If you have ever played poker at home around your kitchen table, you will surely enjoy the poker games at Dania Jai-Alai. The only significant difference between the two is that WE deal the cards for you! Remember, the "House" does not play! The dealer distributes the cards and keeps track of the action, but you play against the other players, not the dealer or "House".

All of the most popular poker games are played: Stud, Draw and Hold-em style games are all available. The basics of the play are the same everywhere, even at your kitchen table. But, in a poker room, there are some procedures that differ from your home game and even from other card rooms or casinos.


There are three categories of poker games that are popular today:  Stud, Draw and Flop type games.

STUD POKER  In STUD poker, each player receives some cards face down and some face up.  Only the individual player sees the face down cards.  All players see the face up cards.

Let's use Seven Card Stud for an example:  With $1 and $2 games, there no longer is an ante collected from each player.  Now a "rake" is taken from the pot as the game progresses.

Each player is dealt two cards face down and one face up.  At this point there is a betting round.  So that there will be some money in the pot, the first round may not be checked around.  To insure this, there is a forced bet.  The lowest value card, by  suit, is forced to make a minimum bet to start the action.  The lowest hand may not fold or check on the first round.

After the first round is completed, the players are dealt another "up" card.  Again, there is a betting round.  However, the highest ranked hand of the two visible cards starts the action.  This round may start with a check and may be checked around, if no one chooses to bet.

Usually, on the third "up" card, the betting limit increases.  The betting and dealing procedures stay the same for this and the fourth "up" card.

The seventh card is delivered face down to each player.

After betting is completed, the best five card poker hand is established and the winner receives the pot.

The dealer shuffles and the next hand starts.

HIGH/LOW SPLIT is a combination of both types of stud games.  The highest poker hand splits with the lowest hand.  Low hand is "8" or better.  Best Low is A, 2, 3, 4, 5  (wheel).  The dealing and betting procedures are the same as in high stud.

Also, if you have played some form of high/low split in other parts of the poker world, there is what is called a "qualifier" on low.  Usually, the highest ranking card in the low hand cannot be higher than an eight.  If there is no qualified "8" low, the high hand wins both parts of the pot.

DRAW POKER  No one sees anyone else's cards in draw.  All cards are dealt face down.

First, there is an ante.  Then, since there are no visible cards to determine who acts first as in stud poker, a blind bet is made by the person "in front" of the button.  A button rotates around the table, one player at a time, in a clockwise manner.  The action always starts with the player to the left of the button.  The first player to the left of the button must put in a small limit bet before any cards are dealt.  This way there cannot be a check on the first round.

Five cards are dealt, face down, to each player.  The dealing always start to the player "in front" of the button.

After the betting round, players may draw or replace up to five of their cards trying to make the best five card poker hand.  This is followed by the second and final betting round.

The best hand is declared the winner.  The button is moved one seat forward, the blind bet is placed by the player in front of the button and, after everyone has anted, the next hand is dealt.

Note:  Five aces is the highest hand in draw poker when a joker is used.  The joker may also be used as an Ace or as the highest card in a straight or a flush.

FLOP GAMES  Flop cards are community cards which are shared by everyone in the hand.  The flop cards take the place of individual "up" cards.  The most popular types of poker games that use community cards are Texas Hold-em, Pineapple and Omaha.  Since none of the cards dealt to an individual player are face up, a dealer's button and blind or blinds are used just like Draw.

For Texas Hold-em, the dealing procedure is this.  Starting in front of the button, each player receives two cards, face down.  There is a betting round.  The dealer burns a card then deals three cards face down in a pile.  The three cards are "flopped" over and spread face up in the center of the table.  These cards, called the "flop", are shared by every player at the table.

There is a betting round.  Then the dealer burns and turns one card face up on the board (called the turn card).

There is another betting round.  This is followed by the dealer burning one card and turning the last card onto the board and the final betting round (called the river card).  Each player uses none, one or both of the face down cards in combination with three or more of the board cards to make the best five card poker hand.

    EXAMPLE:   The board reads 8-9-10-J-Q (mixed suits)

Player #1 has.... 7-8.  Player #1's best hand is Queen high straight. All players have a Queen high straight since the straight is   on the board and shared by all players.

Player #2 has.... 9-K.  Using the King, player #2 makes a King high straight.

Player #3 has.... K-A.  Since there is no flush possible, the K-A represents the best hand (called the "nuts") which can be made with these seven cards....the Ace high straight.

All flop games can be played high only or high/low split with a "qualifier" for low.  Playing a split flop game without a "qualifier" for low is not a common or accepted practice in the poker world.

At Dania Jai-Alai, we offer about twenty different styles of poker games.  So, even though the names may make the games sound difficult to learn to play, most of them fall into one of the three categories you have just learned.  One thing you should never be afraid to do in our poker room is ASK!  We will be glad to explain the games to you.