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rec.gambling.poker FAQ


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Archive-name: gambling-faq/poker
URL: http://www.rgpfaq.com

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
	Updated 8 Apr 2004
	The official and up-to-date version of this page is at:
		http://www.rgpfaq.com

rec.gambling.poker FAQ
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    * 1 Introduction

        1.1 About the FAQ. Redistribution. How to submit updates and
        suggestions. 
        1.2 Who pays for the FAQ? How do I get the best online poker
        sign-up bonus? And why are those questions related? 
        1.3 Useful poker links. 

    * 2 Poker games and rules

        * 2.1 How to play

            2.1.1 What are the basic rules of poker? What are the hand
            rankings? 
            2.1.2 What happens if two players have the same hand? How do
            you divide the pot? 
            2.1.3 What should I expect the first time I play poker in a
            casino or card room? What etiquette should I follow? 
            2.1.4 What is a poker tournament? How does one work? What is
            a chip race? What is a satellite? 
            2.1.5 What are some good books about poker? 
            2.1.6 What are some good magazines about poker? 
            2.1.7 What are some good poker-related software programs? 
            2.1.8 What do all these poker terms mean? Table stakes, no
            limit, all-in, the nuts, drawing dead, and a thousand more... 

        * 2.2 Popular poker games

            2.2.1 What are some fun home poker games? 
            2.2.2 How do you play Texas Hold'em? 
            2.2.3 How do you play Omaha? 
            2.2.4 How do you play Chowaha? 
            2.2.5 How do you play no-limit seven-card stud? What is
            Mississippi Stud? 

        * 2.3 More advanced topics

            2.3.1 What does pot-limit mean? 
            2.3.2 What does half-pot-limit mean? 
            2.3.3 What is a kill pot? What is a game with a kill? What
            is a half kill? 
            2.3.4 What is a straddle bet? 
            2.3.5 What is Hi-Lo declare? What if someone declares both
            ways but ties? 
            2.3.6 What is a burn card and why is it dealt? 
            2.3.7 What happens if there aren't enough cards in the deck
            to deal the final card in 7-card stud? 

        * 2.4 Odds and probabilities

            2.4.1 Why are poker hands ranked the way they are? 
            2.4.2 What is the correct ranking for 3-card poker hands? 
            2.4.3 Why are ace-hi flushes ranked highest, when it's much
            harder to get a seven-hi flush? And similarly for two pairs? 
            2.4.4 What are my chances of sucking out on my opponent in
            Hold'em? 
            2.4.5 What are my chances of sucking out on my opponent in
            Stud? 
            2.4.6 How many fundamentally different Omaha or Omaha-8
            starting hands are there? 

        * 2.5 Miscellaneous

            2.5.1 What is the difference between a shill and a
            proposition player? What skills are needed to be one? 
            2.5.2 What is the Dead Man's Hand? 

    * 3 Poker strategy

        3.1 What skills are important for Texas Hold'em? 
        3.2 What is a good preflop strategy for limit Texas Hold'em? 
        3.3 How does tournament strategy differ from that of regular games? 
        3.4 Is "checking it down" in a tournament implicit collusion? 
        3.5 Can one overcome the rake at low limit poker games? 

    * 4 Poker community

        4.1 When can I meet and play poker with fellow r.g.pers? What
        are BARGE, FARGO, etc? 
        4.2 What the hell is Rumple Mintz? 
        4.3 What is the World Series of Poker? 
        4.4 What is IRC poker and how can I play? 

    * 5 Online poker

        5.1 Where can I play online poker against real people for real
        money? Is it legal? Is it safe? 
        5.2 What are some advantages of online poker over cardroom poker? 
        5.3 How do I find out what games are available and how many
        tables are active at each online site? 
        5.4 What is the online "cash-out curse"? Is the curse evidence
        that the sites are rigged? 

------------------------------------------------------------------------


      1 Introduction


      1.1 About the FAQ. Redistribution. How to submit updates and
      suggestions.

Author: rgpfaq.com
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 rgpfaq.com
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [4].

This is the rec.gambling.poker Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list. It
is officially hosted in two locations:

    * http://www.rgpfaq.com
    * http://www.conjelco.com/faq/poker.html

A text version <single.txt> is posted to rec.gambling.poker once per
month. There is also a single-page HTML version <single.html>.

*Copying.* This document contains material copyrighted by various
authors. If you want to redistribute or copy the FAQ, you have these
options:

   1. You may freely link to either of the URLs above.
   2. You may copy or redistribute the FAQ in its entirety and without
      modifications, either in HTML or text form. You must retain the
      authorship and copyright notices as they are.
   3. You may request permission to copy or redistribute a portion of
      the FAQ by writing to either info@rgpfaq.com
      <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> or to the individual
      copyright holder.

*Updates.* Changes or additions to the FAQ should be submitted to:
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ>. Include the word
"FAQ" in the subject to avoid being lost amid the spam.

Copyright * 2004 rgpfaq.com. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      1.2 Who pays for the FAQ? How do I get the best online poker
      sign-up bonus? And why are those questions related?

Author: rgpfaq.com
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 rgpfaq.com
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [5].

The rec.gambling.poker FAQ is a *volunteer effort*. It's a lot of work
to update articles with fresh information, maintain old links and add
new ones, and keep abreast of the rapidly changing world of poker. If
you have an update or want to submit a new article, send mail to
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ>. We'll give you
full credit for your article (you retain the copyright) and help you
become famous among the r.g.p. community!

*(Almost) no ads!* You'll notice that rgpfaq.com [6] doesn't distract
your eye with a dozen flashing banner ads on every page. Instead we try
to keep the site as plain as possible to make it easy for you to find
the information you need. We figure if you wanted to be on another site
you'd go there yourself.

But there is a way you can help the FAQ financially if you are thinking
about opening up an online poker account. By taking advantage of the
system of *online poker sign-up bonuses*, you can receive a bonus
deposit (usually $20 to $100) when you open a new account and help fund
the FAQ at the same time. How's that? By using the bonus code of our
sponsor site, who receives a referral fee from the poker site, and then
donates many hours of volunteer time to the FAQ (and also pays for our
web hosting bandwidth).

*How do these referrals work?* When you open up an online poker account,
you have a few choices:

   1. *No bonus code or referral ID*. If you surf directly to a poker
      site by typing in their URL and then download the software, the
      account you open won't be associated with any referrer. You may
      receive some sort of sign-up bonus from the site, or not,
      depending on what promotions they happen to be running.
   2. *Sneaky referral ID*. If you ever click on a banner ad that takes
      you to a poker site and then, perhaps much later, you download the
      software, your new account will be tagged with the referral ID of
      the site with the banner ad (unless you use a bonus code,
      explained next). You can usually see the ID in the landing page
      URL. Sometimes the referring site offers a sign-up bonus that you
      will get when you open your account, but sometimes not. In any
      case, the referring site receives credit for helping the poker
      site find you, even if you don't get a bonus.
   3. *Sign-up bonus code*. No matter how you download the software, if
      you enter a sign-up bonus code in the account registration form
      then you will receive the bonus and the promoter of the bonus code
      will receive credit for sending a new customer. By using a bonus
      code, you can be sure of getting the best bonus currently
      available and also know who will benefit from the opening of your
      account. Rather than helping some random banner advertiser or
      spammer, you can choose a more deserving recipient.

Now, there is no question that you want to receive a sign-up bonus when
you open a new online poker account. The only decision is who you want
to receive the referral fee. In the hope that you find this FAQ a worthy
cause, we refer you to a constantly updated list of the best sign-up
bonuses offered by the top sites. You can find the latest codes in the
*bonus code center* [1].

Copyright * 2004 rgpfaq.com. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      1.3 Useful poker links.

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Apr 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [7].

*Ways to access rec.gambling.poker:*
Usenet access [8] to rec.gambling.poker
Google access [9] to rec.gambling.poker
RecPoker [10] -- web gateway to rec.gambling.poker
Live ActionPoker [11] -- web gateway to rec.gambling.poker

*Web sites - r.g.p related:*
rgpfaq.com [6] -- home of the rec.gambling.poker FAQ
Conjelco [12] -- longtime bookstore for r.g.p. readers and hoster of
this FAQ
BARGE [13] -- Big Annual Rec.Gambling Excursion (details)
World Rec.Gambling Poker Tournament [14] -- the famous annual email
poker tournament
IRC Poker Database [15] -- over 10 million hands recorded on the IRC
poker server

*Web sites - maintained by r.g.p individuals:*
Poker Portal [16] -- an amazing collection of poker links
Dan Kimberg's Poker Page [17]
Ken Churilla's Poker Page [18]
Jazbo's Poker Page [19]
Abdul's Pos. E.V. Poker Page [20]
Izmet Fekali's Playing With the Fish [21]
Jim Geary's Poker Page [22]
Steve Badger's PlayWinningPoker [23]
JohnnyD Poker [24]
Lou Krieger Online [25]
Daniel Negreanu's Full Contact Poker [26]
HowardLederer.com [27]
Wolf's Poker Page [28]
David Zanetti's Mississippi Stud Page [29]
Andy Bloch's WPT Fan Site [30]

*Non-r.g.p poker forums:*
Two Plus Two Forums [31]
United Poker Forum [32]
The Poker Forum [33]
Poker In Europe Forums [34]
See Poker Portal [16] for more

*Web sites - online poker references:*
PokerPulse [35] -- traffic rankings for online poker sites
The Poker Project [36] -- reviews of online poker sites
Poker Listings [37] -- reviews of online poker sites
Which Poker UK [38] -- reviews of online poker sites, especially in UK
See Poker Portal [16] for many more

*Web sites - other commercial:*
Poker Pages [39] -- lots of good tournament info, articles and forums
Poker School Online [40] -- a learning community
Card Player Magazine [41] -- articles by top poker columnists
Home Poker [42] -- fun variations to spice up your home game
Home Poker Games [43] -- where to play in your neighborhood
Learn Tournament Poker [44] -- poker tutoring services
Poker.net [45] -- articles plus a directory of real-life cardrooms
Poker Search [46] -- includes guide to US cardrooms
See Poker Portal [16] for many more

*Poker references:*
Mike Caro University Library [47]
Caro and Cooke's Rules of Real Poker [48]
Bob Ciaffone's "Robert's Rules of Poker" [49]
Tournament Directors Association (TDA) Rules [51]

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2 Poker games and rules


      2.1 How to play


      2.1.1 What are the basic rules of poker? What are the hand rankings?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Jan 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [52].

Most variants of poker satisfy the following definition, but in a home
game of course you are free to modify the rules as you see fit.

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 four actions:

   1. *check*, a bet of zero that does not forfeit interest in the pot
   2. *bet* or *raise*, a nonzero bet greater than preceding bets that
      all successive players must match or exceed or else forfeit all
      interest in the pot
   3. *call*, a nonzero bet equal to a preceding bet that maintains a
      player's interest in the pot
   4. *fold*, a surrender of interest in the pot in response to another
      player's bet, accompanied by the loss of one's cards and previous
      bets

Betting usually proceeds in a circle until each player has either called
all bets or folded. Different poker games have various numbers of
betting rounds interspersed with the receipt or replacement of cards.

Poker is usually played with a standard 4-suit 52-card deck, but a joker
or other wild cards may be added. 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:

   1. *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.
   2. *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, and then ranked by the side card, so that 4444A beats
      4444K(*).
   3. *Full house*, three cards of one rank accompanied by two of
      another, such as 777JJ. Ranked by the trips, so that 44422 beats
      333AA, and then ranked by the pair, so that 444AA beats 444KK(*).
   4. *Flush*, five cards of the same suit, such as AJ942 of hearts.
      Ranked by the top card, and then by the next card, and so on for
      all five cards, so that AJ942 beats AJ876. Suits are not used to
      break ties.
   5. *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 usually not allowed.
   6. *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, and then ranked by the two kickers, so that QQQAK
      beats QQQA7(*).
   7. *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.
   8. *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.
   9. *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 for all five cards, as for flushes.
      Suits are not used to break ties.

(* Such matchups are only possible in games where there are wild cards
or where community cards are shared, such as Texas Holdem.)

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. For a more
detailed explanation, see the section on splitting the pot
<split-pot.html>.

Several variations are possible when playing for low. Some games permit
the ace to play low and ignore straights and flushes, making 5432A the
best possible low, even if it makes a straight flush. Other games just
reverse the order used for high hands, making 75432 of mixed suits the
best possible low. Still others count straights and flushes against you
but let the ace play low, making 6432A best. Note that in most games in
which the ace plays low, a pair of aces is lower than a pair of deuces,
just as an ace is lower than a deuce.

When a joker is in play, it usually can only be used as an ace or to
complete a straight or flush. It cannot be used as a true wild card, for
example, as a queen to make QQ43X play as three queens. When playing for
low, the joker becomes the lowest rank not already held, so 864AX is
played as 8642A, with the joker used as a deuce.

Although true wild cards are rarely seen in a casino, they are a popular
way to add excitement to a home game. Wild cards introduce an additional
hand, five of a kind, which normally ranks above a straight flush. They
can also cause confusion when two players hold the same hand composed of
different wild card combinations. The standard rules of poker do not
distinguish between such hands, but some players prefer to rank hands
using fewer wild cards above less "natural" versions of the same hand.

You may find these comprehensive poker rulebooks helpful:
Caro and Cooke's Rules of Real Poker [48]
Bob Ciaffone's "Robert's Rules of Poker" [49]
Tournament Directors Association (TDA) Rules [51]

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.1.2 What happens if two players have the same hand? How do you
      divide the pot?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Jan 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [53].

In some forms of poker it is fairly common for two or more players to
end up with the same best hand. In that case, the players with equal
hands split the pot equally between them. Remember that only the best
five cards of a player's hand are considered in the showdown. If the
best five cards yield a tie, you do not use additional cards to break
the tie. Also, you don't look at the suits to break a tie. It's simply a
tie. Here are some examples:

    * In Holdem, one player has [Ah Jc] and another player has [As Jd].
      The final board is Ad Ts 8s 4h 2d. Both players have a pair of
      aces with J-T-8 kickers. They split the pot.
    * In Holdem, one player has [Ah Jc] and another player has [As 2d].
      The final board is Ad Kc Ts Th 2c. Both players have two pair,
      aces and tens, with a king kicker. They split the pot.
    * In Holdem, one player has [Ah Ac], a second player has [8s 7s],
      and a third player has [5s 4h]. The final board is Th 9h 8d 7d 6c.
      All three players have a straight, ten high. This is called
      "playing the board". They split the pot three ways.
    * In Omaha high/low split, one player has [Ac 3d Th Td] and another
      player has [As 3s 4c 5d]. The final board is 2c 4d 8s Ts Jc.
      Remember that in Omaha, each player must play exactly two cards
      from his hand and three from the board, but can use a different
      two cards for the high and low halves of the pot. For the high
      half of the pot, the first player plays [Th Td] for three of a
      kind, tens, with J-8 kickers, while the second player plays [As
      4c] for a pair of fours, A-J-T kickers. The first player wins all
      of the high half of the pot. For the low half of the pot, the
      first player plays [Ac 3d] for an 8-4-3-2-A low, while the second
      player plays [As 3s] for an 8-4-3-2-A low. They have the same hand
      for low, so they split the low half of the pot. All told, the
      first player wins three quarters of the pot and the second player
      wins one quarter.
    * In Seven-card Stud, one player has [Ac Ad Tc Td Js 8s 4s] and
      another player has [As Ah Ts Th 5s 5h Jd]. Both players have two
      pair, aces and tens, with a jack kicker. You don't consider the
      sixth or seventh cards. You can see this is pretty unusual for
      stud and happens mostly with straights.

What about the extra chip? If you split the pot and there is an extra
chip left over, the usual rule is to award it to the first winning
player in the clockwise direction from the dealer.

What about high-low declare? In high-low split declare games, the rules
can be more complicated. See the special high-low declare section
<high-low-declare.html> for more details.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.1.3 What should I expect the first time I play poker in a casino
      or card room? What etiquette should I follow?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Sep 2003
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [54].

Many people are intimidated on their first visit to a public cardroom.
Knowing what to expect and some simple rules of etiquette will help the
first-time visitor relax and have a good time.

Any cardroom with more than a few tables will have a sign-up desk or
board for the various games being played. Usually someone will be
standing here to take your name if a seat is not immediately available.
This person can explain what games are offered, the betting limits,
special house rules and so on. This is the moment of your first
decision: which game and for what stakes?

Choosing a game is fairly easy; you already know which game is most
familiar to you. You may be surprised to find that your favorite home
games are not spread in public cardrooms. Most will offer one or more of
Texas Hold'em, Seven-Card Stud, and Omaha Hold'em (usually hi/lo split,
8-or-better for low). Sometimes you will find California Lowball (5-card
draw for low), Seven-Card Stud hi/lo, or Hold'em variations like
Pineapple. You will rarely find High Draw (5-card draw for hi), and will
never find home game pot-builders like Anaconda, Follow-the-Queen, 7-27
or Guts. Except for the joker in draw poker, cardrooms never use wild
cards.

