Poker, America’s favorite card game has been raising in popularity over the past decades. Today, if someone says I am a poker player, they generally mean Texas Hold’em or Seven-card stud player, other poker variants, like Omaha, Razz, and Five-card draw are relatively popular, too. Poker is fun and addictive regardless of its variation, because it has elements of surprise, strategy, thinking, emotions, and unpredictability all at once.
I assume you are here because either you are a beginner poker player or you have some experience playing on your kitchen table and want to learn how to get the best hand and win big. Even if you have more experience, this article can still help you to take your game to the next level.
So, with no further ado, let us get into the mystery of the oval tables!
🔎In this article:
- What is poker?
- Types of poker
- Poker hands, rules, and gameplay
- How to play poker online for beginners and win money
Reign Of Poker
Although the profusion of western movies and gunfighter narratives convinced the world that the game of poker is a native American game, in reality, the game’s roots go back to hundred years. Believe it or not, centuries ago, Persians used to play a poker-like game. In the sixteenth century, a bluffing game called Pochen was the Germans’ favorite game, which later gave birth to the French version of the game called Poque. This is the version known to be the father of modern Poker. The French brought Poque to New Orleans, and then paddle wheelers traveling the Mississippi helped the game boom in popularity. Today, poker and its hundred variations are being played by people all around the world. People play the most popular poker variation, Texas Hold’em, and other variants for a few pennies to millions of dollars prizes.
Before Putting On Your Poker Face Learn The ABCs Of The Game
You should not join an oval table of poker before learning its basics and understanding its Nuts. Nuts is a poker term referring to the best possible hand. In other words, you must learn and know poker ranking hands to determine your chances of winning(more on that later).
📖Let us begin with some terminology:
|Common Poker Terms|
|Call||Is betting the same amount as the original bet. If you are the first player, typically, your bet will be the minimum betting limit of the table.|
|Raise||You simply increase the original bet and raise the amount you wager.|
|Fold||When your hand is a no-hope loser! You throw your cards and go out of hand. This helps you to minimize your losses.|
|Check||Pass the action- opt not to bet, but stay in the game.|
|Ante||The minimum amount of bet you should place before you can get into the game.|
|Blind(s)||A forced bet(generally in the form of chips) players put on the table before the dealer deals the cards. There are two kinds of blinds; small and big. Blinds keep rotating from player to player with each new deal.|
|Kicker||This card breaks ties between two hands of the same rank. This card(s) is not part of the cards making the hand rank. For instance, in a poker hand of two pair, the kicker is the single card that is not part of the two pair. In poker hands in which you need all the five cards to make your hand- straight, flush, straight flush, royal flush, and a full house-, there is no kicker.|
As I have said, it is crucial to learn the basics before joining a poker table. Although there are several poker variations with slightly different rules, the basics are universal to all poker games. Below are some basics you should remember:
🚩 The goal of all poker games is the same. You should have the highest ranking hand or persuade other players that you have the best hand and make them fold. In some poker variations, you have to get the lowest ranking hand to win. Remember, in poker games, you play against other players rather than the house. So, your hand will be compared with the other players’ hands.
🤞 A poker without a bet is like…, just kidding, I have no idea! Betting is the critical and most important part of any poker game.
💰 In casinos, players don’t play with cash. Instead, they bet and play using poker chips. Each chip has a different color to make it easier for players to remember and distinguish them.
💪 A poker table cannot function without a professional dealer unless you play on your kitchen table! A professional dealer is always present at oval tables.
🃏 The game uses a 52-card deck. A professional dealer passes the cards clockwise to the left around the table.
🎰 In casinos, oval tables are poker tables where seven to ten players can seat, depending on the poker version. If you want to join a table in a land-based casino, you should go to the floor supervisor or poker room host who is also known as a brush. The guy will find an available table for you to join or writes your name on a waiting list to let you join later.
Uncovering Poker Hands Ranking
As I have said, hand rankings determine your chances of winning. So, you should learn about poker hands and card values. This is significant to know if you have a losing hand, and you better fold.
Typically, poker games are played using a standard 52-card deck that consists of the following four suits:
Every suit consists of 13 cards, including A,K,J,Q,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10. All suits in a 52-card deck have the same value. It is interesting to mention that a standard 52-card deck has 2 million possible five-card combinations. The odds of you holding a specific combination determines the value of a poker hand.
