Five Card Draw is a Great Way to Get Acquainted with Poker

Five Card DrawAlthough there are many different types of poker games, every player has to start somewhere and one of the most common places to start is with five card draw. This is because it is a poker game that is very simple and allows players get up to speed with the game. It is far more prevalent in home play amongst friends than it is online in tournaments or casinos but that is not to say that the game cannot be found online. In fact, it holds a place in the majority of online casino and only variations like Texas Hold ‘Em say they are more popular than the five card draw game.

Easy to play, difficult to master

Like many poker games, although it is easy to learn the rules and nature of five card draw, it can be very difficult to wink, especially when you are up against experienced players. There are obviously tips and techniques a player can learn to develop their skills and give themselves an edge but the best way to get ahead at five card poker is to follow the rules and play regularly. Like most poker games, observing good players at work and then trying to develop your own style around their techniques is a great way to increase your playing skills and start to win some big money at the poker table.

The game of five card draw begins with every player placing their ante into the pot and then being dealt five cards. From here, the player on the left of the dealer will bet or pass, and if a pass is called, play defers to the player on the left once again and they too have the option to bet or pass. If every player passes, the cards should be gathered in, a new ante should take place and play begins with the player on the left hand side of the dealer being dealt a fresh hand.

Follow the rules and develop your skills

Each player can call, fold or raise after the hand is opened by a player who has placed a bet. Each player that survives is then provided the option to exchange a number of cards for the same number of cards from the top of the deck. Another round of betting takes place and should be started after each player involved in the hand has exchanged their cards or remained with what they hold.

After the betting round is complete, all players that have not folded should show their hands. The rules of five card draw may seem a little convoluted written down but once the game begins, they are very easy to follow and makes for a simple and engaging game of poker. The game also provides a great grounding for players to take on into using on different variations of poker games.

The Art of Value Betting

The Art of Value Betting
The Art of Value Betting

Say you’re sitting on a poker table. The game is no limit hold-em, you’ve been dealt your hole cards, seen the flop, the turn, now the river comes out, and you’re only too happy to see you’ve got the nuts! Well you can’t just sit there, you have to capitalize on this. The key to being successful in poker is to maximize your winnings while minimizing your losses. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing free poker or real money poker, you should be playing to win.

You’ve got the nuts, you know for a fact you can’t be beat, at worst you’ll split the pot, you have to place a value bet. The only question is – how much do you bet? If you bet too much, the whole table may fold. If you don’t bet enough, you may not get as much as you could have for the hand. So how much do you bet? Well, the answer to that question is not so simple. The situation is different with every hand. You have to consider how many people are in the pot already and how they’ve been playing the hand up to this point.

For example, if you’re sitting on a full table with five people in the pot, (including yourself) but everybody has been limping all the way to the river, any large bet is likely to fold the whole table. In this situation, you are probably best off betting the minimum bet. At least one or two of the people in the pot will likely have a small pair that they just didn’t feel comfortable betting with. They will likely think you are in the same situation as they are and not be willing to lay down a small hand so easily. If you’re lucky, everybody in the pot will call. Unfortunately, in this situation, even with a monster hand, this is probably the most you can hope to gain from it.

On the other hand, if it’s down to you and one other player, and your opponent has been betting aggressively down every street, value betting right off the bat MIGHT be the best move you can make. This depends on the situation also. If you have just made your hand on the river, a nut flush or straight, it will probably be pretty obvious if you’ve been check/calling the whole way and then suddenly come out value betting on the river. Any savvy poker player is going to catch on to this and cut their losses… if they believe you. In this situation, a check/raise is called for. Or, if your opponent has bet first, come over the top with a raise, say about 50% higher than your opponents bet. The check/raise will at very least gain you your opponent’s river bet, and if they’re foolish enough to call, or re-raise, gain you even more. If they bet first, and you raise them 50%, you will leave some question in their mind as to whether you are bluffing or not.

They know you have seen the possibility of the nut flush, (or straight) fall on the river because they saw it too. So they may very well think you are trying to buy the pot and either re-raise you, or smooth call. If they’re an aggressive player, chances are they will push all in to show you they think you are bluffing, in which case, you just doubled your stack. If they’re not such an aggressive player, but have been betting somewhat aggressively down every street, you may want to raise a little more than 50% of their bet if you expect a smooth call, but pushing all in will only scare them off.

The key to value betting is knowing your opponent well enough to be able to make an informed decision on just how much you can get out of them in any situation.

Full Tilt Poker Online Poker Tournaments

Full Tilt Poker TournamentsFull Tilt Poker offers a variety of tournaments to choose from, each requiring a slight adaptation of poker strategy. The one element that all poker tournaments have in common is this; to play poker you will have to buy in for a specified amount of money plus the tournament fee, (usually about 10% of the buy in). When the game starts, each player is given an equal number of chips, (your “stack”) to bet with.

