The Ultimate Poker Rules Guide – Learn to Play Poker and Be Successful
Instead of sitting and watching online poker taking over the gaming world, wouldn’t it be great to learn how to play and possibly win a nice sum of money in the process? We are here to help you do just that. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about poker rules. Starting off with the basics, we’ll gradually explain the more complicated concepts in the game with this review.
What You Need to Do to Win a Poker Hand
Just as in any card game, to learn to play poker takes time and dedication, but that doesn’t matter if you’re the one scooping the big pots, right? To do that you either need to be the last man standing or win in a show-down with the best hand. If you can accomplish one of those two objectives the money in the middle will be yours. Along the way you’ll need to utilise various moves to bluff your opponents or lure them into paying you, depending on the strength of your hand.
Get Your Terms Right – Poker Terminology 101
First things first, don’t confuse slang with important poker terminology. The latter is essential to understanding how the game is supposed to be played, while the former is an invention of the players. Before you learn to speak the lingo of the pros, you’ll need to learn what the different components of the game are called. The terms we feel every aspiring gambler should know, are detailed in the table below.
- 1. Rake – a small commission – fixed percentage of each pot played at the casino. It’s usually, no less than 2.5% but no more than 10%.
- 2. Button – the dealer marker (button) is passed around the players at the table. This is the most desired position at the poker table.
- 3. Pot – the pot is the accumulated money as a result of antes, blinds and all bets that ensued the beginning of the hand.
- 4. Small Blind – a forced bet posted by the player to the left of the dealer. It’s half the size of the big blind, that’s why it’s called ‘small’
- 5. Big Blind – the big blind is the biggest forced bet in poker. The player posting big blind has the advantage to act last but also needs to defend
- 6. Stack – the chips or balance available to a player at the start of a hand. In cash games, additional chips/money can be added in between hands.
- 7. All-In – If a player pushes all-in, that means they are betting all their chips. Poker slang also describes the act as “shipping” or “shoving”
- 8. Add-on – the rulebook of some tournament allows the participants to buy additional chips and add them to their starting stack.
- 9. Push – the term can mean awarding chips to the winner or when the pot is split between multiple players.
How to Play? – Poker Hands, What Beats What?
A fair bit of confusion stems from the fact there’s a number of hands that can be made. That’s where you should start – learning all possible combinations and what beats what. Knowing that will help you understand when your opponents are on a draw or have already made their hand. Furthermore, knowing what your hand beats is instrumental to playing it correctly. It’s as simple as that, when you can beat nothing but a bluff it will be wise to lay your hand down. The following is the ranking of Hold’em hands.
Card Ranking and Suits – Why You Need a Strong Kicker
The cards used in a game of poker contain the numbers from 2 to 10 and twelve picture cards. The latter are ranking just below the Ace in an ascending order – Jack, Queen, King, and four aces. The ace is the highest card. It can fill the bottom end of a straight (the wheel) or the top (Broadway). The kicker matters in a showdown when players have hands of the same kind, provided that they are not five-card hands. For example, a pair of kings with an ace kicker beats a pair of kings with a queen kicker.
Even though there are four cards of each kind, they differ in suit. There are four suits – diamonds, clubs, spades, and hearts. Those are represented by their respective symbols. This is where the term ‘suited’ comes from. It means that two or more cards are of the same suit. Suits is what determines whether a player will make a flush or not, which is a pretty big deal considering that only three other poker hands beat a regular flush.
Betting Rounds – Building the Pot
If you haven’t gathered this much already – poker is a game of betting. The pot is formed by the wagers of players who want to play for more money and those who are willing to pay or raise to stay in the hand. A typical Texas Hold’em hand comprises four rounds of betting – pre-flop, flop, turn, and river. Since that makes for an action-packed game, the best online poker sites have a fair amount of rooms where Hold’em can be played.
What is Position in Poker? – How to Make the Right Play Based on Position
Think about having to make a decision when eight more players are yet to take their turn to act. They might fold or raise and there’s no way of knowing what they will choose. That’s typically the case in early position. Whereas if the action is folded to you, it’s much easier to know where you’re at. Late position gives you that advantage. Let’s look at more examples of position plays.
|Position:||Description:||Recommended Hand Range:|
|First to Act (early)||Acts immediately after the player posting big blind. Poker slang: “under the gun”.||K-Q s or better|
|Dealer (late)||The player who ‘has the button’. They act in late position just before the ‘blinds’ do||A-9s, suited connectors or better|
|Small Blind (late)||Acts before the big blind and after everyone else||Any pair, suited ace or better|
|Big Blind (late)||The last player to act||Small pair, connecting cards or better|
|Any of the Other 5 Seats||Everything after the third player to act is considered middle position.||Premium hands|
If a player just calls a bet or raises, they have to act before the aggressor in the next round (play ‘out of position’). This is a common strategy used by the aggressive players who know their opponent is unlikely to call down three-streets. If you don’t want to get in a sticky situation, don’t get involved with a weak hand in early position.
