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Poker Rules - How To Play Poker

Publish Date:16/08/2020
Fact checked by: Jordan Noble

Poker Explained For Beginners

If you’re wondering how to play poker for beginners at a casino with live dealers then you are in the right place. As you might expect from an expert gambling resource like Betting.co.uk, we have a team of specialists who can guide you along the right route when it comes to how to play poker. Here, we’re going to explain basic poker rules to you. Poker is essentially a simple game to learn, but it can be very tricky to master.

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Rules of Poker

So how do you play poker online for real money? Here are the basics of one type of the game for you – Texas Hold ‘Em. Poker is sometimes described as a game that is easy to learn but very difficult to become an expert at. It is in many ways the ultimate strategy card game, and the key skill is probably timing. You also need to be a master of deception – hiding your own emotions as you look to mislead your opponents and claim the prize pot. Being able to read your opponents’ behaviour as you look to anticipate their moves is another key skill of the game.

At its most basic level, a game of poker starts when the players place their ‘blinds’ (starting bets). In most forms of poker, this is called an ‘ante up’ bet, and players need to stake at least the table’s set minimum amount.

Next, the dealer will deal every player two cards. The players will have a look at the cards that they have been dealt. They then have two possible options: check (do nothing), or bet. If anyone chooses to bet then the players have three more options. They can call (match the amount of the raise in the pot), fold (give up all the cards and the chips they’ve placed into the pot), or raise (put even more chips into the pot).

The Flop then happens. This is where the dealer deals three cards face up onto the table. These are community cards that anyone can use. All the players then get the chance to bet again and raise or fold. These community cards are used by players to determine which complete hand they have.

Once the betting in that round is complete, the dealer deals a fourth card onto the table. The same pattern of betting is repeated, then the dealer deals a fifth community card. If more than one player is left in the game after this part of the process then everyone’s cards are exposed and the player with the highest value hand wins.

That is a very basic sketch of a game of poker, and elements of it may well have poker veterans nit-picking at it. But it should give you a decent idea of how a game usually progresses on the best online poker sites.

How to Play Poker

So now you have a very basic understanding of what the online poker rules are, how does a normal game of poker work? In this section of this article we’ll go into more detail for anyone who is wondering how to play the game.

Learn the Value of Each Hand

A really important part of learning how to play this particular card game is learning the value of each different hand. A ‘hand’ is the cards that you are dealt at the table with which you play the game. A typical poker hand consists of five cards, though other variants are played too. The suits and the values of each card are what determine a hand’s value in relation to those that are held by the other players in the game. You should make sure that you know the names of each hand, how each hand ranks in relation to other hands, and which cards make up each hand.

You can rank the hands as follows:

  1. Royal Flush. This runs Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10, all of the same suit. It outranks every other poker hand.
  2. Straight Flush. This is any five connecting cards in a consecutive run, all of the same suit, for example, 6,7,8,9 and 10 of diamonds. It always beats four-of-a-kind.
  3. Four-of-a-Kind. This is four cards of the same ranking but not of the same suit. So you might have four fives and a King, for example. It beats a full house.
  4. Full House. This is where you get three cards of a kind plus a pair in the same hand. So you might have three kings and a pair of 2s, for example. It always beats a flush.
  5. Flush. This is where you have five cards of the same suit but not in consecutive order. It beats a straight.
  6. Straight. This is where you get a run of five consecutive cards that are not necessarily of the same suit.
  7. Three-of-a-Kind. A three-of-a-kind consists of three cards of the same rank accompanied by two non-connected cards, so for example three Queens plus a 3 and a 5.
  8. Two Pair. This hand features two cards of the same rank and two cards of another rank. So you might have a pair of 6s and a pair of Jacks.
  9. One Pair. This hand has just a solitary pair in it and nothing else. For example, two Queens and then a 4, a 7 and a 2 of different suits.
  10. High Card. This is made up of any five cards and is the lowest value hand.

One important thing to note about poker is that there are many different variants of the game. While the hands have the same value, broadly speaking, in every version, there may be some quirks for particular types of games that you need to watch out for.

