This is an archive of a past course's class materials from 2011. Present "Games & Society" students should look elsewhere to find their coursework; consult your current syllabus for more information.

The designer and intstructor of this lab course, Jason McIntosh, has written notes and commentary about this course which may be of interest to other teachers. You can contact the author at

NU GAME1111 Homepage - Fall 2011


Betting reference

When it’s your turn to bet, you can do one of these three things:

Each betting round continues around the table until all players have either folded or called the initial bet plus all raises. (If all players but one fold, the remaining player automatically wins the pot.)

Hand reference

(Taken from

House rules

We’re playing tournament-style. Each player at each table will begin play with 90 points’ worth of chips: 20 white chips worth 1 point each, 10 2-point red chips, and 10 5-point blue chips. Each player’s goal is to end the play session with the most points at their table.

There are no re-buys. If you run out of chips, you’re eliminated from play. You’ll come back in only if someone at the table wins (and you all start a new game). Keep this in mind before taking a great risk. If you do find yourself out of the action, continue observing how your table-mates play, and feel free to stay active in table-talk.

No pot-splashing or string raises, please. Don’t make bets by just tossing your chips into the middle of the table. Instead, make bets by neatly moving chips from your stack into a separate stack in front of you, while stating what you are doing, e.g. “I see five and raise five,” while placing two blue chips in front of yourself. At the end of each betting round, the dealer gathers all these bet chips into the center of the table.

Also, even though it looks cool when they do it in the movies, don’t say “I see your five,” put five points in, and then add “…and raise you five!” while putting another five in. Make your entire bet at once. Doing otherwise is called a “string raise” and results in potentially game-spoiling false starts by other players.

Five-card draw

We’re going to play this for around 15 minutes.

Starting a hand

First, each player then antes two points (i.e. a red chip, or two white ones). Then the dealer deals five cards (face down) to each player.

The first bet

Betting begins with the player to the dealer’s left. The minimum bet or raise is 2 points (the same as the ante).

The draw, second bet, and showdown

After betting concludes, starting with the player to the dealer’s left, players may discard (face down) between zero and five cards, announcing this as they do so. The dealer deals them an equal number of cards, so that they hold five at the end.

There is then a second round of betting just like the first, followed by a showdown.

Texas Hold ’Em

We’re going to play this for around 30 minutes.


The values of the small and big blind will change depending upon how many players are still in the game (that is, still have any chips at all):

Throughout the game, the minimum bet or raise is the same as the current value of the small blind.

Starting a Hand

The player to the dealer’s left bets the small blind, and the player to that person’s left bets the big blind. Then the dealer deals two face-down cards to each player.

The first betting round

Betting begins with the player to the left of the player who provided the big blind. That player must treat the big blind as the current bet, either calling it, raising it, or folding. The betting then proceeds as normal from there.

As a special rule, if all players call the big blind (or fold), then the player who placed the big blind gets an opportunity to make a raise, if they wish. If so, betting continues to their left as normal.

The second, third, and fourth betting rounds

The dealer then deals three face-up cards to the center of the table. These are community cards, which all the players can use to build the best five-card poker hand they can (combining them with their two face-down cards). Another round of betting follows, starting to the dealer’s left. There are no blinds during these betting rounds, so the player starting the bet can check (bet nothing) if they wish.

After this, the dealer lays down a fourth community card, followed by another betting round, and then a fifth community card. After one last round of betting, all players still in the hand have a showdown.