Whether you're playing a table game at Wheeling Island, or a friendly hand with your buddies, there are a few poker basics you need to understand before the first card is dealt. Discover more about how to play Texas Hold 'Em, Omaha & Omaha Hi-Lo Split and Seven-Card Stud Poker.
If you're playing Texas Hold ‘Em, you'll usually find yourself surrounded by eight or nine other players - so if you're just learning how to play poker, it might be less daunting to bring friends along to the casino and more or less take over a table. That way, you'll have a more patient crowd to play with. However, if you keep these notes in mind, even your first hand will go smoothly.
Most Texas Hold ‘Em games use a two-blind structure, which means that there are two forced bets by two players. The player to the left of the dealer must post the Small Blind - and the player to the left of the Small Blind must post the Big Blind, which is normally double the amount of the Small Blind.
Next, every player is dealt two cards, known as “hole” or “pocket” cards, face down. After those cards have been dealt, the player to the left of the Big Blind can call the best, raise it or fold. After that, betting will continue clockwise around the table.
Once betting is complete, the dealer will place three cards face up, in the middle of the table. All players use these cards, known as “the flop,” in conjunction with their “hole” or “pocket” cards.
After another betting round, which will begin with the player to the left of the dealer, a fourth card is dealt, face up, in the middle of the table and another round of betting will ensue. The dealer deals a fourth card, face up, in the middle of the table.
Finally, the dealer will place a fifth card, face up, in the middle of the table (this is called “the river”) - and one last round of betting will begin.
At this point, anyone still in the game will reveal their hand - and the person who can make the best five-card hand by combining their “hole” or “pocket” cards with the cards in “the river” wins.
Omaha is similar to Hold ‘Em, except each player is dealt four down cards instead of two. The betting is the same as Hold ‘Em; however, to make a hand, a player must use precisely two hole cards with any combination of exactly three board cards. Omaha is often played high-low split, 8-or-better. You may use any combination of two hole cards and three board cards for your high hand and another (or the same) combination of two hole cards and three board cards for your low hand, as long as each card is made up of precisely two hole cards and three board cards.
Although Texas Hold ‘Em has ousted Seven-Card Stud as the most popular poker game, you'll still find it at casinos across the country and around the world. This fast-paced game is more intuitive than many others, but there are still carefully choreographed steps you need to know before you play, To get started, check out these poker basics:
If you're still unsure about how to play poker, Wheeling Island regularly hosts poker tournaments that give you the chance to see the game in action. For information about events, call 1-877-WIN-HERE (946-4373).