Poker is on the face of it a very simple card game to learn but it can be a hard game to master. The basic rules of the game are detailed within this section so you should be playing sooner than you think. We will leave the subtleties of the game until later on. Remember, that even the best Poker World Champions didn’t know how to play once!Objective It may seem obvious, but the aim of the game for each player is to maximise their winnings (either chips or cash). During each play, the players place their bets into the pot. The winner of the pot is the player who:oHolds the highest ranking hand compared to other players still betting at the showdown.oIs still in the game after all the other players have dropped out of the betting (folded) before the showdown in the belief that they cannot win the play.The Basics Poker is played with a standard deck of fifty-two cards. The cards are split into four suits. These are:ClubsDiamondsHeartsSpadesThe suits consist of thirteen cards. These are Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. In some versions of the game, two other cards are used. These are the Jokers and are classed as Wild Cards. This simply means that these cards can take any value. The use of these cards is covered in the Advanced Section of www.welovepoker.co.ukNumber of Players Poker is a game for two to eight or more players. However, poker is not a team game and players cannot group together, they must play as individuals.Basic Terminology Unfortunately, some of the poker terms that are used through out the game have not been standardised. We have used the terms shown below throughout our website.Terminology. Hand: The cards, or the particular combination of cards that are held by the player. Play: This is a single round of poker. I.e. A single game from one shuffle to the next. Some poker players call this a hand rather than a play. Pot: During each play, the players put their bets into a common pool which is known as a pot. Action: This is simply the betting. When it is said that the action is to a certain player it means it is his turn to act. He may bet, check, raise or fold. Action Pointer: In most games of online poker, a small blinking arrowhead is used to point at the player who is next to act. Bet: When it is a player’s turn, they have the option of either checking, raising or folding. Bettor: The first person that puts money into the pot on any given round of betting is known as the bettor. Check: Pass on the action to the next player without putting money into the pot. Fold: If a player thinks that they cannot win the game, then they can give up by surrendering their hand and hence taking no further part in the play. This is known as folding. Call: The player places an amount of money into the pot equal to the amount placed by the bettor. Raise: The player places an amount of money that is double the amount of the money put into the pot by the bettor. Re-raise: This is simply the process of raising a raise. Showdown: The end of the play. This is when each play finishes.Prohibitions Here are a few basic rules for the game. Please check on the individual poker sites for any extra rules that they may have. Most of the rules shown below generally apply to games played in actual casinos, but the principle still applies in online casinos too.oPoker is an individual game. Therefore, two or more players cannot collude or attempt to collude. For example: divide the pool without a showdown.oA player cannot pass their turn to deal unless they are physically unable to.oA player cannot view the discarded cards either before or after the showdown.oA player cannot look at the undealt cards, at another players hand, or at a hole card ( in stud poker);oA player cannot take chips or money from the pool during play, except as correct change for a verbally stated bet.oA player cannot leave the table and take their cards with them. In order for them to leave the table, they player should ask another player, preferably a non-active one, to play their hand for them. If the player does not do this and misses their turn then their hand is dead.
Blackjack is a game of skill. That is strong contrast to slots and other similar games based mostly on luck. This means that a player needs a good strategy. Implementing that strategy will go a long way in determining the number of wins and time the player will spend at the table. A good quality strategy is therefore of utmost importance.Working out a strategy is complicated. You need to know odds and work out the percentages each hand offers to win your bet. In a land based casino it will be seen as illegal to sit at the table with a card showing all of these factors and basing your play on that.Here are a couple of general things to keep in mind when playing blackjack.Determine your bankroll. Think of it as money you are willing to lose, money you have budgeted for on your entertainment spend. Stick to your bankroll and don’t go over the limit you set yourself.As mentioned before, blackjack is a game of skill. In order to develop your skill you’ll have to practice. As they say “practice makes perfect.” A number of online casinos offer free play. You can make use of this opportunity to practice and hone your skills. Once you are comfortable you can sign up for a real account and play for real.There are also online casinos that offer sign up and matching bonuses. You’ll need to find out what the wagering requirements are. In many online casinos blackjack only accounts for a small percentage of the casino games. Finding out the wagering requirements will help you to know how big the blackjack portion of the casino is.Each blackjack game you play has different odds. There are many variations. You’ll need to find out what the odds are so that you can play the game with the lowest house edge. It may sound simple enough, but the lower the house edge, the better your chance of winning.Each game of Blackjack has different rules and the rules also differ from casino to casino. A general rule of thumb is to play where the minimum betting limit is not more than 5% of your bankroll. In this way you will extend your time at the table and also increase the odds of winning more hands.A basic blackjack strategy is important. Cards with various combinations, odds and percentages are available. Some online casinos even offer these. It is important to memorize these and not to deviate from it. Apply it during your play. Never base your play on a feeling. Keep in mind blackjack is a game of skill, not emotion and gut feelings.The object of the game is to reach a value as close as possible to 21. Copying the dealer as a strategy is not a good option as you will find that you bust (going over 21) more than you win.Always split pairs of aces and eights. Do not split face cards or tens. Understand the rules and know when to stand or hit. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to hit until you reach 17+ and then stand.Keep a close eye on the value of the hands. This will determine your strategy.If the dealer holds 7+, play up to 17 and stand.If the dealer holds 4, 5 or 6, double your 9 and stand when you reach 13-17.If the dealer holds 9 or lower and you have 10 you should double.Double any hand of 11.Never take insurance on bets.Develop a betting pattern based on your results. Increase your bets when you win and decrease them when you lose. This will lengthen your time of play and also increase the quality of your play.Movies made counting cards look easy. It is not. Counting cards takes a great deal of practice and years to perfect. Many offers on the internet claim to have developed systems. Don’t buy into them – they are scams.Keep these tips in mind when you play and you will win more than you lose.