The Basics
Blind/Ante Rules
Betting Rules
All In Rules
Hand Rankings
Basic Game Tips


GAME RULES: The Basics

The basics of poker are simple. The object of the game is to win the pot - or the sum of money being wagered throughout the course of a game (minus the 'rake').

Winning is possible in the following ways:

  • You have the best hand, 


  • You bluff your opponent into thinking that you have the better cards and he folds.

Every poker game starts with some or all players putting a certain amount of money or chips into the pot. This initial obligatory bet, or fee, is called the “Ante” or “Blind”. An ante is when every player puts a fixed nominal percentage of the minimum stake into the pot - as is the case in Seven Card Stud.

If a blind is required (like in Texas Hold’em or Omaha), the two players to the left of the dealer (designated by the 'dealer button') will start the pot, clockwise from the dealer, with the first player placing the small blind (half the minimum bet) and the next player placing the big blind (the minimum bet). Rotation assures that every player gets their turn to post blinds.

Now it's time to deal the cards. Once you have paid your blinds, there are no more mandatory wagers to be made and you can then take the various opportunities to decide whether or not you wish to play on or fold. You can bet as much as you are able or allowed to, or you can save your chips and show the other players that you are an experienced player. Only rookies see out every game!

In addition, you have the opportunity to win more money from other players by betting on a good hand. Normally, there are three raises per betting round possible, whereas the raises are bound to a limit. If you are betting and nobody calls, you win without showing your cards. If the bet is called, cards must be shown and the player with the best hand wins. In case the amount in the pot is uneven and the pot is split, the first active player to the left of the dealer button gets the extra chip. In Hi/Lo games, the High always gets this extra chip.

Poker is an easy-to-learn game of friendly competition. Combined with a bit of thought, strategy and basic know-how, it can offer a great deal of fun and enjoyment while at the same time providing you with useful life training.


GAME RULES: Blind / Ante Rules

On Texas Hold'em tables and Omaha tables, to take part in the action, you must regularly pay the blinds. In cash game play, you have the option of not paying the blinds and sitting out from the play. In tournament game play, paying the blinds is obligatory.

There are two blinds - the small blind and the big blind. The big blind is set at the lower limit of the table and the small blind is generally half the size of the big blind. In most games, the player to the left of the dealer button must pay the small blind and the next player must pay the big blind. In heads-up matches, the dealer pays the small blind and his opponent pays the big blind. At the start of each new game, the dealer button will move one place around the table and thus the blind paying players will change. A player who pays the big blind in a game will pay the small blind in the next game and a player who pays the small blind in a game will receive the dealer button in the next game (except in heads-up play).

If a player does not pay one of the blinds, he will be expected to pay both blinds before he can take part in a game.

When a player joins a running table, he will be expected to pay the big blind before he can take part in a game. He can either pay the blind at the next possible opportunity or choose to wait until he is in the big blind position. If a player pays a blind when not in the blind position, he will have to pay that blind again when he is in the position if he wants to take part in future games.

When players are reseated in tournaments, we try to reseat them in a fair manner such that they are seated in the closest matching position in relation to the dealer button so that they do not experience a loss (or a gain) in position due to the reseating.

See also Limits, Antes & Blinds


GAME RULES: Betting Rules

So, how do you bet? Poker is, after all, a gambling game. In most games, you must 'ante' something (amount varies by game, our games are typically a nickel), just to get dealt cards. After that players bet into the pot in the middle. At the end of the hand, the highest hand (that hasn't folded) wins the pot. Basically, when betting gets around to you (betting is typically done in clockwise order), you have one of three choices:


When you call, you bet enough to match what has been bet since the last time you bet (for instance, if you bet a dime last time, and someone else bet a quarter, you would owe fifteen cents).


When you raise, you first bet enough to match what has been bet since the last time you bet (as in calling), then you 'raise' the bet another amount (up to you, but there is typically a limit.) Continuing the above example, if you had bet a dime, the other person raised you fifteen cents (up to a quarter), you might raise a quarter (up to fifty cents). Since you owed the pot 15 cents for calling and 25 for your raise, you would put 40 cents into the pot.


When you fold, you drop out of the current hand (losing any possibility of winning the pot), but you don't have to put any money into the pot.

Betting continues until everyone calls or folds after a raise or initial bet.


GAME RULES: Hand Rankings

A standard poker deck contains 52 cards. Card rankings run downward from Ace-King-Queen-Jack and so on down to 2 (two). The Ace, however, can be used as a 1 (one) for a straight from one to five. The four suits are spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.

