cards or discards. The dealer then cuts the deck and turns the final card without burning a card. If the fifth card is turned up prematurely, the deck is reshuffled and dealt in the same manner.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #2
    , for more information on this rule.

  • If the dealer mistakenly deals the first player an extra card (after all players have received their starting hands), the card is returned to the deck and used for the burn card. If the dealer mistakenly deals more than one extra card, it is a misdeal.
  • If you are playing the board, you must so declare before you throw your cards away; otherwise you relinquish all claim to the pot.

Omaha

Omaha is similar to hold’em in using a three-card flop on the board, a fourth board card, and then a fifth board card. Each player is dealt four hole cards (instead of two) at the start. To make a hand, a player must use precisely two hole cards with three board cards. The betting is the same as in hold’em. At the showdown, the entire four-card hand should be shown to receive the pot.

 

The best possible five-card poker hand, using exactly two hole cards and three community cards, wins the pot.

Betting Rounds

  • The dealer deals each player four cards face down (hole cards or pocket cards)
Pocket Cards

 

Card-back
Card-back
Card-back
Card-back




 
  • First betting round.
  • The dealer burns a card, then turns over three community cards face up (the flop)
Flop

 

3
J
9



 
  • Second betting round.
  • The dealer burns another card, then turns over one more community card (the turn, fourth street)
Flop

 

3
J
9



The Turn

 

K

 
  • Third betting round.
  • The dealer burns another card, then turns over one final community card (the river, fifth street)
Flop

 

3
J
9



The Turn

 

K

The River

 

A

 
  • Last betting round.
  • Showdown. (Every remaining player shows hand. with first bettor or last raiser showing first.)
  • All remaining players must use their two pocket cards and the three board cards.

Rules of Omaha

  • All the rules of hold’em apply to Omaha except the rule on playing the board, which is not possible in Omaha (because you must use two cards from your hand and three cards from the board).

Omaha High-Low

Omaha is often played high-low split, 8-or-better. The player can use any combination of two hole cards and three board cards for the high hand and another (or the same) combination of two hole cards and three board cards for the low hand.

Rules of Omaha High-Low

  • All the rules of Omaha apply to Omaha high-low split except as below.
  • A qualifier of 8-or-better for low applies to all high-low split games, unless a specific posting to the contrary is displayed. If there is no qualifying hand for low, the best high hand wins the whole pot.

Seven-Card Stud

Seven-card stud is played with two downcards and one upcard dealt before the first betting round, followed by three more upcards (with a betting round after each card) and one more downcard. After the last downcard is dealt, there is a final round of betting. The best five-card poker hand wins the pot. In all fixed-limit games, the smaller bet is wagered on the first two betting rounds, and the larger bet is wagered after the betting rounds on the fifth, sixth, and seventh cards. If there is an open pair on the fourth card, any player has the option of making the smaller or larger bet. Deliberately changing the order of your upcards in a stud game is improper because it unfairly misleads the other players.

 

Betting Rounds

OBJECT:
The best five-card poker hand, out of seven cards, wins the pot.

  • Each player must place an ante into the pot.
  • Each player is dealt two cards face down (hole cards) and one card face up (door card)

Hole Cards
Door Card

 

Card-back
Card-back
3



 
  • First betting round.
  • Each player is dealt one card face up (fourth street)
Hole Cards
Door Card
Card-back
Card-back
3

 

4th Street

 

J

 
  • Second betting round.
  • Each player is dealt another card face-up (fifth street)
Hole Cards
Door Card
Card-back
Card-back
3

 

4th Street

 

J

5th Street

 

9

 
  • Third betting round.
  • Each player is dealt another card face-up (sixth street)
Hole Cards
Door Card
Card-back
Card-back
3

 

4th Street

 

J

5th Street

 

9

6th Street

 

9

 
  • Fourth betting round.
  • Each player is dealt a final card face down (river)
Hole Cards
Door Card
Card-back
Card-back
3

 

4th Street

 

J

5th Street

 

9

6th Street

 

9

River

 

Card-back

 
  • Last betting round.
  • Showdown (Every remaining player shows hand with first bettor or last raiser showing first).

