Category Archives: Poker Rules

Rules of Draw Poker Games

Rules of Draw Poker Games

There are two betting rounds, one before the draw and one after the draw. The game is played with a button and an ante. Players in turn may check, open for the minimum, or open with a raise. After the first betting round the players have the opportunity to draw new cards to replace the ones they discard. Action after the draw starts with the opener, or next player proceeding clockwise if the opener has folded. The betting limit after the draw is twice the amount of the betting limit before the draw. Some draw high games allow a player to open on anything; others require the opener to have a pair of jacks or better.

Rules for Draw High
1. A maximum of a bet and four raises is permitted in multi-handed pots. [See Section 16 – Explanations, discussion #6, for more information on this rule.]
2. Check-raise is permitted both before and after the draw.
3. Any card that is exposed by the dealer before the draw must be kept.
4. Five cards constitute a playing hand. Less than five cards for a player (other than the button) before action has been taken is a misdeal. If action has been taken, a player with fewer than five cards may draw the number of cards necessary to complete a five-card hand. The button may receive the fifth card even if action has taken place. More or fewer than five cards after the draw constitutes a fouled hand.

5. A player may draw up to four consecutive cards. If a player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and the fifth card after everyone else has drawn. If the last player wishes to draw five new cards, four are dealt right away, and a card is burned before the player receives a fifth card. [See “Section 16 – Explanations,” discussion #9, for more information about this rule.]
6. You may change the number of cards you wish to draw, provided:
(a) No cards have been dealt off the deck in response to your request (including the burn card).
(b) No player has acted, in either the betting or indicating the number of cards to be drawn, based on the number of cards you have requested.
7. If you are asked how many cards you drew by another active player, you are obligated to respond until there has been action after the draw, and the dealer is also obligated to respond. Once there is any action after the draw, you are no longer obliged to respond and the dealer cannot respond.
8. On the draw, an exposed card cannot be taken. The draw is completed to each player in order, and then the exposed card is replaced.
9. Rapping the table in turn constitutes either a pass or the declaration of a pat hand that does not want to draw any cards, depending on the situation. A player who indicates a pat hand by rapping the table, not knowing the pot has been raised, may still play his or her hand.
10. You may not change your seat between hands when there are multiple antes or forfeited money in the pot.
11. You have the right to pay the ante (whether single or multiple) at any time and receive a hand, unless there is any additional money in the pot that has been forfeited during a hand in which you were not involved.
12. If the pot has been declared open by an all-in player playing for just the antes, all callers must come in for the full opening bet.
13. If you have only a full ante and no other chips on the table, you may play for just the antes. If no one opens and there is another ante, you may still play for that part of the antes that you have matched, without putting in any more money.

1. A pair of jacks or better is required to open the pot. If no player opens the pot, the button moves forward and each player must ante again, unless the limit of antes has been reached for that particular game. (Most games allow three consecutive deals before anteing stops.)
2. If the opener should show false openers before the draw, any other active player has the opportunity to declare the pot opened. However, any player who originally passed openers is not eligible to declare the pot open. The false opener has a dead hand and the opening bet stays in the pot. Any other bet placed in the pot by the opener may be withdrawn, provided the action before the draw is not completed. If no other player declares the pot open, all bets are returned except the opener’s first bet. The first bet and antes will remain in the pot, and all players who were involved in that hand are entitled to play the next hand after anteing again.
3. Any player who has legally declared the pot opened must prove openers in order to win the pot.
4. In all cases, the pot will play (even if the opener shows or declares a fouled hand) if there has been a raise, two or more players call the opening bet, or all action is completed before the draw.
5. Even if you are all in for just the ante (or part of the ante), you may declare the pot open if you have openers. If you are all in and falsely declare the pot open, you will lose the ante money and may not continue to play on any subsequent deals until a winner is determined. Even if you buy in again, you must wait until the pot has been legally opened and someone else has won it before you can resume playing.
6. Once action has been completed before the draw, the opener may not withdraw any bets, whether or not the hand contains openers.
7. An opener may be allowed to retrieve a discarded hand to prove openers, at management’s discretion.
8. Any player may request that the opener retain the opening hand and show it after the winner of the pot has been determined.
9. You may split openers, but you must declare that you are splitting and place all discards under a chip to be exposed by the dealer after the completion of the hand.
If you declare that you are splitting openers, but it is determined that you could not possibly have had openers when your final hand is compared with your discards, you will lose the pot.
10. You are not splitting openers if you retain openers. If you begin with the ace, joker, king, queen of spades, and the ten of clubs, you are not splitting if you throw the ten of clubs away. You are breaking a straight to draw to a royal flush, and in doing so, you have retained openers (ace-joker for two aces).
11. After the draw, if you call the opener’s bet and cannot beat openers, you will not get your bet back. (You have received information about opener’s hand that is not free.)

The Joker
1. The players will be alerted as to whether the joker is in use.
2. The joker may be used only as an ace, or to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush. (Thus it is not a completely wild card.)
3. If a joker is used to make a flush, it will be the highest card of the flush not present in the hand.
4. Five aces is the best possible hand (four aces and joker).

Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack basic strategy is the most basic system that all blackjack players must master in order to become a successful player. Basic strategy is a mathematical system of charts that show you the correct mathematical play in any blackjack scenario. You need to learn these basic strategy charts inside and out to know every proper play. This is the fundamental system that blackjack strategy is based upon. By correctly using blackjack basic strategy, you can almost turn the casino’s house advantage of 7%-8% into 1%.

The system of blackjack basic strategy has been developed over several years of research and computer simulation to perfect the basic strategy charts. There are a wide variety of charts that change with slight varations, depending on the exact type of blackjack you will be playing. The two most common basic strategy charts are the single deck and multiple deck charts.

  • Single Deck Blackjack Strategy Charts
  • Multiple Deck Blackjack Strategy Charts

Using Basic Strategy

Using blackjack basic strategy isn’t complicated if you know how to read and understand basic strategy charts. The left vertical column of the charts is your hand and the top horizontal column is the dealer’s hand. Simply line up the columns where your hand meets the dealer’s hand to find the correct play. The abbreviations below are commonly found on basic strategy charts:

  • H – Hit
  • S – Stand
  • D – Double if allowed, otherwise hit
  • Ds – Double if allowed, otherwise stand
  • P – Split
  • H/P – Split if you can double after split, otherwise hit
  • H/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise hit
  • P/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise split
  • S/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise stand

Memorizing Basic Strategy

You’ll need to memorize the basic strategy charts inside and out so you can make your decision (the proper play) in a split second while sitting at a blackjack table. Newer blackjack players often find it difficult to memorize the charts. The easiest way to commit the charts to memory is to look for logical patterns in the charts that help you understand why each play is made.

When you first begin playing or if you are having trouble memorizing the strategy charts, you might consider getting a blackjack strategy card. These are convenient laminated cards, about the size of a credit card, which have the basic strategy charts on them. Most casinos will even allow you to use the cards at the table while playing. For more information, visit our blackjack strategy card page.

Winning with Basic Strategy

There is one last thing to keep in mind when it comes to blackjack basic strategy – it’s not a guaranteed winning system. There are some players who will try to discredit basic strategy because they tried using it once or twice and ended up with a losing night. Basic strategy just shows the proper mathematical decision, for everyblackjack scenario. This does not guarantee that you will always win when using it. It’s simply the foundation for all other blackjack strategies and is a must learn for any serious player.