Plays In Poker


The home of free-to-play poker. We pride ourselves on putting our players’ safety and security first. To ensure realistic game-play, top-ups are limited to 15,000 chips every 4 hours. If you’re new to online poker, we’re here to help you learn. From hand rankings to. World Series Of Poker. Learn the Poker Hand Rankings. Most games of poker require players to form the strongest-value. Poker can be played with only two players. It is called heads-up. Here are the two player rules: The dealer is the small blind and the other player posts the big blind.

It’s a weekend and you and a friend or family member are wondering if you can play a game of poker with just the 2 of you. I have been playing for over 10 years and can give you a definitive answer.

Can you play poker with 2 players? Poker can be played with only two players. It is called heads-up. Here are the two player rules:

  1. The dealer is the small blind and the other player posts the big blind. Players take turns being the dealer.
  2. The first card is dealt to the player in the big blind.
  3. The Dealer goes first before the flop and the Big Blind goes first after the flop.

Let’s cover a few more common questions that players typically have about 2 player poker in greater detail.

What Are the 2 Player Poker Rules?

Now that you are set up to play, let’s cover how to play 2 player poker. Here are the basic rules that you will need to know in order to play your game.

You may want to keep this page open in your browser in case questions come up during play.

1. How do the blinds work in 2 player poker?

How the blinds work is probably the most confusing thing in heads-up poker. However, once you get the hang of it it’s not that difficult to remember since there are only a couple of differences between 6-max or full-ring rules.

Who Is the Big Blind Who Is the Small Blind in Heads-Up Poker?

This is the most common question I get about 2 player poker.

The big blind is always the player who does not have the dealer button in front of him or her. That means that the person dealing is always the small blind.

How Do We Determine Who Gets the Button First at the Start of the Game?

The easiest and most fair way to determine who gets to be dealer first is for each player to draw a card from the deck. The high card gets to deal first.

2. How Are the Cards Dealt in 2 Player Poker?

Which Blind Gets Dealt to First Before the Flop?

The big blind gets the first card and the dealer gets the second card in heads-up play. The easy way to remember this is that the dealer never deals to his or her self first.

Can the Same Person Deal Every Hand?

It’s true that sometimes one person is better at dealing. In this case, it’s okay for the same person to deal every hand.

Just make sure that you move the dealer button each hand. It would be highly unfair if the same person had to play the big blind every single hand!

3. Who Goes First When Only Two Players Are Playing?

I remember walking up to observe the heads-up match between two friends in pub poker. I quickly realized that they were following the opposite order of play that they were supposed to.


I did not want to embarrass them so I kept quiet. It was apparent everyone else didn’t want to as well since none of the 10-15 observers said anything!

Who Goes First Before the Flop?

Pre-flop, the dealer always acts first in 2 player poker.

This rule is exactly the same as pre-flop however, it is easy to get wrong for inexperienced players. The easy way to remember it is that the big blind player acts last before the flop in 6 or 9-handed games, and it makes since to work the same way in heads-up.

Who Goes First After the Flop in Heads-Up?

This rule is also exactly the same for normal poker games. The dealer gets to always go last on the flop.

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The biggest perk of playing on the dealer button is that you get to act last and have more information than your opponents. This is especially powerful in heads-up since the big blind can never act last.

What If the Dealer Open Folds in 2 Player Games?

When the Dealer decides to not play his or her hand before the flop, the small blind is relinquished to the player in the big blind. The dealer button then moves and the next hand begins.

Is it better to play Heads-Up, Cash Games or Tournaments?

Deciding what format to play in 2 player poker all comes down to personal preference. Each type of game has its perks.

Why Play Heads-up Cash Games?

There are a couple of reasons people might choose cash games over tournaments:

  1. Blinds Do Not Rise – Perhaps the biggest benefit of 2 person cash games is that you don’t have to worry about the blinds going up like they do in tournaments. You don’t need a special tournament clock, you can just choose your stake level and play indefinitely without having to adjust your style to the rising blinds.
  2. You Don’t Need Poker Chips – In tournaments, you really need to use poker chips that you can “color up” as the game goes on. That means to add higher value chips to compensate for the bigger stakes. Instead, you can use real coins or even paper money to play cash games.
  3. Cash Games Take More Skill – If you really want to practice and improve at poker, then the best way is through cash games. Once the blinds rise in tournaments, the game becomes more and more about who is the luckiest person.

Why Play Heads-up Tournaments?

Even though I am a cash game specialist, when I play heads-up I actually prefer tournaments. Here is why:

  1. There Are Logical End Points – While cash games drag on and on, a tournament always ends up with one person having all the chips. You can then decide whether to start anew or call it a night. So, if you want to play best of 3 or best of 5, you have a better idea of when the night will end and can plan for it. For this reason, it’s also a great format for hosting a home poker tournament with multiple players.
  2. Tournaments Tend to Be Much More Exciting – There’s nothing more fun in poker than getting to the shove-fold phase of a tournament or sit and go. Chips change hands rapidly and anyone can win at that point. Who doesn’t love a race for all the chips?
  3. The Games Are Usually More Fun for Beginners – Many people that get into poker are used to watching the World Poker Tour or the World Series of Poker. Therefore, tournaments are what they are familiar with and likely to understand better.

