Poker Tips

Poker is a very simple card game that only takes a few minutes to learn. Even though anyone can learn to play poker in just a matter of minutes, mastering the game requires a lot of logic, dedication, and patience.
There are many variations of poker. The name “poker” blankets a number of card games in which players wager money/chips on the strength of their cards. Poker involves a communal pot consisting of the players’ bets and raises. The pot is awarded to the player who holds the highest ranking hand when all the cards are shown, or makes a bet or raise that their opponents are unwilling to match.
Ultimate Poker Texas Hold’em poker games are offered in No Limit (NL), Pot Limit (PL), and Fixed Limit (FL) varieties. All Texas Hold’em poker games begin with a forced wager over which the players at the table compete. The forced wagers are a small blind and big blind. Certain poker variants also force action with an ante. In any Texas Hold’em poker game, players strategically wager bets using a number of actions available to them.
The actions are as follows:

Check

If there is no wager on the current betting round, a player may check. The act of checking passes the action to the next person that is immediately to the left of the player. A check does forfeit a players chance to bet, it does not forfeit the pot. The action round is complete if all active players check during a round of betting, the round is considered complete.

Bet

If there is not a wager on the current betting round, a player may bet. If a player does bet then the player immediately clockwise from them (and any subsequent players) may fold, raise, or call.

Fold

The act of folding forfeits all interest in the pot. A player who folds is not required or allowed to wager any further money during the current poker hand. Once cards are folded, those cards are considered dead and that player cannot win the hand.

Call

If there has been a bet on the current round of poker play, a player may call. The act of calling requires the player to match the current bet made by his or her opponent.

Raise

If there has been a bet on the current betting round, a player may raise. The act of raising requires the player to match the current bet, and then make a greater one. All subsequent players are required to call the raise or raise again (re-raise) to stay in the pot. On each betting round, betting continues until every player has either matched the bets made or folded. If no bets are made, the round is complete when every player has checked. When the betting round is completed, the next round begins, or the hand is complete. If the last bet or raise on the final betting round is called, then a showdown occurs. This is when players show their hands to determine who wins the pot. It may be the case that there is no showdown. This occurs when a player bets or raises and no active players choose to call the player’s bet by folding. In this case, the player doing the betting or raising wins the full amount of the pot. At the end of a hand, players remaining have options regarding the showing of their hand.

Muck winning hand

If there is only one player left in the hand before the showdown, they can choose to either show or not show their cards. If you prefer to never show your cards in this situation, check the AUTO MUCK option. If this option is not checked, you will be offered the option to show after each winning hand. If the hand goes to showdown, the winning hand is always shown automatically.

Muck losing hand

At the showdown, players whose hands cannot beat the best hand shown so far can choose to show or not show their cards.

Table Stakes and All In

All games on Ultimate Poker are played table stakes, meaning only the chips in play at the beginning of each hand can be used to bet and raise during the hand. The table stakes rule has a stipulation called the all-in rule. This rule states that a player cannot be forced to forfeit a poker hand because the player does not have enough chips to call a bet. A player who does not have enough chips to call a bet is declared all in. The player is eligible for the portion of the pot up to the point of his final wager. All further action involving other players takes place in a side pot. The player who is all in is not eligible to win the side pot. If more than one player goes all in during a hand, there could be more than one side pot.

Poker Game Limits

The three variations of Texas Hold’em at Ultimate Poker are distinguished from each other by their betting limits: Limit Texas Hold’em: There is a pre-determined betting limit on each round of betting. No Limit Texas Hold’em: A player can bet any amount, up to all of their chips. Pot Limit Texas Hold’em: A player can bet any amount, up to the size of the pot.

How To Play Texas Hold’em

If you would like to familiarize yourself with the rules of Texas Hold’em before you start playing on Ultimate Poker, then these instructions should help.

Blinds

In Texas Hold’em, a marker called the button or the dealer indicates which player is the nominal dealer for the current game. Before the game begins, the player immediately clockwise from the button posts the small blind, which is the first forced bet. The player immediately clockwise from the small blind posts the big blind, which is twice the size of the small blind. Note that the blinds can vary depending on the stakes and betting structure being played. In limit games, the big blind is the same as the smallest bet, and the small blind is typically half the size of the big blind, but may be larger depending on the stakes. For example, in a $2-$4 limit game the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2. In a $15/$30 limit game, the small blind is $10 and the big blind is $15. In pot limit and no limit games, the games are referred to by the size of their blinds. For example, a $1-$2 hold’em game has a small blind of $1 and a big blind of $2. Depending on the exact structure of the game, each player may also be required to post an ante. This is another type of forced bet, usually smaller than either blind, posted by all players at the table into the pot before any cards are dealt. Now, each player receives their two hole cards. Betting action proceeds clockwise around the table, starting with the player under the gun – the player immediately clockwise from the big blind.

Betting Options

In hold’em, as with other forms of poker, the available actions are fold, check, bet, call or raise. Exactly which options are available depends on the action taken by the previous players. Each poker player always has the option to fold, to discard their cards and give up any interest in the pot. If nobody has yet made a bet, then a player may either check (decline to bet, but keep their cards) or bet. If a player has bet, then subsequent players can fold, call or raise. To call is to match the amount the previous player has bet. To raise is to not only match the previous bet, but also to increase it.

Pre-Flop

After seeing their hole cards, each player has the option to play their hand by calling or raising the big blind. The action begins to the left of the big blind, which is considered a live bet on this round. That player has the option to fold, call or raise. For example, if the big blind was $2, it would cost $2 to call, or at least $4 to raise. Action then proceeds clockwise around the table. Betting continues on each betting round until all active players (who have not folded) have placed equal bets in the pot. NOTE: The betting structure varies with different variations of the game. Explanations of the betting action in Limit Hold’em, No Limit Hold’em, and Pot Limit Hold’em can be found below.

The Flop

Now, three cards are dealt face-up on the board. This is known as the flop. In hold’em, the three cards on the flop are community cards, available to all players still in the hand. Betting on the flop begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button. The betting options are similar to pre-flop, however if nobody has previously bet, players may opt to check, passing the action to the next active player clockwise.

The Turn

After the betting action is completed for the flop round, the turn is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card in hold’em. Another round of betting ensues, beginning with the active player immediately clockwise from the button.

The River

After betting action is completed on the turn, the river is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in a hold’em game. Betting again begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button, and the same betting rules apply as they do for the flop and turn.

Showdown

If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round is complete, the last person to bet or raise shows their cards, unless there was no bet on the final round, in which case the player immediately clockwise from the button shows their cards first. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. In the event of identical hands, the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands. Hold’em rules state that all suits are equal. After the pot is awarded, a new hold’em hand is ready to be played. The button now moves clockwise to the next player, blinds and antes are once again posted, and new hands are dealt to each player.

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