Online Poker FAQ — Beginners' Guide

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Keyboard shortcuts for Party Poker (and others)

If you play online poker for more than an hour or two, or if you play multiple tables at a time, you may get tired of using the mouse whenever you need to fold, check, bet, call or raise. Most of the poker clients don't provide keyboard shortcuts for playing. But there is a way to set up your Windows computer so that when you type a particular key it behaves as though you had moved the mouse to a specific place and, if you want, clicked. It takes a few minutes to set up, but with our step-by-step guide it's easy to do. Once you get accustomed to using the keyboard you'll never go back to the mouse!

(Optional) Step 1: Install AutoHotKey

AutoHotKey is a small utility that translates keystrokes into mouse movements (and can do a lot more too, but we just use this one aspect). Download it from here and install it on your computer.

If you would rather not bother with the AutoHotKey installation, then in the next step you can download the standalone .exe version of each keymap rather than the .ahk script. The .exe version does not require an AutoHotKey installation to run. However, you can't customize the behavior of the keymap because the .exe file cannot be edited by hand.

Step 2: Download Keymap Definitions

We've developed a few different keymaps. Choose the one you prefer and save it to your computer. The files are plain text and can be viewed in your favorite editor; you can even change the keys used if you want. Also, you can change the coordinates to match the button positions in any poker client. The examples we give here are for Party Poker, Poker Stars and Paradise Poker.

If you chose not to install AutoHotKey in step 1, then you will need to download the standalone .exe version of the keymap you want.

Two Hands Keymap

This keymap uses the left hand for betting and the right hand for navigating between windows. It is a good choice if you play multiple tables and are afraid you might accidentally hit one of the betting keys when you are trying to switch tables. Download the keymap and save it to disk:

(However, if you use the Poker Tracker utility to automatically request hand history emails, you must choose a number of hands to request that doesn't contain the numbers 1 through 5. We recommend requesting 90 hands each time.) The keymap is:

Two Hands Keymap

All Right Hand Keymap

This keymap uses the arrow keys and the numeric keypad. Download the keymap and save it to disk:

The keymap is:

All Right Hand Keymap

Numeric Keypad Only Keymap

This keymap uses just the numeric keypad. It's a good choice if you just play at one table, or if you're willing to learn to use just one hand for window switching and for betting. It is based on the original "Mouseless Poker" keymap that Illunious posted to the 2+2 Forum. Download the keymap and save it to disk:

The keymap is:

Numeric Keypad Only Keymap

Step 3: Try it out on just one table

After you've installed AutoHotKey and have downloaded one of the .ahk files, find the .ahk file and double click it. (If you chose to download the standalone .exe file, then find and double click it instead.) You should see a little "H" icon appear in the system tray on the lower right of your taskbar. This means that your keystrokes will now be translated to mouse actions. Try typing one of the keys that has been redefined; the mouse should move. The first thing to learn is how to turn it off: right click on the "H" icon in the system tray and choose "Exit". Your key should be back to normal. Okay, now start it up again by double-clicking the .ahk (or .exe) file.

Start up your poker client and open up a table window. Try typing the keystrokes for fold, call and raise. The mouse should move to the location of the corresponding action button. Sit down in a play-money game and try out the keystrokes. You may want to experiment with the different keymaps above to see what feels most comfortable.

If you only play one table at a time, you're done. If you want to use keyboard shortcuts with multiple tables, keep reading.

Step 4: Try keyboard shortcuts on multiple tables

Now open up more than one poker table. Arrange them in the corners of the screen (see the allSnap utility below for a helpful tool for positioning windows). Try out the window navigation keys in your keymap. "Upper Left" should go to the window in the upper left corner, wherever the mouse starts out, and so on. "Right" should go to the window to the right of the current window, and so on. After you have navigated to the window you wanted, type one of the betting keys like "Fold". The mouse should go to the location in the window where the Fold button will be. Now practice playing on the play-money tables. It'll take a little while to get used to the keyboard shortcuts, but soon it becomes second nature. Then you're ready to return to the real-money tables!

Step 5: Optional. Install allSnap utility

AllSnap is a tiny utility that makes your normal desktop windows to snap to things like the edge of the screen. It's very handy for quickly setting up your poker table windows where you want them. Download allSnap now. (Here is an alternate location.)

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