Players can use any five of their seven cards to make their best hand.

Rules of Seven Card Stud

  • The first round of betting starts with a forced bet by the lowest upcard by suit. On subsequent betting rounds, the high hand on board initiates the action. (A tie is broken by position, with the player who received cards first acting first.)
  • The player with the forced bet has the option of opening for a full bet.
  • Increasing the amount wagered by the opening forced bet up to a full bet does not count as a raise, but merely as a completion of the bet. For example: In $15-$30 stud, the lowcard opens for $5. If the next player increases the bet to $15 (completes the bet), up to three raises are then allowed when using a three-raise limit.
  • In all fixed-limit games, when an open pair is showing on fourth street (second upcard), any player has the option of betting either the lower or the upper limit. For example: In a $5-$10 game, if you have a pair showing and are the high hand, you can bet either $5 or $10. If you bet $5, any player then has the option to call $5, raise $5, or raise $10. If a $10 raise is made, then all other raises must be in increments of $10. If the player high with the open pair on fourth street checks, then subsequent players have the same options that were given to the player who was high.
  • If your first or second holecard is accidentally turned up by the dealer, then your third card is dealt down. If both hole cards are dealt up, you have a dead hand and receive your ante back. If the first card dealt faceup would have been the lowcard, action starts with the first hand to that player’s left. That player may fold, open for the forced bet, or open for a full bet. (In tournament play, if a downcard is dealt face up, a misdeal is called.)
  • If you are not present at the table when it is your turn to act on your hand, you forfeit your ante and your forced bet, if any. If you have not returned to the table in time to act, the hand is killed when the betting reaches your seat.
  • If a hand is folded even though there is no wager, that seat continues to receive cards until the hand is killed as a result of a bet.
  • If you are all in for the ante and have the lowcard, the player to your left acts first. That player can fold, open for the forced bet, or open for a full bet.
  • If the wrong person is designated as low and that person bets, the action is corrected to the true low card if the next player has not yet acted. The incorrect low card takes back the wager and the true low card must bet. If the next hand has acted after the incorrect low card wager, the wager stands, action continues from there, and the true low card has no obligations.
  • If you pick up your upcards without calling when facing a wager, this is a fold and your hand is dead. However, this act has no significance at the showdown because betting is over; the hand is live until discarded.
  • A card dealt off the table must play and it is treated as an exposed card.
  • In all games, the dealer announces the lowcard, the high hand, all raises, and all pairs. Dealers do not announce possible straights or flushes (except for specified low-stakes games).
  • If the dealer burns two cards for one round or fails to burn a card, the cards are corrected, if at all possible, to their proper positions. If this should happen on a final downcard, and either a card intermingles with a player’s other holecards or a player looks at the card, the player must accept that card.
  • If the dealer burns and deals one or more cards before a round of betting has been completed, the cards must be eliminated from play. After the betting for that round is completed, an additional card for each remaining player still active in the hand is also eliminated from play (to later deal the same cards to the players who would have received them without the error). After that round of betting has concluded, the dealer burns a card and play resumes. The removed cards are held off to the side in the event the dealer runs out of cards. If the prematurely dealt card is the final downcard and has been looked at or intermingled with the player’s other holecards, the player must keep the card, and on sixth street betting may not bet or raise (because the player now has all seven cards), but can call.
  • If there are not enough cards left in the deck for all players, all the cards are dealt except the last card, which is mixed with the burn cards (and any cards removed from the deck, as in the previous rule). The dealer then scrambles and cuts these cards, burns again, and delivers the remaining downcards, using the last card if necessary. If there are not as many cards as players remaining without a card, the dealer does not burn, so that each player can receive a fresh card. If the dealer determines that there will not be enough fresh cards for all of the remaining players, then the dealer announces to the table that a common card will be used. The dealer burns a card and turns one card face up in the center of the table as a common card that plays in everyone’s hand. The player who is now high using the common card initiates the action for the last round.
  • An all-in player should receive hole cards dealt facedown, but if the final hole card to such a player is dealt face up, the card must be kept, and the other players receive their normal cards.
  • If the dealer turns the last card faceup to any player, the hand now high on the board using all the upcards will start the action. The following rules apply to the dealing of cards:

    If there are more than two players, all remaining players receive their last card facedown. A player whose last card is face up has the option of declaring all in (before betting action starts). If there are only two players remaining and the first player’s final downcard is dealt faceup, the second player’s final down card is also dealt face up, and the betting proceeds as normal. In the event the first player’s final card is dealt face down and the opponent’s final card is dealt face up, the player with the faceup final card has the option of declaring all in (before betting action starts).

