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Poker Player’s Choice – Casino Hold’em and Blackjack

Poker Player’s Choice – Casino Hold’em and Blackjack

While Casino Hold ’em is the most popular poker game, Classic 21 is the most favoured Blackjack variant in UK casinos. Both Casino Hold ’em and Blackjack have millions of fans around the world, who log into their online UK casinos to play either regularly or occasionally. Both games can be challenging to play and win but is one better than the other? Here is a guide to help you choose between playing Casino Hold ’em and Blackjack.

Casino Hold’ em

Casino Hold em is a variant of Texas Hold’em poker that can be found at both online and land-based casinos. The most outstanding feature of Casino Hold’em is that players play against the dealer.

Casino Hold’em rules

  • The game starts with the player making an Ante wager or a progressive Jackpot side bet.
  • The Dealer and the player must each have two cards and there must be three community cards, face up on the poker table.
  • Players can either call or fold. If the player folds, then he loses his cards and Ante bet. If the player calls, the Call bet should be twice as much as the Ante bet.
  • The dealer should have a pair of fours to qualify. If they don’t qualify, the Call bet will push.
  • In case the dealer qualifies and beats the player, the player shall lose both the Ante and Call bets.
  • If the dealer qualifies but loses to the player, both the Ante and the Call bet will pay.
  • If the dealer qualifies but his hand is equal to the player’s hand, then all bets are returned to the player.

Main poker hands in Casino Hold’em

Royal Flush – King, Queen, Jack, Ace and 10, all of the same suit.

Straight Flush – Five cards, all of the same suit, in a sequence.

Four– Four cards of similar denomination, each one in a different suit.

Full House– Two cards of different denominations and three cards of one denomination.

Flush – Five Cards of similar suit.

Straight – Five cards in sequence but of any suit.

Three – Three cards of similar denomination and two unmatched cards.

Two pair – Two sets of two cards of similar denomination and any one card.

One pair – Two cards of similar denomination and three different cards.

High Card – Any five cards.

BlackJack

In Blackjack, players compete against the house, instead of each other. Blackjack is an exciting casino game, apart from the fact that players must act before the dealer. This means that in a game of blackjack, the house will always have an advantage over players.

The main goal is to get a hand total that’s closest to 21, then the dealer. The game starts as the players and dealer each get two cards. Note that while both the player’s cards are face up, the dealer must have one facing down.

Blackjack Rules

  • Blackjack is played with the 52 standard deck of cards. Due to a large number of players, online casinos now offer double deck, single deck, 4-deck, 6-deck and 8-deck variants.
  • Once the dealer shuffles, the player shall ‘cut card’ at any random position within the stacks of cards. If this card is reached during the game, it indicates the final deal of the game, before the cards are re-shuffled.
  • Each player will place their bet in the betting circle at the table. The dealer then deals one card at a time, in a clockwise direction.
  • If the dealer has an ace or 10, players are allowed to place an insurance wager that is half their original bet.
  • If both the player and the dealer have blackjack, the bet is returned to the player.
  • If the dealer doesn’t have Blackjack, all players with Blackjack are paid and the insurance bets are lost.

In conclusion, both Casino Hold’em and Blackjack are very different casino games. However, both require practise, discipline and patience to win. So which will you pick; Casino Hold’em or Blackjack? If you are unsure where to start, head on over to topcasinosites.co.uk for a more general introduction to UK casinos, including the best places online offering the two mentioned game types. Good luck!

You May Have Your Poker Skills Down, But How is Your Online Poker Etiquette Holding Up?

You May Have Your Poker Skills Down, But How is Your Online Poker Etiquette Holding Up?

If you have made a decision to move to a land-based casino setting from an online stud poker, or you are considering trying it, you will need to get acquainted with some online poker etiquette before you settle at the table.

Most of the poker players assume that just because they are playing from the back of a computer screen, they can do whatever they want and act anyhow when the play poker online . However, that’s not the case since there are various considerations each poker player must understand before you settle down at an online poker UK table. If you want to know how to play poker online like a professional, observe the following poker etiquette tips.

Be Polite

Having conversations between games is okay. Some of the tables even accept chats and limited gamesmanship around the table in the course of a game. However, it should remain impeccable and fair. Keeping a light chatter and being friendly during a game will make people less begrudged when they lose to you, which is an outstanding trait to cultivate. Avoid upsetting, or trying to offend your opponents, or lying about cards in an attempt to demotivate them because it will only land you in trouble.

Avoid Delaying the Game

Watching other players to ascertain their moves and thinking about your next play is acceptable; but holding up a game by being overly indecisive, ordering drinks and daydreaming is not acceptable.

