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Poker Rules

   To play Poker download Net Poker for Windows.

   1. Purpose of the game

   Poker is a card game in which players bet into a communal pot during the course of a hand, and in which the player holding the best hand at the end of the betting wins the pot. During a given betting round, each remaining player in turn may take one of five actions: pass, bet, see, raise or fold. Betting usually proceeds in a circle until each player has either called all bets or folded.
   This game is played in three rounds: first an initial round of betting, then each player can discard some of their cards and be dealt fresh ones, then a final round of betting. As players bet, money is paid into the pot in the centre of the table. At the end of each hand comes the showdown - each player reveals their hand and the highest according hand rankings wins and collects the pot.

   2. Order of play

   At the beginning of each hand every player pays into the pot. This ante is set at $10 per player. Once all players have anted the hand will be dealt. Play begins with the first round of betting. The first player can choose to pass (bet of zero) or to bet. If the first player choose to pass the second player must choose between to pass or to bet. If no players bet the hand is over, and the cards will be redealt. Players must ante up again so the pot will be larger next hand. If a bet has been made, the next player must see or raise. If you do not see or raise the earlier bet you must fold, and you lose any money you have bet up to this point. If one player out-bets the rest and the other player fold, the first one wins immediately and does not have to show his hand to the other.
   Players each get one chance to change none, some or all of their cards.
   All players now hold their final cards, and have a second chance to bet. Once the second round of betting is complete, all remaining players turn over their cards and the best hand wins. The winning player collects the pot. If two players share exactly the same value hands the pot is split between them.

   3. Hand rankings

   Poker is played with a standard 4-suit 52-card deck. The ace normally plays high, but can sometimes play low, as explained below. At the showdown, those players still remaining compare their hands according to the following rankings:
  • Straight flush, five cards of the same suit in sequence, such as 76543 of hearts. Ranked by the top card, so that AKQJT is the best straight flush, also called a royal flush. The ace can play low to make 5432A, the lowest straight flush.
  • Four of a kind, four cards of the same rank accompanied by a "kicker", like 44442. Ranked by the quads, so that 44442 beats 3333K.
  • Full house, three cards of one rank accompanied by two of another, such as 777JJ. Ranked by the trips, so that 44422 beats 333AA.
  • Flush, five cards of the same suit, such as AJ942 of hearts. Ranked by the top card, and then by the next card, so that AJ942 beats AJ876. Suits are not used to break ties.
  • Straight, five cards in sequence, such as 76543. The ace plays either high or low, making AKQJT and 5432A. "Around the corner" straights like 32AKQ are not allowed.
  • Three of a kind, three cards of the same rank and two kickers of different ranks, such as KKK84. Ranked by the trips, so that KKK84 beats QQQAK, but QQQAK beats QQQA7.
  • Two pair, two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank and a kicker of a third rank, such as KK449. Ranked by the top pair, then the bottom pair and finally the kicker, so that KK449 beats any of QQJJA, KK22Q, and KK445.
  • One pair, two cards of one rank accompanied by three kickers of different ranks, such as AAK53. Ranked by the pair, followed by each kicker in turn, so that AAK53 beats AAK52.
  • High card, any hand that does not qualify as one of the better hands above, such as KJ542 of mixed suits. Ranked by the top card, then the second card and so on, as for flushes.
   Suits are not used to break ties, nor are cards beyond the fifth; only the best five cards in each hand are used in the comparison. In the case of a tie, the pot is split equally among the winning hands.

More Rules ...

   You can find Poker rules on the John McLeod page "Rules of Card Games: Poker". This is a very comprehensive library of the rules of hundreds of card games on the Web.

Historical Excursus

   Poker, a card game played in various forms throughout the world. Its popularity is greatest in the English-speaking countries and after 1850s it was called "the national card game of the United States". Because Queen Victoria found the principle of the game interesting, poker had a brief vogue in British court circles in the 1870s, but its a acceptance in Great Britain and on the continent came chiefly in the decade 1911-20 and was undoubtedly much influenced by the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. For nearly 100 years in the United States poker was considered a gambling game for men, unsuited to polite or mixed gatherings, but after the 1920s its popularity extended to both sexes and all levels of society. Surveys made in 1956 showed poker to be the favorite U.S. game of men and the third-most-favored (after rummy and bridge) with women; and in Great Britain it ranked next after contract bridge with both sexes.

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