It’s Your Turn, What Are Your Options?
If you don’t want to get too fancy when you learn to play poker, you could let common sense guide you. That would mean raising the stakes without a hand is a big no-no. You can always give up your hand if you find yourself playing against the odds or call if the price isn’t right. Checking, on the other hand, is sometimes used for pot control because it doesn’t change the size of the pot. You can’t check, though, if someone bets into you.
1/4 Bet Betting your hand in real life means to take money or chips from your stack and put them at risk of being called or raised by other players. Online poker software usually has a bet button that emulates that same idea.
2/4 Raise/Call Raising means to wager at least double the amount of a bet that’s currently active. It’s usually done to make someone fold a hand or to extract extra chips from an opponent. Calling means to match a bet in order to stay in the hand. This is a passive play.
3/4 Check To check means to pass the action to the next player currently in the hand. This can be a strategic move or a dead giveaway. On the other hand, checking in position is advisable only if you have a really strong hand because this is one of the ways you can induce a bet.
4/4 Fold You can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle. Folding your hand means to discontinue participating in the hand. The reason that could lead to that decision is when you think that your opponent has a stronger hand and has no intention of folding.
Advanced Moves You Should Master
In order to survive at a poker table with a tough lineup, you’d better have a few tricks up your sleeves. We ‘re talking about advanced poker tips, or power moves if you will, that are meant to help a player exercise control over the course of action at the table. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, Here’s the list.
High Stakes vs Low Stakes Poker
Any self-respecting online poker site would have rooms where the blinds are at least $200-$400, which is considered to be the unofficial lower end of a high stakes game. While some online table limits get as high as $500 – $1,000, tables can be found with $2 buy-ins. This means the blinds there are no more than $0.01 – $0.02 – about as low-end as it gets. Unlike tournaments, in cash games the blinds and ante (if there is one) don’t increase automatically in time.
Which Table Limits Are Best for You?
A good rule of thumb is the 100 big blinds stack rule. If you are to abide by it, you shouldn’t join a table with less than 100 big blinds in your stack. If you can’t afford it, come down a notch to your comfort range. It’s also advisable to keep at least two extra bullets (have 200 big blinds in your bankroll) in case you want to re-buy. The same principle applies to tournaments as well. Don’t enter such with absurdly high buy-ins especially if they allow re-buys and add-ons.
No Limit or Pot Limit Poker?
Another important decision you’ll need to make along the way, will be whether you’ll choose pot-limit or no limit poker. The pot limit action, in our opinion, aligns better with the preferences of beginners for a more predictable game. Pot limit means that the biggest bet can’t exceed the size of the pot. Don’t be fooled into thinking that takes away from the action – oftentimes the opposite is true. There’s a good deal of high stakes pot limit Omaha games out there.
When you’re playing cards, you can’t constantly think about what the money costs you in the real world. You can’t be constantly concerned about that if you want to be successful.
Let’s say that you find table limits that sound about right, then it becomes a matter of playing your stack reasonably well so that you can last long enough at the table to make a profit. Small ball poker is one way of doing that. Popularized by the charismatic high stakes player Daniel Negreanu, it’s one of the poker strategies that allows players to see a lot of hands with a minimal investment. Isn’t that what we all want?
Popular Online Poker Types – What Types of Poker Are There?
Hollywood has done its utmost to educate us on the American poker types, but let’s not forget that the game is played internationally and there’s much more variety in it than what we think. Not to mention casino poker is all the rage in the live dealer casinos nowadays. All that compelled us that a more detailed look is needed. How about we start with a list of the most popular variants?
- Texas Hold’em Poker
- Five-Card Draw
- Five-Card Stud
- Seven-Card Stud
- Texas Hold’em
- Omaha Hold’em
- Chinese Poker
- Kuhn Poker
While they share things in common, some of the variants pertain to the community card poker type and the rest are split between stud and draw poker. When community cards are used, each player’s complete hand combines their pocket cards with a shared board of face-up cards. In the draw variations, the actual hand held by each player is improved by way of drawing new cards from the deck and replacing other cards with them. Remember. If you want to substitute more than three cards, don’t even bother doing it – just fold.