Take a while and think before you call a big bet, but don’t wait for the dealer to prompt you whenever your turn to place a wager comes.

Don’t Request to See the Mucked Cards

Rules of online poker allow the players to request to view a called offer, but its poor etiquette to do that. The practice exists to eliminate cheating through collaboration; therefore if you seek to see someone else’s cards, you are already branding them a cheat.

Keep Your Chips and Cards in Your Place

The poker tables come in different sizes, but with a complete-ring game, for instance, you should know that there isn’t too much room available. Making sure that your chips and cards don’t mix up with those of other players is your responsibility.

If You Have to Make or Take a Phone Call, Leave the Table

Most of the casinos are usually firm on this rule, therefore, follow it. Taking or making a call will not only distract others but is considered rude as well.

Always Announce Your Action Verbally

You might be aware of what you plan to do, but no one knows until it gets done. Keep in mind that in many games, throwing one chip in, is only a call, irrespective of the size of the counter. Therefore, tell your fellow players what you intend to do first, and especially in games without professional dealers.

Act in Turn

Wait for the play to come around to you before you fold. In fact, you should not even organise your cards in an evident folding position. Reason being it assists players to recognise that players positioned towards the end are planning to fold, hence disadvantaging everyone who acted previously.

Avoid Slowrolling

Slowrolling is a terrible etiquette. Every time you think it’s evident that you possess the best hand and you will call the wager of your opponents, do so once you make your decision. You can slow roll your opponent when playing a home game because it may seem funny, but doing it in a casino game is not acceptable.

Don’t Hit and Run

When playing cash games, it’s okay to go at any time you want. However, if you leave directly after winning a good pot, precisely through a lucky hand, your fellow players will protest that it was a hit and run. To avoid this, linger for some time.

Be Graceful When You Win or Lose

When you lose a gameplay, avoid slamming the table, swearing or throwing the cards at others. It’s a horrible habit because it tells your fellow players that you might be on the slope for the subsequent hands. On the other hand, when you win a bet, keep in mind that, that means the other player has utterly lost and revelling is wrong because it will only bring resentment to the other party.

Don’t Forget to Give Tips

It’s conventional to tip your dealer every time you win a decent pot, and also tip the serving employees when they serve you drinks or food. The amount of the tip will depend on your level of generosity and the country you are currently in as well. Just watch what the residents are doing, and then follow suit.

Pineapple – unavailable at most online poker sites but perfect for home games

Pineapple – unavailable at most online poker sites but perfect for home games

Have you heard of Pineapple Poker yet? It is definitely one of the more fun poker holdem variations. Whilst many online casinos tend to stick with variants like Omaha and Texas Hold’em poker, we want to become advocates for the juicier, fruitier variant.

A brief overview of Pineapple poker rules

The rules of Pineapple poker can be explained in three steps:

  • 1. Every player receives three hole cards from the dealer.
  • 2. A round of betting follows – this is the pre-flop round.
  • 3. Each player now discards one of the hole cards that they have been dealt.
  • 4. The flop is dealt out and the game proceeds in the same way as a game of Texas Hold’em poker.

Essentially, then, a standard game of Pineapple Poker is like a game of Texas Hold’em but with a juicy twist at the beginning. We have plenty of articles on the rules of Texas Hold’em poker if you want to refresh your memory!

A quick guide to terminology

Were you unsure of the meanings of any of the words in the description above? Don’t worry! Here is a handy glossary to get you up to speed:

  • Hole cards: personal cards that each player is dealt out individually. These cards are dealt face down and are kept hidden from the other players. A good poker player will use card counting techniques (check out our articles on this if you are interested) to try and work out what their fellow players’ hole cards are.
  • Pre-flop: the round before the flop.
  • The flop: the round in which the dealer deals out three cards face up on the table. These cards are called the ‘community cards’ and players combine the community cards with their hole cards to try and create a winning hand.

Variants of variants: will it ever end?

Pineapple poker is a variant of Texas Hold’em poker, as we have already mentioned. But the endless variation doesn’t stop there. There are also variants of Pineapple poker itself. Let’s take a look at just one of those variants to give you a taster: Crazy Pineapple poker.

Try your hand at Crazy Pineapple poker

The key difference between Crazy Pineapple poker and Pineapple poker rules is the timing of when you discard one of your hole cards. As we have seen, in Pineapple poker, you will discard it before the flop is dealt. In Crazy Pineapple, you do so after the flop. Crazy, right?

Want to explore other variations of Pineapple poker rules?