  • A hand with more than seven cards is dead. A hand with fewer than seven cards at the showdown is dead, except any player missing a seventh card may have the hand ruled live.


    See
    Explanations, discussion #3
    , for more information on this rule.

  • A player who calls a bet even though beaten by an opponentiss upcards is not entitled to a refund. (The player is receiving information about an opponent’s hand that is not available for free.)

Mississippi Stud

OBJECT

 

The best five-card poker hand, out of seven cards, wins the pot.

  • Ante, then deal two cards down and one up: Low card must bet in limit-betting games, high card must bet or fold in big-bet games.
  • Deal each active player two more upcards; bet from highest hand.
  • Deal each player a fourth upcard: bet from highest hand.
  • Deal each player a fifth upcard: bet from highest hand, followed by a showdown.

Big-Bet Betting Structures

Half-pot, pot-limit and no-limit betting. In big-bet (that is, non-limit) games, all forms of stud require an ante from each player, with the highest card or hand acting first in all rounds of play. In the first round, the high card must either bet or fold. In later rounds, the high hand can either bet or check. The initial bet size is at the discretion of the opener and can usually be as small as one ante, or up to the maximum bet size allowed in the form used, that is, half the total antes in half-pot, the total antes in full-pot and as much as you wish in no-limit.

Limit Betting Structures

There is an ante, a compulsory bring-in from the low card, and bets typically double for the last two rounds, though this can be varied according to player’s tastes. The bets are usually capped at three per round, except in head-to-head pots.

  • Low ante games:
    Ante, one unit; bring-in, two units, complete, 10 units. The maximum bet for the first two rounds is 10 units. Bets double to 20 units for the third and fourth rounds.
  • High ante:
    Ante, four units; bring-in, five units; raise, 10 units. Bets double to 20 units for the third and fourth rounds.

Seven-Card Stud High-Low

Seven-card stud high-low split is a stud game that is played both high and low. A qualifier of 8-or-better for low applies to all high-low split games, unless a specific posting to the contrary is displayed. The low card initiates the action on the first round, with an ace counting as a high card for this purpose. On subsequent rounds, the high hand initiates the action. If the high hand is tied, the first player clockwise from the dealer acts first. Fixed-limit games use the lower limit on third and fourth street and the upper limit on subsequent betting rounds, and an open pair does not affect the limit. Aces can be used for high or low. Straights and flushes do not affect the low value of a hand. A player can use any five cards to make the best high hand, and the same or any other grouping of five cards to make the best low hand.

 

Rules of Seven-Card Stud High-Low

  • All rules for seven-card stud apply to seven-card stud high-low split, except as otherwise noted.
  • A qualifier of 8-or-better for low applies to all high-low split games, unless a specific posting to the contrary is displayed. If there is no qualifying hand for low, the best high hand wins the whole pot.
  • A player can use any five cards to make the best high hand and any five cards, whether the same as the high hand or not, to make the best low hand.
  • The low card by suit (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades) initiates the action on the first round, with an ace counting as a high card for this purpose.
  • An ace can be used for high or low.
  • Straights and flushes do not affect the value of a low hand.
  • Fixed-limit games use the lower limit on third and fourth streets and the upper limit on subsequent rounds. An open pair on fourth street does not affect the limit.
  • Splitting pots is determined only by the cards and not by agreement among players.
  • When there is an odd chip in a pot, the chip goes to the high hand. If two players split the pot by tying for both the high and the low, the pot shall be split as evenly as possible, and the player with the highest card by suit receives the odd chip. When making this determination, all cards are used, not just the five cards used for the final hand played.
  • When there is one odd chip in the high portion of the pot and two or more high hands split all or half the pot, the odd chip goes to the player with the high card by suit. When two or more low hands split half the pot, the odd chip goes to the player with the low card by suit.

