Hey, Seven Card Stud, wanna go to Omaha for some Texas Hold’em? Bad pun. Players have the opportunity to learn how to play those three games in Poker for Dummies without cracking a book. Instead, learn the basics, rules, and vocabulary with an interactive tutorial and quizzes covering the basics of poker and simulations that dig deeper into how to play to win.

Once you conquer the quizzes, you can head to the practice table where you get guidance from the practice coach on what to do with your hand. As soon as you’re ready, head to the big table to play without any help. Since you don’t have to shell out real cash in Poker for Dummies, you can go wild and take risks or play conservatively to see how well you would do if you were playing with friends.

I’ve played Seven Card Stud and Texas Hold’em, but not for ages. The guide provided a good refresher, plus I pick up a few tips and terms. Sometimes self-paced learning can turn dull from reading and answering quizzes at the end of every chapter. The pacing for the tutorial moves at the right speed, however, and asks good questions in the quizzes.

The best questions are the ones about the different hands. The quiz asks you to figure out the hand it shows you. I wish it had more questions like these, as well as the scenarios where you’re shown some cards and ask whether you’d fold, call, or bet. You can do this in the practice game by not looking at the screen where Poker for Dummies provides a recommendation on what to do with the hand. Decide what you would do with the hand and then look at the Dummy’s advice before taking action to see if you agreed with the program or not.

Although the guide covers the definition of bluffing, it doesn’t teach how to bluff. It often makes recommendations on the action to take based on your cards rather than the actions of other players. Your hand only makes up part of the betting game. The order of the betting, the calls others players make, and the community cards also affect the actions a player should take.

During the practice game, you can reveal the other hands and watch the game play out. This offers players a great tool for learning how others play their cards and their effects on your hand. The practice coach also presents the odds for your hand and calculates anything you want with your current hand showing you the odds of getting the different types of hands (straight, three of a kind, pair, and so on).

One annoyance comes when you finish a hand and the game moves on to the next hand before you have a chance to study the results of the last hand. This should be a player controlled feature where the player clicks when ready for the next hand.

Players can set the speed for the game from slow to fast, but no matter what you select it won’t pause beyond a few seconds before moving to the next game. You can also turn on or off tool tips, which give you hints when pointing at a word or specific item on the screen.

For the play table, you can play with three or five computer players. It would’ve been a great feature to include a way to play games with others online through the software or tie it in with Electronic Arts’ Pogo.com for no extra charge.

Betting limits start as low as $2/$4 and go up to no limit, but you must earn over $10,000 before you can buy in a no limit game. Play 11 or more hands each game to receive player statistics that look at every stage of the game from pre-flop to river in Texas Hold’em and 3rd street through all for Seven Card Stud. The Money Won chart shows your progress from start to current hand, total hands played, largest bankroll, and current bankroll.

Pokers for Dummies
doesn’t have much music as it’s not necessary. It has nice sound effects during the dealing of the cards, flipping them, and winning hands. The software does a nice job of blending instruction and interactivity to help beginners, those out of practice, and those who have played for a little money.

My better half has played a few poker games both in the casino and at people’s houses and he likes some of the features that could help him strengthen his game. Poker for Dummies welcomes dummies of all experiences. May you enjoy many royal flushes in your poker future.