An extract on #uzmandoktor
Because only two cards are dealt to each player, it is easy to characterize all of the starting hands. There are (52 51)/2 = 1,326 distinct possible combinations of two cards from a standard 52-card deck. Because no suit is more powerful than another, many of these can be equated for the analysis of starting-hand strategy. For example, although J J and J J are distinct combinations of cards by rank and suit, they are of equal value as starting hands.
Because of this equivalence, there are only 169 effectively different hole-card combinations. Thirteen of these are pairs, from deuces (twos) to aces. There are 78 ways to have two cards of different rank (12 possible hands containing one ace, 11 possible hands containing one king but no ace, 10 possible hands containing one queen but no ace or king, etc.). Both hole cards can be used in a flush if they are suited, but pairs are never suited, so there would be 13 possible pairs, 78 possible suited non-pairs, and 78 possible unsuited ("off-suit") non-pairs, for a total of 169 possible hands. Suited starting hands are stronger than their unsuited counterparts, although the magnitude of this strength advantage in different games is debated.
Because of the limited number of starting hands, most strategy guides include a detailed discussion of each of them. This distinguishes hold 'em from other poker games where the number of starting card combinations forces strategy guides to group hands into broad categories. Another result of this small number is the proliferation of colloquial names for individual hands.
The easiest and most common types of cheating require no skill of manipulation, but rather merely the nerve. Such methods include shorting the pot, avoiding house fees, and peeking at other players' cards. However, it is very difficult to prove because when confronted, at least the first time, the cheat often calls the cheating an honest mistake.
One minimal-skill method that occurs in non-casino and casino games happens when a player who has folded appoints himself the tender of the pot, stacking chips, counting them, and delivering them to the winning player. Check-chopping is when such a "helpful" player palms a chip. Odorless adhesive can be used for this purpose.
Another minimal-skill method is going south (also known as "ratholing"), where a player covertly removes a portion of his chips from play while remaining in the game, normally in order to preserve the winnings as profit, or prevent a major loss in "big bet" games.