Razz

The lowest hand wins the pot. The format is similar to seven-card stud high, except the high card (aces are low) is required to make the forced bet on the first round, and the low hand acts first on all subsequent rounds. Straights and flushes have no ranking, so the best possible hand is 5-4-3-2-A (a wheel). An open pair does not affect the betting limit.

 

Rules of Razz

  • All seven-card stud rules apply in razz except as otherwise noted.
  • The lowest hand wins the pot. Aces are low, and straights and flushes have no effect on the low value of a hand. The best possible hand is 5-4-3-2-A.
  • The highest card by suit starts the action with a forced bet. The low hand acts first on all subsequent rounds. If the low hand is tied, the first player clockwise from the dealer starts the action.
  • Fixed-limit games use the lower limit on third and fourth streets and the upper limit on subsequent streets. An open pair does not affect the limit.
  • The dealer announces all pairs the first time they occur, except pairs of face cards, which are never announced.

Lowball

Lowball is draw poker with the lowest hand winning the pot. Each player is dealt five cards face down, after which there is a betting round. Players are required to open with a bet or fold. The players who remain in the pot after the first betting round now have an option to improve their hands by replacing cards in their hands with new ones. This is the draw. The game is normally played with one or more blinds, sometimes with an ante added. Some betting structures allow the big blind to be called; other structures require the minimum open to be double the big blind. In limit poker, the usual structure has the limit double after the draw (Northern California is an exception.) The most popular forms of lowball are ace-to-five lowball (also known as California lowball), and deuce-to-seven lowball (also known as Kansas City lowball). Ace-to-five lowball gets its name because the best hand at that form is 5-4-3-2-A. Deuce-to-seven lowball gets its name because the best hand at that form is 7-5-4-3-2 (not of the same suit). For a further description of the forms of lowball, see the individual section for each game. All rules governing kill pots are listed in Kill Pots.

 

Rules of Lowball

  • The rules governing misdeals for hold’em and other button games are used for lowball.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #7
    , for more information on this rule.

  • These rules governing misdeals are reprinted here for convenience. “The following circumstances cause a misdeal, provided attention is called to the error before two players have acted on their hands:
    • The first or second card of the hand has been dealt faceup or exposed through dealer error.
    • Two or more cards have been exposed by the dealer.
    • Two or more extra cards have been dealt in the starting hands of a game.
    • An incorrect number of cards has been dealt to a player, except the button can receive one more card to complete a starting hand.
    • The button was out of position.
    • The first card was dealt to the wrong position.
    • Cards have been dealt out of the proper sequence.
    • Cards have been dealt to an empty seat or a player not entitled to a hand.
    • A player has been dealt out who is entitled to a hand. This player must be present at the table or have posted a blind or ante.”
  • In limit play, a bet and four raises are allowed in multihanded pots.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #6
    , for more information on this rule.

  • A new player, has two options:
    • Wait for the big blind.
    • Kill the pot for double the amount of the big blind.
  • In a single-blind game, a player who has less than half a blind can receive a hand. However, the next player is obligated to take the blind. If the all-in player wins the pot or buys in again, that player is then obligated either to take the blind on the next deal or sit out until due for the big blind.
  • In single-blind games, half a blind or more constitutes a full blind.
  • In single-blind games, if a player fails to take the blind, the player can be dealt in only on the blind.
  • In multiple-blind games, if for any reason the big blind passes a player’s seat, the player can either wait for the big blind or kill the pot in order to receive a hand. This does not apply if the player has taken all of his blinds and changed seats. In this situation, the player can be dealt in as soon as his position relative to the blinds entitles him to a hand (the button may go by him once without penalty).
  • Before the draw, whether an exposed card must be taken depends on the form of lowball being played; see that form. (The player never has an option.)
  • On the draw, an exposed card cannot be taken. The draw is completed to each player in order, and then the exposed card is replaced.
  • A player can draw up to four consecutive cards. If a player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and the fifth card after everyone else has drawn cards. If the last player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and a card is burned before the player receives a fifth card.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #9
    , for more information on this rule.

