Poker for new
players


New to poker? Do you play home games or in a pub league and fancy taking the next step?

Why not join us and come and play in the biggest card room in London with warm and friendly staff and a real community vibe between the players, playing poker couldn’t be more fun!

With a wide variety of tournaments and cash games on offer to suit all levels, we’ve got something for everyone.

If you’d like to play for real with your mates but feel you need some extra tips and hints before you sit down to a real game, fill in your details opposite to request a *free rake table.

* Free rake table is available for one hour before any rake fees are taken. Open to new members and can only be redeemed once.

  • Tips & Hints

    Don't play too many hands.

    A very common mistake that new players make is not being selective enough with their starting hands. Don't fall into the common trap of thinking that ‘any hand can win'. Although this is true, some hands are more likely to win than others and will help you win more money, whilst others will help you in losing more money. So be selective about which hands you play.

    Don't bluff too much.

    Another common misconception about poker is that you need to bluff to win. You may see spectacular bluffs on the WSOP shows, but these are edited to show the highlights of the tournaments and so give the wrong impression of the frequency that top players bluff. Bluffing in poker is not as essential as you think it is.

    It is better to play your cards well rather than trying to bluff your opponents out of hands. It is good to try occasional bluffs here and there, but the real art of knowing when to bluff comes from knowledge and practice

    Pay attention to the game.

    The best way to pick up ‘tells’ is to watch your opponents and how they play in each pot. Even when you are not in the hand, you should still concentrate on the game to understand how your opponents play.

    Don't jump in at the high limits.

    There are two reasons why you shouldn't play for too much money as a beginner. Firstly, the players at the higher limits will be better than the players at the lower limits. There is less chance that you will be able to beat them and you will spend a lot of money trying to learn the game in the process.

    Secondly, you only want to play at limits you can afford. You should not play at limits where you are going to drop money that you cannot afford to lose - bank roll management is Key.

    Don't pay too much for draws.

    You will often find yourself holding half a hand that only needs one card to complete your flush or your straight. As a general rule, if you opponent is betting heavily it is unlikely to be profitable to chase after these draws. However, if there is only a small amount of betting it may be wise to call, in the hope of making your hand. If the amount your opponent bets seems too big to warrant a call to make your hand, then don't.

    Know the rules.

    As obvious as it seems, there is no substitute for knowing the rules of the game. You don't want to find yourself calling a player all in, thinking that your straight beats his flush and losing all of your chips. There is no way you can be a winning poker player if you don't know the fundamental rules of the game.

  • Terminology
    • A

      Ace in the hole

      One of the hole cards is an ace

      Act

      To make a play (bet, call, raise, or fold) at the required time

      Action

      A player's turn to act

      Action card

      In Texas hold 'em, and other community card poker games, a card appearing on the board that causes significant betting action because it helps two or more players

      Aggressive

      The tendency for a player to open betting or raise rather than call or check.

      All in

      When a player bets all of their chips in the current hand.

      Ante

      A forced bet required, in some types of poker, of all players before the hand begins

    • B

      Bad beat

      To lose a hand where one hand is considerably ahead of the eventual winning hand.

      Bankroll

      The amount of money that a player has to wager for the duration of his or her poker career.

      Bankroll management

      Choosing the correct stakes and game type to avoid exhausting a bankroll during downswings

      Bet

      Any money wagered during the play of a hand

      Big blind

      The larger of two forced bets in certain types of poker.

      Big blind special

      A hand won by the big blind playing very weak pocket cards because there was no raise pre-flop

      Big stack

      A stack of chips that is relatively large for the stakes being played.

      Blank

      A card, frequently a community card, of no apparent value. Compare with rag, brick, bomb.

      Blind

      A type of forced bet.

      Bluff

      A bet made with a hand that is mathematically unlikely to be the best hand, either to make money or to disguise play patterns.

      Board

      The set of community cards in a community card game.

      Boat

      Another name for a full house

      Bounty

      An aspect of some poker tournaments that reward players for eliminating other players with a cash prize for each player they eliminate, separate from the tournament payout structure.

      Broadway

      A 10 through ace straight. Can also include any group of cards from 10 to ace.

      Bubble

      The last finishing position in a poker tournament before entering the payout structure.

      Bully

      A player who raises frequently to force out more cautious players, especially one with a large stack for the size of the game.

      Button

      Most commonly a marker that indicates the dealer position at the table, but other specialized buttons exist.

      Buy-in

      The minimum required amount of chips that must be bought to become involved in a game or tournament Making a bet when no one else is betting so as to force the other players to fold, thus winning the pot uncontested. A specialized version of this is buying the blinds by making a large raise in the first round forcing all other players out of the hand.

    • C

      Call

      To match a bet or raise.

