Objectives of Poker and How to Play Texas Holdem

Poker is probably the most popular of all card games in existence, thanks in part to an exciting format, huge sums of money that is regularly on offer, and the swings and roundabouts that come with a game with an element of luck. Even with an element of luck, playing winning poker takes a good amount of skill and some time to master. This guide will take you through some of the basics poker rules and also more generally, how to play poker.

First of all, let’s consider what the objectives of poker are in a game of poker. The objective of most is to win money. To do that, players would need to eithermake it to showdown with the best 5 card hand OR force everyone else out of the hand, thus winning the pot. Most games are played against the same standard ranking of hands however, there are a few variants that use slight variations to this standard. For this article we will focus on Texas Hold’em mainly as it’s the most popular game and a good place to start out as a new player.

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is the party favourite and carries the most traffic, both live and online. It is the game that is featured in most major poker tournaments or televised cash games.

It’s known as a community card game for the reason that there are shared cards that are used by all players, when trying to make their best 5 card hand. In short, each player will get two private cards, dealt face down, better known as hole cards. These cards are only seen by the player they are dealt to. Throughout the game there will be a number of betting rounds and 5 community or shared cards that will be dealt. These cards are dealt face up. Players will try to make the best 5 card hand using any combination of the 7 available cards to them (2 private cards and 5 shared cards). This same principle applies across all poker games.

Something that makes the game really unique is that a player doesn’t have to have the best hand to win. Imagine you’ve got ten people and gave them one card each and told them to race up a hill. The person who got up there would be first, automatically winning. If there was a tie, the two players would hold up the card they were given and the highest card would win. Poker is similar in principle. The player who stays in the hand all the way and has the best hand would take down the pot. If there is only one person who makes it up the hill or who stays in the hand, they would be the winner, regardless of the card or hand they held. So if only one made it to the top of the hill, he would win, no matter his hand.

Structure of the Game

Ok, let’s look at how the game is actually played. When starting a game, it’s normal for each player to be dealt a card. The highest card gets the dealer button or button. The button acts as an indicator as to who is dealt cards first, and also who posts the blinds. The blinds are automatic bets that are made to ensure each pot has some money to play for (or there would be no incentive to play anything but the top hands). The blinds consist of two automatic bets, the small blind, posted by the player to the immediate left of the button, and the big blind, the player two seats to the left of the button. The small blind is usually half of the value of the big blind. Once these bets are posted, all players are dealt 2 cards face down.

Players will now need to decide whether to play the hand or not, starting with the player to the left of the big blind (or 3 left of the dealer button). This would, in large, be down to the two cards the player has been dealt (although there are other factors which I will cover separately). A player has the choice to call, fold or raise. Here are definitions for each action:

Fold– to throw your cards into the muck and take no further part in the hand. By doing so, you lose your stake in the pot.

Call– to match the highest bet made so far. If the highest bet is the big blind, then that must be matched to stay in the hand. If a player raises, all other players will need to ‘call the raise’ or match it, to stay in the hand.

Raise– this would be a bet that would be more than the big blind and a sign of strength (a good hand). If a player was to raise and all other players folded, he will win the pot by default, regardless of the strength of his hand.

So play moves clockwise around the table until all players have either called, raised or folded.

Once all players have completed this initial betting round, the first three community or shared cards are dealt. These are dealt face up on the table. The first 3 cards dealt in Hold’em are known as ‘the flop’. All shared cards that are dealt are known as board cards or referred to as ‘the board’. At this stage, players will be trying to assemble their best 5 card hand from the 2 in their hand and the 3 on the board. Some players might already have made their hand and others might need cards, still to come, to make their hand. Either way, with 2 shared cards still to come, players will have a good indication as to the strength of their holding and their chances of hitting one of the cards they may need.

A second betting round now takes place and again players, moving clockwise, have the choice to fold their cards, call or raise. Once this betting round is complete, a fourth community card is dealt face up, otherwise known as ‘the turn’, ‘the turn card’ or ‘fourth street’. There is then a third betting round with all remaining players and then a fifth and final card (known as ‘fifth street’ or the ‘river card’) is dealt to the board, again face up (all shared cards are dealt face up). There is one final found of betting, conducted in the same manner as the previous rounds, and then the showdown.

During each betting round, it is usual for some players to fold their hand, either as the betting is too much for the strength of hand they have, or they fail to hit their cards needed to make a strong hand. At showdown, any player left in the hand would turn over their hole cards to reveal their hand. The best 5 card poker hand wins the pot (which would be a collection of blinds and all bets).

