New to poker? Try these three “newbie” friendly variations of poker
Poker is among the most popular casino games in the industry, and with more and more new players showing up online and in brick-and-mortar casinos.
But poker is a game of skill, with poker Player Rankings and seasoned players holding a big advantage when sitting at the table with the lesser-skilled opposition. Those games go by pretty quickly and aren’t that enjoyable for those trying their hand at poker for the first time.
Instead to leaving a bad taste in their mouth – and empty pockets – we want to show the best intros to poker. And with those new bodies at the table, we overview some of the best options for newbie poker players that you can find at PlayOnlinePoker’s partners:
It’s simple, quick, fun, and the game does most of the heavy lifting for you. Video poker can be found at just about every online casino, Vegas floor, and various bars and restaurants, and is a great way to learn about valuable poker hands and how to grade them.
Video poker doesn’t have players going head-to-head with others, rather it asks them to make the best poker hand with the cards dealt by selecting which cards to toss or keep, drawing one round of new cards to then make the final hand.
Each hand has a value, and the more difficult hands to make pay out more. Certain variations of video poker assign “wild card” value to particular cards, such as “Jacks” or “Deuces” and those can be in turn used to fill in gaps in high-paying hands. It’s a solo game that you can play at your own pace or while doing something else, like watching the football game at the bar.
This is probably the most basic variation of poker and a nice graduation from video poker for new players. The same hand grading applies to stud poker, but when playing in a casino setting, you are facing a dealer rather than other players.
You place your wager before five cards are dealt, then you have the option on tossing or keeping cards once you get your hand, receiving replacements for the number you tossed away. Then – depending on the rules – there is another round of betting, before the cards are shown. If the player has a higher-graded hand than the dealer, than they win. Simple enough.
Pai Gow Poker
This is another variation of poker that allows new players to face the dealer directly and not have to play against others head-to-head. Pai Gow is a nice intro game to different types of poker and the pace is very leisurely, with plenty of pushes allowing players to enjoy a lengthy session without breaking the bank.
Pai Gow deals seven cards to the dealer and player (after bets are placed) and they are asked to make their best two poker hands from those cards: the front hand consisting of two cards and the back hand consisting of five. In order for the player to win, they must beat both of the dealer’s hands. If the two split hands, the game is ruled a push and bets are returned.
Three New Year’s Resolutions for poker players
Some people make a New Year’s resolution to get to the gym more or be more patient with their kids. Poker players, however, set these yearly goals to do one thing: make more money. If you’re sitting down at the poker table in 2016, here are three resolutions you should make before the cards are dealt at online poker tournaments:
Be more aggressive
Many players mishandle strong hands, thinking they should slyly slow play opponents and lure them into a big score. The truth is, slow playing a strong hand can keep betting at a minimum while also allowing other strong hands to stick around. Being more aggressive right out of the gate puts other players on their heels and has them questioning just what it is they’re holding. There’s nothing more painful than slow playing a pot with a pair of Queens only to be scoop by three 3’s.
Try different games
Poker has more variants than any other casino game. If your contest of choice is Texas Hold’em, why not expanded your poker palate with some standard draw poker or even some colorful options like Pai Gow, Three-Card poker, or Caribbean Stud. You can set aside some of your bankroll for these alternative options, which provide a nice break from the pressure and pace of Hold’em. All poker games have their own rules and strategies, so brush up on the best tips and practices and become a well-rounded poker player. What you learn from one game could help you win in another.
Don’t be a poker snob
For some people, video poker is a bad word. The streamlined electronic version of the game is poo-pooed by some traditionalist, who think you’re throwing your money away by not playing at a table with multiple players or facing a dealer. The truth is, many video poker games have a smaller house edge than table poker games, and video poker is a great way to scratch that poker itch when you don’t have time for an extended table session or enough people to play against. There are so many fun variations of video poker to try, even the snobbiest of poker snobs can find one that they love.
Tips for playing – and winning – at Switch Blackjack
Ever been unhappy with the hand the blackjack dealer just dealt you? Sure, you have.
Ever wish you could just steal some better cards to give yourself a winning hand? Well, that’s the name of the game in Switch Blackjack.
Players are actually dealt two blackjack hands and can swap
out cards from each to make two stronger hands.
So a hand of Ace, five along with a hand of Queen, Six can be turning into Ace, Queen – for a blackjack – and the other hand into 11, which is likely another winning hand depending on what comes out of the shoe.
Find a place to play online blackjack and make sure to get the best signup bonus. Once you are ready to play make sure to remember these tips and tactics for playing – and winning – Switch Blackjack:
Size up the up card
Before you start dreaming up possible card combos, you should always look at what the dealer is showing as their up card. If the dealer is showing between a seven and an Ace, they are considered to have a strong hand. If they have an up card between three and six, they have a weak hand. And if they’re showing a deuce – the lowest card in the deck – you want to be cautious as a dealer 22 is automatically graded as a push in Switch Blackjack – expect against a player’s blackjack.
When to switch
Now that you’ve measured the dealer’s up card, you should know when to make a switch. For example, if the player is holding hands of 10 and seven, and six and nine versus a dealer up card of eight, you should make the switch, swapping the seven and nine to make a hand of 19 and another of 13. While the 13 isn’t a great position, you will likely win with the 19 and breakeven if you go bust with the 13.
Breaking up a blackjack
It’s the goal of the game but sometimes in Switch Blackjack you are better breaking up a sure winner, if you can create two winning hands against the dealer’s up card. For example, hands of 10 and Ace, and 10 and nine versus an up card of nine. While you have an instant winner with the blackjack, it doesn’t pay 3/2 odds like standard blackjack, instead graded at even money. As is, you have a likely hand of win/push against the dealer, but swapping the Ace and the 10 makes two hands of 20 against that nine, meaning you have just created two winning opportunities.