      Call the clock

      A method of discouraging players from taking an excessively long time to act. When someone calls the clock, the player has a set amount of time in which to make up their mind; if they fail to do so, their hand is immediately declared dead. In tournament play, a common rule is that if a player takes too long and no one calls the clock, the dealer or floor personnel will automatically do so.

      Calling station

      A player who frequently calls bets, but rarely raises them. A calling station is usually a loose passive player.

      Cash game

      A game where each hand is played for real money as opposed to tournament play.

      Cashing

      Winning a share of the prize money in a tournament

      Check

      To bet nothing.

      Chip

      A small disk used in place of money

      Chip leader

      The player currently holding the most chips in a tournament (or occasionally a live no limit game)

      Chip race

      An event in tournament poker where chips of a value lower than the minimum required are removed from play

      Connectors

      Two or more cards of consecutive or close to consecutive rank

      Cut card

      A distinctive card, usually stiff solid-colored plastic, held against the bottom of the deck during the deal to prevent observation of the bottom card.

    • D

      Dead hand

      A player's hand that is not entitled to participate in the deal for some reason, such as having been fouled by touching another player's cards, being found to contain the wrong number of cards, being dealt to a player who did not make the appropriate forced bets, etc.

      Deal

      To distribute cards to players in accordance with the rules of the game being played.

      Dealer

      The person dealing the cards.

      Declare

      To verbally indicate an action or intention.

    • F

      Felt

      The cloth covering of a poker table, whatever the actual material.

      Field

      All players as a collective in a large tournament

      Final table

      The last table in a multi-table poker tournament. The final table is set when a sufficient amount of people have been eliminated from the tournament leaving an exact amount of players to occupy one table (typically no more than ten players).

      Floor man, floor person

      A casino employee whose duties include adjudicating player disputes, keeping games filled and balanced, and managing dealers and other personnel. Players may shout floor to call for a floorperson to resolve a dispute, to ask for a table or seat change, or to ask for some other casino service.

      Flop

      The dealing of the first three face-up cards to the board, refers also to those three cards themselves.

      Fold

      To discard one's hand and forfeit interest in the current pot.

      Forward motion

      A house rule of some casinos states that if a player in turn picks up chips from his stack and moves their hand toward the pot (forward motion with chips in hand), this constitutes a commitment to bet (or call), and the player may not withdraw their hand to check or fold.

      Four of a kind

      A hand containing four cards of equal rank.

      Freeze out

      The most common form of tournament. There are no rebuys, play continues until one player has all the chips.

    • G

      Going south

      To sneak a portion of chips from the table while the game is underway.

      Grinder

      A player who earns a living by making small profits over a long period of consistent, conservative play.

    • H

      Heads up poker

      Playing against a single opponent

      Hero call

      Calling when a player has a relatively weak hand but suspects their opponent may be bluffing

    • I

      In position (IP)

      A player is said to be in position, if the player is last to act on the flop, turn and river betting rounds

      In the money, (ITM)

      To finish high enough in a poker tournament to win prize money.

      In turn

      A player is said to be in turn if that player is expected to act next under the rules.

    • L

      Laydown

      A tough choice to fold a strong hand in anticipation of superior opposition. Level Used in tournament play to refer to the size of the blinds that are periodically increased

      Limp, limp in

      To enter a pot by simply calling a bet instead of raising.

      Lock up

      To lock up a seat in a cash game means to place a poker chip, player's card, or other personal effect on the table in front of the seat, to signify that the seat is occupied even though the player may not be present.

    • M

      Misdeal

      A deal which is ruined for some reason and must be redealt

      Missed blind

      A required bet that is not posted when it is a player's turn to do so, perhaps occurring when a player absents themself from the table. Various rules require the missed bet to be made up upon the player's return.

      Muck

      To fold

    • N

      Nut hand (the nuts)

      The nut hand is the best possible hand in a given situation. Players sometimes evaluate hands by ranking them as being the second nuts or the pure nuts.

    • O

      Offsuit

      Cards that are not of the same suit

      Orbit

      A full rotation of the blinds at a table, equal to the number of people at the table.

      Out of position,

      A player is said to be out of position, if they are either first to act, or is not last to act in a betting round.

      Over card

      A community card with a higher rank than a player's pocket pair. A higher card

    • P

      Pair

      Two cards of the same rank.

      Play the board

      In games such as Texas hold 'em, where five community cards are dealt, if the player's best hand is on the board and the player goes to the showdown they are said to play the board.

      Poker face

      A blank expression that does not reveal anything about the cards being held.

      Pot-committed

      More often in the context of a no limit game; the situation where one can no longer fold because the size of the pot is so large compared to the size of one's stack.

      Pre-flop

      The time when players already have their pocket cards but no flop has been dealt yet.

      Push

      To bet all in

    • R

      Rabbit hunt

      After a hand is complete, to reveal cards that would have been dealt later in the hand had it continued. This is usually prohibited in casinos because it slows the game and may reveal information about concealed hands. Also fox hunt

      Rainbow

      Three or four cards of different suits, especially said of a flop.

