Rules of Play

Five-Card Draw

Every play poker player is dealt with five cards face down after the ante. Starting with the player to the dealer's left each player checks, bets or raises. To commence, the player must hold either a pair of jacks or better. In most of the games, a joker is used as bug but or as wild card.

On the completion of the first round, each active player, starting to the dealer's left, has the chance of removing one to five cards and accepting substitutes from the dealer. Sometimes, the rules of a game prohibit to three the number of cards any player may substitute.

There is a final round of betting after the draw, normally starting with the player who opened the pot. The best high hand wins at the showdown.

Seven-Card Stud

Each player is dealt with three cards, two face down and one face up. Based on the betting rules, either low card or the high card on board commences the action. When there are two low (or high) cards of the same rank, either the card of the lowest ranking suit (clubs, then diamonds, then hearts) or the card nearest to the dealer's left commences the action, again based on the betting rules.

The fourth card is dealt face up after the first round of betting and the second round of betting begins with the high hand on board. (If there are two same high hands, the one nearest to the dealer's left starts.)

A fifth and then a sixth are dealt face up with each and every round of betting . In the last round of betting, a seventh card is dealt face down. The high hand commences the action in every case. The best high hand wins at the showdown.

Hold'em

The simplest depicted variation of a seven-card stud is hold'em. Two cards are dealt face down to each player and then a total of five community cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. Each player uses five community cards in combination with his hole cards to develop five-card hand.

After the first two cards are dealt to each player, there is a round of betting, starting with a forced, blind bet by one, two and even three players closest to the dealer's left or the button if there is a house dealer. In nolimit hold'em there is normally one forced blind.

On the completion of the first round of betting, the dealer turns over three cards, called the flop, in the middle of the table. These are the first three community cards. Hence, if the flop is A 8 5 a player holding A 5 in the hole has two pair; a player holding 7 6 in the hole has a four flush and an open-ended straight; and a player holding 8 ª 8 ¨ in the hole has three 8s.

After the flop, there is a round of betting, followed by a fourth community card, then another round of betting, then a fifth and final community card and a final round of betting. Every betting round commences with the first active player to the left of the dealer or button. The best high hand wins at the showdown.

Five-Card Stud

Each player is dealt with two cards, one face down and the other face up. There is a round of betting, beginning either with the lowest card or the highest card on board, again based on the betting rules. A third card is dealt face up, and there is a round of betting, beginning with the best high hand on board. After each round of betting a fifth and a sixth card are dealt face up. The best high hand wins at the showdown after the last round of betting.

Draw Lowball

In standard lowball (also called as California lowball) the best low hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5 followed by A, 2, 3, 4, 6; then A, 2, 3, 5, 6 etc. Very often the joker is used as a wild card. In deuce-to-seven lowball the best low hand is 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.

Five cards are dealt with each player all with face down. There is a round of betting, beginning with the player to the dealer's left. Normally, the rules need that the online poker player to the dealer's left bet blind.

The players may draw up to five cards after that betting round. There is a last round of betting after the draw. Generally the rules of play need a 7 low or better to bet so as to win as much money kept in the pot after the draw.

At the showdown the lowest ranking wins the pot. Straight and flushes are neglected in the standard lowball. On the contrary, straights and flushes form a part in deuce-to-seven lowball and hence not considered a low hand. In deuce-to-seven lowball, the ace is a high card whereas in standard lowball it is a low card. Another lowball variation makes A, 2, 3, 4, 6 the best low hand and consider straights and flushes as high hands.

When I discussed lowball in this book, I always referred to standard or California lowball.

Razz

Razz is seven-card stud lowball with A, 2, 3, 4, 5 the best hand. Straights and flushes are neglected.

Each player is dealt with two cards face down and one card face up. Generally, the high card on board (except the ace which is considered as low) commences the action. A fourth card is dealt face up and there is a round of betting, starting with the best two-card low on board. After each round of betting a fifth and a sixth card is dealt with face up, beginning with the best low hand on board. At the showdown, the best low hand wins the poker pot odds.

High-Low Split

The high-low split game covers various aspects of poker. The game may be five-card draw, five-card stud, or seven-card stud and in the showdown the best low hand and the best high hand split the pot. On the other hand, sometimes the rules may need that players have to declare - either simultaneously or successively - whether they are looking for high, for low, or for both.

Like draw lowball, in five-card high-low split games, the best low hand is always A, 2, 3, 4, 5. In seven stud games the best hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 6 with straights and flushes considered as high. Ace is considered both the low cards as well as high cards. (Therefore, two aces may be a low pair and also a high pair.) The high hand on board generally commences every betting round in stud high-low split games.

A variation of high-low split needs a player to have an 8 low or better to win for low hand. If no one has an 8 low or better, then the best high hand wins the entire pot.