Choosing a betting limit is a bit harder. It is best to start playing at
a limit so small that the money is not important to you. After all, with
all the excitement of your first time playing poker there is no need to
be worried about losing the nest egg to a table full of sharks. Betting
limits are typically expressed as $1-$5 or $3-$6, and may be
"spread-limit" or "structured-limit". A spread-limit means one can bet
or raise any amount between the two numbers (although a raise must be at
least as much as a previous bet or raise). For example, in $1-$5
spread-limit, if one person bets $2 the next person is free to call the
$2 or raise $2, $3, $4, or $5, but cannot raise just $1. On the next
round, everything is reset and the first bettor may bet anything from $1
to $5. In structured-limit like $3-$6 (usually recognizable by a factor
of two between betting limits), all betting and raising on early rounds
is in units of $3, and on later rounds is in units of $6. One only has a
choice of *whether* to bet or raise; the amount is fixed by the limit.
One usually doesn't have a choice between spread and structured betting
at a given limit. Keep in mind that it is quite easy to win or lose 20
"big bets" (the large number in the limit) in an hour of play. Also,
since your mind will be occupied with the mechanics of the game while
the regular players consider strategy, you are more likely to lose than
win. In other words: choose a low limit.

If the game you want is full, your name will go on a list and the person
running the list will call you when a seat opens up. Depending on the
cardroom, you may have trouble hearing your name called and they may be
quick to pass you over, so be alert. Once a seat is available, the list
person will vaguely direct you toward it, or toward a floorman who will
show you where to sit.

Now is the time for you to take out your money and for the other players
to look you over. A good choice for this "buy-in" is ten to twenty big
bets, but you must buy-in for at least the posted table minimum, usually
about five big bets. Most public poker games are played "table-stakes",
which means that you can't reach into your pocket for more money during
the play of a hand. It also means that you can't be forced out of a pot
because of insufficient funds. If you run out of money during a hand you
are still in the pot (the dealer will say you are "all-in"), but further
betting is "on the side" for an additional pot you cannot win. Between
hands, you are free to buy as many chips as you want, but are not
allowed to take any chips off the table unless you are leaving. This
final rule gives opponents a chance to win back what they have lost to
you. If you bust out, you may buy back in for at least the table minimum
or leave.

Once you have told the dealer how much money you are playing, the dealer
may sell you chips right away or call over a chip runner to do so. You
may want to tell the dealer that you are a first-time player. This is a
signal to the dealer to give a little explanation when it is your turn
to act, and to the other players to extend you a bit of courtesy when
you slow down the game. Everyone will figure it out in a few minutes
anyway, so don't be bashful. You may even ask to sit out a few hands
just to see how it all works.

There are three ways that pots are seeded with money at the beginning of
the hand. The most familiar to the home player is the "ante", where each
player tosses a small amount into the pot for the right to be dealt a
hand. The second way, often used in conjunction with an ante, is the
"forced bring-in". For example, in seven-card stud, after everyone antes
and is dealt the first three cards, the player with the lowest upcard
may be forced to bet to get things started. The third way, often used in
games without upcards like Hold'em or Omaha, is a "forced blind bet".
This is similar to the bring-in, but is always made by the person
immediately after the player with the "button". The "button" is a
plastic disk that moves around the table and indicates which player is
acting as dealer for the hand (of course, the house dealer does the
actual dealing of cards, but does not play). A second or even third
blind may follow the first, usually of increasing size. Whichever seed
method is used, note that this initial pot, small as it is, is the only
reason to play at all.

If the game has blinds, the dealer may now ask you if you want to
"post". This means, "do you want to pay extra to see a hand now, in bad
position, and then pay the blinds, or are you willing to sit and watch
for a few minutes?" Answer "no, I'll wait" and watch the game until the
dealer tells you it's time to begin, usually after the blinds pass you.

Finally, it is your turn to get cards and play. Your first impression
will probably be how fast the game seems to move. If you are playing
stud, several upcards may be "mucked" (folded into the discards) before
you even see them; if you are playing hold'em, it may be your turn to
act before you have looked at your cards. After a few hands you should
settle into the rhythm and be able to keep up. If you ever get confused,
just ask the dealer what is going on.

When playing, consider the following elements of poker etiquette:


        Acting in Turn

Although you may see others fold or call out of turn, don't do it
yourself. It is considered rude because it gives an unfair advantage to
the players before you who have yet to act. This is especially important
at the showdown when only three players are left. If players after you
are acting out of turn while you decide what to do, say "Time!" to make
it clear that you have not yet acted.


        Handling Cards

You may find it awkward at first to peek at your own cards without
exposing them to others. Note that the other players have no formal
obligation to alert you to your clumsiness, although some will. Watch
how the other players manage it and emulate them. Leave your cards in
sight at all times; holding them in your lap or passing them to your
kibitzing friend is grounds for killing your hand. Finally, if you
intentionally show your cards to another player during the hand, both
your hands may be declared dead. Your neighbor might want to see *you*
declared dead :) if this happens!


        Protecting Cards

In a game with "pocket cards" like Hold'em or Omaha, it is your
responsibility to "protect your own cards". This confusing phrase really
means "put a chip on your cards". If your cards are just sitting out in
the open, you are subject to two possible disasters. First, the dealer
may scoop them up in a blink because to leave one's cards unprotected is
a signal that you are folding. Second, another player's cards may happen
to touch yours as they fold, disqualifying your hand and your interest
in the pot. Along the same lines, when you turn your cards face up at
the showdown, be careful not to lose control of your cards. If one of
them falls off the table or lands face-down among the discards your hand
will be dead, even if that card is not used to make your hand.


        Accidentally Checking

In some fast-paced games, a moment of inaction when it is your turn to
act may be interpreted as a check. Usually, a verbal declaration or
rapping one's hand on the table is required, but many players are
impatient and will assume your pause is a check. If you need more than a
second to decide what to do, call "Time!" to stop the action. While you
decide, don't tap your fingers nervously; that is a clear check signal
and will be considered binding.


        String Bets

A "string bet" is a bet that initially looks like a call, but then turns
out to be a raise. Once your hand has put some chips out, you may not go
back to your stack to get more chips and increase the size of your bet,
unless you verbally declared the size of your bet at the beginning. If
you always declare "call" or "raise" as you bet, you will be immune to
this problem. Note that a verbal declaration in turn is binding, so a
verbal string bet is possible and also prohibited. That means you cannot
say "I call your $5, and raise you another $5!" Once you have said you
call, that's it. The rest of the sentence is irrelevant. You can't raise.


        Splashing the Pot

In some home games, it is customary to throw chips directly into the
pot. In a public cardroom, this is cause for dirty looks, a reprimand
from the dealer, and possibly stopping the game to count down the pot.
When you bet, place your chips directly in front of you. The dealer will
make sure that you have the right number and sweep them into the pot.


        One Chip Rule

In some cardrooms, the chip denominations and game stakes are
incommensurate. For example, a $3-$6 game might use $1 and $5 chips,
instead of the more sensible $3 chip. The one-chip rule says that using
a large-denomination chip is just a call, even though the chip may be
big enough to cover a raise. If you don't have exact change, it is best
to verbally state your action when throwing that large chip into the
pot. For example, suppose you are playing in a $1-$5 spread-limit game,
the bet is $2 to you, and you have only $5 chips. Silently tossing a $5
chip out means you call the $2 bet. If you want to raise to $4 or $5,
you must say so *before* your chip hits the felt. Whatever your action,
the dealer will make any required change at the end of the betting
round. Don't make change for yourself out of the pot.


        Raising Forever

In a game like Hold'em, it is possible to know that you hold "the nuts"
and cannot be beaten. If this happens when all the cards are out and you
get in a raising war with someone, don't stop! Raise until one of you
runs out of chips. If there is the possibility of a tie, the rest of the
table may clamor for you to call, since you "obviously" both have the
same hand. Ignore the rabble. You'll be surprised how many of your
opponents turn out to be bona fide idiots.


        The Showdown

Hands end in one of three ways: one person bets and everyone else folds,
one person bets on the final round and at least one person calls, or
everybody checks on the final round. If everybody folds to a bet, the
bettor need not show the winning cards and will usually toss them to the
dealer face down. If somebody calls on the end, the person who bet or
raised most recently is *supposed* to immediately show, or "open", their
cards. They may delay doing so in a rude attempt to induce another
player to show their hand in impatience, and then muck their own hand if
it is not a winner. Don't do this yourself. Show your hand immediately
if you get called. If you have called a bet, wait for the bettor to
show, then show your own hand if it's better. If the final round is
checked down, in most cardrooms everyone is supposed to open their hands
immediately. Sometimes everyone will wait for someone else to show
first, resulting in a time-wasting deadlock. Break the chain and show
your cards.

Most cardrooms give every player at the table the right to see all cards
that called to a showdown, even if they are mucked as losers. (This
helps prevent cheating by team-play.) If you are extremely curious about
a certain hand, ask the dealer to show it to you. It is considered
impolite to constantly ask to see losing cards. It is even more impolite
if you hold the winning cards, and in most cardrooms you will forfeit
the pot if the "losing" cards turn out to be better than yours.

As a beginner, you may want to show your hand all the time, since you
may have overlooked a winning hand. What you gain from one such pot will
far outweigh any loss due to revealing how you played a particular
losing hand. "Cards speak" at the showdown, meaning that you need not
declare the value of your hand. The dealer will look at your cards and
decide if you have a winner.

As a final word of caution, it is best to hold on to your winning cards
until the dealer pushes you the pot. If the dealer takes your cards and
incorrectly "mucks" them, many cardrooms rule that you have no further
right to the pot, even if everyone saw your winning cards.


        Raking in the Pot

As you win your first pot, the excitement within you will drive you
beyond the realm of rational behavior, and you will immediately lunge to
scoop up the precious chips with both arms. Despite the fact that no
other player had done this while you watched, despite the fact that you
read here not to do it, you WILL do it. Since every dealer has a witty
admonition prepared for this moment, maybe it's all for the best. But
next time, let the dealer push it to you, ok?


        Touching Cards or Chips

Don't. Only touch your own cards and chips. Other players' chips and
cards, discards, board cards, the pot and everything else are
off-limits. Only the dealer touches the cards and pot.


        Tipping

Dealers make their living from tips. It is customary for the winner of
each pot to tip the dealer 50 cents to a dollar, depending on locale and
the stakes. Sometimes you will see players tip several dollars for a big
pot or an extremely unlikely suckout. Sometimes you will see players
stiff the dealer if the pot was tiny or split between two players. This
is a personal issue, but imitating the other players is a good start.


        Correcting Mistakes

Occasionally the dealer or a player may make a mistake, such as
miscalling the winning hand at the showdown. If you are the victim of
such a mistake, call it out immediately and do not let the game proceed.
If your opponent is the victim, let your conscience be your guide; many
see no ethical dilemma in remaining silent. If you are not involved in
the pot, you must judge the texture of the game to determine whether to
speak up. In general, the higher the stakes, the more likely you should
keep your mouth shut.


        Taking a Break

You are free to get up to stretch your legs, visit the restroom and so
on. Ask the dealer how long you may be away from your seat; 20 or 30
minutes is typical. It is customary to leave your chips sitting on the
table; part of the dealer's job is to keep them safe. If you miss your
blind(s) while away, you may have to make them up when you return, or
you may be asked to sit out a few more hands until they reach you again.
If several players are gone from a table, they may all be called back to
keep the game going; those who don't return in time forfeit their seats.


        Color Change

If you are in the happy situation of having too many chips, you may
request a "color change" (except in Atlantic City). You can fill up a
rack or two with your excess chips and will receive a few large
denomination chips in return. These large chips are still in play, but
at least you aren't inconvenienced by a mountain of chips in front of
you. Remember the one chip rule when betting with them.


        Leaving

Leave whenever you feel like it. You never have an obligation to stay at
the table, even if you've won a fortune. You should definitely leave if
you are tired, losing more than you expect, or have other reasons to
believe you are not playing your best game. Depending on the cardroom,
you can redeem your chips for cash with a chip-runner or floorman or at
the cashier's cage.


        House Charges

Last but not least is the matter of the house take. Somebody has to
maintain the tastefully opulent furnishings and pay the electric bill.
The money taken by the house is called the "drop", since it is dropped
down a slot in the table at the end of each hand. The house will choose
one of three ways to charge you to play.

Time Charge
    A simple "time charge" is common in higher limit games and at some
    small games: seats are rented by the half hour, at rates ranging
    from $4 to $10 or so, depending on the stakes. This method charges
    all players equally. 
Rake
    Other cardrooms will "rake" a percentage of the final pot, up to
    some maximum, before awarding it to the winning player. The usual
    rake is either 5% or 10%, capped at $3 or $4. If the pot is raked,
    the dealer will remove chips from the pot as it grows, setting them
    aside until the hand is over and they are dropped into a slot in the
    table. This method favors the tight player who enters few pots but
    wins a large fraction of them. 
Button Charge
    A simpler method is to collect a fixed amount at the start of each
    hand; one player, usually the one with the dealer button, pays the
    entire amount of the drop. Depending on house rules, this "button
    charge" of $2-$4 may or may not play as a bet. If the chips do play
    as a bet, this method also favors the tighter players, but not
    nearly as much as the rake does. 

Regardless of the mechanism, a cardroom will try to drop about $80-$120
per hour at a $3-$6 table. The exact amount is most dependent on the
local cost of doing business: Nevada is low, California and Atlantic
City are high. Since there are 7-10 players at the table, expect to pay
somewhere from $7 to $14 per hour just to sit down. Add $2-$4 per hour
for dealer tips and you see why most low-limit players are long-run losers.

More information on cardroom play and etiquette can be found in George
Percy's "Seven-Card Stud: The Waiting Game" and Lee Jones' "Winning
Low-Limit Holdem [55]". Beginning players may also want to watch for
special cardroom promotions to draw new players; many offer free lessons
followed by a very low-stakes game with other novices. Since everyone is
a beginner, much of the tension is relieved.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.1.4 What is a poker tournament? How does one work? What is a
      chip race? What is a satellite?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: 1998
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [56].


      Basics

A poker tournament is an event in which poker players compete for all or
part of a prize pool. Each player pays an entry fee and initial buy-in
for a set number of tournament chips. The chips are non-negotiable,
having no cash value except at the end of the tournament. The
contestants play until all but one or a few are busted; the top
finishers divide up the prize pool according to the tournament rules.
The game's stakes increase with time to hasten the tournament's end.


      Variations

Within this framework is considerable room for variation. Many
tournaments permit "rebuys", which allow a busted player to reenter the
tournament by immediately posting additional money to the prize pool.
The number of rebuys may be unlimited, limited to one or a few, or
limited to an initial period of the tournament. Rebuys may also be
available to players with short stacks or even to all active players.
Some tournaments allow an "add-on", a one-time opportunity for all
active players to buy a set number of additional chips, again increasing
the prize pool. The add-on may be available at the end of the rebuy
period, at the beginning of the tournament, or, rarely, at any time
during the rebuy period. The exchange rate for rebuys and add-ons may be
better than that for the initial buy-in. A tournament with no rebuys is
called a "freezeout". The betting structure may be limit only,
pot-limit, no-limit, or a mixture, usually limit in the early rounds and
no-limit later. Whatever the betting structure, the blinds or betting
limits increase regularly, perhaps doubling every twenty minutes in a
small tournament, or more slowly in a large one.


      The Chip Race

A confusing aspect of the increasing stakes is the way in which some
tournaments get rid of the small denomination chips. At some point in
the tournament, the dealer may "race off" all the red $5 chips. Each
player puts all their red chips in front of them, and the dealer
converts them to as many green $25 chips as possible. Whatever red chips
remain are raced off: each player receives one card for each chip, and
the player receiving the highest card (ace, king, etc) wins everybody's
reds and converts them to greens. Bridge suits break ties for the high
card (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs). In other tournaments, the red
chips may simply be rounded to green chips. Although rounding can change
the total amount of money in play, it is better at preserving the
players' relative chip positions.

Some tournaments use a new chip race technique that only awards one chip
to the player with the highest card. Then that player is ineligible to
receive more chips. If more chips remain, the player having the next
highest card receives the next chip and becomes ineligible also, and so
on until all chips are distributed.


      Winning

The tournament usually continues until only one player remains. The
winner may take all the money, or the top finishers may divide it up
according to a set schedule. In most tournaments, tables are
consolidated and seats redrawn when a certain number of players are
eliminated, eventually resulting in a "final table" of contestants.
Sometimes, each table plays until only one player remains, and then the
survivors meet at a final table; this is called a "shootout". Since the
betting stakes are large at the final table and payout schedules often
favor first place, luck plays a major role and many players prefer
cutting a deal to playing the tournament to its conclusion.


      Satellites

A "satellite" is a tournament in which the prize is an entry to another
tournament. Large tournaments like the $10,000 No-limit Hold'em event in
the World Series of Poker generate a lot of satellites. Typically, the
satellite buy-in is around 1/10 the tournament buy-in, so the top 10% of
satellite finishers win a tournament buy-in. Sometimes a satellite will
even have mini-satellites, in which the prize is an entry to the main
satellite. A mini-satellite for the $10,000 event might have a $100
buy-in and award a $1,000 buyin to a satellite that is awarding a
$10,000 buy-in to the main event.

A satellite format popular in the larger tournaments is the
"super-satellite". This is a multi-table tournament that awards a number
of entries into the main tournament. The buy-in to the super can be as
little as 2% of the buy-in to the main tournament, with rebuys usually
permitted. Depending on the number of entrants and rebuys, the top N
finishers receive an entry into the main tournament. The strategy late
in a super-satellite can be unusual because of the flat payout structure.