There are lots of other options for you. If you liked Crazy Pineapple poker, and if you like words that rhyme, you could always progress on to playing Lazy Pineapple poker for example. Why is it called Lazy Pineapple? Quite simply because in this variant, players do not discard their hole card until the very last stage of the game. How lazy of them!

The importance of a good starting hand

More than perhaps any other poker variant, Pineapple poker is a game where having a good starting hand really matters. The best starting hand that you can get in Pineapple poker is…

A card from a Royal Suit plus a pair of aces

If you find yourself with this starting hand, your chances of winning the game are especially favourable.

Traditionally a game to be played at home

For whatever reason, Pineapple and its variants has usually been thought of as a private variation of poker – i.e. a game to be played with friends at home, perhaps for matchsticks rather than cold, hard, cash. Nevertheless, many online casinos are now offering Pineapple poker both in a computer generated form and as part of their portfolio of live dealer games. If not, you can always call up a few friends and try playing this game at home. Both classic Pineapple poker and Crazy Pineapple are lots of fun.

New To Online Poker? Build Your Bankroll With Some Freerolls!

New To Online Poker? Build Your Bankroll With Some Freerolls!

The first thing that you’re going to need to know when attempting to grow your bankroll playing in a poker freeroll tournament is just exactly what a freeroll tournament is. Luckily, this is quite a simple concept, freerolls are free tournaments that are put on by online poker sites where players can enter for free, but claim small, and rarely large cash prizes or entrance into larger tournament events.

There is no catch, poker freeroll tournaments are always free to join, although some UK online poker sites require you to make a deposit before you can enter freerolls but entering a freeroll tournament doesn’t use any of this deposited money. This is great because freerolls can be a great way to gain experience playing against other players which can translate into more wins when you do decide it’s time to use that deposit. Of course, if you follow the poker freeroll tips we will be giving you below, you might not need to dip into that deposit at all since you can build a good bankroll if you can find enough freerolls to enter and win prizes in.

Poker Freeroll Strategy and Tips

The best poker freeroll strategy for early on in a tournament is to play your cards tight. Don’t make fool bets, and don’t try bluffing. Most of the players in a freeroll tournament either don’t care about the tournament and are just there to kill some time, or just don’t know how to play, so they will call your all-in bluff just because, and they might end up putting you out early. Save the bluffing for later on.

Speaking of the early parts of a freeroll, a good rule of thumb is to go all in before the flop if you are dealt pocket Aces, Kings, Queens, or an Ace/King combo. This way, if someone calls you, you will still have a very good chance of beating them. It will also scare anyone out of the pot who was thinking about playing a mediocre hand, and if they aren’t scared away, these hands make sure the odds are very much in your favour.

Another good time to go all in is if you are dealt pocket Jacks or an Ace/Queen combo, but this should only be done if you’re in a mid to late betting position and no one has raised yet. If anyone before you has raised, or if you’re one of the first to bet, this is too risky, as someone behind you may have something better.

If you are in one of these latter positions, feel free to take a look at the flop if no one else has played anything and you have a mediocre hand. You never know what can happen, and it won’t cost much to take a peek at the start of the tournament. If you manage to make two pair, go all in. If you have an open-ended straight or flush draw and you have opponents that are raising, go all in, but if you have those and they aren’t raising, wait to make your move until you have your straight or flush.

Using those poker freeroll tips, you should be able to make it into the later part of the game and once you are there you will need to tweak your poker freeroll strategy. Now, most of those non-caring players have been eliminated, and you need to look at what you are willing to play differently.

The first thing that changes is that now, instead of going all in pre-flop with the cards we mentioned before, you should instead make a raise and if someone reraises, that’s when you go all in. You should also start doing this with pocket tens.

If you are in a mid to late betting position and you have pocket nines, a King/Queen, Ace/Jack, or Ace/Queen combo and no one has raised before you, then you can do raise, wait for a reraise, and go all in as discussed earlier.

In the late game, and at the final table you must make your decisions after seeing the flop at the latest. The pots will be too big to make extra bets to see a little more at this point. However, if you have raised pre-flop and someone raises you, you should go all in.

At the final table, you need to respect your opponents, they got there with a good poker freeroll tournament strategy just like you did.

Calculating pot odds is the basis for every successful poker strategy

Calculating pot odds is the basis for every successful poker strategy

To a beginner, calculating poker pot odds can seem a very daunting task but it is a fundamental skill that any successful poker player needs to grasp. Pot odds are essentially, in layman’s terms, your probability or likelihood of winning any given hand. This is so crucial in the game of poker because, based on this you can calculate the number of outs you have in any hand (as an estimated figure) and therefore have an idea on the amount you need to call to see another card. This short article will take you through some of the essential details as to how you can calculate pot odds, what exactly they are and how to incorporate them in your playing style.

