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Helpful Hints

Action

Another term for "betting". To start the action is to start the betting.

Ante

A small sum of money, placed in the pot by each player.

Big Blind

A bet that must be posted by the player two seats to the left of the button. It is equal to the amount of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a $10-20 limit game, the big blind would be $10.

Blind

Forced bets placed in the pot by the first two players in front of the dealer button. Players are required to place these forced bets in games like Hold'em, Omaha and other games featuring blinds. See "small blind" and "big blind."

Bluff

To bet when you hold a weak hand, hoping that the intimidation factor of your bet can win the hand.

Bring-in

In Stud, a bet that must be made on the very first betting round. Usually the player showing the lowest card is forced to make a bet; in some games, the player showing the highest card is forced. The bring-in applies only on the very first betting round. On all further rounds, the player showing the highest hand on board has the OPTION to bet first, but need not.

Call

To match a bet that has been made.

Check

To possess the option to bet, but decline. A player cannot check once someone else has bet; at that point, the player must call, raise, or fold. But if no one has yet bet, a player can check, allowing the betting option to pass to the next player.

Check-raise

To check when first given the option to raise but then re-raising after another player has raised.

Fifth Street

The fifth community card in Hold'em or Omaha (in these games, Fifth Street is more often called "the river."). Also sometimes used to refer to the fifth card received in 7 Card Stud.

Flop

In Hold'em or Omaha, the first three community cards, turned up all at once.

Fold

To drop out of a hand.

Fourth Street

The fourth community card in Hold'em or Omaha (in these games, Fourth Street is more often called "the turn."). Also sometimes used to refer to the fourth card received in 7 Card Stud.

Hole cards

Cards that are face down and cannot be seen by the other players. Also called pocket cards.

Kicker

Two meanings:

  1. A single card kept along with a pair, in Draw, in an attempt to make two pair. For example, someone might keep 3-3-K, drawing two cards, in the hope that he might get either a three (for trips) or a King (making two pair, Kings-up).
  2. The highest single card held by two players in Hold'em who each hold the same pair. For example, if the board in Hold'em is A-10-8-5-2, and Player One holds A-J as his hand, and Player Two holds A-Q, each player has a pair of Aces, but Player Two has a better kicker (queen) and would win the hand.

Narrowing the Field

To bet or raise in the hopes that you will drive out some players whose hands are currently worse than yours, but who might improve if allowed to stay in.

Nuts, The

The best possible hand. This phrase is almost always used in the context of a particular hand (otherwise "the nuts" would just be a term for a royal flush). For example, in Hold'em, a player holding 8-9 would hold "the nuts" if the flop came 6-7-10. At that moment, the 6-7-8-9-10 straight is the best possible hand (assuming all cards are not the same suit). However, if the Turn card were a Jack, and the River a Queen, a player holding A-K would then have the nuts-a 10-J-Q-K-A straight.

Pot

The money in the center of the table, being contested by the players still remaining in the hand.

Rake

The amount of money the house takes from the pot to make money from the poker game. In low limit games, the house usually rakes some percentage of the pot. Learn More about Rake Structure.

River

In Hold'em or Omaha, the fifth and final community card. Also sometimes called Fifth Street.

Rock

A player known to be very conservative, who usually bets or raises only when he has a very powerful hand.

Small Blind

A bet that must be posted by the player one seat to the left of the button. It is usually equal to one half of the smaller betting limit in a game, for example, in a $10-20 limit game, the small blind would be $5. Occasionally, the small blind is some other fraction of the big blind.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Players are able to perform common used actions with keyboard shortcuts as a complement to using the mouse for example to fold, call or bet. This feature is by default disabled and the player have to enable this in the personal setting. When enabled this will function at all types of poker tables, tournaments and ring games. The hotkeys are set and cannot be changed by the players.

Settings in the Poker Client

The setting of this feature is found in "Settings -> Personal Settings". A new property is added here. It is called Keyboard Shortcuts and enables the keyboard shortcuts for the game.

The player can look at all the possible keyboard shortcuts by clicking on the View Shortcuts button. Clicking on this button, the client will open an external web page handled by the network operator. All available keyboard shortcuts are listed in that page.