      Schedules

Many small (under $100 buy-in) daily or weekly tournaments are listed in
the back pages of Card Player magazine. Be sure to call the casino to
see if they are having the tournament that day, since the magazine is
sometimes out of date.


      Tournament Strategy

See the special section on tournament strategy
<tournament-strategy.html> for more information.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.1.5 What are some good books about poker?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Dec 2002
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [57].

All thinking poker players should have this book on their shelf:

    David Sklansky, "The Theory of Poker [58]" (formerly titled "Winning
    Poker"), Two Plus Two Publishing, 1992, $30. ISBN 1-880685-00-0. 

Beginners will benefit from the following:

    Daniel Kimberg, "Serious Poker [59]", ConJelCo, 2002, $20. ISBN:
    1-886070-16-4 

    Lou Krieger and Richard Harroch, "Poker for Dummies [60]", IDG Books
    Worldwide, 2000, $15. ISBN 0-764552-32-5. 

    Mason Malmuth and Lynne Loomis, "Fundamentals of Poker [61]", Two
    Plus Two Publishing, 1992, $4. ISBN 1-880685-11-6. 

This classic in the field is an advanced but slightly out-of-date work
covering a wide range of games, including an excellent section on
no-limit Hold'em:

    Doyle Brunson et al., "Super/System: A Course in Poker Power [62]",
    B & G Publishing, 1978/1989, $50. ISBN 0-931444-01-4. 

The most recommended book for medium-limit Hold'em is

    David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth, "Hold'em Poker for Advanced
    Players [63]", Two Plus Two Publishing, 1988/1993, $30. ISBN
    1-880685-01-9. 

These works by fellow rec.gamblers have received favorable reviews:

    Lee Jones, "Winning Low-Limit Holdem [55]", ConJelCo, 1994, $25.
    ISBN 1-886070-15-6. 

    Lou Krieger, "Hold'em Excellence", ConJelCo, 2000, $20. ISBN
    1-886070-14-8 . 

Beginning Seven Card Stud players must read this small spiral-bound gem:

    George Percy, "7 Card Stud: The Waiting Game", GBC Press, 1979, $9.
    ISBN 0-89650-903-6. 

More experienced stud players may benefit from

    David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth and Ray Zee, "Seven Card Stud for
    Advanced Players [64]", Two Plus Two Publishing, 1992, $29.95. ISBN
    1-880685-02-7. 

Finally, in a different vein is the following book about reading your
opponents and preventing them from reading you:

    Mike Caro, "Caro's Book of Tells - The Body Language of Poker", Mike
    Caro University Press, 2000, $30 (paperback), $40 (hardback), ISBN
    1-880069-01-6 (paperback), ISBN 1-880069-02-4 (hardback). 

Many of these books are available to rec.gamblers with an Internet
discount from ConJelCo [65].

*Online reviews of poker books.* The Online Poker FAQ [66] has brief
reviews in its essential poker readling list. See Dan Kimberg's Poker
Reading Page [67] for some unsolicited and independent reviews that have
appeared on the net. And I don't know where Nick Christenson finds the
time to read the dozens of books he has reviewed to date [68].

Ken's Poker Page has a comprehensive listing [69] of poker-related books.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.1.6 What are some good magazines about poker?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [70].

/Card Player/ is the best established periodical for poker players. Each
issue has several columns specifically about poker strategy, including
regular features by well-known poker writers. It lists schedules for
small daily and weekly tournaments in the U.S. and Europe and reports
large tournament results. Other sections cover gambling and the law,
cardroom management, sports betting and general gambling news. Because
it is financed largely by casino industry advertisements, it does not
print unfavorable casino news and is not a good place to find a balanced
review of a cardroom. It is available free in most cardrooms and offers
subscriptions at first-class and bulk-mail rates.

        The Card Player
        3140 S. Polaris #8
        Las Vegas, NV  89102
        (702) 871-1720
        (702) 871-2674 FAX
        http://www.cardplayer.com

Ken's Poker Page has a comprehensive listing [71] of poker-related
magazines.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.1.7 What are some good poker-related software programs?

Author: Hans Ruegg 1994; John Salmon 1996; Zbigniew 2002; Michael Maurer
2004
Last updated: Apr 2004
Copyright * 2004 Hans Ruegg 1994; John Salmon 1996; Zbigniew 2002;
Michael Maurer 2004
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [72].

Editor's note: Ken's Poker Page has a comprehensive listing [73] of
poker-related software.


      Commercial Programs

There are many poker programs available but the quality of them ranges
from terrible to fairly good. The following are worth considering:

    * *Poki's /Poker Academy/ [74]* This is the first commercially
      available computer program to incorporate both game theory and
      recent advancements in machine learning. Its use of game theory
      makes it a challenging heads-up opponent that is not afraid to
      bluff you with just the right frequency. The machine learning
      techniques include statistical opponent modeling that help it
      adapt to your game and exploit your weaknesses. This program is a
      strong learning tool, especially for heads-up play.
    * *Wilson Software /Turbo Series/ [75]* Separate games are available
      for Texas Holdem, 7-card stud, Omaha-8 and Omaha High. There are
      both ring-game and tournament versions. Computer players are
      driven by large tables describing each decision point. These
      tables can be modified by the user to create new players. Play
      against the computer or let the computer players play each other
      in a fast mode. Check resulting statistics for the various
      strategies.
    * *Masque /World Series of Poker Adventure/ [76]* Plays Texas
      Holdem, 7-card stud and Omaha. Also plays blackjack and other
      casino games. Runs under DOS. This is more of a fun simulation of
      playing in the World Series at Binions. Play ring games or other
      casino games to get enough money to enter a satellite. Win the
      satellite to get into the no-limit finals. Poker opponent play is
      pretty good, but not exactly World Champion level.
    * *iPoker [77]* Shareware for Macintosh, with nice graphics and GUI.
    * *Acespade [78]*.


      Exact Enumeration Calculators

Several people have written software that computes exact showdown
probabilities for poker matchups:

    * Steve Brecher's Hold'Em Showdown [79].
    * Andrew Prock's Pokerstove [80].
    * Janne Raevaara's Poker Calculator [81].


      Pokersource (Source Code)

If you want to write some of your own poker software, a fast poker hand
evaluator is available as part of the Pokersource [82]. package It is in
C but uses some Gnu C extensions; it also has a Java interface. You can
see it in action at Two Dimes Pokenum [83], which lets you enter
multiple-hand matchups and computes exact win percentages for each hand.


      Hotpoker (formerly Netpoker)

Hotpoker [84] is a suite of programs for multi-player hold'em over the
internet. C source for Netpoker used to be available; I'm not sure about
Hotpoker.

Copyright * 2004 Hans Ruegg 1994; John Salmon 1996; Zbigniew 2002;
Michael Maurer 2004. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.1.8 What do all these poker terms mean? Table stakes, no limit,
      all-in, the nuts, drawing dead, and a thousand more...

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [85].

Several good poker glossaries are available on the net:

John Hallyburton's compendium [86], compiled with the help of several
rec.gamblers, is the oldest.

Lee Jones' book "Winning Low-Limit Holdem" includes a glossary [87].

Dan Kimberg's book "Serious Poker" also includes a glossary [88].

Michael Wiesenberg's incredibly thorough "The Official Dictionary of
Poker" [89] is online and is available in print (MGI/Mike Caro
University, ISBN: 1880069520).

Bob Ciaffone's "Robert's Rules of Poker" [90] includes a glossary at the
very end of the rulebook. This purpose of this glossary is to clarify
the meaning of the rules, rather than be a dictionary of poker terms,
but it's a useful reference.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.2 Popular poker games


      2.2.1 What are some fun home poker games?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Apr 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [91].

There are enough crazy home game poker variants to fill a book. You can
find rules for games ranging from plain to insane at:

    * Poker Mike [92]
    * Game Report [93]
    * Home Poker [42]

Poker variants differ in the amount of skill they admit. Some, like
7-card stud high/low with declare (no qualifier), provide skilled
players many opportunities to gain an edge. Others are a virtual crap
shoot. In general, the crazier games are designed to discourage folding
and minimize the influence of skill on the outcome. They accomplish this
through a betting structure that requires a large investment before the
value of one's hand is known. The level playing field that results is
ideal for many informal social groups.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.2.2 How do you play Texas Hold'em?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Jan 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [94].

Texas Hold'em is a "community card" game, meaning that some cards are
dealt face-up in the middle of the table and shared by all the players.
Each player has two down cards that are theirs alone, and combines them
with the five community cards to make the best possible five-card hand.

Play begins by dealing two cards face down to each player; these are
known as "hole cards" or "pocket cards". This is followed by a round of
betting. Most hold'em games get the betting started with one or two
"blind bets" to the left of the dealer. These are forced bets which must
be made before seeing one's cards. Play proceeds clockwise from the
blinds, with each player free to fold, call the blind bet, or raise.
Usually the blinds are "live", meaning that they may raise themselves
when the action gets back around to them.

Now three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table; this is
called the "flop". A round of betting ensues, with action starting on
the first blind, immediately to the dealers left. Another card is dealt
face up (the "turn"), followed by another round of betting, again
beginning to the dealer's left. Then the final card (the "river") is
dealt followed by the final round of betting. In a structured-limit
game, the bets on the turn and river are usually double the size of
those before and on the flop.

The game is usually played for high only, and each player makes the best
five-card combination to compete for the pot. Players usually use both
their hole cards to make their best hand, but this is not required. A
player may even choose to "play the board" and use no hole cards at all.
Identical five-card hands split the pot; the sixth and seventh cards are
not used to break ties. For a more detailed explanation of ties, see the
section on splitting the pot <split-pot.html>.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.2.3 How do you play Omaha?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Jan 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [95].

The rules of Omaha are very similar to those of Texas Hold'em. There are
only two differences:

    * Each player receives four hole cards, instead of two.
    * One must use *exactly* three community cards and two hole cards to
      make one's hand.

The second difference is confusing for most beginners. These examples
show how it works.

    Board        Hole Cards     Best High Hand
    =====        ==========     ==============
As Kc Qc 8d 2d   Ac 2c Jd Th    Jd Th makes ace-hi straight.
As Kc Qc Jh Td   Ac 2c Jd 8h    Ac Jd makes ace-hi straight.
As Kc Qc Jh Td   3c 2c Jd 8h    Jd 8h makes pair of jacks.  No straight
                                is possible using two hole cards.
As Ks 8h 9d 2s   Qs 4h 4d 4s    Qs 4s makes AKQ42 "nut" flush.
As Ks 8s 9s 2s   Qs 4h 4d Qd    Qs Qd makes pair of queens.  No flush is
                                possible using two hole cards.
As Ts 8s 8h 4d   Td Tc Ad 9c    Td Tc makes TTT88 full house.
As Ts 8s 8h 4d   Td 8c Ad 9c    Ad 8c makes 888AA full house.
As Ac 8s 8h 4d   Ah 2h 3h 5h    Ah 5h makes trip aces AAA85.  No full
                                house is possible using two hole cards.
As Ac 8s 8h 4d   Ah 2h 3h 4h    Ah 4h makes full house AAA44.

Omaha is often played high/low, meaning that the highest and lowest
hands split the pot. The low hand usually must "qualify" by being at
least an 8-low (the largest card must be 8 or lower). One can use a
different two cards to compete for the high and low portions of the pot,
and the game is played "cards speak" rather than "declare". Aces are
either low or high, and straights and flushes don't count for low. Since
everybody must use two hole cards to make a hand, the board must have
three cards 8 or lower for a low to even be possible. Players often tie
for low, and the low half of the pot is divided equally among them. Some
more examples:

    Board        Hole Cards     Best Low Hand
    =====        ==========     =============
As Kc Qc 8d 2d   8c Jc Jd Th    Jd Th makes the low hand JT82A, which
                                does not qualify as 8-or-better.
3d 5h 8d Tc Ts   Ac 2c Jd Th    Ac 2c makes the "nut low" 8532A.
3d 5h 8d Tc Ts   Ac 3c 4d Th    Ac 4d makes 8543A.
3d 5h 8d Ad Ts   Ac 3c 5d 8h    Any two make T853A, not qualifying.
Ac 2c 3d 4h 5s   Ad 2d Th Td    Ad 2d makes "nut low" 5432A.
Ac 2c 3d 4h 5s   4d 5d Th Td    4d 5d makes "nut low" 5432A.
5h 7h 8d Ac 2c   Ad 2d Th Td    Ad 2d makes 8752A, but the nut low is
                                5432A with a 3 and 4.  On the flop we
                                had the best possible low, but the turn
                                and river "counterfeited" us.

As in all split-pot games, the real goal of playing any hand is to win
both halves of the pot, or "scoop". Thus, hands that have a chance to
win both ways are far superior to those that can only win one way.

For more details on how to handle ties, see the section on splitting the
pot <split-pot.html>.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.2.4 How do you play Chowaha?

Author: rgpfaq.com
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 rgpfaq.com
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [96].

Wolf's poker page has a nice graphical display [97] explaining how to
play Chowaha, the popular BARGE game.

Copyright * 2004 rgpfaq.com. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.2.5 How do you play no-limit seven-card stud? What is
      Mississippi Stud?

Author: David Zanetti
Last updated: Mar 2000
Copyright * 2004 David Zanetti
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [98].

It isn't practical to play classic seven-card stud with no-limit
betting, but here is a game called mississippi seven card stud, which
can. Deal the start cards as for conventional seven-card stud, two down,
one up; then deal each active player two more upcards, then a fourth
upcard, then a fifth upcard. In other words deal the cards 3-2-1-1
instead of 3-1-1-1-(1).

Mississippi is more suited to half-pot, pot-limit and no-limit betting
than seven-card stud for two reasons: The four round structure is less
crippling financially than five rounds, and the fact that only two hole
cards out of seven are concealed means that hands as small as trips of
the biggest card showing can be the absolute nuts at the end. Similarly,
a straight or flush is the absolute nuts if none of your opponents have
paired their board, and aren't showing three cards to a possible
(bigger) straight or flush. In seven-card stud (with it's third
hole-card) trips, straights and flushes can never be the nuts at the end
because your opponent could have quads or a full house without showing a
pair, or a (bigger) straight or flush if they have two cards to a
straight or flush showing.

Mississippi also plays well as a limit game. It's faster and more active
than seven-card stud because the two card individual flop not only
speeds up the game, it is better value than taking the cards one at a
time, and you get more callers at every round on average as a result.
Mississippi can be dealt with the last card down for limit betting if
you prefer it that way.

If you like mississippi, the layout also works very well with an extra
hole-card, a form called murrumbidgee stud: the deal is the same as
mississippi except everyone gets three hole-cards to start: only two of
the hole cards can be used at the end. Hands like (3s,Kc,Ac)3c, have a
lot of ways to improve: you'll make the flush 20% of the time by the
end, and there are eight cards which give you at least kings up.
(9s,Jc,Qc)10c will make either a straight or a flush over 40% of the
time by the end, and if you flop Ko,8c or Kc, 8o, you have a
twenty-three way straight and flush draw. A king or an eight on the
flop, plus one club, gives you a twenty way straight and flush draw.
There is plenty of action in murrumbidgee, making it an excellent
short-handed game: it can be dealt for up to six players at time.

Disclosure: the writer invented mississippi in mid 1998 and murrumbidgee
in early 1999.

Copyright * 2004 David Zanetti. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.3 More advanced topics


      2.3.1 What does pot-limit mean?

Author: Steve Brecher
Last updated: 1999
Copyright * 2004 Steve Brecher
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [99].

This is an explanation of bet size limits in pot limit poker.

In pot limit, as in all poker, you may fold, or call the previous bet --
which may be a forced blind, if there is no previous voluntary bet -- or
you may raise. A raise, as in all poker, must be at least as large as
the previous bet or raise. In pot limit, however, your raise may be no
larger than the size of the pot after your call. If you are the opening
bettor on a round for which no blinds are made, your bet can be no more
than the size of the pot.

Say that the pot contains p units before a previous bettor bets (or
blinds) b units. You wish to raise the maximum. What is the total amount
that you should bet?

The size of the pot when it is your turn to act is p+b. Your action
includes a call, making the pot p+2b, and thus the amount of your raise
will be p+2b and your total bet will be p+3b. Therefore:

If you wish to raise the previous bettor (or big blind) the maximum
amount, your total bet will be three times the previous bet plus the
size of the pot before the previous bet was made. If you are the first
to act on the first round, the size of the pot before the previous bet
is the total of the small blind(s), and the previous bet is the big blind.

Sometimes the minimum betting unit is larger than the size of one or
more blinds. E.g., it may be that only $5 chips play for betting, but
one or more blinds are smaller than $5. In this case, the maximum
initial bring-in is rounded to the betting unit.

Some people state the general rule that the maximum initial bring-in is
"four times the big blind." This is correct only if the total of the
small blinds, after rounding if appropriate, is equal to the big blind,
and this is not always the case. E.g., in a tournament when the blinds
are $100 and $200, the maximum bring-in is $700, not $800. The correct
rule is "three times the big blind plus the total of the small blinds,
rounded as appropriate."