Why should you calculate pot odds?

Poker is a long haul game and so having a logical and effective poker strategy is imperative to your success in the long run. The ability to calculate pot odds, not only accurately but quickly, is one of the most crucial and fundamental skills you need to add to your poker repertoire. For this reason, having this in your arsenal can help you have a significant advantage over your lesser experienced poker players who are perhaps just starting out. Equally, if you are just starting out, calculating pot odds should be the first strategic skill that you master.

It is also a relatively simple skill to master as long as you understand some of the specifics and intricacies involved; before long it will become second nature to you.

The different types of pot odds and outs:

Calculating your pot odds is all about logically predicting how many outs you need until you will have a potentially winning hand. This is particularly helpful with regards to a long term strategy. In the precarious game that is poker, you will inevitably occasionally have to put money on a bad hand and so the ability to calculate your odds and outs strategically, can mean that you can make a better hand than your opponent later down the line. The cards which cause you to have a winning hand are known as ‘outs’. Whilst calculating these outs will never be an exact science, if you strategically set your opponent up to be on a specific range of probable hands, it will be much easier to calculate your outs.

There are, however, different types of outs and odds which can catch rookie players off guard and which must be looked out for:

Half-outs occur when, what you might believe to be outs only count as half. This arises when you make your hand but are still overpowered by your opponent’s flush.

Hidden outs are outs which will not necessarily help your hand in the first instance but which can still damage your opponent’s hand.

Implied odds serve as an additional tool to calculating your pot odds. The implied odds are essentially the calculation of your probable or expected win after you make your draw. In essence, implied odds can be a very useful tool when you are determining whether you should draw your hand when you are faced with the dilemma of a raise.

Calculating your pot odds quickly and effectively:

Although poker is a long haul game, you still need to be able to think on your feet and so you will not always have an abundance of time to calculate your pot odds and required odds. Thus, there are some helpful methods for speeding up this process.

The Rule of Two and Four- The Rule of Two and Four is when you multiply the amount of outs you have by four, with two cards still yet to come. This will result in you reaching a quick and accurate estimated percentage of you making your hand by the river.

The Poker pot odds formula:

Grasping the concept of poker pot odds can be made much easier by having this equation to mind:

The monetary value already in the pot + the money added to the pot in the current round, divided by the amount you have to call.

This is a very simple equation which can be applied in practice. If, for example, there was £300 in the main pot and another £300 added in the current round and you had £100 to call, this would yield a ratio or pot odd of 6:1.

All in all, once you have mastered this fundamental poker skill, you will be able to move on to and learn more complicated poker moves. Calculating your pot odds and outs, though, must become second nature before you can progress or have any chance of winning big!

Managing your bankroll is just as important as your poker hands

Managing your bankroll is just as important as your poker hands

When it comes to playing poker, it’s necessary to understand proper poker bankroll management. It’s no joke when people lose all they have on hands they can’t afford to play, but even on the less extreme spectrum, poor money management at poker could leave you short on money to pay your bills one month if you’re not careful. It’s also very easy to lose sight of how much you’re spending if you gamble small amounts but on a regular basis. As such, we’ve come up with some money management tips to make sure you get to enjoy all the fun of playing poker without having to worry about your finances.

Poker bankroll tips

Your poker bankroll is your means of playing poker, so it’s important to manage it effectively and know your bankroll. Proper bankroll management involves knowing what sort of funds you have to play with and using them to dictate what stakes you can afford. There’s no shame in not being able to meet the minimum buy-in at a table. Managing your bankroll effectively means extracting the maximum value from your allotted funds, so below are some things to always keep in mind.

Wall off your bankroll

You should set a very firm boundary between what money is your bankroll and the rest of your funds. Treat these two funds as entirely separate resources. Knowing how much money you have to spend on poker allows you to work out what sort of money you’re able to play with in a typical hand and the right buy-in price for you. Always remember to prioritise your other funds and never gamble with money that you need to pay bills or meet other financial obligations!

Understand your limits

Knowing how much money you have to play with in your poker bankroll means you can work out how much you can stand to lose. If your poker bankroll is £500 and you lost it all, which is a very real possibility, what would that mean to you? Maybe you could fill it back up again without worry, or maybe it would take you several months to save up. Knowing this puts in perspective the sort of minimum buy-ins you should be playing with. If one buy-in wipes you out, then should you lose that buy-in you are out of the game. Conversely, if you can afford multiple buy-ins then you have a shot at winning your money back and can play for longer.

How often do you play?

