A lot of people who know nothing about poker think poker rules are complicated. However, this isn’t true.
Sure, there are tons of poker variations – each of which changes the rules slightly. But mostly, it is the same game being repeated with slight differences (almost like different flavours of sugary cereals.)
We aim to get you started with the basics of poker. So, below we’ll teach you basic poker rules in a way that practically anyone can understand (unless you don’t speak English.) So, read on and find out how to play this skilful gambling game.
As we mentioned above, there are many poker variations. However, all versions of the online casino game have the same standard set of rules with a few minor changes. Below we discuss the basics common throughout most games.
Actions and Betting Rounds
Most poker games start with an initial betting round where players will need to place either an ante, a big blind, or a small blind. These bets ensure that there is a pot to win at the end of the round. You place these bets before you receive your cards.
One player needs to place a blind, and the player next to him will need to place the small blind. All players who do not place either the big or small blind need to place the ante.
Once the game begins, there will be several betting rounds during which you can perform one of the following actions:
Bet – you bet when no other players have wagered during a betting round. Other players will need to match your bet to continue playing.
Call – you call when you match the bet another player has made.
Check – checking is a passive action. You decline an opportunity to bet. All players are allowed to check during a betting round, meaning you do not have to raise the value of the pot if you don’t want to.
Fold – you fold when you forfeit your hand. You give up on the overall round of poker.
Raise – raising is an aggressive action. Instead of matching another player’s bet, you increase the amount required, which means that players now have to match you.
It is important to note that while these actions are pretty standard in poker, the frequency of betting rounds isn’t. For example, Texas Hold’em may have a different structure to Five Card Draw, etc.
Cards and Rounds
These rules are heavily dependent on the type of game you play, but there are a few general facts that won’t change no matter what version of poker you play, such as:
You will receive some cards. Sometimes you will be allowed to discard some cards. Other times, you will have to make do with what you are given.
If you are playing a community card game, you will be allowed to bet as each community card is revealed. If you are playing a draw or stud poker game, you will be allowed to bet after receiving each new card.
You will find out who wins the game in the last phase of the game, known as the “Showdown”. During the showdown, each player reveals their cards and the player with the best-ranking hand is revealed.
Types of Poker Games
As mentioned, there are three types of poker games. All games fit in one of these three classifications:
Draw Poker – all players’ cards are hidden. Players can get new cards to replace old cards. Examples of draw games include Five Card Draw and Badugi.
Stud Poker – half of the cards are hidden, and the other half is exposed. Players have some knowledge of what opponents’ hands look like. Examples of games in this category include Seven Card Stud and Razz.
Community Card Poker – players get a limited number of cards. They then need to finish their hands using community cards (also known as shared cards.) Examples of games include Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em.
Standard Poker Hands
There is a standard list of poker hands widely used with no variations in most poker games. In some games, hands may change slightly to fit the style of play. For example, a three-card straight flush is the best hand in Three Card Poker.
However, generally, you will only find the following hands actively used in most games.
High Card (the highest card in your hand. For example, a 10.)
One Pair (for example, two 10s.)
Two Pair (for example, two 10s and two Queens.)
Three-of-a-Kind (for example, three 10s)
Straight (a line of consecutive numbers/cards. For example, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
Flush (five cards of the same suit)
Full House (a combination of a pair and a three-of-a-kind. For example, two 10s and three Queens.)
Four-of-a-Kind (for example, four 10s.)
Straight Flush (a line of consecutive numbers/cards in the same suit.)
Royal Flush (a King, Queen, Jack, 10, and Ace in the same suit.)
Poker Rules – Betting Limits
Betting limits is another aspect of poker that varies a lot from game to game. Limits govern how much you can bet at any given time. Some games are better for players with smaller pockets, whereas other games let players run wild.
There are three common betting limits:
No Limit – this is pretty self-explanatory. Your bets are not impacted by any restrictions. You can bet as much as you like at any time, which creates a more volatile game. You are also more likely to make risky decisions in such games.
Fixed Limit – in fixed games, you can only bet or raise in fixed amounts. The amount is set before the game starts. For example, if the limit is set at $5, you will be forced to bet and raise in $5 increments.
Pot Limit – if you play a pot-limit game, you will be forced to bet and raise according to the amount currently in the game’s pot. For example, if a game starts with a $10 pot, you will not be allowed to bet more than $10. However, as the game continues, this figure could change.