Sit and Go

Sit and Go tournaments are small poker tournaments, sometimes a small as 1 table. The defining element of a sit and go tournament is that the game does not start until the required number of players has registered. Many poker players prefer this type of tournament because the prize pool is already set. The prize pool in any tournament is based on the number of players registered, so in a sit and go, you know exactly what you’re playing for before the game ever starts.

Cash Tournaments

Cash tournaments are very straightforward. Players buy in for the specified amount, and winnings are paid out to the top players in dollar increments.

Satellite Tournaments

These are usually relatively inexpensive tournaments. The prize is entrance into a higher stakes poker tournament with much higher payouts for the winners.

Knockout Tournaments

Knockout poker tournaments are an interesting variation of the standard cash tournament. A portion of each player’s buy in is set aside as their “bounty.” Every time you knock a player out of the tournament, you are awarded their bounty. This style of tournament usually attracts very aggressive poker players. The placement payout is usually lower than that of other tournaments, but this can be made up for by knocking out players.

Rebuy Tournaments

Rebuy tournaments allow you to “rebuy”, or purchase more chips if you are knocked out early. The rebuy period will only last for a specified number of rounds, after which time rebuying is no longer permitted. Poker players that like to take risks and play several hands are often attracted to these tournaments.

Cashout Tournaments

In cashout tournaments, half of each players buy in goes into the prize pool, the other half goes into the “cashout fund.” At any time during the tournament, a player may “cash out” a portion of their chips. So if the buy in is $50 and the starting number of chips is 3000, then 3000 chips is worth half of the buy in, or $25.

Steps Tournaments

These are set up similar to single table Sit and Go tournaments. The top players from each table advance to the next “step.” 7 steps in all are played and the prizes vary for the top players of the final step.

On Demand Tournaments

Set up like a sit and go at first. A specified number of players are required for the tournament to start. The difference between these and a sit and go is, once the game has started, other people can still register for a certain period of time.

Multi-table Online Poker Tournaments

Multi-table Online Poker TournamentsPlaying poker tournaments requires a lot of patients, stamina, and a completely different strategic approach than play ring games. There are often hundreds, even thousands of players to contend with, all of whom are determined to knock you out of the tournament and make their way to the final table.

The payout for winning a tournament is usually tremendous. You can often win several thousand dollars in a poker tournament for which you only paid a $50 buy in.

The trick is getting to the money. Don’t expect to win every tournament you play. Even the best poker players are often knocked out before ever even reaching the bubble, let alone making the money. However, with the right attitude going in, and a level head, you can play several tournaments, and at the very least win back your buy in for most of them.

Be Patient

At the start of the tournament, you may see several players start throwing their stacks into the pot in an attempt to get a high chip count early on. This is a mistake. They are gambling with their chips and more often than not, they will be knocked out early.

Be patient, hold out for strong hands in good position, and don’t be tempted to get involved in large pots unless you are holding the nuts. Wait for the moment when you can catch one of these over-aggressive players with their pants down and take their chips from them. Remember, when playing at betting sites with online poker tournaments you have to make it through the bubble to win back you buy-in and at least break even for the tournament.

The Bubble

This is the point in a tournament when you have almost made it to the money. There are only a few players left to be knocked out before the remaining players are guaranteed to be paid. Poker play in the bubble is always intense, players are often very conservative with their chips at this point because they want to make it to the money. Don’t be too conservative though, there are opportunities to increase your stack size at this point. Don’t be afraid to make a few calculated risks.

The Final Table

If you’ve made it this far then you’re doing fantastic. Start of slow and get a feel for your opponents. Learn how they play and make no mistake, you are playing good players. They are at the final table for a reason. Watch for your openings and don’t be afraid to steal the pot when the opportunity presents itself.

Once you get down to the last two or three players, feel free to open up a little bit and start taking some risks. You will probably be able to steal some pots, and might just catch some lucky breaks on the board to lead you to victory.

Poker Bets Online

Poker Betting - Check or FoldPoker betting online is slightly different from real life situation in that you are not actually placing poker chips on the table. However, when you play poker online the choices remain the same. In all situations you will be given a combination of four options… you may fold, check, call, or raise.

If a poker bet has already been made the option to check will not be available. You must either fold, call, or raise the bet. These will appear as icons somewhere on the poker table screen. The raise button is usually set to a predefined amount for the minimum raise.

The poker bet slide bar

The process for raising the amount of the bet varies from poker room to poker room, but is usually some version of slide bar in which you slide a marker from left to right, or vertically from bottom to top to raise the amount of the poker bet you wish to make. These “bet slide bar” will usually have one button on either end marker, “max” and “min” which you can use to quickly choose the maximum, (or minimum) allowed bet with a single click. There is often an option somewhere in the file menu of the poker room software to change to style of the bet slide bar to whatever you are most comfortable with.