If you’re the type of person to only play poker once or twice a month, it stands to reason you can afford higher stakes on the same amount of money as someone who plays poker every weekend or someone who plays poker every day. Given the same bankroll figure for a month, each of these people will need to adjust their stakes accordingly depending on how often they play. Tracking this information and working out your hourly expenditure rate while playing poker gives you a fair and roughly accurate picture of the amount of money you spend whenever you play poker. It also gives you an idea of the amounts of money you need to be winning to break even or come out ahead.

Giving enough slack to have fun

Understandably most of this article has been aimed at saving money and not spending amounts you can’t afford, but likewise it’s important to set yourself an amount you can have fun with. Setting yourself a short bankroll means each play is high stakes and risks wiping you out. This can be stressful and cause more frustration than fun, so don’t be too frugal that you don’t even enjoy yourself.

Conclusion

Proper poker bankroll management is just as important as managing the poker hands you play with. Knowing your limits and having perspective on the amounts of money each hand represents to you is important in having fun without letting things get out of hand. Cases of people losing all they own to playing with money they couldn’t afford are rare and extreme but they do happen. In less extreme examples, it can be easy to follow the urge to play ‘just one more hand’ in order to ‘win back’ what you’ve already lost a few too many times. Managing your bankroll effectively means you can play poker and have fun without worrying about whether you can afford each hand that you play.

Texas Hold’em vs Omaha Hold’em Poker Strategy

Texas Hold’em vs Omaha Hold’em Poker Strategy

If you read a lot about poker, you’ll have noticed that a somewhat different tone creeps in when people are writing about Omaha hold’em poker. They’ll talk about “stepping up” from Texas hold’em to Omaha. There’ll be mention that someone who thinks they’re good at Texas can make beginner’s mistakes once they move to Omaha.

The general impression is that moving to Omaha means mixing it with the big boys (and girls!) There’s an implied challenge “Go on then – if you think you’re hard enough”.

Well, poker’s poker, and there’s nothing different about the hands in Omaha, they’re the same hands that players spend their lives calculating and chasing. And there’s also nothing different about the betting rounds either – four of them just as in Texas Hold’em.

And yet – all that talk of Omaha hold’em poker as a “rollercoaster” isn’t entirely wide of the mark. And the reason lies in the way the game varies from Texas, and what that means in terms of your Omaha poker strategy. So let’s note the differences first, then talk Omaha hold’em strategy.

What’s so different about Omaha hold’em poker?

With Omaha you get dealt four cards in the hole. And that’s a world of difference. The possible hands you can make increase exponentially. Unfortunately, so do the possible hands of everyone else at the table. And further, when you calculate your final hand, you can only use two of those initial hole cards to make the hand. Also you must use two of them – the other three need to be on the table.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips # 1 – Don’t overrate your hand

If you’re used to Texas, getting a higher pair in the hole is a great start. One mistake you can make, is to get say, a pair of aces in the hole, with a couple of other cards that are not going to help towards any kind of hand.

The amount of excitement you should feel in Omaha is about half the amount of excitement you would feel in Texas. There are two reasons for this – everyone else also had four cards in the hole, and they too have interesting starting cards. It’s very easy to overrate how uniquely good your hand is, and to over back it. Lots of people round the table think they have a winning hand on the way. Nearly all of them are wrong.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips # 2 – Don’t abandon your folding discipline

If you’ve played poker for any length of time, you know that money management and financial discipline are key skills for a player who wants to be in the game long enough to get a great hand. Part of this is having the discipline to fold unless there are strong reasons for staying in.

But with Omaha hold’em poker, you can start to lose this discipline because hands so often look as though they have fantastic potential. People are very bad at assigning a comparative value to others’ hands and the four cards in the hole mean that it’s easy to underestimate the other hands round the table. So make sure your Omaha hold’em strategy includes keeping your stack intact, so it’s there when you need it.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips # 3 – Understand the betting limit structure

Texas hold’em is often played with no limit, whereas Omaha frequently has a pot limit. Omaha online poker does offer games with no limit, but nothing like as many as Texas. Many people find the no limit aspect of Texas exciting and therefore prefer it.

Omaha hold’em Poker Tips #4 Draw to win

Don’t draw in the hope of filling out hopeless runs, or minor flushes. You need to draw to “the nuts” – the winning hand you can make. If you can’t make one, fold – your nascent winning hand could be turned to dust and ashes by a redraw.

These are some starting strategies to help you begin playing Omaha hold ‘em. You’ll find the pots bigger but the higher amount of action can mislead new players into imagining it’s a fast and furious version of Texas hold ‘em. In fact, it’s a far more complex game because of those four hole cards – so start cautiously, watch what happens and don’t get carried away by a pair of Aces in the hole.