Online Poker and the Rules Behind It
If you are a fan of gambling, and you like to test your luck while being able to challenge your opponents, then poker is the perfect game for you!
When it comes to playing poker, you must remember that strategy isn’t the only thing that you will need. In games, it is generally important to have a good strategy in order to achieve victory, but in poker, you should also consider the ability to persevere, as well as knowing when to fold (which is a part of the strategy), and of course, it’s also important to have luck on your side!
There exist multiple different methods and types of poker, and one of the most common ones is No Limit Texas Hold’em. Therefore, we are going to dive a bit deeper into this style and the rules of the game.
How Do You Play Poker?
In No Limit Texas Hold’em, the dynamics are very simple. Every player receives two cards which they can combine with the 5 cards that the croupier (dealer) has put on the table in order to achieve the combination of cards with the highest value. The purpose is to seek the best 5-card hand through the combination of the 7 cards that are available to the player. The player with the best combination of cards will be the one who wins all the bets made throughout the game... and READY! Now you know how to play poker.
That is the general dynamic of poker as well as the easiest way to understand how it is played. Of course, there are many more details that you need to figure out if you wish to become a poker expert, but don’t worry! At Casino Cupid, we will explain how to play – step by step – so that you can play at the table with the big boys.
Before diving further into the rules of poker, it is important that you know the cards that you are playing. You must know which combinations to look for as well as the value of each of these combinations. At first, it will surely seem like there are way too many, but the truth is that they are very simple and can be easily learned. Knowing the different combinations will increase the flow and flexibility of your game.
Hierarchies and Poker Hands
Poker is played with a set of 52 cards. This standard 52-card deck includes 4 suits consisting of 13 cards each: Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds. It’s important that you are aware that in poker, all suits have the same value. Furthermore, there are no jokers.
The highest value card in poker is the Ace (A). Then, the cards rank in a hierarchy from K to 2. From highest to lowest value, the hierarchy of poker will look like this: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2.
As already mentioned, poker is all about having the highest 5-card combination by combining the player’s two cards on hand with the cards displayed on the table. Just like the cards themselves, melds (declarations or announcements of a card of combinations for a score) also hold value. From highest to lowest, the card combinations are as follows:
- A K Q J 10 (all of the same suit). This combination is called a Royal Straight Flush.
- 8 7 6 5 4 (all of the same suit). When there are 5 cards in a row which are not a Royal Straight Flush. This combination is called a Straight Flush. If two players have a Straight Flush, the higher one wins.
- 4 4 4 4 X (all of the same type, regardless of suit). When you have 4 cards of the same type (numbers or picture/face cards), it is called Four of a Kind. It is important to mention that although 4 cards of the same type are a good combination, it is necessary to complete it with an additional card since the combination must consist of 5 cards. The additional card, for the purpose of the example, has been marked with an X.
- 7 7 7 K K (three of the same type and two of another type, regardless of suit). This combination is called Full House. It entails having a pair and a trio of cards to complete the 5-card meld. If two players have a full house, the winner is the one with the strongest cards on hand.
- A 7 4 6 9 (all of the same suit). This combination is called Flush. In this particular combination, it is enough that the cards are all of the same suit – they don’t have to follow one another in the card hierarchy. At a table where two or more players have a Flush, the one with the highest cards when completing the 5-card meld wins.
- A K Q J 10 (follow one another in hierarchical order, regardless of suit). This combination is called a Straight. The cards can simply be 5 cards in a row – no matter where the straight begins.
- Q Q Q X X (three of the same type). This combination is called Three of a Kind. As with other melds, if two or more players have three of a kind, the player with the highest Three of a Kind wins. In this example, the other cards have been marked with the letter X since the player’s cards must complete a 5-card meld.
- A A 5 5 X (two of the same type and two of another type). This combination is called Two Pairs. Just as the name entails, it is all about having two pairs. Note that the combination must still be of 5 cards so the meld will be complemented by an additional card (marked with the X). This is especially relevant when there are two or more players who have two pairs. The additional card (the fifth card marked by the X) is called the Kicker, and it will determine the winner of the game.
- 9 9 X X X (two of the same type). This play is known as a Pair. As in the previous meld, if two or more players have a pair, the Kicker will determine the winner. If the players end up having the same pair, the third available card in each player’s hand will function as the Kicker. If the players have the same third card, the Kicker will be the fourth card, and so forth... Until the winner can be determined by the Kicker. If the players have the same 5-card hand, the pot (sum of the money waged) is shared equally.
- A X X X X (an ace is the highest card on hand). The combination in itself is called AS High, but the combination when having the highest card is called High Card. This card along with 4 other cards, in order to make a 5-card combination, can win the entire game if no other player can complete one of the above-mentioned combinations. When no other player can complete one of the above-mentioned combinations, the winner is decided by having the highest card. In the case of two people having an ace (A), the winner will be decided by the kicker (the other card on the player’s hand). In case the players have the same second card, the kicker will become the third card, and so on... This continues until a winner has been decided.