Learn the Table Positions

Just as with poker hands, the various positions on the table have their own names. You should make sure you have a good understanding of terms like Button (the marker on the table that indicates which player is the dealer),  Early Position (players sitting to the left of the Button), and Late Position (the player who acts last after the flop). If you want to know how to play properly then there is a lot of jargon to learn.

Following Pre-Flop Action

Before the Flop, you have three choices of action: folding, calling or raising. Once all players have taken action and the pot is correct then the betting round is over.

Following Post-Flop Action

The Flop is the first three community cards that the dealer deals out onto the table. After these three cards appear, players can bet, raise or fold once again.

Following Post-turn Action

After the post-Flop betting action is complete, the fourth community card gets dealt. Again, post-Flop you can bet, raise or fold. You can also call, though, depending on your position on the table and what has previously happened in the game.

Following Post-river Action

The fifth community card is sometimes referred to as ‘the river’. Once this card has been dealt, the real bluffing action starts as the players look to mislead each other and win the game.

Showdown

This is where the real drama of the game occurs. If you want to know how to play poker for beginners then this is the part of poker that you have probably seen in the movies, especially in westerns. For the Showdown to occur there have to be at least two players left in the game after all the calling, folding and betting. The winning player must reveal their cards to win the hand. The winner is the player who has the highest value hand according to the values that we have outlined above.

Ready for a New Round?

Once everyone has compared their hands and the bets have been resolved then the game is over. It is then time to shuffle up and play the next round – unless, of course, your luck is really rotten, in which case it might be time to walk away. That is something that we’ll look at in the next section of this article.

Staying Safe when Playing Poker Online

While it's tempting to head straight for new casino offers UK to grab an excellent poker bonus, you need to check the security of your chosen site. Obviously, your safety is paramount when you are playing poker online. In order to stay properly safe from any kind of security threat, it is a good idea to play at a site that holds a licence from the UK Gambling Commission. This guarantees certain standards of safety as well as fairness as any licence holders have to be audited regularly to ensure that they are adhering to the terms of their licence. You should also check that the site at which you are playing encrypts all player data using 128-bit SSL encryption. You can usually find this information in the site’s Help section but you can also check with customer services.

You should also protect yourself from falling into any potential financial issues by carefully managing your poker funds. Setting limits on your account is a good way of doing this. It can also help to set time limits and only play poker at specific times of day. Both of these things will keep your poker sessions entertaining and fresh, as well as allowing you to manage your bankroll. Online poker is all about entertainment after all, and should not be something that causes stress in your life. Bankroll management is a key skill for a successful poker player, and it is something that you need to build into your armoury of poker skills.

Different Types of Poker

The outline that we have detailed above is for a type of poker called Texas Hold ‘Em, which is one of the more common forms of the game that you will find online. There are other types of poker that you might come across, however, each with different poker strategies to master. As your knowledge of the game deepens and you develop more practical experience of the game you will want to challenge yourself by trying some of the various forms of poker.

If you’re only just starting to learn how to play the game then we would suggest sticking to just one kind to begin with. But when you feel confident in the poker rules of one variant you can start to explore a little. Exploring the different variants out there is an important part of learning how to play poker for beginners. There are hundreds of variants of the game out there, each with subtly different poker rules.

If you’re here to learn how to play poker for beginners then the rules of all these games are really beyond the scope of this article, but here are a few types for you to start researching when you have time.

Poker Variants

  • Draw poker
  • Stud poker
  • Community card poker (like Texas Hold ‘Em)

All poker games fall within one of those three categories.

Poker Games

Here are some different types of poker that you will find at online poker sites:

  • Omaha Hi/Lo
  • Seven Card Stud
  • Five Card Draw
  • Razz
  • Badugi

Conclusion

If you came here wondering where to find out how to play poker for beginners we hope you’re happy. The above should have given you enough information about poker rules to get started. We hope we have also given you some useful tips on how to play the game that can bring you success when you actually head to the online tables for the first time. Always remember that the story doesn’t end here for Betting.co.uk’s poker section. There are plenty more poker articles here that can help you deepen your knowledge of the game and sharpen up your strategy - as well as steering you in the right direction of the best poker bonus no deposit bonus. Want to know the answer to "is online poker legal" in your country? We'll help you find out. Bookmark Betting.co.uk and we’ll see you here again soon!

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