Examples:

    * 1, 2, and 5 blinds. 3 times 5 = 15; 15 + 1 + 2 = 18. Assuming that
      the minimum betting unit is 5, the maximum initial bring-in would
      be 18 rounded up to become 20 -- a raise of 15.
    * With 1, 2, and 5 blinds, someone brings it in for 10. The maximum
      bet of the next to act would be 3 times 10 = 30, plus the total
      blinds of 7, rounded up to 40 -- a raise of 30.
    * The pot contains, say, 1 unit. Suppose each successive bettor
      wishes to raise the maximum; how fast will the bets increase?

  size of pot before                   3 x previous bet
  previous bet         previous bet   + size of pot before
                                        previous bet
                                         = next bet
       1                   -                 1
       1                   1                 4
       2                   4                14
       6                  14                48
      20                  48               164
      68                 164               560
     232                 560              1912

So, if the initial pot size were $100, the seventh maniacal raiser would
be making a total bet of $191,200. The action can escalate quickly.

Copyright * 2004 Steve Brecher. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.3.2 What does half-pot-limit mean?

Author: David Zanetti
Last updated: Mar 2000
Copyright * 2004 David Zanetti
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [100].

In half-pot betting the maximum bet is half of whatever is in the pot.
In a head-to-head contest, HP pots and bets double with each additional
bet or raise, so four bets or raises increase the pot by a factor of 2 x
2 x 2 x 2, or sixteen times. Pot-sized bets triple the pot, giving 3 x 3
x 3 x 3 or eighty-one times the original pot after four bets or raises,
in a head-to-head contest.

Half-pot is the smallest of the big-bet games, and like its big brothers
pot-limit and no-limit, it provides plenty of scope for using position
and well timed bluffs to win with inferior hands, and the pot builds
quickly when you are betting for value. At the same time the more
moderate bet sizes mean that half-pot games last much longer than
pot-limit or no-limit games with a given amount of money available.
Half-pot games are much easier to keep alive than pot-limit and no-limit
games, and this alone makes them worthy of consideration as a big-bet
option.

Half-pot, like limit-betting, is a game which provides reasonable odds
for a call -- 3/1 in a head to head contest, as opposed to 2/1 in
pot-limit -- and as a result there is more action and multi-way pots
than in pot-limit and no-limit. Because half-pot is a big-bet game, bets
and bluffs do not decrease in effect as the hand progresses, as they do
in limit, where a final round bet can be as little as two or three
percent of the pot. In effect, half-pot combines the best features of
pot-limit/no-limit, and limit-betting: it has multi-way action,
favorable pot-odds and reasonable bankroll longevity, like
limit-betting, and it's also an excellent bluffing form in which pots
and bets build quickly, like PL and NL.

Here is a chart comparing half-pot and pot-limit pot sizes and bets in a
50-100 (cents or dollars, depending on your BR) game of holdem. In this
example the opener raises, and then bets at every round, and one player
(other than either of the blinds) calls at every round, and then raises
and is called at the end. The pot size at the start of each round
includes all bets and calls for the preceding round, so the pot at the
start of the second round in the half-pot column is 150 (blinds) + 100 +
125 (call and raise) + 225 (call) = 600.

   Half-pot                                  Pot-limit
Start:  call 100, raise 125                       call 100, raise 250
Flop:   pot 600, bet 300                          pot 850, bet 850
Turn:   pot 1200, bet 600                         pot 2550, bet 2550 
River:  pot 2400, bet 1200                        pot 7650, bet 7650
        raise 2400, final pot 9600                raise 22,950, final pot
68,850

The rapid escalation of the bets means that a hand of PL in which there
is serious action at every round of play is something of a rarity,
because players with average bankrolls tap out after three or four bets.
Four rounds of action, even multi-way action, is common in half-pot play.

Pot-limit is good, but half-pot lasts longer.

While it is perfectly understandable that some players will always
prefer pot-limit to half-pot -- and if bankroll conditions and the
players are right I like it myself -- I believe it is a mistake to
dismiss half-pot as a big-bet game. A half-pot game can survive for
years in a situation where a pot-limit game would quickly break many of
the available players and revert to limit-betting. The situation in the
USA and Canada -- where pot-limit games can be hard to find -- is a
reflection of this tendency of limit games to push out pot-limit.
Players who prefer big-bet poker but who spend most of their time
playing limit because the pot-limit game folded again, (or because their
own bankroll can't handle the big swings) might consider half-pot
betting as an alternative, if not to pot-limit, at least to limit-betting.

Copyright * 2004 David Zanetti. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.3.3 What is a kill pot? What is a game with a kill? What is a
      half kill?

Author: Stephen Landrum
Last updated: 1998
Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [101].

Big bet (no-limit or pot-limit) poker frequently allows a player to
"kill the pot", by posting an amount equal to current to-go amount, and
the amount to-go (to come into the hand, or call preflop) is now double
the kill amount. In no-limit games, players are frequently allowed to
kill for more than the to-go amount, but for no more than 1/2 of their
stack. Some games allow overkills - after someone has killed the pot,
someone else can kill it again, raising the amount to-go to double the
new kill amount. There may be a limit to the number of kills allowed on
a hand, even though the game is "no-limit". Killing the pot alters the
order of action preflop/predraw. The killers act after the blinds in the
order in which they killed the pot. After the flop or draw, action
returns to its normal order.

To kill the pot in Hold'em or other flop games, the kill must be
announced (either verbally or by placing the amount of the kill in the
pot) before any cards are dealt. Draw lowball games frequently allow
players to kill the after seeing two cards - and some places even allow
a kill in lowball after the 3rd card is dealt. No-limit draw lowball
also frequently allows the player with the big blind to place a blind
which is larger than the normal amount, but still smaller than the to-go
amount, and the new to-go amount is twice the big blind.

Example: In a 1-2-2, 5-to-go Hold'em game, the player on the button (who
also has the $1 blind) decides to kill it for $5, rebuying his right to
act last before the flop. The blinds now look like 5-2-2, and the game
is now 10-to-go. After the player to the right of the button acts, the
two $2 blinds act, then the killer acts.

Example: In a draw-lowball game, 1-1-2 blinds, 4-to-go, the player with
the big blind puts out $3 before cards are dealt and it is now 6-to-go.
After two cards are dealt, the player to the right of the button kills
the pot for $10, and it is now 20-to-go. The player after the blinds is
first to act. After the player in front of the killer acts, the button
and other blinds must act, and then the killer acts.

Limit lowball games also frequently allow a player to kill the pot from
any position. In this case, the killer makes a blind of the current
limit, and the limit is doubled for that hand. As in no-limit games, the
player who kills the pot acts last after the blinds before the draw, and
action resumes to the normal order after the draw.

In addition, some limit games are played with a kill or a half kill. In
these games, there is some condition which if met, raises the stakes of
the game - doubling them in the case of a kill game, or increasing them
by 50% in the case of a half kill. In addition to the normal blinds
posted for the game, the player who met the kill condition must post a
blind equal to the new small bet size. This blind is instead of the
small or big blind if the player would have been in position to have one
of those. In some clubs the killer gets to act last after the blinds;
but in others the killer acts in normal turn order.

In a high only game, the condition is typically that someone wins two
pots in a row. In a high-low split game, the condition is usually that
someone takes the whole pot, and that the pot is some minimum size.

For example: in a 10-20 Omaha-8 game with a half kill that I've played
in, if someone scoops a pot with $100 in it, then they must post a $15
blind and the next hand the game is 15-30.

Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.3.4 What is a straddle bet?

Author: Stephen Landrum
Last updated: 1998
Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [102].

In limit Hold'em and other flop games players are frequently allowed to
make a bet called a straddle bet, sometimes known as a live blind, live
raise, or live-<amount> where <amount> is the amount of the bet. The
player who follows the big blind and would normally be under the gun can
raise before cards before cards are dealt. Players that act after him
must call the raise, fold, or raise the bet themselves. The straddler's
raise is live - if no-one else raises, s/he has the option to reraise
after the blinds have acted. If straddle bets are allowed, the player
behind the straddler can also post a straddle by raising again, and so
on until the maximum number of bets is reached.

For example: In a 6-12 game, the blinds are 3 and 6, the player after
the small blind makes it live-12 by raising before the cards are dealt,
and the player after him can make it live-18.

Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.3.5 What is Hi-Lo declare? What if someone declares both ways
      but ties?

Author: Stephen Landrum
Last updated: Jan 2002
Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [103].

Hi-Lo declare is a popular variation in home games that can be applied
to any game that can be played hi-lo. The betting proceeds normally to
the end of the hand, then everyone still in the hand declares whether
they are going high, low, or both ways.

There are many variations to the rules, so it is best to make sure that
the rules used in your game are announced in advance and that everyone
agrees to them.

There are several ways that the hand can be declared. One of the most
popular is to declare simultaneously with chips. Each player secretly
conceals chips in their hand; then at the same time all players open
their hands to reveal their declaration. Common systems for chip declare
include using number of chips (for instance, no chips means low, one
chip means high, two chips means both ways), or using color of chips
(for instance white chips in hand mean low, red chips mean high, both
colors mean both ways). Another way of declaring is for the players to
announce aloud in turn (either from dealer's left, from the high showing
hand, or from the last bettor depending on what's been agreed upon in
advance). This latter form of declare obviously has a huge positional
advantage for the player who gets to declare last.

After the declare, there may be another betting round, depending on the
house rules. If there is an additional betting round, a "lock" bettor
may be allowed to bet or raise, or may be required only to check and
call depending on the house variation being used. A "lock" bettor is a
player who declares one way and no-one else declares that way.

After the declare and optional betting round is the showdown. At the
showdown, the best high hand (of the hands that have been declared as
going high) and the best low hand (of the hands that declared low) split
the pot. If everyone has declared the same way, then the whole pot is
awarded to the best hand that way. If more than one player has they same
best hand in the way they've declared they split that share of the pot.

If someone declares "both ways" (also called a "hogger"), things get
more complicated. If the "both ways" player has the best high and the
best low hand, then they win the whole pot. If they are beat in either
direction, however, they win none of the pot. What happens if they have
the best high but are beat low, or have the best low but are beat high
is a matter of house rules (and can be a matter of great dispute if the
players have not agreed beforehand). In some houses if a player declares
both ways and has the best high hand but is beat low, the second best
high hand is allowed to win the high share of the pot (the same
reasoning applies if the both ways declarer has the best low but is beat
high). In other houses, if a player declares both ways and has the best
high but is beat low, then no-one wins the high, and the entire pot is
awarded to the best low hand.

Another important variation in the rules to know about for declaring
both ways is whether a both ways declarer is allowed to tie on either
side. In some houses, the both ways declarer must win both sides free
and clear, or get none of the pot. For instance if player A declares
both ways, and player B declares high, and they both have the same
straight, then player A gets nothing. Other houses allow the both ways
declarer to get shares if the pot if they tie on one side (as long as
they win or tie on the other as well). For instance if Player A declares
both ways, and player B declares high, and they both have they same
straight, then A would get 3/4 of the pot (all of low and half of high),
and B would get 1/4 (half of the high).

It leads to the least complications in extremely rare situations if
"second best" hands are allowed to win if a both ways declarer is beat
in the other direction. If second best hands are not allowed to win,
then situations can arise where no-one is eligible for a share of the
pot and a long argument is likely to ensue. For instance Players A, B, C
and D declare hi, low, both and both respectively. Player C has the best
high hand, but player D has the best low hand, if "second best" hands
are not allowed a share of the pot, then no-one is allowed to win. If
"second best" hands are allowed to win, then player A wins high, and
player B wins low. If "second best" hands are not allowed to win in your
game, it's probably best to have a house rule to allow them to win in
the case where no-one would otherwise be eligible for any of the pot.

In the case where all players have declared both ways, but no-one wins
both ways, it's best to treat it as if the hand had been played without
declare, and the best high hand and the best low hand are allowed to
split the pot.

*Hi-Lo Declare Examples*

Here are some showdown clarifications for Hi-Lo Declare under different
rule sets. For illustration purposes, the game used will be 7 card stud
(so that there can be ties on either the high or low sides), but the
concepts apply to any game that can be played Hi-Lo.

Rule variation #1 - "Both ways" must win free and clear (cannot tie),
and 2nd best hands cannot win. This is probably the most popular rule
set used, but needs some extra rules to settle unusual situations.

Rule variation #2 - "Both ways" hands are allowed to tie, and 2nd best
hands are allowed to win if they are only beat by hands that are
otherwise ineligible to win. This is the most liberal set of rules, and
is almost always clear about how the pot is divided. Even this needs
clarification if everyone declares both ways.

Rule variation #3 - "Both ways" must win free and clear, but 2nd best
hands are allowed to win. This set is included because at least one home
game is currently known to use it.

In the cases where no-one is eligible to win, an extra rule needs to be
invoked to handle the situation (the pot rides to the next hand, second
best hand is allowed to win, both ways allowed to win just one way, etc.)

+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| Declaration and hands:  | Variation #1   | Variation #2   | Variation #3
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: high with KQJT9      | A gets 1/2 the pot for high
|
| B: low with an 8532A    | B gets 1/2 the pot for low
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: high with KQJT9      | A gets 1/2 the pot for high
|
| B: low with an 7532A    | B gets 1/2 the pot for low
|
| C: both ways with 76543 |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: low with an 7532A    | A wins the whole pot
|
| B: both ways with 76543 |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: high with three 9s   | B wins the whole pot
|
| B: both ways with 76543 |
|
| C: low with 8532A       |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: high with flush      | A gets 1/2 the pot for high
|
| B: both ways with 76543 | C gets 1/2 the pot for low
|
| C: low with 6542A       |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: high with three 9s   | C wins the pot | A gets 1/2 pot | A gets 1/2 pot
|
| B: both ways with 76543 |                | C gets 1/2 pot | C gets 1/2 pot
|
| C: low with 6 low       |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: high with 98765      | A wins the pot | A gets 1/4 pot | A gets 1/2 pot
|
| B: high with 98765      |                | B gets 3/4 pot | C gets 1/2 pot
|
|     and low with 7653A  |                |                |
|
| C: low with 76542       |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: both ways with 76543 | none eligible* | A gets 1/2 pot | C wins the pot
|
| B: both ways with 76543 |                | B gets 1/2 pot |
|
| C: high with KKJJ9      |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: both ways with 76543 | B wins the pot | A gets 3/4 pot | B wins the pot
|
| B: high with 76543      |                | B gets 1/4 pot |
|
| C: high with KKJJ9      |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: both ways with 76543 | B wins the pot | A gets 3/4 pot | B gets 1/2 pot
|
| B: low with 76543       |                | B gets 1/4 pot | C gets 1/2 pot
|
| C: high with KKJJ9      |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: both ways with 76543 | none eligible* | A gets 1/2 pot | none eligible*
|
| B: both ways with 76543 |                | B gets 1/2 pot |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: both ways with 76543 | none eligible* | B wins the pot | none eligible*
|
| B: both ways with flush |                |                |
|
|      and 76543          |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: both ways with 76543 | none eligible* | B wins the pot | C wins the pot
|
| B: both ways with flush |                |                |
|
|      and 76543          |                |                |
|
| C: high with KKJJ9      |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+
| A: both ways with 76543 | none eligible* | none eligible* | none eligible*
|
| B: both ways with flush |                |                |
|
|      and 8543A          |                |                |
|
+-------------------------+----------------+----------------+---------------
-+

In summary, Hi-Lo declare is popular and can add fun and variety to your
home game, but arguments are best avoided by clarifying the particular
house rules and unusual situations in advance.

Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.3.6 What is a burn card and why is it dealt?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: 1996
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [104].

A burn card is a card dealt face down at the beginning of a round,
before any other cards are dealt. This card is not used in the play of
the hand. The main reason for this custom is to guard against marked
cards. If the cards are marked, a player who can read the backs will
know what the top card on the deck is. In a flop-game like Hold'em or
Omaha, knowledge of the next board card is extremely profitable.
Knowledge of which card it will *not* be is slightly useful, but much
less so.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.3.7 What happens if there aren't enough cards in the deck to
      deal the final card in 7-card stud?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: 1996
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [105].

The burn cards will be shuffled into the remaining deck. If there are
still not enough cards, a single community card will be dealt face-up
and used by all the players.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.4 Odds and probabilities


      2.4.1 Why are poker hands ranked the way they are?

Author: Michael Maurer, Darse Billings, Roy Hashimoto
Last updated: 1995
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer, Darse Billings, Roy Hashimoto
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [106].

The standard poker hands are ranked based on the probability of their
being dealt pat in 5 cards from a full 52-card deck. The following table
lists the hands in order of increasing frequency, and shows how many
ways each hand can be dealt in 3, 5, and 7 cards.

Hand                  3 cards           5 cards           7 cards
====                  =======           =======           =======
Straight Flush             48                40            41,584
Four of a Kind              0               624           224,848
Full House                  0             3,744         3,473,184
Flush                   1,096             5,108         4,047,644
Straight                  720            10,200         6,180,020
Three of a Kind            52            54,912         6,461,620
Two Pair                    0           123,552        31,433,400
One Pair                3,744         1,098,240        58,627,800
High Card              16,440         1,302,540        23,294,460
=================================================================
TOTALS                 22,100         2,598,960       133,784,560

Notes:

1. The standard rankings are incorrect for 3-card hands, since it is
easier to get a flush than a straight, and easier to get a straight than
three of a kind. See the entry on three-card rankings.