Manually inputting poker bets

In addition to the bet slider there is usually some place where you can manually input the amount you wish to bet by typing in the numeric value of the poker bet you wish to place. This will appear as a blank box, most likely directly above the poker bet slider.

Check or fold?

In a few poker rooms- Poker Stars for instance- you may even be given the option to fold when a check is available. However, it is not recommended that you fold when a check is available regardless of how bad your hand stinks. The fact is, a check is a free look at the next card, and anybody who denies that free look is just pain foolish. The strength of your hand could change dramatically from one new card. So whenever you are in a situation in which you don’t want to bet or call, if given the option to check or fold, always check.

Poker Stars Online Poker Room

Poker Stars

Poker Stars may not be just as great as live dealer poker, but is just a great online poker room offering a wide range of poker games.

With games ranging from $0.01/$0.02 micro stakes up to $200/$400 high stakes, as well as the sheer volume of poker game varieties available, finding a table is never challenge.

The diversity of games alone makes Poker Stars stand out from the rest of the online poker rooms out there. The available games at Poker Stars are outlined in the table below.

Games Available on Poker Stars

No Limit Pot Limit Cap Limit Fixed Limit High Hi-Lo
Texas Holdem Y Y Y Y
Omaha Y Y Y Y Y
7-card Stud Y Y Y
Razz Y
5-card Draw Y Y Y
2-7 Draw Y Y Y
Badugi Y

2-7 Draw comes in single draw and triple draw. In addition to the games displayed in the table above, Poker Stars also offers a number of mixed games.

Mixed Games

  • Triple Stud – All three stud games, Stud hi, hi-lo, and razz
  • HORSE – Hold-em, Omaha hi-lo, Razz, Stud, Stud hi-lo, (fixed limit)
  • HOSE – Hold-em, Omaha hi-lo, Stud, Stud hi-lo (fixed limit)
  • HO – Hold-em and Omaha hi-lo (fixed limit)
  • 8-game – 2-7 triple draw, no limit Hold-em, pot limit Omaha, limit Hold-em, limit Omaha hi-lo, Razz, Stud, Stud hi-lo

Tournament Play

For the poker players that love the intense, stamina testing tournament style of play, Poker Stars also offers a wide variety of poker tournaments to play. Tournaments vary in size and game types and can be found at any time during the day. They hold many special events in which various prizes or seats in large tournaments are awarded, as well as free-roll tournaments and fake money tables for the poker fanatics who don’t want to risk their money on the tables.

Overall, Poker Stars is a great poker room in which avid poker fans can find any game they want. The multiple choices of different poker games is hard to match on any other online poker rooms. Professional poker players often frequent the tables, and many of them have given some great advice on various poker strategies, available to anybody via Poker Stars website.

Online Poker, How it’s Played

Online Poker, How it’s PlayedIf you’re new to online poker you are probably asking yourself how come you haven’t discover this game any sooner, at least that’s what I asked myself when new to the game. I remember trying to play a game of online poker using Yahtzee rules… Close, but no good, and it goes without saying that I didn’t win a dime.

So, let me briefly explain how online poker is played.

First of all, you need to find yourself an online poker room where to play. You can search the world wide web for this as there are a plethora of affiliate sites waiting to be discovered by you, and to help you out finding a reliable online poker room. Use keywords such as ‘free poker’, ‘free online poker’, etc. and you might even find yourself a site where you can get a bankroll for free, so you can start playing online poker for REAL money.

Once you’ve signed-up you can start playing. If you didn’t find yourself a free bankroll, or as a matter of the fact, even if you did, start with playing play-money poker games only. OK, you might not be able to cash-in this way, but it’s free, and prevents you from failing like I did (remember me saying Yahtzee?). And once you get the hang of it, you are free to do what you want. Play with the free given bankroll, or make a deposit.

If you do make a deposit, make sure to go after a poker bonus. Even though this is usually the case at the majority of online poker rooms, not all poker bonuses are equally high. I you find an advertised bonus of say 100% up to $500, then look further, because numerous affiliates offer enhanced bonuses when you use their bonus code!

Depositing at online poker room is just as easy as online banking, however US poker players will find it a little bit harder to fund their accounts due to a kinda stupid regulation called the UGEIA which came in effect mid 2006. Again, use Google or Yahoo to search for queries such as ‘US online poker rooms’ and the like. Common deposit methods are credit cards, e-wallets, and pre-paid cards.

The nicest part about playing online poker is, of course, winning! So once you have won a significant amount, you can do two things. Either you cash-out your winnings, or you move up a level in stakes. As a beginning player, I would just cash-out the profit and buy my girlfriend/boyfriend a nice gift.

Cashing out regularly gets done through e-wallets, bank wire transfers, or checks. In rare cases online poker rooms offer the ability to cash-out to your credit card.

Now, this is how online poker is played, be it in a nutshell. It doesn’t matter if you take my advice for granted, as long as you remember one thing, poker definitely ain’t Yahtzee!