The list of the possible shortcuts are as follows:

Scenario Limit NL/PL
Action Action
Windows Mac Windows Mac
Fold Ctrl + [left arrow] Mac command button + [left arrow] Ctrl + [left arrow] Mac command button + [left arrow]
Call or check Ctrl + [down arrow] Mac command button + [down arrow] Ctrl + [down arrow] Mac command button + [down arrow]
Bet, raise Ctrl + [right arrow] Mac command button + [right arrow] Ctrl + [right arrow] Mac command button + [right arrow]
Rebuy or Cashier Ctrl + R Mac command button + R Ctrl + R Mac command button + R
Chat Ctrl + C Mac command button + C Ctrl + C Mac command button + C
Deal me out Ctrl + O Mac command button + O Ctrl + O Mac command button + O
Muck Losing/Uncalled Hands Ctrl + X Mac command button + X Ctrl + X Mac command button + X
BET slider tabs
Increase slider tab n/a Shift + [right arrow]
Decrease slider tab n/a Shift + [left arrow]
Enter a specific value slider tab n/a Shift + Space

Royal Flush

Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of the same suit.

royal flush

Straight Flush

A straight with all five cards in the same suit. Between two straight flushes, the one with the highest card wins.

straight flush

Four of a Kind or "Quads"

It consists of the four cards of any one rank together with any fifth card; for example four sevens.

four of a kind

Full House

Consists of any three of one kind and any pair of another kind. It is referred to by the three-of-a-kind it contains; the example shown would be "sixes full." Between two full houses, the one with the higher ranking three cards wins.

full house

Flush

Consists of any five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence. Two flushes are compared by the highest ranking card in the flush. Where the highest ranking card is the same, the second highest ranking card determines the winner and so on until a difference is found. This flush would be referred to as a "jack high flush."

Flush

Straight

Consists of any five cards of two or more suits in sequence of rank, with the ace ranking either high or low. Straights are ranked by the highest card in the sequence. Two straights with the same highest card are equal.

straight with ace high straight with ace low

Three of a Kind

Any three cards of the same rank plus two other cards which do not constitute a pair and do not include the fourth card of the same rank. This three of a kind would be referred to as "three nines" or "trip nines."

three of a kind

Two Pair

Ranks next under three of a kind, consists of two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and any fifth card which is neither of those ranks; it is referred to by the higher of the two pairs. This would be "Queens up." Or "Queens over Eights." Two hands each containing two pair are compared by the highest pair in the hand. Where the highest pair in both hands is the same, the rank of the second pair is used. If the first and second pair are the same, the kicker is used to rank the hands. If the kicker is the same, the hands are tied.

two pair

One pair

Any two cards of the same rank, together with three other cards which do not combine with the other two to form any of the higher-ranking hands above.

one pair

High Card

Any combination of cards which do not combine to form one of the higher ranking hands above. Two high card hands are ranked by comparing the highest card in the hand.

high card

Please note: Unless otherwise specified in the game rules, suits of cards do not contribute to the rank of a hand. For example: A Royal Flush of Spades and a Royal Flush of Hearts would be considered an equal ranking hand.

Setting Limits

Before you can sit down to play your first hand of poker, you must set your limits.

Limits determine how much money you can bring to the table, how much you can afford to lose per day/week/month, and how many hours you'd like to limit yourself to per session/day/week/month.

The Game Limits tab includes three sections:

  • Game Budget
  • Tournament Limits
  • Session Reminders

Game Budget

Poker is a form of entertainment. Just like we all set budgets for things like going to the movies, eating out at restaurants and attending sporting events, we believe that setting a budget for playing poker will help poker players enjoy the tables responsibly.

Before you play poker, you are required to set your Game Budget limits. They include how much money you can afford to lose in a specified time period and how many hours you would like to limit your time at the tables to. The maximum limits you are permitted to set are:

Max loss/day: $3,000
Max loss/week: $6,000
Max loss/month: $12,000

Max hours/session: 24
Max hours/day: 24
Max hours/week: 168
Max hours/month: 720

Remember, since you can't bring more to the table than your limits allow, game limits directly affect your maximum bet at a table. However, if you win at the tables, your loss limit will increase. For example, if your daily loss limit is set to $500 and you win $50, you are free to bring $550 to the tables.

Please also note that the software doesn't take your limits into consideration when informing you how much money you can bring to a table. The value showed reflects your current balance, not any limits set. However, buy-in limits and your game budget limits will be enforced.