Key additional Points

– If all players fold, leaving one player in the hand, the hand ends there and the remaining player wins the hand.

– If a player is all in (.i.e. has bet all his available chips, he would only be able to win the same amount that had been wagered from each player in the hand). If players who had more than the all-in player continued to bet, a side pot would be formed.

– If two players have the same hand at showdown, the winner is determined by the best kicker. For instance if player 1 has the hand A-A-2-3-4 and player 2 had A-A-2-3-8, both players would have a pair of aces but player 2 would have the next highest card, the 8 (compared with player 1 who’s next highest is a 4). Ace is the highest kicker possible.

Gambling With The Best

Gambling today is one of the most popular leisure activities worldwide. Who does not want to make a few quick bucks at a risk? The adrenaline rush indeed makes it an addiction for many. Talking of casinos reminds me of one popular online casino which also happens to be one of my personal favorites.

William Hill plc is among the largest bookmakers in the UK. It was founded by William Hill when gambling was regarded illegal in Britain. The company operates worldwide and employs thousands of people and has offices in UK, Ireland and Gibraltar.

Online casinos today besides offering phone and internet betting on a variety of sports including football and cricket, William Hill offers casino games, skill games, bingo and poker online. Although it is engaged in betting, it prohibits any gambling by any underage person by training its workforce in that direction.

One can play at any of the reliable casinos and end up with a memorable time. William Hill Casino and many other casinos today have a storehouse of several games and is eminent for its fair play. It is dedicated to providing quality gaming service to people who wish to play casino games online with the same experience as that of a real casino. Whatever game you choose, be it table games or card games, casinos today are designed to meet every player’s gaming needs.

Apart from high class casino games, players are rewarded a welcome new player bonus and it goes on increasing with more and more playing and betting. Referring the site to your friend will also earn you some reward. Not only this, the mode of payment you choose will also bring in deposits in your account. There are promotions and bonuses on offer all the time so that all players derive maximum benefit out of these.

The degree of loyalty and participation players show to the site also makes them eligible to certain special rewards and earn them points based on which they can play further. As one progresses to higher levels, chances of hitting the bigger jackpot also increase.

For those interested in online betting in sports, William Hill lets you bet on many games like football, baseball, basketball, boxing, golf, handball, ice hockey, motor racing, horse racing, rugby, volleyball, snooker and many more. It contains updated information regarding the various games that are scheduled to take place and the progress of the game. Through its own broadcast system, it telecasts live matches and betting sessions at all its authorized betting centers.

There are many competitors today but William Hill Poker is rated at a high level when it comes to online poker playing in the gaming industry. The combination of superior software and excellent customer service makes this online poker playing one of the best in the industry. Players can earn millions of dollars and enjoy the benefits of numerous bonus offers and jackpots.

Whether it is for gambling in sports, casino games or poker games, casinos like that of William Hill makes the experience a truly fascinating and lucrative one, with people wanting to come back for more and more.

Blackjack Side Bets Are Bad Bets – Avoided Them While Playing

Most blackjack games in casinos today offer optional bonus or side bets. Once rare at a basic blackjack table they are becoming more and more widespread. The rational is simple because they carry a huge house edge. Anywhere from 3% to 20% or more compared to the 0.5% edge when playing straight up blackjack while using correct Basic Strategy. The bigger the edge, the more money the house makes.

The side bets do have an upside for the player in that all winning bonus wagers will pay out even if the player loses the original hand, and the large payouts are tempting. If you care to venture in, here are some of the most popular ones:

Twenty-One + 3

This side bet incorporates a little 3 Card Poker excitement into the mix in that your first two cards and the dealer’s up card are the determining factors. After you’ve made your BJ and optional Twenty One + 3 wagers, the combination of the three cards must equal a flush, straight flush, any straight, or three of a kind. The bet wins 9 to 1 on a six or eight deck game. The house edge is about 3%.

Royal Match 21

This one is based on your first two dealt cards:

Any two suited cards pay 2.5 to 1

A suited King & Queen (Royal Match) pays 25 to 1

A player Royal Match & dealer Royal Match in any suit pays 1000 to 1

The maximum bet allowed will vary between casinos. With the outcome based on your first two cards, the house edge is about 6%.

Bet the Set 21

This side bet focuses on your first two cards after you’ve made you’re blackjack wager and a Bet the Set wager. In some jurisdictions this bet is also known as Pair Square. If you are dealt any pair you are paid according to a pre-determined pay table based on the number of decks in play:

Single deck – pair pays 15 to 1

Double deck – pair pays 10 to 1, suited pair pays 25 to 1

Four, six or eight deck – pair pays 10 to 1, suited pair pays 15 to 1

Depending upon the number of decks in play and the pay table which varies between jurisdictions, the house edge varies between 5 & 6%.