  • Five cards constitutes a playing hand; more or fewer than five cards after the draw constitutes a fouled hand. Before the draw, if a player has fewer than five cards in his hand, he can receive additional cards, provided no action has been taken by the first player to act (unless that action occurs before the deal is completed). However, the dealer position can still receive a missing fifth card, even if action has taken place. If action has been taken, a player with fewer than five cards is entitled on the draw to receive the number of cards necessary to complete a five-card hand.
  • A player can change the number of cards he wishes to draw, provided:
    • No card has been dealt off the deck in response to his request (including the burncard).
    • No player has acted, in either the betting or indicating the number of cards to be drawn, based on the number of cards the player has requested.
  • If a player is asked by another active player how many cards he drew the player is obligated to respond until there has been action after the draw, and the dealer is also obligated to respond. Once there is any action after the draw, the player is no longer obliged to respond and the dealer must not respond.
  • Rapping the table in turn constitutes either a pass or the declaration of a pat hand that does not want to draw any cards, depending on the situation.
  • Cards speak (cards read for themselves). However, a player is not allowed to claim a better hand than he holds. (Example: If a player declares “8”, that player must produce at least an 8 low or better to win. But if a player erroneously calls the second card incorrectly, such as “8-6” when actually holding an 8-7, no penalty applies.) If a player miscalls his hand and causes another player to foul his hand, the hand of the player who misdeclared is dead. If both hands remain intact, the best hand wins. If a miscalled hand occurs in a multihanded pot, the miscalled hand is dead, and the best remaining hand wins the pot. For your own protection, always hold your hand until you see your opponent’s cards.
  • Any player spreading a hand with a pair in it must announce “pair” or risk losing the pot if it causes any other player to foul a hand. If two or more hands remain intact, the best hand wins the pot.

Ace-to-Five Lowball

In ace-to-five lowball, the best hand is any 5-4-3-2-A. Straights and flushes do not count against a hand.

  • If a joker is used, it becomes the lowest card not present in the hand. The joker is assumed to be in use unless the contrary is posted.
  • In limit play, check-raise is not permitted (unless the players are alerted that it is allowed).
  • In limit ace-to-five lowball, before the draw, an exposed card of 7 or under must be taken, and an exposed card higher than a 7 must be replaced after the deal has been completed. This first exposed card is used as the burn card.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #8
    , for more information on this rule.

  • In limit play, the sevens rule is assumed to be in use (the players should be alerted if it is not). If a player checks a 7 or better and it is the best hand, all action after the draw is void, and the player cannot win any money on any subsequent bets. The player is still eligible to win whatever existed in the pot before the draw if he has the best hand. If a player checks a 7 or better and the hand is beaten, he loses the pot and any additional calls he makes. If there is an all-in bet after the draw that is less than half a bet, a 7 or better can just call and win that bet. However, if another player overcalls this short bet and loses, the person who overcalls receives the bet back. If the seven or better completes to a full bet, this fulfills all obligations.

Deuce-to-Seven Lowball

In deuce-to-seven lowball (sometimes known as Kansas City lowball), in most respects, the worst conventional poker hand wins. Straights and flushes count against a player, crippling the value of a hand. The ace is used only as a high card. Therefore, the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2, not all of the same suit. The hand 5-4-3-2-A is not considered to be a straight, but an A-5 high, so it beats other ace-high hands and pairs, but loses to king-high. A pair of aces is the highest pair, so it loses to any other pair. The rules for deuce-to-seven lowball are the same as those for ace-to-five lowball, except for the following differences:

  • The best hand is 7-5-4-3-2 of at least two different suits. Straights and flushes count against a player, and aces are considered high only.
  • Before the draw, an exposed card of 7, 5, 4, 3, or, 2 must be taken. Any other exposed card must be replaced (including a 6).
  • Check-raise is allowed on any hand after the draw, and a 7 or better is not required to bet.

