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The traditional game of poker can still be found in most Casinos but new versions are springing up almost daily. The smoke filled poker den with it's shills, dealers and players is still very much in evidence and the players seem to be the same players that have played for years. Grim faced rarely smiling deadly serious poker players.

This picture has been changing more rapidly in recent months and being replaced by games like "Pai Gow Poker," "Carribean Stud" and "Let it ride." These games appear to have a friendlier tone and a feeling of fun. Before you play learn the game, it can be costly if you don't know what you'e doing.

Of course Video Poker has been around for a long time and is among the most popular adult Video games. You only need to know what the hands read and what to keep and what to discard when playing video poker. The machine does all the rest.

THE STANDARD POKER HANDS

These are the standard hands in the game of straight nothing wild poker listed best to worst:

Royal Flush   Strait Flush    Four of a kind   Full House

Five card Flush   Five card strait   Three of a kind
Two Pair   One Pair   High Card

Poker hands best to worst

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Varieties of Poker

There are far too many varieties of poker to deal with them here. We can however deal with them from a category perspective. Following are the major categories of Poker

Strait Poker Games: Variations with no wild cards include, five card stud, seven card stud, draw poker are the standards with numerous variation.

The new popular casino poker games are a variation on the standard games. The three most popular are; "Pai Gow Poker" "Caribbean Stud" and "Let It Ride"

Caribbean Stud is played on a redesigned black jack table, the seven circles being replace with ante boxes and betting boxes,one of each for each playing spot. Player make an ante bet in the ante box with the usual minimum being 2 to 5 dollars. Each player is then dealt five cards face down, including the dealer whose last card is dealt face up. The dealer will signal the players to pick up their cards after he verifies that the deck contains 52 cards. This is a matter of security due to the progressive element of the game, Stakes can be extremely high, requiring tight security.

Once the deck is verified the game begins. The object of the game is to make a five card stud poker hand better than the dealer's hand. The player now makes a decision to call or to fold. A weak hand folds and a strong hand calls. If you stay with a good hand and call you put up a second wager twice the size of the first. If you anted five dollars you now bet ten dollars making your total wager fifteen dollars. If you fold you toss your cards towards the dealer face down and lose your ante. If you call you place the cards face down to the left of the ante box. When all play decisions have been made the dealer shows his hand. The dealer must have at least an Ace/King hand to compete against the call bets, anything less and he does not qualify and his hand is folded. The ante bets of the active players are paid in this case. If the dealer wins you lose both your bets, the ante and the call bet. If youy win your ante bet is paid even money and your call bet is paid according to how strong your hand is on a predetermined pay schedule. The schedule is graduated from 1 to 1 on a pair to 100 to 1 on a Royal Flush.

It all looks so easy but when the dealer fails to qualify and you have a super hand it can be dissapointing winning only 1 to 1 on the ante.

Let it Ride is also played on a modified black jack table but you only play against a pay schedule and you need three times the posted minimum play. If minimum is 5 dollars you need to put up 15 dollars because you play the minimum in each of three play circles.

After all bets have been placed each player is dealt three cards and you make the best poker hand you can out of these three cards. If you don't like your hand you can opt to remove one of the three bets. When all players have made their determination to stay with their bets the dealer turns over one of two community cards. It simply means all players get to use the cards to better their hand. At this point you can opt to remove your second bet or stay with it. The last bet is not an option on your part, you are committed to play it to the bitter end.

After the last community card has been turned the dealer examines the hands and if you don't have tens or better you lose your bet, as well as any bets you've "Let Ride". Players with tens or better are paid on a schedule that ranges from 1 to 1 on a pair of tens or better to a 1,000 to 1 on a Royal Flush.

Remember the two community cards are part of your hand and if they turn up a pair of tens or better all players win.

Wild card poker games: The rules are the same for any game of poker unless house rules are declared before the game starts. In wild card poker the variations are, again, almost endless. We will list some of the more popular wild games. Kings and little ones; Kings and the lowest card in your hand are wild. Baseball; all nines are wild and all threes in the hole are wild, this is a seven card game. You probably won't find any of these games in Vegas, they are mentioned merely to indicate the wide variety that exists in Poker.

Video Poker Video poker is everywhere and anywhere you can find a casino. A very popular game among Casino goers. Stakes range from five (5) cents to as high as five dollars. The number of coins played also varies from one to five and more. The more coins played the higher the pay back on a win. Select you machine and coin denomination and start playing.

You need to know if you are playing a Jacks or better machine or a wild card machine. Insert you coins and press the draw button, the cards will flip open one at a time. Decide what you want to keep and press the corresponding HOLD button under those cards, if you make a mistake you can cancel the selection and and start over. Once you've made your choice press the draw button again and you will be dealt new card to replace the discards. Most poker machines pay in credits held by the machine until cashed in or played off.

There are no magic formulas for winning at video poker but a reasonable knowledge of the game and chances of drawing to a hand is a good idea. For example what are the odds or chances of holding a face card and drawing a Royal Flush? Pretty slim, who knows it could happen.

If you have nothing worth while but a face card or ace, hold them and draw. If you really have a lousy hand, draw five more cards, it can't hurt.

Some Casino have a progressive poker pot video, this simply means that the amount set aside for the Royal Flush continues to grow until someone wins.

For an in depth look at Poker games see Hoyle's Rules Of The Games

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