Playing poker at home or in a friendly setting is fun, but playing poker for money makes it even more exciting. You get a lot more than just bragging rights – if you play your cards right, you can win big. Blue Lake Casino is proud to offer poker among our many table games. We offer a variety of bets, allowing you to enjoy small or large stakes, depending on your mood and your budget. We also offer variations to keep your game options exciting, including Premium Hold ‘Em and Pai Gow Poker. You’ll always have exciting poker options when you visit Blue Lake Casino.
Traditional poker is a five-card game. The dealer passes out cards one at a time in a circle – one card goes to one player, the next card goes to the next player, and so on. The circle continues until all players have five cards. Players look at their cards and decide which cards they would like to keep and which cards they would like to trade in order to increase their chances of getting the best hands. Rarely does a player have a strong enough hand on the first deal.
The dealer will check in with each player, in the same order in which their cards were dealt, to ask if they would like to trade out any cards. Typically, players put the cards they want to give back on the table in front of them, the dealer takes them, and then deals the same number of new cards. Typically, players can trade in up to four cards, though house rules vary.
After players get their new cards, they are looking at their final hand. They then decide whether to fold or stay. Folding means that the cards and any bets made up to that point are forfeited. Staying means playing through the hand and seeing if it wins. Staying also requires matching any bets or raises that are made.
Several variations of poker are played, including one in which seven cards are dealt and “stud,” which deals some cards so they are face up and visible to all players. These variations influence the chances for putting together a stronger hand, as well as betting and playing strategy for other players.
The hand that you form in poker determines whether you win. The strongest hand will win all the bets that have been made, so it is in your interest to get the strongest hand possible.
A simple pair is any two matching face value cards, such as two 8s or two jacks. You can also have two pairs, such as one pair of 8s and one pair of jacks. Three of a kind is the matching of any three face value cards. Ditto for four of a kind, but with four cards. In games where one card is designated as wild, five of a kind is possible.
A full house involves one pair and three of a kind.
A straight is a hand composed of five cards in order, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The straight can come from anywhere in the deck, such as 8, 9, 10, jack, and queen.
A flush is a hand composed of five cards from the same suit, such as all hearts or all spades. The cards do not need to be in order. A straight flush would be composed of five cards all in the same suit and in order, such as a 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of clubs.
A royal flush is a hand composed of a 10, jack, queen, king, and ace, all in spades.
“No pair” or “nothing” is a hand that has no matching cards and has a mix of suits. If two hands are competing and both have nothing, the winner would be determined by the highest face value card in the hand.
All other hands are ranked as follows, from lowest to highest:
- One pair
- Two pairs
- Three of a kind
- Full house
- Four of a kind
- Straight flush
- Royal flush
The odds of getting each of the possible hands is as follows:
- No pair: 1 in 1.99
- One pair: 1 in 2.36
- Two pairs: 1 in 21.03
- Three of a kind: 1 in 47.32
- Straight: 1 in 254.80
- Flush: 1 in 508.80
- Full house: 1 in 694.16
- Four of a kind: 1 in 4,165
- Straight flush: 1 in 72,193.33
- Royal flush: 1 in 649,740
But winnings in poker are determined entirely by how you bet. Your royal flush isn’t worth much if you’ve got $1 in the pot. The more you and other players have bet, the more you will win. Success at poker is not just about putting together a winning hand, but betting strategically.
Typically, betting starts with the ante, which is the minimum table bet required to join the play. The ante is paid before the cards are even dealt. In some games, the ante is also called the blind.
After the cards are dealt to all the players, another round of betting is made. One player will be designated to start the betting in each round. Then players will have to match that bet or raise it. If the bet is raised anywhere in the circle, it will go around until all players have matched the bet or decided to fold, or opt out of the hand. Folding relinquishes any bets by that player that have already been placed.
After the second round of cards are passed out, the final betting can happen. Again, betting will start with a designated player, who may decide to stay or who may put in a new bet. Players must match or raise that bet. If the designated player does not make a bet, other players can make a bet when betting comes to them. Then all players will have to match that bet or fold.
At the end of betting, all players who have matched the bet are required to reveal their hands. At that point, the winner collects all bets that are in “the pot.”
Generally, it is accepted that if a player is raising a bet, they have good reason to do so – they have a hand that they think has a good chance of winning. Players take advantage of that knowledge by betting big on purpose, making other players think they have a good hand so that they will doubt their own hands and fold. This is called bluffing. Some players win by bluffing their way through the round, even though they have “nothing” or have a very weak hand. Knowing these and other strategies can help you win games of poker even when you haven’t gotten lucky cards.
One of the most popular poker variations is Texas Hold ‘Em. In this game, the best hand is made from seven cards. The twist is that only two of those cards are dealt to each of the players, while the remaining five cards are dealt face up to the center of the table. Players can match their two cards with any of those face up cards in the middle to create their best hand. It can be a more challenging game since players each have the same five cards. Therefore, the two cards the player has make all the difference to their chances of winning.
Pai gow poker is another popular variant. It is based on a traditional dominoes game, but it is played with cards. Seven cards are dealt to each player face down, and players must try to make the best five-card hand and the best two-card hand to beat the dealer. Play becomes tricky because there are rules for each of the hands, such as that the bigger hand must outrank the smaller hand, and there are more options for betting.
Blue Lake Casino is proud to offer poker among our table games, as well as the variants Premium Texas Hold ‘Em and pai gow poker. We offer a variety of minimum bets for our table games, ensuring you can find a game that meets your needs and your risk level. Our dealers are always available to answer questions, and our staff is committed to ensuring that you have an excellent experience throughout the casino. Visit us today for a game of poker or some other thrilling games!