No-Limit and Pot-Limit Lowball

  • All the rules for no-limit and pot-limit poker apply to no-limit and pot-limit lowball. All other lowball rules apply, except as noted.
  • A player is not entitled to know that an opponent cannot hold the best possible hand, so these rules for exposed cards before the draw apply:
    • In ace-to-five lowball, a player must take an exposed card of A, 2, 3, 4, or 5, and any other card must be replaced.
    • In deuce-to-seven lowball, the player must take an exposed card of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7, and any other card including a 6 must be replaced.
  • After the draw, any exposed card must be replaced.
  • After the draw, a player can check any hand without penalty (The sevens rule is not used).
  • Check-raise is allowed.

Draw High

There are two betting rounds, one before the draw and one after the draw. The game is played with a button and an ante. Players in turn can check, open for the minimum, or open with a raise. After the first betting round, players have the opportunity to draw new cards to replace the ones they discard. Action after the draw starts with the opener, or next player proceeding clockwise if the opener has folded. The betting limit after the draw is twice the amount of the betting limit before the draw. Some draw high games allow a player to open with any holding; others require the opener to have a pair of jacks or better.

 

Rules of Draw High

  • A maximum of one bet and four raises is permitted in multihanded pots.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #6
    , for more information on this rule.

  • Check-raise is permitted both before and after the draw.
  • Any card that is exposed by the dealer before the draw must be kept.
  • Five cards constitute a playing hand. Fewer than five cards for a player (other than the button) before action has been taken is a misdeal. If action has been taken, a player with fewer than five cards may draw the number of cards necessary to complete a five-card hand. The button can receive the fifth card even if action has taken place. More or fewer than five cards after the draw constitutes a fouled hand.
  • A player can draw up to four consecutive cards. If a player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and the fifth card after everyone else has drawn cards. If the last player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and a card is burned before the player receives a fifth card.


    See Explanations,
    discussion #9
    , for more information on this rule.

  • You can change the number of cards you wish to draw, provided:
    • No cards have been dealt off the deck in response to your request (including the burncard).
    • No player has acted, in either the betting or indicating the number of cards to be drawn, based on the number of cards you have requested.
  • If you are asked how many cards you drew by another active player, you are obligated to respond until there has been action after the draw, and the dealer is also obligated to respond. Once there is any action after the draw, you are no longer obliged to respond and the dealer cannot respond.
  • On the draw, an exposed card cannot be taken. The draw is completed to each player in order, and then the exposed card is replaced.
  • Rapping the table in turn constitutes either a pass or the declaration of a pat hand that does not want to draw any cards, depending on the situation. A player who indicates a pat hand by rapping the table, not knowing the pot has been raised, can still play the hand.
  • You can not change your seat between hands when there are multiple antes or forfeited money in the pot.
  • You have the right to pay the ante (whether single or multiple) at any time and receive a hand, unless there is any additional money in the pot that has been forfeited during a hand in which you were not involved.
  • If the pot has been declared open by an all-in player playing for just the antes, all callers must come in for the full opening bet.
  • If you have only a full ante and no other chips on the table, you can play for just the antes. If no one opens and there is another ante, you can still play for that part of the antes that you have matched, without putting in any more money.

Draw Jacks or Better

There are two betting rounds, one before the draw and one after the draw. The game is played with a button and an ante. Players in turn can check, open for the minimum, or open with a raise. After the first betting round the players have the opportunity to draw new cards to replace the ones they discard. Action after the draw starts with the opener, or next player proceeding clockwise if the opener has folded. The betting limit after the draw is twice the amount of the betting limit before the draw.

 

Rules of Draw Jacks or Better

  • A pair of jacks or better is required to open the pot. If no player opens the pot, the button moves forward and each player must ante again, unless the limit of antes has been reached for that particular game. (Most games allow three consecutive deals before anteing stops.)
  • If the opener should show false openers before the draw, any other active player has the opportunity to declare the pot opened. However, any player who originally passed openers is not eligible to declare the pot open. The false opener has a dead hand and the opening bet stays in the pot. Any other bet placed in the pot by the opener can be withdrawn, provided the action before the draw is not completed. If no other player declares the pot open, all bets are returned except the opener’s first bet. The first bet and antes remain in the pot, and all players who were involved in that hand are entitled to play the next hand after anteing again.
  • Any player who has legally declared the pot opened must prove openers in order to win the pot.
  • In all cases, the pot plays (even if the opener shows or declares a fouled hand) if there has been a raise, two or more players call the opening bet, or all action is completed before the draw.
  • Even if you are all in for just the ante (or part of the ante), you can declare the pot open if you have openers. If you are all in and falsely declare the pot open, you lose the ante money and cannot continue to play on any subsequent deals until a winner is determined. Even if you buy in again, you must wait until the pot has been legally opened and someone else has won it before you can resume play.
  • Once action has been completed before the draw, the opener cannot withdraw any bets, whether or not the hand contains openers.
  • An opener may be allowed to retrieve a discarded hand to prove openers, at management’s discretion.
  • Any player can request that the opener retain the opening hand and show it after the winner of the pot has been determined.
  • You can split openers, but you must declare that you are splitting and place all discards under a chip to be exposed by the dealer after the completion of the hand. If you declare that you are splitting openers, but it is determined that you could not possibly have had openers when your final hand is compared with your discards, you lose the pot.
  • You are not splitting openers if you retain openers. If you begin with the ace, joker, king, queen of spades, and the ten of clubs, you are not splitting if you throw the ten of clubs away. You are breaking a straight to draw to a royal flush, and in doing so, you have retained openers (ace-joker for two aces).
  • After the draw, if you call the opener’s bet and cannot beat openers, you do not get your bet back. (You have received information about opener’s hand that is not free.)

No Limit Pot Limit

There are two betting rounds, one before the draw and one after the draw. The game is played with a button and an ante. Players in turn can check, open for the minimum, or open with a raise. After the first betting round the players have the opportunity to draw new cards to replace the ones they discard. Action after the draw starts with the opener, or next player proceeding clockwise if the opener has folded. The betting limit after the draw is twice the amount of the betting limit before the draw.

 

Rules of Draw Jacks or Better

  • A pair of jacks or better is required to open the pot. If no player opens the pot, the button moves forward and each player must ante again, unless the limit of antes has been reached for that particular game. (Most games allow three consecutive deals before anteing stops.)
  • If the opener should show false openers before the draw, any other active player has the opportunity to declare the pot opened. However, any player who originally passed openers is not eligible to declare the pot open. The false opener has a dead hand and the opening bet stays in the pot. Any other bet placed in the pot by the opener can be withdrawn, provided the action before the draw is not completed. If no other player declares the pot open, all bets are returned except the opener’s first bet. The first bet and antes remain in the pot, and all players who were involved in that hand are entitled to play the next hand after anteing again.
  • Any player who has legally declared the pot opened must prove openers in order to win the pot.
  • In all cases, the pot plays (even if the opener shows or declares a fouled hand) if there has been a raise, two or more players call the opening bet, or all action is completed before the draw.
  • Even if you are all in for just the ante (or part of the ante), you can declare the pot open if you have openers. If you are all in and falsely declare the pot open, you lose the ante money and cannot continue to play on any subsequent deals until a winner is determined. Even if you buy in again, you must wait until the pot has been legally opened and someone else has won it before you can resume play.
  • Once action has been completed before the draw, the opener cannot withdraw any bets, whether or not the hand contains openers.
  • An opener may be allowed to retrieve a discarded hand to prove openers, at management’s discretion.
  • Any player can request that the opener retain the opening hand and show it after the winner of the pot has been determined.
  • You can split openers, but you must declare that you are splitting and place all discards under a chip to be exposed by the dealer after the completion of the hand. If you declare that you are splitting openers, but it is determined that you could not possibly have had openers when your final hand is compared with your discards, you lose the pot.
  • You are not splitting openers if you retain openers. If you begin with the ace, joker, king, queen of spades, and the ten of clubs, you are not splitting if you throw the ten of clubs away. You are breaking a straight to draw to a royal flush, and in doing so, you have retained openers (ace-joker for two aces).
  • After the draw, if you call the opener’s bet and cannot beat openers, you do not get your bet back. (You have received information about opener’s hand that is not free.)