      Rebuy

      An amount of chips purchased after the buy-in. In some tournaments, players are allowed to rebuy chips one or more times for a limited period after the start of the game, providing that their stack is at or under its initial level.

      Raise

      Raise after one has been raised. Also coming over the top

      River

      The river or river card is the final card dealt in a poker hand, to be followed by a final round of betting and, if necessary, a showdown. In Texas hold 'em and Omaha hold'em, the river is the fifth and last card to be dealt to the community card board, after the flop and turn. A player losing the pot due only to the river card is said to have been rivered.

      Rock

      A very tight player (plays very few hands and only continues with strong hands).

      Royal flush

      A straight flush of the top five cards of any suit. This is generally the highest possible hand.

    • S

      Satellite

      A tournament in which the prize is a free entrance to another (larger) tournament.

      Set

      Three of a kind, especially a situation where two of the cards are concealed in the player's hole cards. Compare with trips

      Shootout

      A poker tournament format where the last remaining player of a table goes on to play the remaining players of other tables. Each table plays independently of the others; that is, there is no balancing as players are eliminated.

      Showdown

      When, if more than one player remains after the last betting round, remaining players expose and compare their hands to determine the winner or winners.

      Side pot

      A separate pot created to deal with the situation of one player going "all in".

      Slow roll

      To delay or avoid showing one's hand at showdown, forcing other players to expose their hands first. When done while holding a good hand likely to be the winner, it is considered poor etiquette.

      Soft-play

      To intentionally go easy on a player. Soft play is expressly prohibited in most card rooms, and may result in penalties ranging from forced sit-outs to forfeiture of stakes or winnings.

      Splash the pot

      To throw one's chips in the pot in a disorderly fashion. Not typically allowed, because the dealer can not tell how much has been bet.

      Spread

      The range between a table's minimum and maximum bets

      Stack

      The total chips and currency that a player has in play at a given moment A collection of 20 poker chips of the same denomination, usually arranged in an orderly column

      Street

      A street is another term for a dealt card or betting round.

      String bet

      A call with one motion and a later raise with another, or a reach for more chips without stating the intended amount. String bets are prohibited in public cardroom rules

      Suck out

      A situation when a hand heavily favored to win loses to an inferior hand after all the cards are dealt. The winning hand is said to have sucked out.

      Super satellite

      A multi-table poker tournament in which the prize is a free entrance to a satellite tournament or a tournament in which all the top finishers gain entrance to a larger tournament.

    • T

      Tell

      A tell in poker is a detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that gives clues to that player's assessment of their hand.

      Tight

      To play fewer hands than average for the game or for the player normally.

      Tilt

      Emotional upset, mental confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in poor play.

      Top pair

      In community card poker games, top pair is a pair comprising a pocket card and the highest-ranking card on the board.

      Trips

      When one of a player's hole cards in Texas hold 'em connect with two cards on the board to make three of a kind. This differs from a set where a pocket pair connects with one card on the board to make three of a kind.

      Turn

      The turn, turn card or fourth street is the fourth of five cards dealt to a community card board, constituting one face-up community card that each of the players in the game can use to make up their final hand.

    • U

      Under the gun

      The playing position to the direct left of the blinds in Texas hold 'em or Omaha hold 'em. The player who is under the gun must act first on the first round of betting.

      Up the ante

      Increase the stakes

    • V

      Value bet

      A bet made by a player who wants it to be called (as opposed to a bluff or protection bet).

      Variance

      The statistical measure of how far actual results differ from expectation.

    • W

      Wake up

      To "wake up with a hand" means to discover a strong starting hand, often when there has already been action in front of the player.

      Walk

      A walk is a situation where all players fold to the big blind.

      Wash

      To mix the deck by spreading the cards face down on the table and mixing them up.

      Weak ace

      An ace with a low kicker. Also small ace, soft ace, ace-rag

      Wheel

      A five-high straight (A-2-3-4-5), with the ace playing low.

  • How to play

    The aim of the game is for one Player, using their best five card poker hand, to beat the other Players and win the pot. This is done by either having the highest ranking hand or by all the other Players folding.

    How to Play Texas Hold'em

    Two hole cards are dealt to each Player, followed by a round of betting. Three community cards are dealt face up (the flop) followed by another round of betting. Another card (the turn) is dealt, then the final community card (the river), each with a round of betting. The winning Player is the one with the best five card hand formed from any combination of their hole cards and community cards.

    How to Play Omaha

    Each Player receives between four and six hole cards. The community cards are dealt as in Texas Hold’em, and the betting round follows the same process. The winning hand in Omaha is the best five card hand formed by two of the Player’s hole cards and three of the community cards. Other variations may be available, with rules posted in the poker room.

    Hand Ranking Starting Hand Guide

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