2. For 7-card hands, the numbers reflect the best possible 5-card hand
out of the 7 cards. For instance, a hand that contains both a straight
and three of a kind is counted as a straight.

3. For 7-card hands, only five cards need be in sequence to make a
straight, or of the same suit to make a flush. In a 3-card hand a
sequence of three is considered a straight, and three of the same suit a
flush. These rules reflect standard poker practice.

4. In a 7-card hand, it is easier for one's *best* 5 cards to have one
or two pair than no pair. (Good bar bet opportunity!) However, if we
changed the ranking to value no pairs above two pairs, all of the one
pair hands and most of the two pair hands would be able to qualify for
"no pair" by choosing a different set of five cards.

5. Within each type of hand (e.g., among all flushes) the hands are
ranked according to an arbitrary scheme, unrelated to probability. See
the explanation of flush and two-pair rankings.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer, Darse Billings, Roy Hashimoto.
Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact info@rgpfaq.com
<mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.4.2 What is the correct ranking for 3-card poker hands?

Author: Darse Billings
Last updated: 1995
Copyright * 2004 Darse Billings
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [107].

The standard ranking of poker hands is based on their frequency of
occurrence in a five card hand. In three card hands the relative
frequency of hands is different, so different in fact that three of a
kind beats a straight, and a straight beats a flush.

The following is a break down of all three card poker hands. They can be
used for certain three card games, such as Guts or 3-card-6. They can
also be used to analyze starting hands for games like 7-Card Stud.

Hand Type      Kinds   Each   Total     Cuml   Rating
---------      -----   ----   -----     ----   ------
straight flush   12      4       48       48   0.9978
trips            13      4       52      100   0.9955
straight         12     60      720      820   0.9629
flush  **       274      4     1096     1916   0.9133
pair  ***       156     24     3744     5660   0.7439
Ace high         64     60     3840     9500   0.5701
King high        54     60     3240    12740   0.4235
Queen high       44     60     2640    15380   0.3041
Jack high        35     60     2100    17480   0.2090
Ten high         27     60     1620    19100   0.1357
Nine high        20     60     1200    20300   0.0814
Eight high       14     60      840    21140   0.0434
Seven high        9     60      540    21680   0.0190
Six high          5     60      300    21980   0.0054
Five high         2     60      120    22100   0.0000


** More on Flushes           
------------------           
High Card       Kinds Percent  Total    Cuml   Rating
---------       ----- -------  -----    ----   ------
Ace high         64    23.4     256     1076   0.9513
King high        54    19.7     216     1292   0.9415
Queen high       44    16.1     176     1468   0.9336
Jack high        35    12.8     140     1608   0.9272
Ten high         27     9.9     108     1716   0.9224
Nine high        20     7.3      80     1796   0.9187
Eight high       14     5.1      56     1852   0.9162
Seven high        9     3.3      36     1888   0.9146
Six high          5     1.8      20     1908   0.9137
Five high         2     0.7       8     1916   0.9133


*** More on Pairs
-----------------
Hand Type      Kinds   Each    Total    Cuml   Rating
---------      -----   ----    -----    ----   ------
   AAx           12     24      288     2204   0.9003
   KKx           12     24      288     2492   0.8872
   QQx           12     24      288     2780   0.8742
   JJx           12     24      288     3068   0.8612
   TTx           12     24      288     3356   0.8481
   99x           12     24      288     3644   0.8351
   88x           12     24      288     3932   0.8221
   77x           12     24      288     4220   0.8090
   66x           12     24      288     4508   0.7960
   55x           12     24      288     4796   0.7830
   44x           12     24      288     5084   0.7700
   33x           12     24      288     5372   0.7569
   22x           12     24      288     5660   0.7439

In the preceding tables, "Kinds" refers to the number of card
combinations in each class, while "Each" is the number of non-distinct
hands of each Kind. The product of these two numbers gives the total
number of hands in that class. "Cuml" is the cumulative total of all
hands, and "Rating" is a percentile ranking of the lowest hand in the
class.

Note that "Rating" is only an estimate of the probability of beating a
random hand. To compute the exact probability, a given hand must be
compared to the (49 choose 3) combinations of the remaining cards in the
deck.

Copyright * 2004 Darse Billings. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.4.3 Why are ace-hi flushes ranked highest, when it's much harder
      to get a seven-hi flush? And similarly for two pairs?

Author: Michael Maurer, Giancarlo DiPierro
Last updated: 1998
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer, Giancarlo DiPierro
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [108].

[Michael Maurer's original answer:] Only the classes themselves (flush,
straight, etc) are ranked by the probability of getting them in five
cards. Within each class we use an arbitrary system to rank hands of the
same type. For example, our arbitrary system ranks four aces higher than
four deuces, even though the hands occur with the same frequency.
Similarly, flushes are ranked by the highest card, with the next highest
card breaking ties, and so on down to the fifth card. This has the
curious effect of creating many more ace-hi flushes than any other kind,
because any flush that contains an ace is "ace-hi", regardless of the
other cards. Thus, although 490 of the 1277 flushes in each suit contain
a seven, only four of them are seven-hi flushes: 76542, 76532, 76432,
and 75432. The median flush turns out to be KJT42.

A similar situation occurs for two pair hands. There are twelve times as
many ways to make two pair with aces being the high pair ("aces up") as
there are to do it with threes as the high pair ("threes up"). While the
aces can go with another other rank of pair, the threes must go with
twos, or we would reverse the order and call them, for instance, "eights
up". Note that it is fruitless to alter the relative rankings to try to
account for this imbalance, since as soon as we do the cards will be
reinterpreted to make the best hand under the new system. For example,
if we decide to make "threes up" the best possible two pair hand, now
all the hands like "eights and threes" will be interpreted as "threes
and eights", and the population of "threes up" hands will soar
twelve-fold. The median two pair hand turns out to be a tie between
JJ552 and JJ44A.

[Giancarlo DiPierro suggests a fresh interpretation:] You've figured it
out. Flushes are not correctly ranked according to their mathematical
probability. The ranking of flushes and no-pair hands by the highest
card (hence the term "high-card" for no-pair hands) that is commonly
used around the world today is an arbitrary system that likely dates
back to when someone first started betting on poker hands.

The correct way to rank these hands according to how hard they are be
dealt becomes clear if you have ever played lowball or any high-low
split game. In those games, low hands are ranked by the worst card, not
the best card. Any 6-high low hand is ranked higher than any 7-high low
hand because a 6-high is dealt three times less frequently than a
7-high. It doesn't matter if the lowest card in the 7-high hand is an
ace and the lowest card in the 6-high hand is only a deuce, the 6-high
wins.

Applying that principle to flushes and no-pair hands in high poker, a
9-low hand is dealt about three times less frequently than an 8-low and
about seven times less frequently than a 7-low. So the 9-low should
ranked higher, even if the 7-low contains an ace and the 9-low does not.
In any situation where unpaired cards are determining the ranking of a
hand, whether it is a flush, no-pair, or the side cards in hands with
trips of equal rank, the worst card -- the lowest one -- should be used
for the ranking.

This concept also applies to two pair hands -- the mathematically
correct way of ranking them would be to use the value of the lower pair.
Kings-under-aces is twice as rare as any queens-under hand, three times
are rare as jacks-under, four times as rare as tens-under, and twelve
times as rare as dueces-under -- the easiest two pair to make. The next
time your queens-under-kings loses to a pair of aces that turns into
aces-and-dueces on the river, you can feel justified that
mathematically, at least, you had the better hand!

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer, Giancarlo DiPierro. Unauthorized
copying prohibited. Contact info@rgpfaq.com
<mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.4.4 What are my chances of sucking out on my opponent in Hold'em?

Author: Jason Steinhorn, Zbigniew
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 Jason Steinhorn, Zbigniew
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [109].

The following is an extension of the probability table offered by
Sklansky and Malmuth in their book, Hold'em Poker For Advanced Players.
It lists the probability (%) and odds (X:1) of making any given hand on
the turn, the river, combined turn or river (i.e., catching at least one
of the outs on either the turn or river), and combined turn and river
(i.e., hitting a runner-runner/backdoor draw), given the number of outs
for the hand.

Below that is a chart listing the number of outs given a particular
drawing hand, and what hands those outs will give if made.

 Chances of making a hand on the turn, river, turn or river (t|r), 
 turn and river (t&r):
        turn    turn  | river   river  |   t|r     t|r  |   t&r     t&r
Outs     (%)   (X:1)  |   (%)   (X:1)  |   (%)   (X:1)  |   (%)   (X:1)
----------------------|----------------|----------------|--------------
  20    42.6    1.35  |  43.5    1.30  |  67.5    0.48  |  17.6    4.69
  19    40.4    1.47  |  41.3    1.42  |  65.0    0.54  |  15.8    5.32
  18    38.3    1.61  |  39.1    1.56  |  62.4    0.60  |  14.2    6.07
  17    36.2    1.76  |  37.0    1.71  |  59.8    0.67  |  12.6    6.95
  16    34.0    1.94  |  34.8    1.88  |  57.0    0.75  |  11.1    8.01
  15    31.9    2.13  |  32.6    2.07  |  54.1    0.85  |   9.7    9.30
  14    29.8    2.36  |  30.4    2.29  |  51.2    0.95  |   8.4   10.88
  13    27.7    2.62  |  28.3    2.54  |  48.1    1.08  |   7.2   12.86
  12    25.5    2.92  |  26.1    2.83  |  45.0    1.22  |   6.1   15.38
  11    23.4    3.27  |  23.9    3.18  |  41.7    1.40  |   5.1   18.65
  10    21.3    3.70  |  21.7    3.60  |  38.4    1.60  |   4.2   23.02
   9    19.1    4.22  |  19.6    4.11  |  35.0    1.86  |   3.3   29.03
   8    17.0    4.88  |  17.4    4.75  |  31.5    2.18  |   2.6   37.61
   7    14.9    5.71  |  15.2    5.57  |  27.8    2.59  |   1.9   50.48
   6    12.8    6.83  |  13.0    6.67  |  24.1    3.14  |   1.4   71.07
   5    10.6    8.40  |  10.9    8.20  |  20.4    3.91  |   0.9  107.10
   4     8.5   10.75  |   8.7   10.50  |  16.5    5.07  |   0.6  179.17
   3     6.4   14.67  |   6.5   14.33  |  12.5    7.01  |   0.3  359.33
   2     4.3   22.50  |   4.3   22.00  |   8.4   10.88  |   0.1 1080.00
   1     2.1   46.00  |   2.2   45.00  |   4.3   22.50  |   0.0      NA

   Number of Outs Given a Particular Hand to Improve
 Outs   Given                           In attempt to make
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
  15    Open Straight Flush Draw        Straight, Flush, Straight Flush
  12    Inside Straight Flush Draw      Straight, Flush, Straight Flush
   9    Flush Draw                      Flush
   8    Open Straight Draw              Straight
   4    Gut Shot Straight               Straight
   4    2 Pair                          Full House
   2    1 Pair                          Three of a kind
   1    Three of a Kind                 Four of a kind

Editors note, Oct 2003: for further reference, see the following.

Mike Caro has published an extensive set of probability tables [110] for
draw, stud, holdem, and lowball.

In his essay, Theory of Sucking Out According to Abdul [111], Abdul
Jalib discusses the basic concepts of sucking out, chasing, buyin free
cards, and semi-bluffing.

Copyright * 2004 Jason Steinhorn, Zbigniew. Unauthorized copying
prohibited. Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ>
for permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.4.5 What are my chances of sucking out on my opponent in Stud?

Author: Harry 026
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 Harry 026
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [112].

Big Dave D wrote:

> I'm trying to work out a seven stud hi-lo eight or better problem.
> You're heads up on 4th street, drawing to a busted low, say a233.
> You are up against an obvious high, say KK with KK in the hole.
> What are the odds that you make a low, any low. (which would
> obviously get you half the pot back). My mental maths says
> about 2:1 against.

The odds against getting a low are about 1.67 to 1 against, so your
"mental maths" estimate of 2 to 1 is pretty good.

Here is a chart (generated from a Markov chain) that might be helpful if
another such question comes up. If you are hoping to get a low (in any
seven-card game such as stud, Omaha-8, or hi-lo hold'em), a "good card"
is any desirable low card of a rank you don't already hold, and a "bad
card" is a card of any rank you already hold or of a rank higher than
you want. For example, suppose you hold 24468, and you believe that you
must get a 7-low or better to win the low half of the pot. At that point
you hold 3 good cards and 2 bad cards. Find that row, and look below P7.
The probability that you will make a 7-low is 0.0888. If you'd settle
for an 8-low, then you hold 4 good and 1 bad, and the probability of
making an 8-low is 0.5698.

This chart doesn't take into account any other cards, so in your case
(where the opposition holds 4 kings) the probability of making your low
is somewhat better than the 0.3238 from the table (it is 0.3745, for
odds of 1.67 to 1 against).

G      B        P8          P7          P6          P5
0      0      0.1834      0.0849      0.0294      0.0058
1      2      0.0423      0.0181      0.0060      0.0012
2      1      0.1963      0.1072      0.0465      0.0125
2      2      0.0740      0.0370      0.0148      0.0037
3      0      0.4827      0.3325      0.1895      0.0715
3      1      0.3238      0.2091      0.1119      0.0398
3      2      0.1480      0.0888      0.0444      0.0148
4      0      0.7132      0.5872      0.4288      0.2343
4      1      0.5698      0.4496      0.3145      0.1647
4      2      0.3478      0.2609      0.1739      0.0870

Editors note, Oct 2003: for further reference, see the following.

Mike Caro has published an extensive set of probability tables [110] for
draw, stud, holdem, and lowball.

Copyright * 2004 Harry 026. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.4.6 How many fundamentally different Omaha or Omaha-8 starting
      hands are there?

Author: Frank Jerome
Last updated: Jul 2002
Copyright * 2004 Frank Jerome
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [113].

Although there are C(52,4) = 270,725 different 4-card hands, many of
them are indistinguishible as starting hands because they differ only in
suit. For example, AhTh9c8c is equivalent to AsTs9d8d. How many distinct
starting hands are there? A total of 16,432, as follows:

  715_____C(13,4)_______all four cards in same suit
 2860_____4*C(13,4)_____two suits (3,1), no pairs
 2145_____3*C(13,4)_____two suits (2,2), no pairs
  858_____13*C(12,2)____two suits (3,1), one pair
 1716_____13*2*C(12,2)__two suits (2,2), one pair
   78_____C(13,2)_______two suits (2,2), two pairs
 4290_____6*C(13,4)_____three suits, no pairs
 1716_____13*2*C(12,2)__three suits, one pair
   78_____C(13,2)_______three suits, two pairs
  156_____13*12_________three suits, triplets
  715_____C(13,4)_______four suits, no pairs
  858_____13*C(12,2)____four suits, one pair
   78_____C(13,2)_______four suits, two pairs
  156_____13*12_________four suits, triplets
   13_____13____________four suits, quads


16432___________________total

Copyright * 2004 Frank Jerome. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.5 Miscellaneous


      2.5.1 What is the difference between a shill and a proposition
      player? What skills are needed to be one?

Author: John Murphy
Last updated: 1996
Copyright * 2004 John Murphy
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [114].

A shill is paid by the house at an hourly rate, and plays with house
money. A prop is paid by the house and plays with his own money. Many
states require cardrooms to identify house players if asked, but may not
require them to do so otherwise. Shills and props are directed to games
by the house. This means that they may be constantly shifted to tougher
games, as non-house players boot them out of seats in juicy games. The
most important skill for a prop is to be able to excel in all games,
since they may be called to play any game that the house offers, against
players who specialize in that game. Also, be they must be prepared to
sit and wait if all games are full.

Copyright * 2004 John Murphy. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      2.5.2 What is the Dead Man's Hand?

Author: Stephen Landrum
Last updated: 1996
Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [115].

Legend holds that Wild Bill Hickok was shot to death during a poker game
in Deadwood, South Dakota, and that the hand he held was two pair, black
aces and black eights. On that most people agree. The fifth card is not
known for certain. In order of credibility, the following kickers have
been suggested:

Five of Diamonds
    The actual card is supposedly on display in Deadwood, previously on
    display at the Stardust in Las Vegas. 
Nine of Diamonds
    Listed below in the glossary, this card was supposedly reported by
    first hand accounts, and is used in a recreation in Deadwood. 
Queen of Clubs
    On display at Ripley's /Believe it or Not/. 
King of Spades
    Appeared in the 1936 movie /The Plainsman/ with Gary Cooper as Hickok. 

Copyright * 2004 Stephen Landrum. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
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------------------------------------------------------------------------


      3 Poker strategy


      3.1 What skills are important for Texas Hold'em?

Author: Michael Hall
Last updated: 1995
Copyright * 2004 Michael Hall
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [116].

(Hold 'em) Poker Skills in Order of Importance

Disclaimer: I'm a poker novice, not an expert.

0. Table selection
1. Hand selection
2. Reading opponents' hands
3. Opponent assessment
4. Heads up play, bluffing, and semi-bluffing
5. Seat selection
6. Check-raising
7. Getting tells
8. Pot odds calculations

The exact order of importance of skills varies by game type. For
example, you cannot read your opponent when your opponent does not know
what he has. The list above is geared towards mid-level games where some
sanity prevails but the game is not at an expert level either.


