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Introducing Poker
Ranking Hands
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Betting Interval
Betting Small and Big Blinds
Table stakes
Using wild cards
Probability of holding
First betting interval
seven card stud
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Suppose you are dealt the same hand but are now the player to the dealer ’s right.  One player has bet one chip, another has raised to two and a third has called, making a total of 11 chips in the pot.  Do you call, raise or fold?

            You need to put in two chips to call.  You reason that there are three players (the dealer has yet to speak) who probably have better hands than a pair of Jacks.  If you assume that a pair of Jacks or better is needed to start betting in a game of six or more players, then the player who opened the betting has a reasonably high pair at least, that the player who raised is unlikely to hold less than a pair of aces, as is the player who called.  Your pair of Jacks does not look so good now.  It is quite likely that one of your opponents has three of a kind.  Table 5 tells you that the odds against you improving your hand to three of a kind at the draw are approximately eight to one.

TO THE DEALER’S RIGHT (A) The other player ’s bets indicate to player 6 that they probably have better hands and to fold would be wisest.
            Betting two chips to win 11 is not an attractive proposition and you would be advised now to fold and wait for a better chance.  With this hand in these circumstances you should not raise.


On the other hand, if you are sitting at dealer ’s right and all the players before you have checked or folded, your pair of Jacks is certainly worth betting, with only the dealer to come.  Table 11 shows that as only just over 20 per cent of hands are better than a pair of Jacks, your chances of having a better hand than the dealer are 4 to 1 on, so bet.  Since almost half of all poker hands dealt do not include a pair at all, it is worth betting in this position with any pair.  The players who checked now have to enter the betting or fold.

What cards could you stay in with?

If   we  assume that a pair of Jacks is worth staying in the game with if nobody before you has opened, what had would you need to stay in with if you are facing a previous bet (i.e. there has been a bet but not a raise)? If the stakes are limited, you would usually stay in with a pair of Queens or better, and raise with a pair of aces or better.


A pair of aces is Aces is a good hand to hold at the deal, as Table 4 shows (if there are five players, there is a 62 per cent chance that your hand is at the moment the best).  If a pair eventually wins the pot, then your Aces (unless another player also has a pair of aces) will win.  Similarly if you improve to two pairs, and two pairs wins the pot, you will almost certainly win.  If you improve to a third Ace, it will take a straight or better to beat you.  Aces are good news.  You could also raise with a pair of Kings, according to whether or not you are a ‘loose’ or ‘tight ’ player, and how you view your opponents.  If before you bet a previous player has bet and another has raised, then you need at least a pair of aces to stay in.

TO THE DEALER’S RIGHT (B) As the previous five players have declined to bet, player 6 knows that it is worth betting on his two Jacks.

Tight and loose players

* Tight player

A ‘tight ’ player is a player who will only bet when he has a good hand, and is prepared to wait fore one to come along.

Loose player

A ‘loose’ player is one who will sometimes get impatient to be in the action and bet somewhat impetuously.  A good player will be aware the temperaments of his opponents, and will act accordingly, at the same time, of course, trying to play a varied poker game himself.
            If a player is known to be a tight player, whenever he suddenly starts to bet on a hand, an aware opponent will know he holds something worthwhile and will rapidly fold where maybe he might have risked a chip or two on a moderate hand.  When among good players the tight player will, therefore, win fewer chips when he gets a good hand than he might have done had he previously shown more inclination to take a chance?
            Similarly a lose player, known to bet on straights or flushes of three cards, hoping to draw two cards to fill, will not scare anybody into folding.
            In most poker games, which are played among friends and are primarily social gatherings rather than attempts to make some quick riches, players will tend to be on the loose side.  This make for better entertainment, and pots might be larger than they would be in a stricter environments.  A right player carefully calculating the odds in these situations risks being regarded as a little unsporting.

* Pot limit

If you are playing pot limit, then the stakes required can rise rapidly if players raise and re-raise, and you might require better hands than those mentioned in the text to stay in or raise.

What do your opponents’ bets tell you?
            Unless there is some bluffing going on, the first player to bet has possibly a pair of Jacks or better and the raiser quite likely a pair of aces or better.

Call or raise?

So you might reason that to call and contribute at least two chips to the pot you need at least a couple of pairs.  It would be rash to raise yourself without holding three of kind (of any rank).  If before you get a chance to bet there has already been a bet and two raises then perhaps a middling three of a kind would be required to stay in, and a high one, such as Aces, to raise.

            If you have already bet yourself, and you face a raise, then call with a pair of aces or better, but do not re-raise without at least two pairs, with Jacks as the higher.  If you have bet and two online poker players have subsequently raised, then do not stay in without three of a kind


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