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Poker is a popular community card game. It is played all over the world in land-based casinos and has become a staple of the online casino industry.
Poker is played with two to ten players. However, there is no imposed limit on the number of players in high-traffic online poker, which can involve multi-table tournaments with hundreds of players.
Check out this poker playing guide to learn all you need to know about the game, including card basics, betting rounds, hand values, and how to get a game started.
A Beginner’s Guide to Online Poker
Poker is a gambling card game that mixes elements of chance, skill, and strategy.
In a game of poker, players attempt to construct the most valuable poker hand from a selection of cards issued to them by the dealer. Hands can be made from a combination of private “hole cards” and visible “community cards.”
Betting occurs in rounds, with each player trying to survive each betting round by either calling, raising, folding, or checking based on the strength of their hand and the actions of other players at the table.
The player who survives until the end of the betting rounds and holds the most valuable hand at the final “showdown” round takes home the pot.
Online casino players can enjoy a whole range of poker games on the web, including real-money poker games, high-quality video poker, live poker games, multi-table games, progressive knockout tournaments, flexible-limit poker games, and high-limit poker games.
There are many variations of the game available to play online. The most popular include Classic Poker, 5-Card Draw, Omaha, Texas Hold ‘Em, 7-Card Draw, and Caribbean Stud.
Poker Card Deck Basics
Poker is played with a standard 52-card deck, which is sectioned into four suits: spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts.
The deck is ranked as follows: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace in ascending order. In a game of poker, the Ace is usually played as a high card because it is the most valuable card in the game. However, the Ace can also be played as a low card.
According to many poker game rules, the joker cards are to be used as “cut” cards to block the bottom of the card deck from the view of the players. Before any cards are dealt, the deck should be shuffled and cut.
What is the Dealer Button?
Because rounds of betting rotate around the poker table clockwise, the game rules dictate the use of a “dealer button.” The dealer button is a marker that moves around the table with each betting round. It is used to indicate player position within each new round.
The designated dealer of any given betting round is the player with the dealer button.
Each new betting round will always commence with the first player sitting to the dealer button’s left. The dealer button will change position each turn by moving clockwise to the next player.
Poker Betting Rounds & Game Progression
Before a game of poker can begin, each player has to first buy in to the game. To get in on the action, the first thing you have to do is make an ante or blind bet.
The two players seated to the left of the dealer button will be obliged to commence the betting round by making a blind bet or every player at the table will be obliged to pay in an ante.
Cards are then dealt to players in a clockwise rotation. The first player to be issued cards will be the player to the direct left of the dealer button and the final player to the button’s direct right.
Hole Cards/Pre Flop
To begin a poker game, each player will be dealt two private “hole” cards by the dealer. These cards will be issued facedown on the table and can only be viewed by the player they are dealt to.
First Betting Round
Now, the first round of betting will occur. Each player must gauge the value of their hole cards and decide how to bet. Players may choose to either check, call, raise, or fold based on the bets of other players and perceived hand strength.
Once the first betting round is complete, “the flop” will commence. The dealer will issue three community cards, which are dealt face-up on the table so as to be fully visible to each player. This is the first community card reveal of the game.
Players may combine community cards with hole cards to start constructing their final hands.
Second Betting Round
Once the flop is over, it is time for the second round of betting. Here, players can make more informed and confident bets based on the availability of both private hole cards and public community cards.
Once again, players may choose to either bet, call, raise or fold based on the strength of their hand and the actions of others at the table.
After the second betting round, a fourth visible community card will be laid on the table. Players may choose to use this card to strengthen their hand.
Third Betting Round
After the turn, all players at the table should be well on the way to constructing their final hand. Based on perceived hand strength, table position, and previous betting rounds, players may be able to gauge the position of their opponents more effectively in this round. Players may either bet, call, raise, or fold.
The River is the final community card reveal, in which a fifth visible community card is issued by the dealer. This card is the final card that will be laid on the table, and this is the moment that each player will be able to construct their definitive final hand.
Final Betting Round
At this stage of the game, players will be able to see all of the cards at their disposal and evaluate the ultimate value and strength of their final hand.
Players remaining at the poker table for the final round of betting may choose to call, raise, check, or fold based on the strength of their final hand.
If there are still multiple players at the table at this stage of the game, it is time for the “showdown.” This is the end of the game and the moment in which each player reveals their final hand and the winning hand is decided.
Poker Hand Basics
Now that you know the basics of the game, it is time to learn more about poker hand rankings.
Before playing poker, it is essential that you understand the poker hand ranking system inside out. There is nothing more embarrassing than sitting on a winning hand and not even realizing it or putting all your chips on a dud hand.
Poker hands are easy to remember, and once you have figured out the basic value system, you are good to go. The best thing is, the more you play, the quicker you will memorize different card combos and hand values.
Check out this basic list of classic poker hands. These poker hands are listed by descending value.
Poker Hand Rankings
- Royal Flush – 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace of the same suit (most valuable hand in a game of poker)
- Straight Flush – Any five cards in order and of the same suit
- Four of a Kind – Any four cards of the same value
- Full House – One pair and three of a kind
- Flush – Any five cards of the same suit
- Straight – Any five cards which run in numerical order
- Three of a Kind – Any three cards of the same value
- Two Pair – Two pairs in one hand
- One Pair – Any two cards of the same value
- High Card – Single highest card in a hand (least valuable hand in poker)
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