        0. Table Selection.

By far the most important skill is table selection, so it ranks better
than #1, it's #0. It doesn't matter how well you play if you are always
picking the games with no fish where even an expert can't beat the rake.
Most of your income will come from a few very bad players. If you play
fairly well, you won't lose much to the better players, nor win much
from the slightly inferior players; it's the fish that count.


        1. Hand selection

Now that you've found your table with a live one or two, be patient.
More than just having the discipline to play good hands and the stomach
for surviving the variance, you should realize that most of our income
in Hold 'em comes from AA and KK, with notable mention to the other
pocket pairs and AK. Your object is to not lose too much while waiting
for these premium hands, and particularly not to lose too much to these
hands when other players get them. At $10-$20 and below, go ahead and
make it 3 bets if you can before the flop with your AA or KK; you'll be
surprised at how little respect you get with people calling you all the
way to the river even though your betting is screaming "I HAVE POCKET
ACES!!!" And respect preflop raises done by other players, dumping a lot
of hands you would normally play such as AT and KJ or even AJ and KQ, as
you don't want to make top pair versus an overpair. On the flop, don't
bet into someone who has made it three bets unless you can beat the shit
out of AA and KK and *want* to be raised back and then just call and go
for a check-raise on the turn.


        2. Reading opponents' hands

Now, think about the range of hands and their probabilities that your
opponents could have. Initially, when the players receive their first
two cards, every possible two card hand is equally probable (unless you
start grouping them like 87 offsuit, pocket aces, etc., but you get the
idea.) Every action a player takes gives you information that you can
use to adjust these probabilities. It's a Bayesian inference problem.
Unfortunately, actually applying Bayes' rule exactly is beyond any puny
human brain's capability. So, you make a major approximation and
essentially just keep around a set of possible hands, which you then
prune down as action take place.

Suppose a player just calls preflop in early position and the flop comes
Q 7 2 offsuit and he suddenly goes berserk by reraising, you have to
think about what hands are likely. The hands that make sense to reraise
like that are AQ, KQ, Q7, 72, Q2, 77, and 22. QQ would probably be
slow-played here instead. Now join that set with the possible hands
before the flop. We can just look at these hands and see which are
reasonable to just call preflop in early position. AQ and KQ are often
raised in early position, but at least sometimes they just call, so they
are still consistent. Q7, 72, and Q2 are not reasonable calls from early
position. 77 and 22 are reasonable calls, though tight players would
probably dump the 22. So that leaves AQ, KQ, 77, and 22 as his possible
hands, which has narrowed down the field quite a bit. Be aware also of
how other players may interpret your betting.


        3. Opponent assessment

As play goes along, give yourself a running commentary of the events,
"she open-raises, he folds, he cold-calls...". You must make a lot of
mental notes based on this, and you must do this even when you're not in
a hand, because in addition to being useful during a hand, it's useful
for later hands. You want to see the frequency with which a player sees
the flop, the frequency with which a player defends his blinds from
raises, and the hands a player open-raises with, raises with, reraises
with, cold-calls with, and just calls with. This in conjunction with
narrowing down the hands above will often give you a good idea of what's
going on even when there is no showdown. Your goal is to stereotype each
player, as well as to note particular idiosyncrasies of the individuals
for use not only now but in future sessions.


        4. Heads up play, semi-bluffing, and bluffing

Especially when heads-up, you should be constantly applying pressure to
the other player to make him fold. You may reraise when you think you're
either beaten badly or your opponent is bluffing. It's a bit like chess
or wargames, with attacks, feints, counterattacks, and graceful
retreats. This is part of the "feel" of poker that's hard to put into
words, but hopefully you get the idea. Bluffing and semi-bluffing is
important to keep yourself unpredictable, and with since you're keeping
track of the ranges of plausible hands, it's quite likely you'll often
know where your opponent stands. Cold bluffing is usually restricted to
the river, where you might bet into one or two opponents (who might
fold) if you have no chance of winning the pot if there is a showdown.
Semi-bluffing is betting with a hand that is not likely best but has
some big outs. Your opponent may fold immediately, and if not, you may
hit your out and your opponent may seriously misread you. There is an
important balance here; you must have sufficiently tight hand selection
criteria such that when you do bet your opponent is positively terrified
that you may have a big hand like an overpair. Semi-bluffing is very
powerful, because you've been so careful in choosing your starting hands
that even if you aren't there yet you are likely to get there.


        5. Seat selection

Generally, you want the loose aggressive players to your right and the
tight passive players to your left. This is so that you can see a raise
coming before calling the first bet. However, if the game is tight
enough that it is being folded around to the blinds often, then you want
some very tight passive players in the two seats to your right, so that
your blinds will not be stolen. This is a very important skill, and just
because you've found a good table, doesn't mean that every seat at that
table would be a winning seat on average for you.


        6. Check-raising

Because the nature of fixed limit Hold 'em makes calling one bet often
correct for very weak hands, it's difficult to protect your hand. A
major weapon you have to protect your hand is check-raising. However,
you must be conscious of where you think the bettor will be. Typically,
if you had a made but vulnerable hand you would check in early position
if you thought there would be a bet in late position; you then raise and
the players in between face two bets plus a risk of a reraise by the
late position player, making it difficult for them to call. If you have
an invulnerable hand that you want to make everyone pay you through the
nose for, then you would check in early position if you thought there
would be an early position bet, and then you would raise after everyone
trailed in calling behind. The down side of check-raising is that you
risk giving a free card if no one bets.


        7. Getting tells

Be aware of tells. If a player has his hands on his chips and is leaning
forward, all ready to raise if you bet, usually this is an act intended
to get you to just check, as the player in fact does not what to raise
you or maybe even call a bet. Two other incredibly valuable tells are
the "what the heck, I raise" tell (get *out*, he has a monster!) and the
"let me check to see if I have one of that suit with three on the board"
tell (so you know he doesn't have a flush already.) Remember that if
they think they're being watched, players typically act the opposite of
what they have.


        8. Pot odds calculations

Be aware of pot odds. You can count the number of "outs" you have to
estimate if calling is a positive expected value play. You may be
surprised that I rank this so low. Although it is a subjective opinion,
particularly when heads up it's much more important outplay your
opponent rather than outdraw him. In loose games, outdrawing becomes
much more important, but then the pots are so big that you usually have
odds for any half way reasonable draw anyway.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Hall. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      3.2 What is a good preflop strategy for limit Texas Hold'em?

Author: Abdul Jalib
Last updated: 2000
Copyright * 2004 Abdul Jalib
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [117].

Abdul Jalib describes a carefully thought out preflop strategy in his
essay Hold'em Preflop Strategy According to Abdul [118].

Abdul also has made a more technical study of the game-theoretical
concept of "balancing" in preflop Holdem in Information Reduction
through Strategy Restrictions and Balancing [119].

Copyright * 2004 Abdul Jalib. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      3.3 How does tournament strategy differ from that of regular games?

Author: Ramsey
Last updated: 1998
Copyright * 2004 Ramsey
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [120].

Poker tournaments offer a chance to win a large sum of money for a
small, and known, fee and can be an enjoyable alternative to cash poker.
However the strategy required to be successful in a tournament can
differ significantly from that of the equivalent cash game. This section
is therefore offered as general advice to new, or inexperienced,
tournament players.

Tournaments work by eliminating players who lose all their chips. To
ensure that a tournament ends within a reasonable time the blinds/antes
are increased at regular intervals. Your objective in a tournament
should therefore be to accumulate chips whilst minimising the chance of
being eliminated.


      Before the Tournament

Before entering a tournament make sure you know the way it is organised;
if it is a 'freezeout' then it will cost you only the initial fee. If
the tournament allows rebuys or add-ons then you need to know the exact
rules and costs of each of your options.

In your first few tournaments it will probably be sensible to forgo all
these options, play your best game with your starting chips, and gain as
much experience as possible at minimum cost.

As a general rule it is mathematically sound to rebuy at any stage
providing that you are not out-classed by the opposition (and the cost
is not a major concern). This is true even if all the other players at
the table have far more chips than you.

A good 'rule of thumb' for add-ons is to take the option if you
currently have less than the average number of chips *and*, by taking
the add-on you will then have an above average number of chips. The
add-on is less sound if you have a very small stack or a large stack. Of
course the cheaper the cost of the add-on chips the more attractive the
option is regardless of stack size.

Make sure you know how many prizes there are and whether the tournament
is played to a finish or ends at a fixed time. The correct strategy when
you get down to the last few players or the last few hands can lead to
some plays which would be irrational in any other circumstances.

Also check the blind/ante structure; how it changes and how frequently
it changes during the tournament. The blinds typically double at fixed
intervals of between 20 and 40 minutes. This information is important:
Suppose at some point you have 1800 chips and there are currently blinds
of 200 and 400. After you have paid your next blinds you will have 1200
chips left or 3 times the big blind. If however the blinds are likely to
double before you next post then, after posting, you will have 600 chips
left which is less than the big blind of 800. Clearly the strategy you
need to adopt will vary considerably in these two situations, in the
first you can be reasonably conservative whilst in the latter you have
to win a pot quickly and will need to be aggressive.


      The Early Stages

In the early stages of a tournament keep the following points in mind:

If it is a 'freezeout' tournament a lot of players will play tight in
the early stages not wanting to be eliminated quickly. Some players will
however be aggressive looking to build a big stack quickly with a fall
back of a return to the cash games if things don't go to plan. Selective
aggression against the tight players can be effective in this situation.

If rebuys are allowed the play in the early stages will tend to be a lot
looser. A lot of the players will be prepared, and even expect, to rebuy
and they will play marginal hands aggressively trying to build a big
stack early. Players who are not going to rebuy will play a lot more
cautiously.

At the start of a tournament the cost of the blinds will be relatively
low in respect of the average stack size and will become even lower if
rebuys are allowed. This allows you to play much more marginal hands
than normal. It is worth risking a small part of your stack (say 5% or
less) to see the flop with small pairs, suited connectors and other
marginal hands to have the chance to double your stack if you hit big on
the flop.

By the same token it can be right to play good hands relatively
conservatively preflop. If you hold AK in late position and there are
several callers it is often better just to flat call. You know if you
raise you will not get the other players to fold. By flat calling you
minimise your loss if the flop is not to your liking and you have the
benefit of disguise if you hit the flop big.

If you are by nature an aggressive player then use the early stages to
try and build a substantial stack. This risks early elimination but when
successful it will give you sufficient chips to survive the first few
blind increases even if the cards turn against you.

If your natural game is passive or middle of the road then the best
strategy is to try for a steady accumulation of chips. Play looser than
normal preflop providing that the cost is small in relation to your
stack but play slightly tighter than normal post-flop. This generally
means not putting in that extra bet or raise when you think, but are not
sure, that you are ahead - the saving of a bet when you lose the pot is
worth more to you than the extra bet you could potentially win.

Finally in the early stages do not be concerned with eliminating other
players. You are too far from the prize list to worry about how many
players are left. It is more important to concentrate on keeping your
stack in good condition. For example a player raises and everyone else
folds. You hold T9s and have a big stack. Your opponent is almost allin
so the cost to you even if you lose the pot is small. Even so, fold.
Your opponent has almost certainly a better starting hand than yours and
even if you win it will not increase your stack by much. Having made a
good start you need to be careful not to bleed chips unnecessarily.


      The Middle/Late Stages

In the middle and later stages of a tournament the structure of the game
gradually changes and the strategy necessary changes too:

As the blinds increase they represent an increasing percentage of the
average stack. Winning the blinds therefore becomes more significant and
the first player into the pot will normally enter with a raise rather
than a flat call.

The converse of this is that it now costs a significant proportion of
the average stack to call a raise. Therefore the quality of hand needed
to call a raise increases. The result of this is that a lot of hands go
raise, all fold and you can go several hands without even seeing a flop.

As players are eliminated the game in the middle/late stages will be
played most of the time with less than a full table. This, and the
increasing blinds, means that unless a players is winning hands at
regular intervals even a big stack can be quickly depleted. To counter
this all players, regardless of their normal style, have to play very
aggressively.

So the general strategy in the middle/late stages is to increasingly
loosen the requirements for an opening raise and to tighten up the
requirements for calling. Your objective should be to win, on average,
the blinds once per round. Each time you win the blinds you can, in
effect, survive one further round of hands.... and each round of hands
you survive increases your chance of hitting a premium hand and an
opportunity to double your stack.

A player who has an average or large stack commands respect when they
raise and will often win the blinds unopposed. A player with a small
stack will be called much more frequently because they do not have
sufficient chips to seriously damage the larger stacks. There is,
therefore, a critical stack size and it is worth a player taking extra
risks to try and avoid falling below that point. As a rule of thumb this
critical size is about 4 big bets in a limit game and about 6 times the
big blind in pot and no-limit.

If your stack does fall below the critical level then a change of
strategy is required. It is no longer sensible to raise with marginal
hands because you expect to be called. So raise if you are lucky enough
to hit a premium hand but otherwise limp in to a pot with any reasonable
hand. If there is no raise then you can judge the flop and fold if
absolutely necessary. If you limp into a pot and it is then raised be
prepared to put all your chips in and keep your fingers crossed. If
there is a raise in front of you then you should also loosen your
calling requirements when you are very short of chips. A hand such as Ax
or a low pair offers a reasonable chance of doubling your stack and you
can't afford to wait for a better opportunity.

If you have a big stack (e.g. twice the average or more) then you are in
a strong position but this can change rapidly. A big stack allows you to
play more conservatively and wait that bit longer for better hands
before raising however the blinds will soon eat into even a large stack
so you have to remain aggressive. Normally it will pay to be selectively
aggressive, that is be prepared to mix it with the smaller stacks but
keep out of the way of the other large stacks as they can do you serious
damage.

Experienced tournament players with large stacks are likely to call a
raise by a short stack even if they have only a moderate or poor hand.
They are risking losing a few chips for the chance of moving one place
closer to the prize money. There may even be several callers with good
stacks and poor hands. It will not be unusual for these players to check
down the hand once the short stack is all-in to maximise the chance of
eliminating the all-in player.

Whilst this is good tournament strategy it is probably best in your
first few tournaments to call a raise only with a very good hand and
ignore whether the raiser has many or few chips. However if you do get
head to head with a player who is almost all-in you should force the
other player to commit their last few chips at the first opportunity;
certainly if you would call if they bet then you must bet to prevent
them checking. It is a cardinal error to let a player off the hook
because no matter how few chips a player has left they can bounce back
to being chip leader within a few hands if they get the run of the cards!

As the blinds rise a raise or a call starts to take a significant
proportion of the average stack. The effect of this is that most players
will continue to play aggressively on the flop if they have even a small
part of it and quite often they will play aggressively even if the flop
misses them completely (ie bluff). You will have to respond in kind
especially if conceding the pot would leave you with a stack below the
critical level. For example you hold AsQd, raise and are called by the
big blind. The flop is Jh 8h 2c and the big blind bets. Even though this
flop does nothing for you you should call unless you are in a strong
chip position. The big blind is as likely to be on a draw or bluffing as
he is to have a genuine hand.


      The Final Stage

If all goes well you will survive to the point where you are down to the
last few players and almost in the prize money.

At this stage the blinds will be so high that virtually all the players
left will have stacks at or below the critical size. In addition you
will be playing the game increasingly short-handed which means that you
can see fewer and fewer hands before your stack is anted away.

You need at this stage to know exactly how near the prize money you are
and how many chips each of your opponents has. If you have an average or
large stack the correct strategy is still to be ultra aggressive in
raising but conservative in calling. However when you have fewer than
average chips it can be right to adopt a tighter strategy! There are two
reasons why this may be so:

Suppose there are 5 players left and there are prizes for the first 4
only. If the player under the gun does not have enough chips to cover
the big blind next hand then you will be probably correct to fold any
non-premium hand and hope that utg doesn't get lucky. In general this
extends to playing tight if you can survive longer than one or more of
the other players left in the game. This will force them to try and win
a pot before you have to - if they lose you are one further notch up the
ladder whilst if they win you still have a chance to also win a pot and
be back in the same relative position to them.

Providing that you have enough chips to see the next few hands then
playing tight also avoids the chance of immediate elimination and gives
the other players a chance to eliminate each other or to agree to make a
deal, either of which is to your advantage.

In most tournaments the last few players are allowed to agree a deal
sharing the prize fund in different proportions to that originally
envisioned. A lot of tournaments will end in this way because regardless
of how big a lead the chip leader has the blinds are so high that who
wins will be more a matter of luck than skill or weight of chips.

There are typically three types of deal:

   1. A saver is agreed for all those players still in who subsequently
      get eliminated outside the original prize scale. For example if
      there are 6 players left and only 4 prizes then the players may
      agree that the next 2 players eliminated will receive $100 each
      and the prize for the eventual winner will be reduced by $200. The
      game then continues.
   2. The whole of the prize fund is distributed amongst the remaining
      players and the game is ended at this point. The amount each
      player receives will be related to the number of chips they
      currently have but the exact amount will be subject to negotiation.
   3. Part of the prize fund is distributed amongst the remaining
      players and then the game continues; normally on the basis of the
      winner takes all of the remaining prize money (and the trophy if
      any).

