Community Card Poker Games
Poker games that feature the use of community or group cards are often referred to as community card games. The community cards are dealt in the center of the table and can be used by multiple players to make up a poker hand. Undoubtedly the most popular community card game to be widely played in recent years is Texas Holdem poker. At the end of a game, each player has two cards in his possession but has access to five community cards from which he can make up a winning poker hand.
Sometimes, community card games will restrict players to including a specific number of community cards in their poker hands. For example, players in Omaha Hold'em must use three of the five community cards dealt and exactly two of the four cards they receive from the dealer to make a hand.
Betting structures in community card games differ depending on which variation of poker is being played. Stud poker games usually feature a fixed betting structure with low minimum and high minimum betting amounts. In Texas Holdem, betting commences with the posting of two blinds that are made to furnish the pot, while other poker variations rely on each player posting an "ante" bet which signifies participation in the round.
One of the ways in which a player can drastically increase his chances of success at poker no matter which variation he is playing is by calculating the likelihood of achieving certain combinations of cards. These odds can help a player make important decisions about his game. It is crucial to know what your chances are of making a flush or a straight at strategic stages of a poker game. In fact, many players cite these calculations are key in helping them decide whether to bet, call, or fold.
Calculating poker odds is a relatively easy skill to master. Consider the following scenario: you have four hearts in your hand and you're looking for a flush. How do you calculate your chances of making a flush while determining whether it is worthwhile staying in the game based on the contents of the pot? Firstly, you need to calculate the outs. An "out" is the number of cards left in a deck that you need to make up a hand. For example, if you have four hearts in your hand, there are nine outs, which are the hearts remaining in the pack. You can work out your likelihood of obtaining another heart by dividing the total number of cards left in the pack by the number of outs. The result of this is your chance of finding one of those outs in the pack.
Knowing how to calculate pot odds will also help you make strategic decisions about your poker game. This involves comparing the number of outs or your likelihood of winning the game to the size of the pot. If the ratio of the pot size to a bet is lower than your chances of winning, the odds are not in your favor.
To calculate pot odds, consider the following example. You have a 10 and a Jack in your hand and you are waiting for the final card (the river) to be dealt in a game of $10/$20 limit Texas Hold'em. The community cards available are two, five, nine and Queen. This means you need either a King or an eight to be drawn on the river in order for you to make a straight. The number of outs you have equals eight (calculated on four eights and four Kings remaining in a total deck of 46 cards). This results in a one in six chance of obtaining a straight. These odds are worth the risk so the recommended course of action to take if you have just one opponent ahead of you who bets $10 is to call the bet.
As you can see, players put considerable emphasis on understanding pot odds and the chances of making up poker hands. These decisions are at the heart of nearly every poker game.
Several risks are associated with playing community poker games. Aside from the failure to exercize personal discipline when it comes to betting on poker games, the other most common way a player can find himself disadvantaged in poker is when he becomes a victim of collusion. While it is difficult (although not impossible) to cheat in live poker games, collusion is the most common form of cheating at online poker sites.
Collusion is when two players or possibly a group of players in a game discuss the identities of their cards with each other for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a game. Depending on how skilled these players are at sharing information, collusion can often be difficult to detect. Online poker rooms regularly check for collusion at online poker tables and try to prevent the same players from playing regularly at the same table.
While collusion is generally rare, there are a few signs you should keep an eye out for if you suspect some of your opponents of collusion. Players that regularly raise each other for the purpose of making other players call multiple bets are suspect, along with players who raise continually with one non-colluding player between them. This encourages the player to raise his bets along with those in collusion.
If you believe you are being disadvantaged as a result
of collusion, you should contact the online poker room or the management of the
casino where you are playing.