How to Play Texas Holdem Poker
Inarguably, the most anticipated poker event is the Main Event No-Limit Hold’em World Championship. So, there’s no denying the popularity of this poker variant. It would be a guessing game if we try to answer the question why it’s so popular. Even so, our best guess would be that everyone loves how dramatically things can change between the flop, turn and river. No doubt the unpredictability is what makes No Limit Hold’em a crowd-pleaser.
A hand starts when the dealer deals two face-down cards to each player at the table. Ideally, the dealer would deal a flop, turn, and river (five more cards in total) which are community cards. Those are separate betting rounds. Players try to win the pot by either causing everyone else to fold by betting or by showing the best hand. There’s a number of good Texas Holdem rules pdf files available for download at no cost, but we assure you the information there won’t be widely divergent from what we’ve discussed so far.
How to Play Omaha Poker
Firstly, learning how to play this poker variant is a wise choice. The WSOP scene is heavily saturated with high-roller Omaha action, so in no respect is it doing disservice to the fans of this variation. Still, it only takes the silver medal in popularity. Nevertheless, the rules are fairly straightforward and learning them can pay off a ton. Below is a helpful graphic that shows what a typical Omaha hand looks like
There’s one major difference between Hold’em and Omaha poker rules – you can’t use all four of your whole cards to build a hand. You must use exactly two cards of the four you were dealt and three out of the four on the board. Other than that hand ranking and card strength is standard. Certain tournament rules also apply so as to prevent abusive behaviour, whereas in live cash games everything is up for negotiation unless there are hard-and-fast casino rules in play.
5-Card Draw Rules
5-Card Draw is more of an exotic variant these days and doesn’t get nearly the same attention it used to some 20-30 years ago. We have to say, you’ll be in luck if you find a mixed event in the WSOP that features the variant. Its popularity is largely attributed to the film industry, namely the cowboy movies. Even though that attaches mainly sentimental value to the game, it can still be played online.
Poker rules of 5 Card Draw aren’t a world apart from the ones of Texas Holdem. You’re still looking to make the best 5-card hand on the same terms that apply for all poker types. In other words – hand and card strengths are the same. That is, ace is the highest card and royal flush beats everything. Let’s talk about what’s unique about 5-Card Draw. The fact that you draw automatically means there are no community cards and there’s hardly a way you can tell who might be drawing and who has already made their hand.
How to Play Casino Poker
Unlike player vs player card games, casino poker doesn’t require bluffing skills or emotionless face. Let’s take the Three Card Poker rules for instance. Player and dealer are dealt three cards each at the beginning of each hand. In seeing their cards, the player is given the option to fold or continue by doubling the initial ante they had to post at the start of the hand. The cards are then revealed, and the winner is announced. Bear in mind that the dealer’s hand plays only if better than Queen high. To learn more, you can consult our casino poker page.
Aside from Three Card Poker, you can also try out Casino Hold’em and Caribbean Stud. Those three we touch on in a detailed live casino games review that you don’t want to miss. What’s more, you can tap into an endless supply of RNG casino poker games if you’re not into the thrill of the live action.
Frequently Asked Questions About Poker Rules
What better way to wrap an informative article like this one than a short FAQ segment? Keep in mind, we took the time to explore the main topic in detail in an extensive online poker review. If you want to just flick through the highlights, we suggest you keep reading. The following section contains some of the most frequently asked questions that we haven’t already covered here.
Poker Hand Nicknames
Most pocket names in poker were given a nickname. From speed limit (two fives) to snowmen (two eights), players' imagination knows no boundaries! Aces are known as Bullets, twos as Deuces, threes as Crabs, fours as Sailboats, a pair of kings as Cowboys. The list goes on and on.. You can also check the poker card ranking.
Where to Play Poker Online?
Looking to play poker for free? Most renowned online gambling operators such as 888casino, have their own poker rooms. Other noteworthy venues include Zynga and PokerStars.net. If you want to find out what the best place for you is, then make sure you check our list of top online poker casinos for 2021.
How to Make Money Playing Poker Online?
It all starts by finding the right place to play at. If you're sure you're at the right place and have plentiful experience playing, you can start making money by using a well-balanced tactics. In a game of skill there isn't such thing as a "perfect strategy", still, you can have a look at the online poker strategies that we trust.