Dealer Bust 21

Player wins if the dealer busts with various up cards showing. The winning payouts are paid according to the following table:

Bust with Ace up – Pays 10 to 1

Bust with 10 to K – Pays 4 to 1

Bust with 7 to 9 – Pays 2 to 1

Bust with 2 to 6 – Pays 1 to 1

The house edge is about 10% if the dealer stands on soft seventeen, about 8% if the dealer hits soft seventeen.

Over/Under 13

A player can wager on whether the total of his first two cards will be over, or under, 13. An exact 13 total always loses and Ace always counts as 1. The house edge for the Over 13 wager is 6.5 %, and for the Under 13, it’s 10 %. The side bet is usually offered on six- and eight- deck games.

Pair Square

A player wins if his or her first two cards are the same rank (such as a pair of 8’s). An unmatched pair (like an 8 of Clubs and an 8 of Hearts) pays 10 to 1. A matched pair (like a pair of 8’s of clubs) pays 15 to 1. The house edge is 10.6 %.

Super Sevens

In addition to your blackjack game bet, wager $1 that you will be dealt from one to three sevens resulting in the following payouts:

One seven pays 3 to 1

Two unsuited sevens pay 50 to 1

Two suited sevens pay 100 to 1

Three unsuited sevens pay 500 to 1

Three suited sevens pay 5000 to 1

The house edge is about 12% with no third card dealt and about 11% when a third card is dealt.

Lucky ladies

Here is a bet where any hand totaling 20 wins something. If you’re lucky enough to have a pair of Queens, you’ll win more, as the following pay table shows:

Pair of Queens with a dealer Blackjack – pays 250 to 1

Pair of Queens – Pays 25 to 1

Any suited 20 – pays 9 to 1

Any unsuited 20 – pays 4 to 1

The house edge is between 17 & 20 % depending on the jurisdictions pay table.

Always keep in mind that your bankroll is at a greater risk of a quicker depletion while playing blackjack games and making these tempting side bets.

Good Luck!

Common Online Gambling Games

It was 1994 in the tiny island country of Antigua and Barbuda, a certain law was passed which made the location a legal jurisdiction, allowing it to issue gambling licenses. This law paved way for online gaming and until today, most gambling companies would base their business in the country to utilize their license.

The gaming software came years before the commencement of online gaming. An Isle on Man-based software company called Microgaming developed the first fully operational online casino software which gave birth to many online gambling sites. Whereas Cryptologic, an online security software company, provided the indispensable software which made internet transaction safe, secure and workable. By 1995, the first online casino was launched.

Like many things that did not have a smooth start, the launch of online gambling also met many obstacles. One major problem it met along the way was the legality of the trade. The very idea and concept of online gambling was opposed and resisted by many and especially in the United States. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona for several times tried to prevent American citizens from gambling online and also promoted anti-gambling campaigns.

Recently, on September 30, 2006, the US Congress passed a bill stating the it is illegal for banks and credit card companies to process payments from US residents to online gambling companies. This bill later became a law which President Bush signed on October 13.

But although online gambling have up to now been fought against by many individuals, organizations and even the government, many are still captivated by the allure of this addiction. Thus despite all the disputes, supporters and players around the world are hooked in participating to online gambling. Most common online gambling games are:

  • Online Poker, or Internet Poker, is known to be partially responsible for the dramatic increase in the number of poker players worldwide. Online poker tables mostly host games of Texas hold ’em, Omaha, Seven-card stud and razz, both in tournament and ring game structures.
  • Online Casinos utilize the internet to play casino games roulette, blackjack, pachinko, baccarat and many others. Internet casinos may also be divided into three groups according to their interface: Web based casinos, Download-based casinos, and Live casinos. Web based casinos are played without the need to download software for playing games. Plug-ins must be installed in the browser to accommodate such games. Download-based casinos require clients to download software in order to play and wager on the casino games offered. The software connects to the casino service provider and handles contact without browser support. Whereas Live-based casinos allow online players to play and interact with the games played in real world casinos. In this setting, players connected online could see, hear and interact with live dealers at tables in casino studios around the world.
  • Online Sports Betting, where there are a variety of sporting events that a player could wager over the internet like fixed-odds gambling. Wagering or betting could be done through Bookmakers, spread betting firms and betting exchanges.
  • Online bingos are also available via the internet. Also for Mobile gambling, there are now developments in the utility of wireless and cellular devices in gambling notwithstanding the raucous debates for gambling online.