Poker is a type of card game that has become incredibly popular casinos, both brick-and-mortar and online. The game involves skill and strategy which can make it incredibly difficult for beginners to learn. However, we’ve decided to help you out by putting together a guide on playing poker and its numerous variations.
The game dates back to around the 19th century in the United States where it quickly became popular and spread all over the world. Today, it’s rare that you’ll find a brick-and-mortar or online casino that doesn’t offer the game. While you may have decided you want to play poker, the difficulty comes from selecting a variation to play.
Since Texas Hold’em is the most commonly played variation, we suggest you try with that and to help out, we’ll explain how to play it. If you’re interested in learning how to play poker or want to find out about a different variation, just scroll down.
How to Play Online Poker
Texas Hold’em, like most other poker variations, is a comparing card game in which players must try to create the highest ranking ran by using the cards dealt to them in combination with the shared or “community” cards. The game involves players making wagers through each round with one player eventually winning.
Before we get on with the basic rules of the game, it’s important you memorise hand suits and their ranking. Doing so will make it much easier for you to spot a good combination and potentially win the game.
As mentioned, it’s important that you memorise these combinations so you can determine if your hand is good enough to continue betting or to bluff or fold. During a game of Texas Hold’em, you’ll be dealt two cards and will need to use the shared or “Community Cards” at the centre of the table to create your highest possible combination of five cards.
While they’re different for each variation, the poker hands from highest ranking to lowest are:
- Royal Flush: Made up of a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit. The highest ranking card.
- Straight Flush: Made up of five consecutive cards of the same suit.
- Four of a Kind: Made up of four cards of the same rank but different suits and a fifth card of any rank.
- Full House: Made up of three cards of the same rank along with two of a different, matching tank.
- Flush: Made of up five cards of the same suit of any value.
- Straight: Made up of five cards in a sequence of any suit.
- Three of a Kind: Made up of three cards of the same rank plus two side cards.
- Two Pair: Made up of two pairs of cards matching rank and a kicker.
- One Pair: Made up of two matching cards of the same rank plus three side cards.
- High Card: If no one on the table has a pair, then the player with the highest hand wins.
After you’ve learnt the hand combinations, you’re one step closer to actually playing. You now know what beats what in a poker game but before you start betting away all of your money, we suggest you read through the rules and different stages of a game.
There are four rounds to each game of Texas Hold’em and all players must either call, fold or raise. Before playing, a dealer must be selected for the first game and, depending on the variation, must hold a button declaring them the dealer. The button will then move around to each player with each new game, allowing each user to play as the dealer.
When the game starts, the dealer will shuffle a standard deck of 52 cards and the two players on the direct left of the dealer will have to put in a small and big blind to start the pot, the chips players are competing for which sits in the middle of the table. After this is done, the dealer will then deal two cards to each player starting with the player on their left and ending on themselves. The player on the dealer’s left will then be the first to make a decision, either:
- Bet: Place a bet, depending on the variation there may be a or no limit on the bet that can be placed
- Check: Do nothing
The first player may choose to do nothing but if anyone does decide to bet, subsequent players will have the following options on their turn:
- Call: Match the bet amount
- Fold: Give up their hand and their chips
- Raise: Wager even more
This continues until everyone has made a decision. Once this is complete, the dealer will draw three cards face-up onto the table. This is known as The Flop and the cards, sometimes known as “Community Cards”, can be used by anyone.
After the community cards have been drawn, all players will have their chance to raise, fold or call. Once this betting round has finished, the dealer will draw a fourth community card and place it on the table. This is known as The Turn.
Following this, all players will get a chance to call, fold and raise. Once all players have made a decision, the dealer will draw a final fifth card on the table. This is called The River.
Once again, players will have to make an action. After this, if more than one player remains they must reveal their cards. The player who last made a bet is the first to show their cards. The player with the highest ranking hand wins.
Blinds are the bets two players directly to the dealer’s left must place in order to start the pot. The player directly to the left of the dealer must place a big blind while the player beside them places a big blind. Generally speaking, the small blind is half the value of the big blind.
As we mentioned above, some poker games may have a limit to how much you can bet. Well, the limit tends to be equal to the size of the big blind.
What Is Ante In Poker?
An ante is an additional side bet that is introduced during the later stages of poker games when the blinds are of high value. These tend to be smaller in value than the small and big blinds. All players are required to make an ante bet in order to build the pot up.
How To Win
If you’re wondering how to win at online poker, wel, you’ve come to the right place. When you reach the showdown, you’ll need to have made a higher hand combination than your opponent to win the pot. Once all remaining players have revealed their cards, the winner is declared by following the hand combination rankings. However, if two players have the same winning hand, the pot is divided between them.
Once all winnings have been paid, a new game of poker can begin with a new dealer and a new set of cards.
Playing Poker Online
There generally isn’t much of a difference between playing online and in real life. The main differences are that you’re only playing against the dealer (The computer), everything is automatically done, the game even explains the ranking of your cards and the game moves much quicker than an ordinary poker game.
When you first launch an online poker game, you’ll need to select a chip value and place your initial wager. After this, you’ll need to click ‘Deal’ and the dealer will draw two cards for yourself and itself. When you have your two cards, you’ll be given two options; fold or call.
If you call, you’ll place a chip on the table and the dealer will draw three community cards. Your card value should change and you’ll be presented with two new options; bet or check. Betting will result in a fourth community card being drawn. After this, you’ll be presented with the same two options. Betting a final time will result in a fifth card being drawn and all cards being revealed.
The chips are automatically paid out to the winner and you’ll be presented with two new options; re-bet and new bet. Re-betting will start a new game with the same initial bet you made before while new bet will allow you to start a new game with a different bet. That’s it!
If you check during the game, you will not make any additional bets but the community cards will be drawn. Folding, meanwhile, will end the current game and will prompt you into making a brand new bet.
As mentioned above, there are numerous variations of poker available to play. Texas Hold’em tends to be the most popular variation and is generally featured on television and in films. However, other popular variations include Casino Hold’em, Stud Poker and Three Card Poker. If you want to find out more about these variations, just read on:
Casino Hold’em: A variation of Texas Hold’em, this game sees players competing against the dealer rather than each other. In addition, there are other minor differences including an additional bet and a payoff scale. This version is commonly found at brick-and-mortar casinos.
Omaha: In this variation, players start with four cards rather than two. In addition, players must use two cards from their hands and three from the community cards in order to create a hand. Most people play Omaha with a pot betting limit which makes it much easier to control your wagering.
Three Card Poker: In this variation, players receive three cards after making ante bets. Users play against the dealer and must have a higher hand than the dealer. If they do, the player wins both the ante bet and the main bet. If they don’t, the player loses both the ante and main bet.
Stud Poker: This variation is played with either five or seven cards and players do not make any blind bets. Instead, they all contribute a small ante bet to the pot. After players are dealt two cards and a “door” card, the user with the lowest value must add another compulsory bet to the pot. After several rounds and more players have left, the remaining players will receive three more cards and will have to reveal their hand combination in a showdown.