If you don’t have poker chips, there are likely plenty of poker chip substitutes lying around the house or office.

Top Dirtiest Plays In Poker World

A Fun Alternative Format: Play Short-Stacked Cash Games

Another idea is to mix both a tournament and cash game feel by playing short stacked cash games.

The way it works is that each player starts with 20, 30, or 40 big blinds and then play cash games. The blinds do not rise, but there is still plenty of heavy pre-flop action with lots of reraise shoving.

Post-flop also plays a lot easier as a short stack. Top pair is an easy hand to get all-in with when short whereas it can be difficult to play when deed-stacked.

What Is the Best 2 Player Poker Strategy?

The biggest adjustment when playing heads-up poker is that marginal hands go way up in value. 3rd pair or even high card Ace can often win at showdown.

So, loosen up and don’t let your opponent run you over if he or she bets a lot! Conversely, you should bet often when you have any piece of the board or a credible bluff. There is a good chance your opponent might fold a better hand or pay you off with a worse hand.

What 2 Player Games Can We Play Besides Texas Hold’Em?

If you are tired of heads-up No-Limit Hold’em and want to mix in another game occasionally, there are several good options:

  • Pot Limit Omaha: In PLO, the heads-up rules are exactly the same as Hold’em except that both players get four hold cards. You also have to use both cards at showdown. Having one Diamond in your hand does not make a flush on a four Diamond board in PLO.
  • 5-Card Draw: This is the traditional “old-fashioned” game that most people used to learn poker before No-Limit Hold-em became the dominant game. Both players have a designated ante that they pay before the cards are dealt. Then, you simply deal out 5 cards to each heads-up player. Instead of having a flop, turn, and river there is instead two betting rounds. Once when you get your initial cards and then after a discard round. You may discard up to 3 cards (4 if you have an Ace) and get those cards replaced by the dealer. There is then another betting round and then the cards are shown and a dealer determined. You can, of course, fold any time during the hand and only lose the money you have invested up to that point.
  • 7-Card Stud: This game is similar to draw except that you start with two cards down and one card up. There is then a betting round. Afterward, another card is turned up one by one with a betting round happening in between. Once both heads-up players each have 7 cards, the dealing is complete and showdown can be reached.

Accessories to Make Matches Even Better

If you want to make your games more classy, then I recommend picking up quality accessories. I wrote recommendation articles for each category, just click the links to learn more:

  • Playing Cards– My personal favorite is Copag, what’s yours?
  • Poker Chips– I prefer a higher-end set, but there are plenty of good budget poker chip sets available as well.
  • Poker Table– I like roll up poker table mats for ease of storage, but that’s just me.

Final Thoughts

Exploitative plays in poker

Playing heads-up only happens in tournaments if you are the last two players left in the field. However, 2 player poker is something you can do for fun either as a cash game or tournament at home.

If you want to read more about heads-up poker, I wrote a detailed article on the heads-up poker rules for Texas Hold’em. Thanks for stopping by!

Related Questions

Do you have to use both cards in Hold’em? In order to make your best 5-card hand in Hold’em, you can either use both cards or just one.

Is Ace high or low in poker? In Poker, an Ace can usually either be the highest card or the lowest. It can make the highest straight of TJQKA and the lowest straight, often called the wheel, of A2345.

Do you have to match the big blind is poker? In order to qualify to see the flop, you must at least match the amount of the blind.

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Texas hold 'em match in progress. Hold 'em is a popular form of poker in the USA.

Poker is a game which people play with a normal set (or deck) of 52 cards. Poker is a gambling game which involves some luck, but also some skill. In poker, players make bets against each other depending on the value of their poker hand. Bets are usually made with plastic or ceramic discs called chips. Bets may also be made with real money, but chips are more often used because they are easier to handle and count. At the end of the game, players either swap their chips for money, or the chips are counted to determine the order of winners.

Who Plays First In Poker

There are many different kinds of poker. In draw poker, each player is dealt five cards. A player can decide to throw away a number of these cards and then take (draw) new cards to replace them.

In stud poker (for example, seven-card stud), some of each player's cards are laid (face-up) on the table so that the other players can see them. In community card poker (for example, Texas hold 'em), players share some of their cards in the center of the table.[1]

History[changechange source]

The history of poker is a matter of some debate. The name of the game likely descended from the Frenchpoque, which descended from the Germanpochen ('to knock'), but it is not clear whether the origins of poker itself lie with the games bearing those names. It closely resembles the Persian game of as nas, and may have been taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian sailors. It is commonly regarded as sharing ancestry with the Renaissance game of primero and the French brelan. The English game brag (earlier bragg) clearly descended from brelan and incorporated bluffing (though the concept was known in other games by that time). It is quite possible that all of these earlier games influenced the development of poker as it exists now.

