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Reason I like Bovada #2:

Good Odds

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The odds are always against you when you gamble, so it pays to play at a casino that offers good odds. I spent some time looking for an online casino with good odds, and I found it in Bovada. Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

It's disappointing that most online casinos are greedy when setting the odds on their games. They think they'll make more money by setting the games tighter, so the player has less chance of winning, but they're wrong. Most gamblers eventually gamble away all their playing budget anyway. They're going to lose the same amount of money no matter what, the only question is how long it takes them to do so. And when they play at a tight casino and lose quickly, they're less likely to return.

A casino which offers good odds will make just as much money as a tight casino, because the players will usually gamble away whatever they deposit anyway, no matter what the odds. The only difference is that with better odds, they'll get to play longer before they go bust. And that means they had more fun in the process, and they're more likely to return.

Bovada is one of they few casinos that understands this. They offer games with good odds, knowing that if your money lasts longer, you'll be a happier, loyal customer. Among their offerings are:

  • Two blackjack games returning over 99.8%
  • Single-0 roulette
  • Full-pay Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Nine other video poker games returning over 99%

You don't have to play at Bovada, but wherever you play, make sure they offer odds at least this good!

All in all, I think Bovada is the best bet for U.S. players.

Try their blackjack for free.
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Name of Hand


Royal Flush

10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦ A♦

Straight Flush

7♦ 8♦ 9♦ 10♦ J♦

Four of a Kind

3♦ 3♠ J♦ 3♣ 3♥

Full House

9♣ 9♥ 4♣ 4♥ 4♦


9♣ Q♣ 10♣ 4♣ 6♣


6♣ 7♥ 8♣ 9♦ 10♠

Three of a Kind

5♣ 5♥ 5♠ 9♦ 8♠

Two Pair

4♣ 4♥ 7♣ 7♦ Q♠


9♣ 9♥ 5♣ 4♦ 3♠

Poker Hand Rankings

How to figure which hand wins in poker

In each of the examples below we'll compare just two hands at a time to keep things simple. But in real poker there are often three or more players left standing at the end of the round who compare hands to see who won.

The cards can be in any order. It doesn't matter what order the cards are dealt. A pair of nines dealt as (9 3 8 5 9) is just as good as a pair dealt as (9 9 3 8 5).


1. Card Ranks. Two is the lowest card, Ace is the highest. The face cards from lowest to highest are Jack, Queen, and King, which we abbreviate J, Q, K. When each hand has the same high card, you look at the next-high card. If both hands have the same top two cards then you look at the third card, etc.

Queen beats Jack



K9 beats K7



2. Pair. A pair is two cards of the same rank. If multiple players have pairs, the high pair wins. If two players each have the same pair (e.g., 5,5 and 5,5), then you look at the highest card in each hand, as we saw above with Card Ranks.

Pair beats a single card, even if the pair is ranked lower.



High pair wins



3. Two Pair. If one pair is good, two pair is better.

Two pairs are better than one



This is a tie.


Both hands are equal.


4. Three of a Kind.

Three of a Kind beats two pair.



5. Straight. Consecutive cards. An Ace can count as either the lowest card (A-2-3-4-5) or the highest card (10-J-Q-K-A). If both hands have straights, the higher straight wins. Remember that the order of the cards doesn't matter. We showed them in order below just to make it easier to see.

Straight beats three of a kind. When comparing multiple straights, the highest straight wins.



5. Flush. All cards of the same suit. If both hands are flushes then you look at card ranks, as usual.

Flush beats a straight



6. Full House. A three of a kind plus a pair. When multiple players have full houses, the highest rank wins.

Full House beats a flush.



7. Four of a Kind. Just what it says. With competing four of a kinds, the highest one wins.

Four of a Kind beats a full house.



8. Straight Flush. Hand is both a straight and a flush..Very rare. Ranks break ties, yada yada yada.

Straight Flush beats four of a kind.



9. Royal Flush. A straight flush composed of the very highest cards. Extremely rare. If you got this on a video poker machine you'd win the jackpot, usually 4000 coins.

Royal House beats everything on the planet.


More Poker Resources

That's the basics. Here are some more resources to continue your study.

Texas Holdem crash course.  Our own guide to learning Texas Holdem.

Charles Bloom's Beginner's Guide. Mr. Bloom has an excellent introduction to Texas Holdem which picks up where this guide left off. A plethora of articles for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players. Good stuff.

Bodog Poker. The best way to learn is to play. At Bodog you can play for free so you don't have to risk your own money while you're still getting the hang of it. When you're ready to graduate to real money play, they have cheap $0.10/$0.20 limit games that just about anyone can afford. And the software works on both Mac & Windows.

Poker Listings. All the online poker rooms analyzed, reviewed, and compared. Highly recommended.

The Wizard's tips. There is no more respected authority on gambling strategy than the Wizard of Odds. Check out the Wizard's excellent advice for beginning players.

Strategy for 6-person Holdem. offers a wealth of strategies for playing six-person Holdem games. They sorely need a good editor, but hey, it's extensive, and it's free.

See also how to play:


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Gambling Problem?
Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, and read this.

Also, know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling