Poker Nights - About the Hands
is definitely an important thing to consider before you
start the night; it can get ugly when there's a misunderstanding
that results in a disputed win! Have this printed out
somewhere, for reference - in fact, if there are new players at
your poker night, have it on the table. That way the newbies
can consult it without drawing too much attention to themselves
during a hand... Anyway, here's the order of hands:
High Card - If you have
nothing else, the highest card wins. If the highest card
is a tie, the second-highest in each hand breaks the tie, and
Pair - Two cards of the
Two Pair - Two
pairs. When two two-pairs compete, the highest pair
wins; if the highest pairs are identical, the second
pair breaks the tie. If both pairs are identical, the
fifth card breaks the tie.
Three of a Kind - Three
cards of the same value.
Straight - Five cards in
a row. Note that the ace can be either high or
low, but not both - this means there are no
"wraparound straights." For example, A-2-3-4-5
is valid, as is 10-J-Q-K-A, but not Q-K-A-2-3.
Flush - Five cards of
the same suit. Ties are broken by the high card, then
the second highest card, etc.
Full House - A pair and
a three of a kind. Ties are broken by the highest
Four of a Kind - Four
cards of the same value.
Straight Flush - Five
cards of the same suit, in order. As with straights,
there are no wraparounds allowed. Note: A
"Royal Flush" is just a variation of a Straight
Flush, which is the highest available straight flush:
10-J-Q-K-A of a single suit.
Five of a Kind - Five
cards of the same value. Of course, this hand is only
possible in games with wild cards.
Now, some very important things to
remember when considering these hands:
A Poker Hand is ONLY FIVE
CARDS - If you're playing a game where the player has
seven cards, for example, the player can only play five
cards. Sixth cards can't be used as tie-breakers, for
example, and there is no such hand as "three
Suits DON'T Break Ties
- All suits are of equal value. If two five-card hands
are identical, they tie, rather than being decided by which
suit is higher. This is called a "push" - the
money is simply split between the tying hands.
The Cards Talk -
If a player lays down his cards, calling his hand a two pair,
when it's actually four of a kind, the cards talk; that
is, the player gets credit for the hand that is actually
there, not just for what he says is there. This can get
complicated in games with many wild cards, and especially for
new players; this protects them from their own ignorance!
Calling and Showing
- The person whose final bet is matched at the end of the hand
has been "called" - this person must be the first to
show their cards. Other players may choose to not show
their cards if they know they've lost.
Folding and Showing
- If all other players fold, the remaining player wins the
hand; however, in this case the winner does not have to
show his cards! This protects his (successful?)
potential bluff. In some cases, players will pay the
last bit of money "just to see if he had it,"
knowing that they will most likely lose anyway.
Looks like you've got all the
house rules under control; now let's learn some Games!