Tournament Limits

Players are defaulted to playing in 24 tournaments in a day, 168 tournaments in a week and 720 tournaments in a month. You can choose to increase or decrease these numbers at any time.

The maximum limits that can be set are:

MTT per Day: 1000
MTT per Week: 7000
MTT per Month: 30000

Sit & Go per Day: 1000
Sit & Go per Week: 7000
Sit & Go per Month: 30000

Session Reminders

A session reminder is a pop up that occurs at regular intervals. Players may set this interval to 60, 120, 180, or 240 minutes.

Choosing the Right Limits

While limits are different for everybody, responsible poker players usually set their weekly limit to 2x their daily limit and set their monthly limit to 4x their daily limit. So, once you figure out what kind of daily loss you can afford, it's easy to set your weekly and monthly limits.

Increasing/Decreasing your Limits

You may choose to decrease your limits at any time. Decreases to limits are effective immediately.

Taking a Break

If you feel that it's time to take a break from the tables, you may lock your account for a period of time of your choosing. Playnow.com also has a self-exclusion program in place. To learn more, visit GameSense.

Rake Structure

For all real money games, PlayNow.com poker room may take a rake from the pot at cash game tables or collect a fee for entering a tournament.

Tournament Entry Fee - Multi table and Sit & Go: When registering to any real money tournament you may pay a fee to the poker room defined as a Tournament Entry Fee. The Tournament Entry Fee is a maximum of 10% of the buy-in for the tournament. For example, if you register to a $10+1 tournament, $10 goes towards the prize pool and $1 will be collected by the poker room as a fee for hosting the tournament.

Cash game rake - When playing in real money ring games, a small percentage of the pot after each hand may be taken as rake by the poker room for hosting the game. We do not charge rake if there is no flop (for flop games) or if the game ends in the first round (non-flop games). You can follow how much rake is taken from each individual pot as it is displayed to the left of the chip tray on the poker table during the hand.

In the table below you can view the full cash game rake structure per table stake and game type.

Game Type Table Stakes Players Rake Max Rake
Micro Limit Tables $0.10/$0.20 Any $0.01 every $0.20 $1.50
Micro Limit Tables $0.25/$0.50 Any $0.05 every $1.00 $1.50
Low Limit Tables $0.50/$1.00 - $1.00/$2.00 Any $0.25 every $5.00 $1.50
Mid Limit Tables $2.00/$4.00 - $10.00/$20.00 Any $0.25 every $5.00 $3.00
High Limit Tables $15.00/$30.00 - $50.00/$100.00 Any Pot Rake $3.00
$30 $0.50
$40 $1.00
$50 $1.50
$70 $2.00
$85 $2.50
$100 $3.00
Ultra High Limit Tables $100.00/$200.00 and up 2-3 $1.00 every $100 $2.00
Ultra High Limit Tables $100.00/$200.00 and up 4-10 $1.00 every $100 $5.00
Micro NL/PL Limit Tables $0.02/$0.04 Any $0.01 every $0.10 $1.50
Micro NL/PL Limit Tables $0.05/$0.10 - $0.10/$0.20 Any $0.01 every $0.20 $3.00
Mid PL/NL Limit Tables $0.12/$0.25 - $25.00/$50.00 2-4 $0.05 every $1.00 $1.50
Mid PL/NL Limit Tables $0.12/$0.25 - $25.00/$50.00 5-10 $0.05 every $1.00 $3.00
High PL/NL Limit Tables $50.00/$100.00 and up 2-3 $0.05 every $1.00 $2.00
High PL/NL Limit Tables $50.00/$100.00 and up 4-10 $0.05 every $1.00 $5.00
Heads Up Limit Tables $0.25/$0.50 and up 2 $0.25 every $5.00 $1.00

Practice Poker for Free

PlayNow.com is dedicated to giving all players every edge possible to improve their game, and that includes a set of dedicated Practice tables, featuring our teaching pros who will sit at these tables giving players and observers alike the chance to learn as they play!

Practice tables are a great way for first time players to sit down at a table and start to feel comfortable in a real game environment, for intermediate players to learn some of the advanced tactics and betting styles, and for all players to learn new games like Omaha! The Practice Tables are play money tables, and are easily identified by their "Poker School" label.