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Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Updated: August 29, 10:42 AM ET
How to Play Poker


Poker Basics | So What Hand Wins? | Texas Hold 'Em | 7 Card Stud | 7 Card Hi/Lo | Omaha Omaha Hi/Lo | 5 Card Stud | Single Table | Multi-Table


Here are some hints and descriptions for the games available from the ESPN Poker Club. Good luck!

Poker Basics
All poker games in the ESPN Poker Club use a standard pack of 52 playing cards ranked in the following order: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Typically, each game begins with an ante. Texas Hold 'Em starts off with two players to the left of the dealer as the blinds. There is a small blind and big blind that are there to build the pot. Afterwards, the betting options are as follows:

Option 1- Call- Betting enough to match the rate of the current or last bet on the table.
Option 2- Raise- Betting more chips than the rate of the current bet.
Option 3- Check- Checking means to pass on your option to bet. You are not out of the hand, but you have chosen not to put any money in the middle.
Option 4- Fold- Dropping out of the current game. Typically, you do this when you don't think that your hand has a reasonable chance of winning. In this way, you can conserve your chips for better hands that you will have later on.

Once all the bets have been called, the players remaining in the game show their cards. The best hand wins the pot.

So What Hand Wins?

Poker Hands (In order from best to worst):
Hand  Definition  Example
Royal Flush A, K, Q, J and a 10 all from the same suit A, K, Q, J and a 10 of spades
Straight Flush A straight of the same suit 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 of hearts
4 of a Kind 4 of the same type of card (one from each suit) A of hearts, A of spades, A of diamonds, A of clubs
Full House Three of a kind and a pair 3 Ks and 2 Qs
Flush Five cards of the same suit 2, 5, 7, J and A of spades
Straight Five cards in rank order, but not from the same suit 2 of hearts, 3 of spades, 4 of diamonds, 5 and 6 of clubs
3 of Kind 3 cards of the same face or number 3 Ks
2 Pair Two different pairs A pair of 4s and a pair of Ks
1 Pair A pair of cards Two Js
High Card The highest single card of all the hands A 3 4 8 9 (The Ace is the high card)


Texas Hold 'Em

At the beginning of every game, each player is dealt 2 pocket cards face-down with 5 community cards dealt face-up. The strategy is to obtain the best hand using any 5 of the 7 dealt cards, whether the combination is a player's 2 down cards and 3 table cards, 1 pocket card and 4 table cards, or all 5 table cards. Any 5-card poker combination out of 7 is accepted. High hand wins.


7 Card Stud

At the beginning of every game, each player receives 2 cards face-down and 1 card face-up. This is followed by 3 more cards face-up and then 1 final card dealt face-down. The best 5-card poker hand wins.


7 Card Hi/Lo

At the beginning of every game, each player receives 2 cards face-down and 1 card face-up. This is followed by 3 more cards face-up and then 1 final card dealt face-down. Any combination of 5 cards from all 7 cards dealt may be used to create both a high hand and/or a low hand. An '8' is the highest card that can be used in the low hand. The best 5-card poker hand used for either the high and/or low hand wins.


Omaha

At the beginning of every game each player receives 4 pocket cards face-down. This is followed by 5 community cards dealt to the table face-up. 2 of a player's first 4 pocket cards must be used to make a 5-card poker hand using no less than 3 of the community cards. High hand wins.


Omaha Hi/Lo

At the beginning of the every game, each player receives 4 pocket cards face-down. Then, 5 community cards are dealt to the table face-up. 2 of a player's first 4 pocket cards must be used to make up a high hand and a low hand with no less than 3 community cards. It's possible to win both the high and the low hand with 2 different pocket cards. Of the 5 cards used in a low hand, an '8' is the highest-ranking card. The lowest high card determines the best low hand. If two or more players have the same high card, then the next lowest high card is used. If there is no qualifying low hand, the entire pot goes to the winning 'high' hand.


5 Card Stud

At the beginning of every game, each player receives 1 card face-down. This is followed by 4 community cards dealt face-up. The best 5-card poker hand wins.


Single Table

Single-Table tournaments can have a maximum of 10 players where all players begin with an equal number of chips. Players at this single table, compete for one another's chips as the stakes increase incrementally. Players are knocked out of the tournament as their opponents win their chips. The eventual winner is the last player at the table with all the chips.


Multi-Table

In a Multi-Table tournament, there can be multiple tables of players to a maximum of 10 players per table. Each player starts with an equal number of chips. Players at several tables compete for one another's chips as the stakes increase incrementally. Players are knocked out of the tournament as their opponents win their chips while remaining players are re-assigned seats to keep tables full. This collapsing of tables continues until the last surviving players with chips remain at a final table. The eventual winner is the last player at the table with all the chips.