If you are going to split the prize money on the basis of chips held
then it is probably easiest to let the experienced players do the
initial negotiating. They will ask if you would be happy to accept $x
and it is then up to you to accept or reject the offer. If you are one
of the chip leaders then you should expect to receive less than your
chips are worth whereas if you have less chips than average you should
insist on receiving more than their face value. For example with 5
players left if you have 10% of the chips you might expect 15% of the
prize fund; if you have 40% of the chips you might have to settle for
30-35% of the money.

For new tournament players the important point to bear in mind is that
any deal requires the explicit agreement of *all* the remaining players.
If you do not like the proposed deal you do not have to accept it simply
ask the dealer to carry on. If things continue to go your way you will
end up with all the chips and the bulk of the prize money. Remember
however that in these final stages luck is more important than skill and
a sensible deal leaves everybody happy.

/[Several books have been written on the subject of poker tournaments,
but none has received universal praise from rec.gamblers. Jay
Sipelstein's reviews of McEvoy's "Tournament Poker" [121] and Buntjer's
"The Secret To Winning Big In Tournament Poker" [122] are in the Poker
Book Review Archive at http://www.seriouspoker.com/reviews.html --ed.]/

Copyright * 2004 Ramsey. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      3.4 Is "checking it down" in a tournament implicit collusion?

Author: Randy Hudson
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 Randy Hudson
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [123].

If you have one all-in player, and two other players who still have
stacks left, is it 100% expected that the two "live" players simply
check it down?

No, but it's pretty common. The presence of a player whose hand will
always be shown down makes bluffing generally inadvisable, and
consequently (though less obviously) shifts the hand strength needed for
a value bet upward. Each of these makes bets less likely, and so tends
to promote a checked-down finish.

When the players are involved in a place-paying tournament or
supersatellite, and are near or in the money, that is compounded by the
value of eliminating a player. Because both players benefit if either
one eliminates the all-in player, bluffs usually have negative value,
and the desirability of making value bets goes down even further. This
is the situation where most players automatically check it down.

Failing to participate in this "implicit collusion" will draw scorn from
some other players. The ones no longer involved in the pot still stand
to benefit from elimination of the all-in player, so they also want to
see it checked down, as that maximizes the chance of an elimination.

Copyright * 2004 Randy Hudson. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      3.5 Can one overcome the rake at low limit poker games?

Author: Bob Dainauski
Last updated: Aug 2000
Copyright * 2004 Bob Dainauski
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [124].

In a game with no rake and no toking, there is no question that in the
long run (with the cards breaking even) the better players will win
money at the expense of the weaker players. The question is: Can strong
players win enough from the weak players to more than cover the expenses
in a game with a rake and/or toking?

How much do the rake and tokes cost us? It varies, but we can calculate
some ranges. Let's assume a 10 seat $2/$4 game dealing 40 hands per
hour. Assume a rake of 10% to $4. As a good player, you are somewhat
tighter than your opponents, so let's assume you win an average of 3.5
pots per hour (4 would be your "fair share"). Your average rake expense
ranges from a probable low of around $1.46 per pot (from TTH sims) to a
probable high of around twice that amount (in line with the observations
of experienced players in certain games). Add in a $1 toke per pot, and
your average expense per hour likely falls somewhere between $8.50 and
$14. In terms of big bets, this is 2.25 to 3.5 big bets per hour. Across
other limits we can calculate expense ranges the same way:

10% rake to $4, $1 toke
      Est. Total Hourly
Limit Expense (Big Bets)
----- -----------------
10-20 0.76 to 0.88
5-10  1.23 to 1.66
3-6   1.91 to 2.62
2-4   2.25 to 3.50

Some games have lower expenses. For example, some on-line games feature
a rake of 5% to a max of $3 with, obviously, no toking. The expenses
here (From TTH sims) are:

5% rake to $3, $0 toke
Est.  Total Hourly
Limit Expense (BB)
----- ------------
10-20 0.45 and up
5-10  0.55 and up
3-6   0.58 and up
2-4   0.53 and up

Now we need to estimate the win rate for a good player in a sufficiently
weak game. Unfortunately this resists a straightforward mathematical
solution. Our best source of information comes from the observations of
top theorists and experienced players. These sources have cited
approximately 1 BB per hour (after expenses) as the approximate profit a
strong player might expect at limits of 15-30 and up. This corresponds
to a pre-expense win rate of about 1.5 BB / hr. (TTH sim showed a .54 BB
expense factor for 15-30). Experienced players have reported higher win
rates in exceptionally weak low limit games. Players in the softest of
games report win rates as high as 3+ BB per hour after expenses So, a
good player in a weak enough game can achieve a pre-expense win rate of
1.5 BB / hr and up, perhaps exceeding 4 BB / hour in extremely favorable
circumstances.

This indicates that the rake can be overcome in even the lowest limit
games if you are sufficiently strong and your opponents sufficiently
weak. Remember, if you're not one of the better players in a given game,
it wouldn't matter if there were no expenses, you'd still lose.

Any given poker game at a given time comprises many factors: fixed
factors such as the rake, betting structure and rules; variable factors
such as the talent, mood, and motivation (etc.) of you opponents; and
personal factors such as your ability, discipline, and toking level
(etc.). Therefore, the question we should really be asking is "Can I
beat the players at *this* table at a rate sufficient to overcome the
particular expenses of *this* game?" This all points back to the
importance of skill #0, judicious table selection.

Copyright * 2004 Bob Dainauski. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      4 Poker community


      4.1 When can I meet and play poker with fellow r.g.pers? What are
      BARGE, FARGO, etc?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Apr 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [125].

*BARGE*

    Big Annual Rec.Gambling Excursion
    Las Vegas, NV
    Beginning of August [July 29 -- August 1, 2004]
    Organizers: Chuck Weinstock <weinstock@conjelco.com
    <mailto:weinstock@conjelco.com>>, Peter Secor <fpsecor@attbi.com
    <mailto:fpsecor@attbi.com>>, Michael Zimmers <mzimmers@pacbell.net
    <mailto:mzimmers@pacbell.net>>
    Web page: http://www.barge.org
    To subscribe to the BARGE mailing list, send email to:
    barge-join@barge.org <mailto:barge-join@barge.org>
    Information last updated Jan 2004. 

*FARGO*

    Foxwoods Annual Rec.Gambling Outing
    Foxwoods, CT
    Late September or October [in 2003, was September 18--21]
    Organizer: Don Perry <donaldperry@peconic.net
    <mailto:donaldperry@peconic.net>>
    Web page: http://conjelco.com/fargo/ and http://www.fargopoker.com
    Mailing list: http://mail.conjelco.com/mailman/listinfo/fargo
    Information last updated Jan 2004. 

*MARGE*

    Mississippi ARGE
    Biloxi, MS
    November [in 2003, was November 6--8 at Grand Casino Biloxi]
    Organizer: Randy "Mitch" Collack <RMITCHCOLL@aol.com
    <mailto:RMITCHCOLL@aol.com>>, Steve Jewett
    Web page: http://conjelco.com/marge.html
    Mailing list: http://mail.conjelco.com/mailman/listinfo/marge
    Information last updated Jan 2004. 

*SARGE*

    Southern ARGE
    Tunica, MS
    Late February or early March [February 26--28, 2004 at the Horseshoe]
    Organizer: Steve Jewett <sarege123@earthlink.net
    <mailto:sarege123@earthlink.net>>, Randy "Mitch" Collack
    <RMITCHCOLL@aol.com <mailto:RMITCHCOLL@aol.com>>
    Web page: http://conjelco.com/sarge.html
    Mailing list: http://mail.conjelco.com/mailman/listinfo/sarge
    Information last updated Jan 2004. 

*ESCARGOT*

    Experimental Southern California Annual Rec Gambling Outing and
    Tournament
    Los Angeles, CA
    Near MLK Weekend [in 2004, was January 15--18 at the Bicycle Casino]
    Organizers: Russ Fox, Lou Krieger, Marc Gilutin, Jerrod Ankenman,
    Steve Nissman, Chris Straghalis
    Web page: http://www.conjelco.com/escargot.html
    Information last updated Jan 2004. 

*ATLARGE*

    ATLantic City ARGE
    Atlantic City, NJ
    March [March 4--7, 2004 at the the Taj Mahal]
    Organizer: Stevan Goldman <GoldmanS@YouveGotClaims.com
    <mailto:GoldmanS@YouveGotClaims.com>>
    Web page: http://www.conjelco.com/atlarge.html
    Mailing list: http://mail.conjelco.com/mailman/listinfo/atlarge
    Previous Years' Web page: http://www.jazbo.com/atlarge
    Information last updated Jan 2004. 

*TARGET*

    The Annual Rec.Gambling Entry Tournament
    Las Vegas, NV
    First held in 1994. Usually occurs during the first week of WSOP
    (April).
    Organizer: Ken Kubey <kubey@engr.sgi.com <mailto:kubey@engr.sgi.com>>
    To join the mailing list, send email to Ken.
    Information last updated Nov 2002. 

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      4.2 What the hell is Rumple Mintz?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Sep 2003
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [126].

Rumple Mintz is the official rec.gambling spelling of a brand of 100
proof peppermint schnapps called Rumple Minze, imported from the
Scharlachberg Distillery in Germany. Best served shaken over ice for
five seconds, then strained into a short glass. It is the official drink
of rec.gambler poker players everywhere, and is known to increase poker
skill dramatically. Legend has it that one rec.gambler won $4000 in a
50-100 Hold'em game while under its spell, lived to tell the tale in a
trip report, and assured its eternal fame.

Okay, so maybe only one rec.gambler actually drinks Rumpel Minze.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      4.3 What is the World Series of Poker?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Apr 2004
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [132].

The World Series of Poker is a yearly series of poker tournaments hosted
by the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. Amateur Chris Moneymaker's $2.5
million win in 2003 and Jim McManus' book "Positively Fifth Street"
introduced many non-poker players to this premiere tournament series.
Harrah's hosts the Official WSOP Home Page [133] and Conjelco maintains
archives for 1995 through 2000 [134]. They change the details from year
to year, so while the information below gives you the general idea, be
sure to check the official site for this year's particulars.


      WSOP 2004 Event Schedule

The following information was announced [135] by WSOP 2004 Tournament
Director Matt Savage. [Thanks to Terrence Chan for reformatting.] See
also the WSOP 2004 official schedule page [136] for information on
satellites (on schedule page 4). All events start at 12 Noon unless
otherwise noted on the schedule.

Event 	Date 	Buy-in 	Event 	Notes
#1 	Apr 22 	$500.00 	Casino Employee's Limit Hold'em 	One
Day Event
#2 	Apr 23 	$2,000.00 	No-Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#3 	Apr 24 	$1,500.00 	Seven Card Stud 	Two Day Event
#4 	Apr 25 	$1,500.00 	Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#5 	Apr 26 	$1,500.00 	Omaha Hi-Lo Split 	Two Day Event
#6 	Apr 27 	$1,500.00 	Pot Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#7 	Apr 28 	$1,000.00 	No-Limit Hold'em with Rebuys (First Two
Hours)
Two Day Event
#8 	Apr 29 	$2,000.00 	Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys (First Two
Hours)
Two Day Event
#9 	Apr 30 	$1,500.00 	No-Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#10 	May 1 	$2,000.00 	Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split 	Two Day
Event
#11 	May 2 	$2,500.00 	Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#12 	May 3 	$2,000.00 	H.O.R.S.E. (Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, Stud,
Stud/
8) 	Two Day Event
#13 	May 4 	$5,000.00 	No-Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#14 	May 5 	$1,500.00 	Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split 	Two Day
Event
#15 	May 6 	$2,000.00 	Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#16 	May 7 	$5,000.00 	No-Limit Deuce to Seven Draw with Rebuys
One Day
Event
#17 	May 7 	$1,500.00 	Limit Hold'em Shootout@ 2pm 	Two Day
Event
#18 	May 8 	$1,500.00 	No-Limit Hold'em Shootout 	Two Day
Event
#19 	May 9 	$2,000.00 	Omaha Hi-Lo Split 	Two Day Event
#20 	May 9 	$1,000.00 	Ladies Limit Hold'em @ 2pm 	Two Day
Event
#21 	May 10 	$2,000.00 	Pot Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#22 	May 11 	$5,000.00 	Omaha Hi-Lo Split World Championship 	Two
Day Event
#23 	May 12 	$1,500.00 	No Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#24 	May 13 	$5,000.00 	Seven Card Stud World Championship 	Two
Day Event
#25 	May 14 	$3,000.00 	Pot Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#26 	May 15 	$1,500.00 	Seven Card Razz 	Two Day Event
#27 	May 16 	$1,000.00 	Deuce to Seven Triple Draw with Rebuys 	One
Day
Event
#28 	May 16 	$1,000.00 	Seniors No-Limit Hold'em @ 2pm 	Two Day
Event
#29 	May 17 	$5,000.00 	Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#30 	May 18 	$3,000.00 	No-Limit Hold'em 	Two Day Event
#31 	May 19 	$5,000.00 	Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys (First Two
Hours)
Two Day Event
#32 	May 20 	$1,500.00 	A-5 Draw Lowball 	One Day Event
  	May 21 	$225/ $200 	4 Super Satellites 10am-3pm-7:45pm and 11pm
Win
your $10,000 Seat
  	May 21 	  	Media Charity No-Limit @ 6pm 	Media Only
#33 	May 22 	$10,000.00 	No Limit Hold'em World Championship Event @
1PM 	5 Full Levels 1/2 Field
  	May 23 	  	World Championship Event- Day 2 	5 Full
Levels 1/2 Field
  	May 24 	  	World Championship Event- Day 3 	4 Full
Levels
  	May 25 	  	World Championship Event- Day 4 	4 Full
Levels
  	May 26 	  	World Championship Event- Day 5 	Play to 36
  	May 27 	  	World Championship Event- Day 6 	Play to 9
  	May 28 	  	World Championship Event- Day 7 	Play to 1


      House Fees, Dealer and Staff Tokes

House fees will be taken from the buy-in amount only. Dealer and Staff
toke will be be taken from the prize pool amount. [Thanks to Terrence
Chan for summarizing the fee structure.]

Total Buy-in 	Breakdown: Prize pool plus house fee 	House "Percentage"
House percentage defined as juice over buy-in 	Dealer/staff toke
deducted from prize pool
$500 	$465 + $35 	7.00% 	7.53% 	3.00%
$1,000 	$940 + $60 	6.00% 	6.38% 	3.00%
$1,500 	$1420 + $80 	5.00% 	5.63% 	3.00%
$2,000 	$1900 + $100 	5.00% 	5.26% 	3.00%
$2,500 	$2375 + $125 	5.00% 	5.26% 	3.00%
$3,000 	$2850 + $150 	5.00% 	5.26% 	3.00%
$5,000 	$4800 + $200 	4.00% 	4.17% 	2.00%
$10,000 	$9600 + $400 	4.00% 	4.17% 	2.00%

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      4.4 What is IRC poker and how can I play?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: 1998
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [137].

Oct 2003 status: IRC poker is offline while it is in search for a new
home. Since it looks likely to never find one, this section is here only
for historical interest.

IRC poker is a real-time network poker game that allows people from
around the world to play poker with each other via the Internet. The
stakes are "etherbucks", which is to say imaginary. Each player's
imaginary bankroll is recorded from session to session, and rankings of
both bankroll and earning rate inspire competitiveness. An automatic
program serves as the dealer and controls the action. World Wide Web
users can find out more about the dealer program by looking at
http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/People/mummert/ircbot.html.

The game uses the Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, to arrange communications
amongst the players and with the dealer. IRC is normally a sort of
global cocktail party, with several thousand people from around the
globe engaged in small pockets of conversation on various "channels".
Within each channel, anything one person types appears on the screens of
all the other people tuned in to the channel (although one person can
also "whisper" privately to another). The poker channels are unusual in
that an automaton is always present to supervise a poker game. However,
the chat aspect of the channel is preserved, so that the poker games can
become quite social.

In order to play IRC poker, you must have an IRC client and access to
the Internet. The client is a program running on your local machine that
connects you to the IRC network. The most popular Windows interface to
IRC poker is Greg Reynolds' Gpkr, available for free at
http://webusers.anet-stl.com/~gregr/. Gpkr is regularly maintained and
sure to be up to date with the latest IRC poker changes. If you get Gpkr
you can ignore most of what follows, since the Gpkr graphical interface
takes care of the details behind the scenes.

On the Macintosh, Larry Weinberg's McPoker is the client of choice; see
http://larry.curiouslabs.com/ghosteffects/McPoker.html.

If you are on a Unix machine, try typing 'irc' to see if a client is
already installed. If not, or if you are on a Macintosh or other system,
you will have to obtain a client by FTP. One archive site for IRC
clients is ftp://cs-ftp.bu.edu/pub/irc/clients. The Unix client is named
ircII. This archive also contains a primer on using IRC. The official
IRC FAQ is available at ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/. An
excellent generic Windows client is mIRC, available at http://www.mirc.com.

Once you have a client up and running, you need to connect to the
special, isolated IRC poker server. In order to speed up the games, the
poker server is not a part of the standard IRC network. The different
clients have various ways to specify the IRC server you want to use; on
Unix you can say

    irc nickname irc.poker.net
or      irc nickname 24.163.47.154

where 'nickname' is the name by which you will be known to other IRC
users. After a moment, this command should connect you to the IRC poker
server and print a welcome message. (From this point on the instructions
are Unix-specific, but many of the commands will work on the other
clients as well).