The key card and the most valuable one is an Ace. This card is the highest in value, although you may use it as the lowest card in wheel straight or the five high straight hand(five to ace: 5,4,3,2, ace).
Let us review the poker hand rankings in detail. These hand rankings are almost consistent in all poker variations. As you can see the hands are ranked in descending value where Royal Flush is the best possible poker hand.
Royal Flush: this is the best possible poker hand you can get. When you have a top five cards i.e. an ace(A), king(K), queen(Q), jack(J), and 10(T) of the same suit, you have a royal flush. This hand is the most strong poker hand and beats all the other hands. But what if two players hold a royal flush? In this case, there is a tie and no one wins the hand. Another point to remember is that no suit(spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts) has a higher rank than the other.
Straight Flush: when you hold five cards in numeric order of the same suit, you have a straight flush. For example, you can have a straight flush of 7♥,6♥,5♥,4♥, and 3♥ or any other series of ordered cards up to K♥, Q♥, J♥, 10♥, and 9♥. If you get a straight flush that goes all the way to ace high, then it will be a royal flush.
Four-of-a-kind or quads: this is when you have four cards of the same rank. For example, K♣, K♦, K♠, K♥, and 2♣. The higher the ranked cards, the better your hand. In other words, four Kings beat four Queens, and so on.
Full House: this is when you have three cards of the same rank combined with a pair of cards of another rank. For instance, a hand of 3♣, 3♣, 3♣, K♥, K♥ is a full house. Now, what happens if two players have two hands of the full house but with different card ranks? Well, the set of three ranked cards determines the hand value. For instance, a full house of 7♥,7♣,7♦,5♥,5♥, beats a full house of 6♠, 6♦, 6♣, A ♦, A♦. Although the second full house hand has a pair of aces that are the highest ranked cards, three sevens in the first hand are higher in rank than 6s.
Flush: if you get five cards of the same suit-not consecutive or in numeric order-, you have a flush. But who wins if two or more players have flushes? Well, in this case, the player holding the single highest card or the best high card wins. For example, A♠,5♠,3♠, K♠,8♠ beats K♦, 6♦, 2♦, J♦, 9♦. Now, you may be wondering what happens if two players have the same high cards? In this case, the next high card will determine the winning hand. For example, A ♥, K ♥, 5♥, J♥, 2♥ beats A♣, J♣, 8♣,5♣,2♣ because K is the second highest card and breaks the tie.
Straight: In poker, any hand that contains five cards in consecutive rank is called a straight-regardless of their suit. For instance, 76543 is a seven-high straight hand. Aces can be counted as both high and low to create a straight, but an ace must appear either at the beginning or at the end of the cards’ structure. If two players have straights, the player with the strongest high card wins the hand. For instance, 7♥,6♠,5♦,4♣,3♦ beats 6♣, 5♥, 4♣, 3♦, 2♠.
If two players have the same ranking straights, the pot will be split between them.
Three-of-a-kind: this hand is when you get three cards of the same rank combined with two other cards-not the same rank or suit. For example, Q♠, Q♥, Q♣, 4♥, and 2♦ is a three-of-a-kind hand. This hand is similar to the full house except that in the full house two cards are pair-have same rank and suit.
What happens if two players have three-of-a-kind? In this case, the player with the highest ranked three cards is the winner regardless of the rank and suit of the other two cards. For example, J♥, J♣, J ♦, 2♠, 3♣ beats 8♥,8♦,8♠, 5♣,3♣.
Two Pair: this means having a pair of same ranked cards plus another pair of same ranked cards and a single unmatched card. For example, Q♣, Q♦, 3♥, 3♠, 5♦. There are three different scenarios for this hand:
|Two or more players have a two pair||The player with the highest single pair||K♥, K♠, 4♠,4♥, 3♣ beats Q♣, Q♦, 3♥, 3♠, 5♦|
|Two players, each have the same top pair||The player with the highest second pair||8♦, 8♥, 9♣, 9♠, 4♦ beats 8♣, 8♠, 7♥, 7♦, 3♠|
|Two players have the same two pair||The player with the highest fifth(single) card||K♦, K♠, J♥, J♦, 10♣, beats K♦, K♠, J♥, J♦, 8♥|
One Pair: this is when you have a pair of same ranked cards plus three cards of other ranks. For example, A♥, A♠, 4♥, 3♣, 9♠. If two players have one pair, the highest ranked pair wins. For instance, A♥, A♠, 4♥, 3♣, 9♠ beats 10♥, 10♣, 9♠, 3♣, 6♥. Now, what happens if two players have the same pairs? In this case, the next highest card determines the winner. For example, A♥, A♠, 7♥, 5♣, 2♠ beats A♥, A♠, 5♦, 3♣, 2♠.
High Card: this is the least valued poker hand where there are no pairs of cards. This hand contains five unmatched cards of different ranks and suits. If players go head to head with only high cards, the player with the highest ranked card will win. For example, A♥, 10♦, J♣, 9♠, 3♣ beats K♦, 5♣, 7♥, 2♠, 9♦.
Who Beats Who In Poker?
Now that you have practiced your hands, it is time to review who beats who in poker. To make things easy for you to learn I outline what hand beats the other hand(s) here:
|Poker hand||Beats||Beaten by|
|A pair||A high card||Two pair, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, full House, quads, straight flush, royal flush|
|Two pair||A pair||Three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, full House, quads, straight flush, royal flush|
|Three-of-a-kind||Two pair||Straight, flush, full House, quads, straight flush, royal flush|
|Straight||Three-of-a-kind||Flush, full house, quads, straight flush, royal flush|
|Flush||Straight||Full house, quads, straight flush, royal flush|
|Full house||Flush||Quads, straight flush, royal flush|
|Quads||Full house||Straight flush, royal flush|
|Straight Flush||Quads||Royal Flush|
|Royal Flush||Straight Flush and all other hands||No hand can beat this hand|
How To Play Poker For Beginners: Poker Rules and Gameplay
The single and most important element separating poker from other card games is betting. Without betting, poker would have stayed within the same league as other card games. Over time, every poker player- rookie and pro, is dealt their share of weak and great hands. In the long run, these hands even out. For this reason, the one and only factor separating a pro poker player from all the others at the table is their betting skills. The only player who gets to win the pot is the one who outplayed the opponents with their smart bets, professional bluffs, and even wise folds.
Betting strategies vary among poker players depending on the game variation, player’s personality, level of expertise, and playing style. However, the basics of poker rules and gameplay are universal and you better learn them well.
Every game of poker begins with an Ante which is a forced bet allowing you into the game. The amount of ante bet is typically a percentage of the minimum betting limit of the table which goes into the pot or a pile of chips at the center of the oval table. You should place the ante before the dealer passes the cards.
Typically, poker games consist of several rounds of betting. However, the exact number of betting rounds depends on the game variation. After the dealer passes the cards, players can take one of the four possible actions: fold, call, raise, or check as explained earlier in this article.
The dealer keeps dealing the cards and betting rounds continue until all players take a turn. If only one player is remaining, they take all the pot. But, if two or more players remain, betting rounds continue. After the final round, the two or more players remaining go to the showdown to see which hand is the winner.
Before we proceed, it is a good idea to know what the dealer exactly does at the table. The dealer is part of the package when you play casino poker. The dealer is present to make sure all players play according to the rules and the house receives its share of the pot known as the rake. Although the dealer is assigned by the casino, the position of the dealer rotates from player to player around the table. This position rotation is a crucial part of playing poker to ensure game fairness. Because the most critical aspect of playing poker successfully is being in position which means being one of the last players to act. A dick called the button shows the dealer’s position and rotates around the table with every hand.
Poker Betting Limits
Poker tournament addicts are familiar with no-limit poker tables where players have no limit for betting chips throughout the game. However, most poker tables you find online and at land-based casinos offer fixed-limit games. As the name suggests, in fixed-limit poker games, you can only bet or raise not more than the fixed maximum limit of that table. However, this maximum limit can vary from round to round. For instance, if you sit at a Texas Hold’em table with a 4 to 8 dollar limit, the maximum betting limit throughout the first betting round is $4 and then it doubles to $8 in the following rounds.
Poker; The Art of Bluffing
As I have said before, poker involves many elements that make it a unique casino game. Poker is the only casino that requires equal amounts of luck and skills. It requires a special skill of deception called bluffing. This is a great feeling to win not only because you were lucky or had a strong hand, but because you made others believe that you do. This is exactly where the expression Poker Face comes from. You have to remain neutral and calm throughout the game because, in this game, a flicker of your eye or a twitch of your lip could give away your full house.
In poker, players’ cards will not be revealed to others and this is why your game and bluffing skills are crucial. For this reason, even a weak hand has a chance of winning a big pot. So, with enough knowledge, plenty of practice, skillful bluffs, and wise folds you can win big at the table.
There is a poker variation for every kind of player out there. Although Texas Hold’em and Omaha have dominated the poker world, other variations are also relatively popular.
In general, poker games are classified into three groups:
|Poker Variation Category||Gameplay||Example|
|Draw Poker||You are given some cards that you should keep hidden. You can improve your hand by drawing and discarding cards.||5-card draw|
|Stud Poker||You are given hands of exposed and hidden cards. So, other players have some info about your hand.||Razz, 7-card Stud|
|Community Card Poker||You are given hidden or hole cards and use community or shared cards to make your hand.||Texas Hold’em, Omaha|
|Others||OFC Poker, Six-plus Hold’em, HORSE, Short deck, Pineapple, etc|
The table below summarizes the most popular poker variations along with their popularity scores:
|Poker Variation||Popularity Score||Ease of Learning||Offered by online casinos|
|Texas Hold’em||10/10 who does not love this?!!!||8/10 fairly easy||Yes|
|Omaha Hi-Lo||4/10||4/10||Some online casinos|
|7-card stud||4/10||6/10||Primarily played at online tournaments.|
|2-7 Triple Draw||4/10||7/10||Some online casinos|
Online Poker VS. Classic land-based Poker
First things first, what is online poker? Basically, online poker is the old poker that is played online. The good news is that any poker player can find their favorite tables online as tons of online casinos offer real money and free poker cash games and tournaments.
Although the poker basics and rules are the same regardless of playing it at a land-based casino or an online one, there are some key differences between the two.
Online poker games are played faster and involve less risk as you can find smaller stake tables and play will smaller amounts. In addition, online poker games are more accessible as online casinos do not have time restrictions. You can access online casinos and play your favorite poker game anytime from anywhere.
On the downside, you usually play against strangers and cannot look anyone in the face. Also, you may need more practice to become a pro in online bluffing, there are many ways to figure out who is bluffing.
Best of all, online poker allows newbies to begin risk-free(by playing free poker games), practice, master their skills, and get into the big game with more experience and confidence. Make sure to take advantage of what online casinos offer as welcome bonuses and other promotions to make the most of your bankroll. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions for each promo.
How Can I Play Poker Online And Win Money?
Actually, it is not that easy peasy, but it is quite possible once you do your homework and choose wisely. So, here are some beginner tips to help you have a more profitable experience with online poker:
❌Don’t play every hand you are dealt.
❌Don’t play above your bankroll.
❌Not every game can be won, admit it.
⚠Always keep track of the cards being played.
⚠Pick the right poker variation for your skill and experience level.
💲Take advantage of free games and promotions to practice and master your skills before playing for real money.
✅Learn effective strategies, practice, and apply them.
Where To Play Online Poker?
There are countless options out there. But, I only recommend safe and trustworthy sites. The following gambling sites have checked all the boxes and you can rest assured that you will have a fun experience playing on them.
|Online Betting Site||Available on Phone||Poker Cash Games and Tournaments|
|Betonline||ios, PC, and Android||✅|
|Wild Casino||Android & ios||Cash Games|
|Super Slots||Mobile app||Cash Games|
|Tiger Gaming||Android & ios||✅|
To Sum It Up
Poker is all fun and challenging at the same time. The game is a great mix of luck, skills, energy, deception, strategy, hard work, and brainpower.
As you play more hands, you will find that the natural flow of a poker hand becomes second nature. While there are a few unusual situations, most hands you play will follow the same pattern as I mentioned above. If you pay attention to the order of play and how players perform their actions, you will pick up the nuances of the game even more quickly.
Put on your poker face and get into the game😉
How To Play Poker Online For Real Money FAQ
If two players have the same kickers, who wins?
If two players have the same kickers, the hand remains as a tie and the pot is split among all equivalent winning hands.
Which suit has the highest value in poker?
Although all suits have the same value in poker, in some variations, different suits can be given different values. In such cases, the values are as the following ascending list:
Clubs➡ diamonds➡ hearts➡spades
Which poker variation is the best to play online?
Poker is the best, no matter which game you play! The key here is your preference, knowledge of the game, skills, and experience. You should decide which poker variation is best for you. Still, players mainly tend to play Texas Hold’em and Omaha.