How to Play Poker Games

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Myrto Shane | December 19, 2023 | Updated on: May 14th, 2024

how to play poker guide

Many Australians would like to learn how to play poker. Poker, after all, is probably one of the most exciting and rewarding gambling games. Many players are put off because they think it is difficult, but it isn’t. If you are looking to find out more about the basics of poker, you will be delighted to know that we have crafted the ultimate beginners’ guide. We go through everything you need to know, including the standard poker hands, tips and tricks for playing, the different types of poker, and the different betting styles. After you read through our guide, you will be able to play poker with confidence. So, what are you waiting for?

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types of poker games

Types of Poker Games

The first thing you need to know about poke is that there are three types of games: draw, stud, and community card. Game rules alter slightly based on which type of poker game you are playing at Australian casino sites.

Draw Poker

In draw poker games, your hand is completely hidden, meaning that other players have no idea of what cards you have. You can modify your hand by replacing some of the cards that have been dealt with you. Many players believe that this is
the hardest form of poker because you have no inkling of what opponents’ hands look like. As such, being able to read players and bluff becomes more important. The most popular form of draw poker is Five Card Draw. Other draw games include:

  • Gardena Jackpots
  • California Lowball
  • Kansas City Lowball
  • Double-Draw
  • Triple-Draw
  • Badugi
  • Baduci
  • Q-Ball
  • Anaconda

poker basics explained

Stud Poker

In stud poker games, players receive a combination of face and hole cards (exposed cards and hidden cards). With some cards being exposed, players get a better idea of what they are going up against. You can use your knowledge to make
inferences about opponents’ hands and conduct your gameplay. For a long time, stud poker was the most popular form of the game. The two most famous variations are Five-Card Stud and Seven-Card Stud. Others stud poker games include:

  • Abyssinia
  • Chicago
  • Cowpie Poker
  • Dakota
  • Do Ya
  • Have a Heart
  • Howdy Doody
  • Mississippi Mid
  • Pass the Trash

Community Card Poker

In community card poker games, the player’s hand is completely hidden. However, players receive fewer cards for their personal hand. They are meant to complete their hand with community cards, which are laid out at the centre of the table.
For example, in Texas Hold’em (the most popular community card game), players get two cards. Five community cards are then displayed on the table over subsequent betting rounds, which players need to use to complete their five-card hands.
Community card poker is considered one of the easier versions of the game because you have insight into other players’ hands. The most popular community card games are Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em. Other variants include:

  • Bundles
  • Criss Cross
  • H-Bomb
  • Pyramid
  • Red and Black

how to play online poker games

How to Play Poker – Step-By-Step

The type of poker game you play affects how cards will be distributed. Aside from this, most games follow the same pattern. Here is how it works:

Step 1 – Place Your Starting Bets (Ante and the Blinds)

Before the game begins, a starting pot of winnings needs to be created. So, before anyone gets any cards, they will be required to place a bet. How this works varies according to the game you play. Some variations require every player to
place an ante, which is the minimum starting bet. Other games require one player to stake a big blind (the minimum bet) and another to stake a small blind (half the minimum bet). There are even some games that require both blinds and antes.
Most games use ante bets, but we don’t want you to be surprised should you run into a different methodology.

how to play poker basics

Step 2 – Get Your Starting Cards

So, depending on the variation you play, you will receive many cards after you place your bet. For example, if you are playing Texas Hold’em, you will receive your two-hole cards. If you are playing Five Card Draw, you will receive five
cards face down, etc. After each player has been dealt a card, the top card in the deck will be burnt to make it harder to which card is coming next if the cards have been shuffled badly. Each poker game features hole cards (cards that are
dealt face-down). You must not reveal these cards to other players until you reach the showdown round.

Step 3 – Betting Rounds Begin

After players have received their first set of cards, the betting begins. Depending on the type of poker you are playing, a new card will be revealed, or you will be allowed to discard a card. There are five options available to players
during this round:

  • Bet – you stake a wager if no player has done so yet.
  • Check – you decide to pass on increasing your bet.
  • Call – you match another player’s bet.
  • Raise – you increase on a bet another player has already made.
  • Fold – you decide to give up on hand and cut your losses. You lose everything that you put in the bet.

Step 4 – Betting Continues

How rounds continue to depend on the type of poker you are playing. For example, if you are playing Texas Hold’em, there will be three rounds in which community cards will be distributed (the flop, the turn, and the river.) If you are
playing Seven Card Stud, you will receive a new card after each betting round – sometimes face-up and other times face down. During each round, you will have access to the five betting options highlighted above until you reach the final
stage of the game – the showdown!

Step 5 – Showdown!

This is the last stage of a poker hand. All players reveal their cards to see who has the best hand, and the winner takes the pot. If you fold before the showdown, you do not have to show your cards. If the hand is tied by some way, tied
players need to split the pot between each other. You have now reached the end of the poker hand and are ready to begin a new one.
standard poker hands

List of Standard Poker Hands

There are 10 standard poker hands used in most forms of online poker. Some variants may alter hands slightly, but mostly every game uses the standard set. The highest-ranking
hand is the Royal Flush, whereas the lowest ranking hand is a high card (no combination, just a single high-ranking card.) Here is a list of all the standard poker hands, ranked from best to worst:

  1. Royal Flush (A, K, Q, J, 10 in the same suit)
  2. Straight Flush (five consecutive cards in the same suit)
  3. Four-of-a-kind (four cards of the same value)
  4. Full House (a three-of-a-kind and a pair)
  5. Flush (five cards of the same suit)
  6. Straight (five consecutive cards)
  7. Three-of-a-kind (three cards of the same value)
  8. Two pairs (two sets of pairs)
  9. A pair (two cards of the same value)
  10. High card (no combination)

basic poker strategies

Beginner Poker Strategies

Here are some basic poker tips and tricks you should keep in mind if you are looking for some starting advice for getting better at the game fast:

Survey Your Hands and the Odds Against You

Often, we find that a lot of new players work on extremes. Either they are too aggressive or too passive because they do not understand how poker works very well. On the one side, we would like to point out that your odds of getting a royal
flush is 1 in 2,598,960. This means if you are waiting to get a really good hand before you play aggressively, you may land up waiting forever and give up on some hands that will potentially win games. On the other side, if you constantly
play aggressively on bad hands (high cards and one pair), people will figure out your strategy quickly, and you will soon find yourself losing a lot of money. So, we urge you not to be overly cautious, but also don’t take stupid,
unnecessary risks. Good hands may also vary from variation to variation. For example, if a three-of-a-kind appears in a flop in a Texas Hold’em game, it means that everybody has got at least three-of-a-kind in their hand. This means a full
house may not actually be the strongest hand. All any other player needs is a pair to match you. So, betting a lot may actually work against you.

how to play poker tips

If You Are Unsure, Call or Fold

If you are unsure about the quality of your hand, we recommend you stick to calling. If another player has bet, you may want to consider folding. Remember that the best poker players mitigate risks by avoiding unsure situations. If you
regularly head into the showdown with big bets and a hand you are unsure of, you are playing recklessly. This could result in many poker rounds where you walk away with a loss. If players are making big bets and you are unsure of your hand,
you don’t want to match them. Yes, they could be bluffing, but as soon as you start tying your poker skills to your ego, you are doomed to make some very bad decisions.

Don’t Be Afraid to Bet on Good Hands

If you have a good hand, you should bet. This is the only way you are going to win more money during a poker round. What constitutes a good hand can be arbitrary – it depends on the variation you play and how games have been going in the
lead-up to the hand. We caution you to think strategically about how much you bet at once. Firstly, you always want to play responsibly. You should never bet more than 10% of your total bankroll in one go. Secondly, if you have been playing
the entire round passively and then suddenly bet big, it will set off red flags for other players.

Pay Attention to Player Behaviour

Poker is a game that requires you to pay attention to human behaviour. You can get a strong insight into another player’s hand by looking at how they behave if they have a good or bad hand. Some players may breathe deeply when they have a
bad hand. Or, they may start swallowing if they have a good hand they are trying to hide. So, pay attention to how the people around you are acting, and you may begin to pick up on some of their tells. This will help you learn which hands
to bet on and which hands to avoid betting on. You may also get insight into which players are aggressive and which are slightly more conservative. This will also give you more insight into which hands to keep and drop.

Practice Regularly

The only way to get better at poker is to play regularly. So, find a variation that suits your needs and start playing online or with your friends so you can improve your skills. If you don’t practice, you’re going to stay in the low
leagues forever.

Check out our other poker guides:

How to Play Poker – FAQs