At this point you can find out what channels are open by typing

    /list

which prints the topic of each channel, or you can see a more detailed
view with

    /names

which lists all of the people on each channel. As of May 1994, typical
channels included #holdem, #omaha, and #nolimit. To join a particular
channel (for instance, #holdem), type

    /join #holdem

The action of the poker game and the ongoing conversations should now
appear on your screen. The play of the game is governed by sending
special messages to the dealer automaton; for example, the message

    p fold

indicates that you wish to fold. All poker commands are prefixed with
the letter 'p'. The command

    p commands

gives a list of all possible commands. The most important are

    p join password         % join the game (pick any password)
                            % this starts your bankroll at $1000
    p quit                  % quit the game
    p fold                  % fold when the action gets to you
    p check                 % check (do not bet or fold)
    p call                  % call a bet
    p raise                 % raise the bet

On the non-structured channels like #nolimit, some of these commands may
take an argument, such as

    p raise 50

When you join the channel you will notice the conspicuous absence of
these 'p' commands despite the ongoing play. This is because most
players send their messages privately to the dealer only, using a
command like

    /msg hbot p raise

where 'hbot' is the nickname of the dealer. (This is especially useful
to hide your password when you join.)

Because poker players are inherently lazy, most users of ircII have a
special set of IRC macros that saves them the effort of typing all those
characters each time they have to act. These poker macros are available
from ftp://ftp.csua.berkeley.edu/pub/rec.gambling/poker/ircrc.poker. The
file contains instructions for using it on a Unix machine. Although mIRC
doesn't understand these macros, it does let you set up customized menus
and aliases yourself.

In addition, curses and X-windows based front ends have been written for
the poker games. The curses version uses simple terminal graphics to
draw pictures of your cards and those of the other players, helping you
to visualize the action. When other players fold their cards are mucked,
and the board and pot are shown in the middle. This front end can be
used in conjunction with the IRC macros mentioned above. Both curses and
X-windows versions of the program are available on the web in source
code form for Unix machines at http://www.jcsw.com/poker/.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      5 Online poker


      5.1 Where can I play online poker against real people for real
      money? Is it legal? Is it safe?

Author: Michael Maurer
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [138].

*The basics.* There are about a dozen well-established online poker
rooms that offer live games against real people for real money. Thanks
to TV shows such as the World Poker Tour [30], online poker is no longer
just for brave pioneers and has gone mainstream. It has become the main
topic of conversation on rec.gambling.poker. Over a hundred thousand
people from around the world play online every week!

*Real money?* Yep. You can choose betting stakes of play-money,
microscopic real-money (for example, $0.01 - $0.02 limit), or all the
way up to $100 - $200 or more. NETeller [139] is the most popular way of
transferring money to and from the sites.

*Which site is best?* It's mostly a matter of taste. The largest sites
have the best selection of games and have earned the trust of many
players. For more details, see this comparison of online poker sites
[2]. If you are thinking about opening an online poker account, be sure
to learn about sign-up bonus codes [1] first or you may miss out on some
lucrative cash bonuses.

*Is it legal?* As of this writing, the issue is ambiguous in most U.S.
states and at the U.S. federal level. Most of the cardroom sites are
operated from the Caribbean or Central America, often with some presence
in Canada. Existing laws tend to target illegal gambling operators
rather than the players, but since the online operators are out of reach
there is political pressure to modify this approach. In the U.S.,
several federal bills have been proposed that regulate or forbid online
wagers. The latest tactic is an attempt to outlaw financial transactions
that are related to online gambling. On the other hand, in the U.K. the
government has been moving in the direction of legalization and
regulation. You're on your own until legal systems catch up with this
new technology.

*Is it safe?* The jury is also still out on this one. There are a number
of risks:

   1. The ease of collusion among players. The magnitude of this risk is
      a matter of ongoing debate, but it is possible for your opponents
      to communicate secretly or even be the same person.
   2. The possibility that the cardroom will not honor a redemption
      request, that is, will stiff you when you ask for your money. (A
      few of the early sites folded holding player deposits.)
   3. The chance that your personal financial details, such as credit
      card number or NETeller ID, are stored insecurely, allowing either
      a dishonest cardroom insider or external hacker to obtain them.
   4. The possibility that the game technology is not secure, allowing
      others to compromise the game's or site's integrity. This could
      take any number of forms, from others knowing your cards, knowing
      what cards will be dealt next, changing what cards will be dealt
      next, or even impersonating you and withdrawing your money. (In
      the early days of online poker, a security consultant cracked the
      poor shuffling algorithm [140] of one of the poker dealing
      software packages.)
   5. The possibility that the underlying game technology is programmed
      to deal an unfair game, for example, by failing to shuffle
      randomly. This is a popular topic among losing players; see the
      discussion on the cash-out curse <online-cashout-curse.html>.
   6. The possibility that an insider at the cardroom will take
      advantage of existing security flaws or secretly create new ones
      to favor their accomplices during play.
   7. The chance that a cardroom insider will compile records of your
      play and reveal them to your opponents for strategic or tactical
      analysis.
   8. The chance that you will be found guilty of a crime in some
      jurisdiction, perhaps not even your own, simply for playing. For
      example, if your internet traffic is routed through Virginia, as
      much of it is, are your internet activities subject to Virginia law?
   9. The chance that authorities -- somewhere -- seize your money,
      either while deposited or in transit, and then place the burden on
      you of demonstrating why they should return your funds.
  10. The chance that opening an offshore account will bring other
      aspects of your life under the scrutiny of authorities, for
      example, by increasing the chances of an IRS tax audit.

You might notice that many of these risks exist in real cardrooms. It is
likely that some risks will be greater in the online world and that some
will be lesser. For example, several of the online cardrooms claim to
apply collusion detection algorithms to the database of hand histories.
And a popular form of online poker is the heads-up game, where collusion
is impossible. It may turn out that the cost of collusion is lower in
the online world. In the area of game software integrity, most of the
top online cardrooms have engaged auditing firms to provide independent
validation of the fairness of their dealing algorithms. That's
reassuring. But still, the legal questions are fuzzy and you have to
judge for yourself whether you can accept the risks.

Copyright * 2004 Michael Maurer. Unauthorized copying prohibited.
Contact info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for
permission to redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      5.2 What are some advantages of online poker over cardroom poker?

Author: Jim Geary
Last updated: May 1999
Copyright * 2004 Jim Geary
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [141].

What are some of the advantages of playing poker online?

    * You don't have to drive to a casino.
    * You can play in your underwear.
    * You can smoke at will/breathe clean air at will.
    * You don't "have to" tip the dealer.
    * You can sing along to your headphones without disturbing anyone.
    * Internet poker often lends itself to many players who have never
      been inside a casino and thus may not be that sophisticated in
      their play.

What are some of the disadvantages of playing poker online?

    * Your opponents may easily share information about their hands on a
      communication channel to which you are not privy.
    * Your opponents may play their hands in a collusive fashion via a
      communication channel to which you are not privy.
    * Your opponents may actually be the same person.
    * There is no way for you to know for sure that the above are
      occurring.
    * There is no way for an online poker operator to prevent these from
      occurring.

If you don't care about your money, the advantages outweigh the
disadvantages. If you do try to win money, you may have difficulty doing
so. This is not to say that it is impossible. The games may be
incredibly weak. The games that you land in may be completely straight.
You may be an incredible player. However, proceed with caution.

Copyright * 2004 Jim Geary. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      5.3 How do I find out what games are available and how many tables
      are active at each online site?

Author: Dennis Boyko
Last updated: Oct 2002
Copyright * 2004 Dennis Boyko
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [142].

Poker Pulse, http://www.pokerpulse.com/, is an independent poker
tracking portal showing close to real time counts of money players and
games from many of the top online multi-player poker rooms. The Poker
Pulse main page shows you the current real money ring game, players and
real money tournament players at may sites. In addition to the player
counts you can see a break down of the types of games at each site (e.g.
number of hold'em games, number of omaha games, number of stud games and
1 on 1 games). There is a details page for each of the poker rooms
covered, that shows you the current count of games with an average pot <
$10, average pots between $10 and $30 and average pots > $30 plus other
room specific details. Poker Pulse also features weekly chart features
showing poker action graphically. Past chart features have included
plots of peak and average player counts at each of the tracked rooms
versus the hour of the day.

Copyright * 2004 Dennis Boyko. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      5.4 What is the online "cash-out curse"? Is the curse evidence
      that the sites are rigged?

Author: Bob Dainauski
Last updated: Oct 2003
Copyright * 2004 Bob Dainauski
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here [143].

A number of people have reported the same bad experience with online
poker: They win for a while, but once they cash out some winnings they
seem to run bad and bust. To some people, this is solid evidence that
online poker must be rigged; that by cashing out some winnings, players
incur the wrath of the online operators, who will set a switch on the
player's account, dooming them to lose thereafter.

Is the "rigged theory" the best explanation for the trends that people
are observing?

Read the rest of this article [144] (290 lines). /[Editor's warning:
this article contains logical arguments.]/

Copyright * 2004 Bob Dainauski. Unauthorized copying prohibited. Contact
info@rgpfaq.com <mailto:info@rgpfaq.com?subject=FAQ> for permission to
redistribute.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


      URL Reference

[1] http://www.onlinepokerfaq.com/online-bonus-codes.html
[2] http://www.onlinepokerfaq.com/online-comparison.html
[3] http://www.rgpfaq.com/single.html
[4] http://www.rgpfaq.com/about-faq.html
[5] http://www.rgpfaq.com/support-the-faq.html
[6] http://www.rgpfaq.com
[7] http://www.rgpfaq.com/links.html
[8] news:rec.gambling.poker
[9] rec.gambling.poker">http://groups.google.com/groups?group=rec.gambling.poker
[10] http://www.recpoker.com
[11] http://www.liveactionpoker.com
[12] http://www.conjelco.com
[13] http://www.barge.org
[14] http://www.quizkids.com/wrgpt/
[15] http://games.cs.ualberta.ca/poker/IRC/
[16] http://www.pokerportal.co.uk
[17] http://www.seriouspoker.com
[18] http://www.gocee.com/poker/
[19] http://www.jazbo.com
[20] http://www.posev.com/poker/index.html
[21] http://www.fekali.com
[22] http://jimgeary.com/poker/POKER.HTM
[23] http://www.playwinningpoker.com
[24] http://www.johnnydpoker.com
[25] http://www.loukrieger.com
[26] http://www.fullcontactpoker.com
[27] http://howardlederer.com
[28] http://www.coonrod.com/scot/poker.html
[29] http://www.geocities.com/mississippi_seven/
[30] http://www.wptfan.com
[31] http://www.twoplustwo.com/forum.html
[32] http://www.unitedpokerforum.com
[33] http://www.thepokerforum.com
[34] http://www.pokerineurope.com/forum/index.php
[35] http://www.pokerpulse.com
[36] http://www.thepokerproject.com
[37] http://www.pokerlistings.com
[38] http://www.whichpoker.co.uk
[39] http://www.pokerpages.com
[40] http://www.pokerschoolonline.com
[41] http://www.cardplayer.com
[42] http://www.homepoker.com
[43] http://www.homepokergames.com
[44] http://www.learntournamentpoker.com
[45] http://www.poker.net
[46] http://www.pokersearch.com
[47] http://www.poker1.com/mcu/mculibrary.asp
[48] http://www.poker1.com/mcu/mculib_rules.asp
[49] http://www.pokercoach.us/RobsPkrRules4.htm
[50] http://pokerworld.com/rules1.htm
[51] http://www.thepokerforum.com/tdarules.htm
[52] http://www.rgpfaq.com/basic-rules.html
[53] http://www.rgpfaq.com/split-pot.html
[54] http://www.rgpfaq.com/first-time-cardroom.html
[55] http://www.conjelco.com/wllh.html
[56] http://www.rgpfaq.com/tournament-basics.html
[57] http://www.rgpfaq.com/books.html
[58] http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html#The%20Theory%20of%20Poker
[59] http://www.seriouspoker.com/seriouspoker/
[60] http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html
[61] http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html#Fundamentals%20of%20Poker
[62] http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html#Super%20System
[63]
http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html#Hold'em%20Poker%20for%20Advanced%20Player
s
[64]
http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html#Seven-Card%20Stud%20for%20Advanced%20Play
ers
[65] http://www.conjelco.com/
[66] http://www.onlinepokerfaq.com/books.html
[67] http://www.seriouspoker.com/reviews.html
[68] http://www.jetcafe.org/~npc/reviews/gambling/index.html
[69] http://www.gocee.com/poker/books.htm
[70] http://www.rgpfaq.com/magazines.html
[71] http://www.gocee.com/poker/pokermag.htm
[72] http://www.rgpfaq.com/software.html
[73] http://www.gocee.com/poker/pokersoft.htm
[74] http://www.poki-poker.com
[75] http://www.wilsonsw.com
[76] http://www.masque.com
[77] http://www.ouzts.net/iPoker/
[78] http://www.acespade-software.com
[79] http://www.brecware.com/Software/software.html
[80] http://www.pokerstove.com/
[81] http://koti.mbnet.fi/jraevaar/pokercalculator/
[82] http://sourceforge.net/projects/pokersource
[83] http://www.twodimes.net/poker/
[84] http://www.hotpoker.com
[85] http://www.rgpfaq.com/glossaries.html
[86] http://www.conjelco.com/faq/rgpglossary.html
[87] http://www.conjelco.com/pokglossary.html
[88] http://www.seriouspoker.com/dictionary.html
[89] http://www.planetpoker.com/games/dictionary/index.asp
[90] http://www.diamondcs.net/~thecoach/RobsPkrRules3.htm
[91] http://www.rgpfaq.com/home-poker.html
[92] http://www.pokermike.com/poker/
[93] http://www.gamereport.com/poker/index.html
[94] http://www.rgpfaq.com/holdem-rules.html
[95] http://www.rgpfaq.com/omaha-rules.html
[96] http://www.rgpfaq.com/chowaha.html
[97] http://www.coonrod.com/scot/poker/chowaha.html
[98] http://www.rgpfaq.com/mississippi-stud.html
[99] http://www.rgpfaq.com/pot-limit.html
[100] http://www.rgpfaq.com/halfpot-limit.html
[101] http://www.rgpfaq.com/kill-pot.html
[102] http://www.rgpfaq.com/straddle-bet.html
[103] http://www.rgpfaq.com/high-low-declare.html
[104] http://www.rgpfaq.com/burn-card.html
[105] http://www.rgpfaq.com/stud-no-cards.html
[106] http://www.rgpfaq.com/ranking-why-general.html
[107] http://www.rgpfaq.com/ranking-3cards.html
[108] http://www.rgpfaq.com/ranking-why-flushes.html
[109] http://www.rgpfaq.com/odds-holdem.html
[110] http://www.poker1.com/mcu/mculib_odds.asp
[111] http://www.posev.com/poker/holdem/strategy/outs-abdul.html
[112] http://www.rgpfaq.com/odds-stud.html
[113] http://www.rgpfaq.com/omaha-num-hands.html
[114] http://www.rgpfaq.com/shill-prop.html
[115] http://www.rgpfaq.com/dead-mans-hand.html
[116] http://www.rgpfaq.com/holdem-skills.html
[117] http://www.rgpfaq.com/holdem-preflop.html
[118] http://www.posev.com/poker/holdem/strategy/preflop-abdul.html
[119] http://www.posev.com/poker/holdem/strategy/balance-abdul.txt
[120] http://www.rgpfaq.com/tournament-strategy.html
[121] http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html#Tournament%20Poker
[122]
http://www.conjelco.com/poker.html#The%20Secret%20To%20Winning%20Big%20In%20
Tournament%20Poker
[123] http://www.rgpfaq.com/tournament-implicit.html
[124] http://www.rgpfaq.com/rake-low-limit.html
[125] http://www.rgpfaq.com/barge-etc.html
[126] http://www.rgpfaq.com/rumpleminze.html
[127] http://www.google.com/groups?th=20aef9dc54b897db
[128] http://www.google.com/groups?th=8304df4477c8a975
[129] http://www.google.com/groups?th=893c4e5859c77127
[130] http://www.google.com/groups?th=bfeebbb1a255711c
[131] http://www.google.com/groups?th=76cf9b6c4a47cd80
[132] http://www.rgpfaq.com/wsop.html
[133] http://www.harrahs.com/wsop/
[134] http://www.conjelco.com/wsop.html
[135]
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=20040129224512.26514.00001004%40mb-m07.
aol.com
[136] http://www.harrahs.com/wsop/tournamentsched.html
[137] http://www.rgpfaq.com/ircpoker.html
[138] http://www.rgpfaq.com/online-poker-basics.html
[139] http://www.neteller.com
[140] http://www.cigital.com/news/index.php?pg=art&artid=20
[141] http://www.rgpfaq.com/online-poker-advantages.html
[142] http://www.rgpfaq.com/poker-pulse.html
[143] http://www.rgpfaq.com/online-cashout-curse.html
[144]
http://www.google.com/groups?selm=3d5d13e8%240%2415496%249a6e19ea%40news.new
shosting.com

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM