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How to play Draw Poker

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This is the basic Draw Poker game. It is played as follows: Before the deal there is the "ante," a compulsory stake to start off the pot. Each player contributes one of the smaller chips in use. The dealer then deals the cards one at a time until each player has five cards. Everyone picks up his hand and examines it, and the first interval of betting takes place.

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The player on the left of the dealer is the first to act. He has two choices, "passing" or "opening." He may open the pot by making a bet of, say, ten chips and putting that number of chips into the pot. Or he may pass, in which case the next player on his left has the same choice. If all pass, there is a re-deal and the ante is played for again.

The ante may be "sweetened" at this time by one more chip from each player. If one player opens, the player on his left has three possible choices: He may "fold," i.e., throw in his hand; he may "call" (also termed "see"), i.e., he puts in the same number of chips as the opening bet; or "raise" by putting in more chips than the opening bet. The players who originally passed opening may now choose to stay or raise when their turn comes again. If they do, they are said to "back in." If one player makes a bet which no one calls, he wins the pot and collects all the chips without having to show his hand. The hand is over. If one player makes a bet which is called by one or more players and not raised by anyone, then the first betting interval is concluded. The "draw" now takes place for all those who have stayed.

Each player in turn, beginning with the player on the left of the dealer, may discard some of his cards and ask for fresh ones from the top of the pack. A player may also "stand pat" if he wishes; that is, he keeps his original hand and draws no new cards. Now the second and final betting interval takes place for the players who have stayed for the draw. The opener is the first to act, or, the next survivor on his left.

Each player in turn may either "check" or bet. A player who checks puts up no chips but reserves the right to call or raise if anyone else bets. If everyone checks, the betting is over and the "showdown" takes place. The players still in the game lay their hands face up on the table, and the best hand collects the pot. If one player bets, then everyone still in has the choice of passing, calling or raising. The betting continues until: One player makes a bet which no one calls. In that case, he wins the pot without showing his hand. Or A bet is made which is called by one or more players and not raised. In this case, the showdown takes place, and the best hand wins. Or Raises and re-raises have reached a previously specified and agreed-upon limit of chips. After the pot is won, the deal passes to the dealer's left. A new ante starts off the next pot.

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