Most poker games are played with seven cards with which you must build the best 5-card hand. Possible winning hands are classified in order based upon the odds of their occurrence and are ranked, starting with the highest, as follows:

Royal Flush: Five cards from ten to Ace of the same suit   Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit

Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank   Full House: Three and two cards of the same rank

Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, regardless of the rank   Straight: Five consecutive cards of any suit
Three of a Kind ("Trips"): Three cards of the same rank

Two Pairs: Two cards of the same rank, twice

One Pair: Two cards of the same rank


High Card: Five cards that do not match; the highest card in the hand wins - In the hand ranking, this is the worst hand



A player can never be forced out of a hand because he does not have enough chips to call a bet. However, a player can only win (from each opposing player) as many chips as he bets. If a player only puts 50 chips into a pot, he can only win 50 chips from each opposing player.

A side pot is a pot containing the chips over and above what an all in player has contributed to the main pot. For example, if two players each bet 100 chips and a third player goes all in with 60 chips, there would be a main pot of 180 (60 x 3) and a side pot of 80 (40 x 2). All three players would be eligible to win the main pot, but only the two players who contributed chips to the side pot would be eligible to win that side pot.

It can get complicated when two or more players go all in, resulting in multiple side pots. As a general rule, the first player to go all in is eligible for the main pot only. The next all in player is eligible for the first side pot and the main pot and the next all in player is eligible for the second side pot, the first side pot and the main pot, etc.


GAME RULES: Basic Game Tips

Keep player notes on opponents

We cannot stress this enough. While you always want to pay attention to how people are playing, online poker players are always coming and going, which doesn't give you time to feel them out. Taking notes can help you keep a record should you play against these opponents again. The main characteristics to note about a player are: smart or not; aggressive or passive; tight or loose; straight up or bluffs; bets out a draw or not, and what kinds of hands the player plays or the pre-flops are being raised with. Yes, this is a lot of information to note, but it will help you in the long run.

Get hand histories when players don't show their hand at the river

More often than not, only the winning hand is shown on the river. However, it’s interesting to note what the loser was holding. Simply click on the hand number at the top right of the screen to switch to the Hand History screen where losing called hands can be seen. We recommend doing this in conjunction with player notes to get a good idea of what a player is willing to play with on the river. Showdown information is always the most critical, as you can analyze their decision making process from the ground up.

Wait a full table rotation before posting the Big Blind

This tip may be debated by some players out there, but unless you really know what you are doing, this tactic could save you money in the long run. Apart from allowing you to prepare yourself mentally by waiting a full table rotation, this also gives you invaluable time to evaluate your opponents.  The worst thing would be to be dealt a strong hand early in the game, and then to get caught up in a massive raising war between two players you don't know. They could be two maniacs for sure, but what if one of them is a maniac and the other player is super tight? Most likely, that super tight player is holding the nuts while you are bumbling by with a top pair or two pair. Not a good move. So be patient, take notes and save money in the long run.

Learn to leave the table

This is really just a general poker tip, but it still catches even the poker pros at times. At UWIN Poker, if you find that you are being outplayed, outclassed or even if you are just unlucky at the table, it's okay to leave. Don't think about getting your money back or getting revenge on the player that riveted you for the 3rd time. If you are losing money at your table, you do NOT have good table image - no matter what you might think. Not only are you not in a good mood, which puts you on tilt (admit it or not), but other players will be more likely to make plays against you. This makes your game harder in more ways than you could possibly be comfortable with.

If the game gets short-handed (6 players or less) and you are not familiar with short-handed play, then you may want to leave the game. Playing short-handed is an easy way to lose a lot of money if you don't know what you are doing. This happens all the time when a table breaks up and there are two solid players and three other guys who don't realize they are about to get run over. Don't be road kill when all it takes is a single click.

Buy in more than necessary at the poker table

If you've been doing your homework, you'll know that you should always sit in with a minimum of 20 times the Big Blind at any poker table. In online poker, this should be more along the lines of at least 40 times the Big Blind. You should think about starting with 100 times the Big Blind.  Why? First, don't ever be in the position of holding the nuts and not having enough money to raise the pot. It happens too often that a player will have flopped a full house in a $3/$6 game, but has only $12 remaining in his bankroll. The player could have made a killing if it weren't for the fact that he/she was playing with a small stack.

Protect your computer

It never hurts to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting your computer and poker information. Anti-virus software is good, but the real threats are Spyware and Trojans. We recommend getting the Ad-Aware software which is a very popular (and free!) anti-spyware software that thoroughly cleans your system of tracking junk. Firewall software is great, too, and highly recommended. Admittedly, the odds of someone coming after you for your poker passwords are slim, but why risk it?

Use a four-color deck

If you play poker long enough, you're going to make mistakes. Everyone with enough experience has probably misread their cards at some point or another (usually after a long stretch), especially flushes. Using a four-colored deck makes it much easier to identify flushes (and more importantly flush draw threats) and enables you to focus your attention elsewhere.

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