We wrote this quick tutorial to help get you acquainted with how the site works. If you ever feel lost or would like to ask our staff a question, feel free to shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Step 1: Pick a unique username, sign up, and log in. We recommend not choosing too long of a username, as it may be truncated if you're sitting on a pile of chips!
Step 2: You'll be automatically redirected to your profile, which allows you to customize your poker-playing experience. Don't worry too much about the displayed settings right now, although it might be a good idea to increase the number of messages retained in chat so that you can review hand histories at the end of a session. Let's proceed to the groups page, which can be accessed by clicking the "Groups" link in the header.
Step 3: This page displays all the groups for which you have a valid membership--as well as any pending invitations to groups you are not currently associated with. If you're joining some friends who have already set up a group, go ahead and ask them to send you an invitation. Please note that you'll need to refresh the page for new invitations to appear. If you'd like to set up a group yourself, click the "Create Group" button.
Step 4: If you've made a fresh group, invite friends to join using the large "Invite New Members" button at the bottom. If you've joined an existing group or are waiting for your friends to hop on, let's proceed to the table-making wizard. Click the big "Create New Table" button at the bottom of the "Tables" column.
Step 5: If you'd just like to play some vanilla poker, you need only worry about naming your table and selecting game type, stakes, and the maximum number of seated players. If you'd like to spice up your game a bit, click the "Show advanced options" button. We'll discuss these game enhancements below:
Small/large-pot timebank multiplier: In order to ensure a consistent rate of play, players are given a specific amount of time to act, as indicated by an in-game timebar, before they are forced to fold. The exact number of seconds given scales logarithmically with the size of the pot. By default, empty pots trigger a 15-second allowance, and this allocation increases until the pot reaches 500 big blinds, at which point players are given 80 seconds to act. The multiplier field shown in the relevant screenshot adjusts these 15- and 80-second values. In practice, we find that the default settings result in a fast-paced game and suggest increasing the multipliers to 1.5 if it's your first time playing on the site.
Antes: The default betting structure of many poker variants involves the posting of a small and big blind, although players can be made to post antes in addition to the blinds. The value given is the number of small blinds contained in each ante.
Straddles: Some card houses allow the player to the left of the big blind to post an amount equal to double the standing big blind. In doing so, the player becomes the new big blind, and preflop action begins with the player to the left of the straddling player. Donkhouse allows this game enhancement, as well, and recursively so: the creator of a given table can specify exactly how many straddles he/she wishes to allow in a single hand.
Bomb pots: Live voting for this alteration takes place in-game. If all users check off "vote for bomb pot" by the start of a given hand, no preflop action takes place. Instead, each player posts the specified amount (in big blinds), and the flop is immediately dealt. (Usually activated in tandem with the double board modification).
72 game: 72 is the worst hand in poker because its ranks are low, unpaired, and will never both count towards a straight. If the 72 game is on, winning with this hand--either by folding out all other opponents or by scooping the pot associated with the first board at showdown--will force each active player at the table to pay you the specified bounty. One more thing: suited 72 is a qualifying hand.
Checking in the dark: If this feature is enabled, players may elect to check before seeing the next set of dealt cards.
Double boards: As with bomb pots, voting for this alteration takes place in-game. If all users check off "vote for double board" by the start of a given hand, each street contains two sets of the usual cards. In Texas Holdem, for example, two flops, two turns, and two rivers are dealt. At the end of the hand, the winner(s) of the first board collect one half of the pot, and the winner(s) of the second board collect the other half of the pot. Players can scoop the entire pot by tabling the best hand for both boards at showdown or by folding out other players before showdown.
Revealing cards: If this feature is enabled, players may double-click a card in their hand to expose it to the table. Double-clicking that same card will conceal it. Please note that an exposed card sits slightly higher in one's hand than a non-exposed card. Also, revealing cards is possible only when there are exactly two players in the hand.
Running it twice: If action is killed before the final street, players may elect to increase the number of runouts. For example, if a player goes all in on the flop in Texas Holdem and is called by another player, these players may vote to see two sets of turns and rivers. Once these later streets are revealed, the pot is divided equally between the two runouts and distributed accordingly. Please note that all players must have "run it twice" checked by the time action is killed in order for this feature to be activated in-game.