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How to Play Casino Table Games
The first things most people notice when entering a casino are the bright lights and the alluring sounds of the slot machines. While slots have their charms, some gamblers prefer to play games where the odds are more in their favor. Casino table games are just as exciting as slots, but require a bit more attention and skill. Before taking a seat at a casino table, though, players need to know the rules of the game. If you're ready to try your luck at the Golden Acorn Casino table games, read on to get familiar with the rules of our two favorites: Blackjack and Texas Hold Em.
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How to Play Blackjack
The goal of Blackjack is to have a higher score than the dealer at the end of the round without going over 21. It's important to remember that you're not competing against the other players, just the dealer.
To start, each player places a bet. The dealer then gives one card face up to each player, including himself. Another round of cards is dealt to each player, also face-up, but the dealer's card is facedown. If any player's cards total 21, they automatically win (unless the dealer also has 21, which makes it a tie).
Once you have your first two cards, you'll need to decide whether to "hit" (ask for another card to get closer to 21) or "stand" (keep cards as-is). Face cards are worth 10 and aces are worth 1 or 11, whichever works better. You can ask for as many more cards as you want, one at a time, but if you go over 21 it's a "bust" and you lose.
Another option while playing is splitting pairs. If your first two cards are of the same denomination, you can treat them as two separate hands and place another bet on the second hand. You can also "double down" on a single hand, doubling your bet in return for receiving only one more card—a good option when your first two cards total 9, 10 or 11.
Other Blackjack tips:
- Always split two 8's or two aces
- If the dealer's face-up card is 7 or more, hit until you have 17, then stand.
- If the dealer's face-up card is 6 or less, hit until you have at least 12, then stand.
- Avoid taking "insurance" or "even money," which usually favor established players and not beginners.
When the dealer has served every player, his facedown card is turned up. If his total is 17 or more, he stands. If his total is 16 or less, he takes a card. If your final total is more than the dealer's and less than 21, you win!
How to Play Texas Hold Em
There are many variations of poker but the most popular is Texas Hold Em, which involves five community cards that all players can use and two "hole" cards (per player) that remain face down. The goal is to have the best hand at the end of the game (or bluff well enough so that everyone else folds).
Before the cards are dealt, the person sitting to the left of the dealer places a standard forced bet called a "small blind" into the pot (center of the table). The next player to the left then places a "big blind" bet, which is typically double the small blind amount.
To start the game, the dealer will deal one card to each player clockwise from his left until all players have two cards (the hole cards). Each player keeps the details of his hand to himself. Betting starts with the person sitting to the left of the big blind, moving clockwise.
If you're the first player to bet, you have three options:
- Call the bet set by the big blind (put an equal amount of chips in the pot)
- Raise the bet (add more chips)
- Fold (give up because you have a poor starting hand).
Once all players have made their choice, the dealer places the first three community cards face-up on the table (called the "flop"). Players will make another round of bets (or fold) based on how those cards match up with their own.
The next community card placed face-up is called the "turn," followed by another round of betting. The last community card is called the "river," and after the dealer places it facedown, the last round of betting begins.
After the final round of betting, any players who have not folded must show their hand. Tnd the player with the best five-card combination (hole cards plus any three community cards) wins the pot. When two or more players have the same hand (aside from a royal flush), the player with the highest rank cards in the hand wins. Here's a list of hand rankings:
- Royal flush: Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10, all the same suit
- Straight flush: Five cards in a numbered sequence, all in the same suit
- Four of a kind: All four cards of the same rank
- Full house: Three of a kind with a separate pair
- Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, not in a sequence
- Straight: Five cards in a sequence, not of the same suit
- Three of a kind: Three cards of the same rank
- Two pair: Two different pairs
- Pair: Two cards of the same rank
- High card: When no winning hands above are present, the highest card plays.
Once you become accustomed to the game, you'll have a good sense of "when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em." And once you're experienced enough, you can master the art of bluffing, which is playing as if you have a good hand when you don't, so other players will fold before the final bet.