English actor Joseph Crowell reported that the game was played in New Orleans in 1829, with a deck of 20 cards, four players betting on which player's hand was the most valuable. Jonathan H. Green's book, An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling (G. B. Zieber, Philadelphia, 1843), described the spread of the game from there to the rest of the country by Mississippiriverboats, on which gambling was a common pastime.

Soon after this spread, the full 52-card English deck was used, and the flush was introduced. During the American Civil War, many additions were made, including draw poker, stud poker (the five-card variant), and the straight. Further American developments followed, such as the wild card (around 1875), lowball and split-pot poker (around 1900), and community card poker games (around 1925). Spread of the game to other countries, particularly in Asia, is often attributed to the U.S. military.

The game and jargon of poker have become important parts of American culture and English culture. Such phrases as ace in the hole, beats me, blue chip, call the bluff, cash in, pass the buck, poker face, stack up, up the ante, when the chips are down, wild card, and others are used in everyday conversation even by those unaware of their origins at the poker table.

Modern tournament play became popular in American casinos after the World Series of Poker began in 1970. It was also during that decade that the first serious strategy books appeared, notably The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky (ISBN1880685000), Super System by Doyle Brunson (ISBN1580420818), and The Book of Tells by Mike Caro (ISBN0897461002).

Poker’s popularity has experienced an unprecedented spike in recent years, largely due to the introduction of online poker and the invention of the hole-card camera which finally turned the game into a spectator sport. Viewers can now follow the action and drama of the game, and broadcasts of poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have brought in huge audiences for cable and satellite TV distributors.

Game play[changechange source]

Royal Flush in hearts

The game of poker is played in hundreds of variations, but the following overview of game play applies to most of them.

Depending on the game rules, one or more players may be required to place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These are called forced bets and come in three forms: antes, blinds, and bring-ins.

Like most card games, the dealer shuffles the deck of cards. The deck is then cut, and the appropriate number of cards are dealt face-down to the players. In a casino a 'house' dealer handles the cards for each hand, but a button (any small item used as a marker, also called a buck) is rotated among the players to determine the order of dealing and betting in certain games. In a home game, the right to deal the cards typically rotates among the players clockwise, but a button may still be used.

After the initial deal, the first of what may be several betting rounds begins. Between rounds, the players' hands develop in some way, often by being dealt additional cards or replacing cards previously dealt. During a round of betting, there will always be a current bet amount, which is the total amount of money bet in this round by the player who bet last in this round. To keep better track of this, it is conventional for players to not place their bets directly into the pot (called splashing the pot), but rather place them in front of themselves toward the pot, until the betting round is over. When the round is over, the bets are then gathered into the pot.

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After the first betting round is completed (every participating player having called an equal amount), there may be more rounds in which more cards are dealt in various ways, followed by further rounds of betting (into the same central pot). At any time during the first or subsequent betting rounds, if one player makes a bet and all other players fold, the deal ends immediately, the single remaining player is awarded the pot, no cards are shown, no more rounds are dealt, and the next deal begins. This is what makes it possible to bluff.

Poker Games Free

At the end of the last betting round, if more than one player remains, there is a showdown in which the players reveal their previously hidden cards and evaluate their hands. The player with the best hand according to the poker variant being played wins the pot.

Hands[changechange source]

The following are poker hands, from best to worst:

  • Straight flush: Five cards of the same suit in sequence (if those five are A, K, Q, J, 10; it is a Royal Flush)
  • Four of a kind: Four cards of the same rank and any one other card
  • Full house: Three cards of one rank and two of another
  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit
  • Straight: Five cards in sequence (for example, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
  • Three of a kind: Three cards of the same rank
  • Two pair: Two cards of one rank and two cards of another
  • One pair: Two cards of the same rank
  • High card: If no one has a pair, the highest card wins

Poker Chips[changechange source]

Poker chips are small disks. They made by various materials including molded plastic, colored metal molded clays. They are used in table games as play money. Modern poker traces its roots towards the 1800s, and in those days, players used what you could to help keep a tally. Coins, gold dust and nuggets were used until they considered replacing with something which would indicate them. Thus, the casino chips happen to be introduced within the gambling business.

Poker rooms started using casino chips to simply manage the cash and then collect charges. In those days, casino chips were created of ivory, bone, paper wood. However, the most generally used chips were created of composite clay. One problem made an appearance due to the developing casino chips which was cheating. Some players considered sneaking some chips in their hands. To avoid this, manufacturers created differentiated disks. Consequently, a range of styles was created. With time, other manufacturers could use many other materials for making casino chips, for example, plastic and metal.[2]

Poker variations[changechange source]

References[changechange source]

  1. Reuben, Stewart 2001. Starting out in Poker. London: Everyman/Mind Sports. ISBN 1-85744-272-5 Basic teaching text, explains terms, gives advice.
  2. ' > Poker Chips'. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
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