With this combination, the explanatory round of the card combinations and their hierarchy is completed. Do you feel a bit more prepared in regard to how the game works? You will see that it is only a matter of practice before you master the best moves. Practice makes perfect. Then you can feel more comfortable and at ease when you are quickly identifying all combinations. Don’t worry if you need to have a picture of the combinations next to you for the first few rounds. You can always keep going through them until you feel totally ready. In order to make you feel even more at ease, we will leave you with the combinations from highest to lowest value written down in a much simpler way:
- Royal Straight Flush: A K Q J 10 (same suit)
- Straight Flush: 8 7 6 5 4 (any row of cards, same suit)
- Four of a Kind: 4 4 4 4 X (for of the same type and a kicker)
- Full House: 7 7 7 K K (three of a kind and a pair, regardless of suit)
- Flush: A 7 4 9 6 (five cards of the same suit)
- Straight: A K Q J 10 (five cards in a row, regardless of suit)
- Three of a Kind: Q Q Q X X (three of a kind and two kickers)
- Two pairs: A A 5 5 X (two pairs and a kicker)
- A Pair: 9 9 X X X (a pair and three kickers)
- High Card: A X X X X (the highest card)
General Poker Knowledge
In poker, there should always be a croupier or dealer. In online casinos, the dealer is often the game software. The software is programmed to randomly deal cards. All online casinos that have the option to play poker, must follow regulations and permits in order to guarantee all users transparency and legality in games. Each player must have chips to bet – also called a stack. These chips can be wagered little by little throughout the game, or they can be wagered all at once. This depends on the player. Nevertheless, you should always keep in mind that by going “all-in”, there is the possibility of losing it all. In poker, you can only end up losing what you have wagered at the table – and nothing more than what can be wagered at the time. That is, you can’t lose (or bet) more than what you have on the table.
Bet It All? All-In?
If you’re new to poker, you’ve probably seen that one of the most exciting things about the game is when someone goes all-in because they are sure that they can beat the other players. If this happens, two scenarios can occur depending on the number of chips each player is going to bet:
If all the players want to go all-in and they have different amounts of money in chips to bet, they should bet the number of chips that the player with the least amount of chips has. Example: If one of two players has $10 and the other has $30 in chips, both must bet $10 Canadian dollars in order to go “all-in” or bet everything. The winner will therefore take $20 Canadian dollars in total ($10 from each player). When betting chips, the players must place them as close to the center of the table as possible. The bets made by all the players form what is known as the main pot.
The second scenario occurs if all of the players want to go all-in and some of them have the same amount of money in chips, but others have either higher or lower amounts than that. Example: One out of three players has $10, and the other two have $30. In this case, to be able to go “all-in” (or bet everything), 2 betting pools must be formed. One will be called the main pot, and the other will be called the side pot. In the main pot, each player must bet the number of chips that the player with the least amount of chips has. The main pot will therefore be $30 ($10 from each player). In the side pot, the players who still have chips left must bet whatever they have left. The side pot will therefore be left with $40 ($20 for each of the players who had $30 at the beginning of the bet). If the winner of the game is one of the players who has put chips in both the main and side pot, they can only take what is in the main pot. Then the cards of the players who took part in the side pot must be compared, and the winner will be the one who can take the side pot.
What Is the Game Dynamic Like in Poker?
- Before you start playing, you need to understand what the blinds are. The blinds are forced initial bets that the players at the table must make. Two of the players must make a small bet and a large bet. These are known as small blind and big blind. In order to know which player will be the small blind and which will be the big blind, the player with a chip called “button” (denoted with the letter “D”) is taken as a reference. The player who sits on the left side of the player with the button will have to occupy the small blind seat. And the player who has to occupy the seat of the big blind will be the one next to (clockwise) the player who is the small blind. From turn to turn, the blinds and the “button” will rotate from player to player in a clockwise direction. So, all players will have to make a small blind and a big blind over the course of the game.
The amount that you bet for the blinds decides how difficult the games will be. The reason is that the blinds encourage players to continue betting from the beginning of the game. In some online casinos, you will have the opportunity to adjust or change the minimum and maximum value of the blinds. This will help make it easier for you to decide which table to play at since it determines the level of difficulty of the game.
- When the dealer gives two cards to each player, and the small and big blinds have been chosen, the one on the left side (clockwise) of the one chosen as the big blind begins. Then, the starting player has the following options:
- Bet: You can make any bet on the main pot, as long as it is greater than the one made in the big blind. Depending on the amount that is being bet, the other players will have to decide whether they want to stay in the game or fold. Example: If the big blind is $0.5 and the player next to you has made a bet of $3, you can guess that he has a very good hand. If you are the player who is going after the one who has just bed $3, you must decide whether you want to continue in the game. If your hand isn’t great, and you take the $3 bet into consideration, it might be a good idea to fold.
- Match/Call: If you’re going to start playing and you haven’t had any of the blinds, you can enter the round by matching the highest bet that has been made so far. Calling the bet isn’t something that is done only at the beginning of the game. When the round is far enough along and your cards are good, but you’re unsure whether they are better than the other players’ cards, you can call the highest bet on the table in order to stay in the game without risking more chips. Example: If the big blind is $0.5 and the $3 bet is the highest at the table, you must call the $3 if you want to continue playing. You also have the option of withdrawing. If the player who has posted the big blind wishes to call the bet, he only has to bet $2.5 since he has already put $0.5 in the pot at the beginning.
- Raise: You can choose to place a bet that is even greater than the highest bet on the table. By doing so, you’re showing other players that your cards are really good. If you choose to do this, two things can happen:
- Fold: By raising the highest bet on the table (making a raise), the other players must decide whether they want to fold or not. A reason for folding can be that your cards aren’t good enough for you to bet more chips in the game. If a player chooses to fold, he will lose the chips that he has invested/bet up until the time of his fold. In order to stay in the game, a player must continue to bet the same amount of chips as the highest bet on the table or raise. If all players fold, the winner will be “the last man standing” or the one who hasn’t folded and isn’t forced to show his cards. That player will win all the chips that are in the main pot.
- Showdown: When raising the highest bet on the table (making a raise), some players may decide to stay in the game. In this case, players must continue to bet and raise the bets until a winner is determined. If neither folds, equal amounts must be bet and the players must show their cards in order to see who has the better hand. The winner takes it all – everything from the main pot.
- Retreat/Fold: You can make the decision to leave the game when it’s your turn. If you choose to fold, you will lose the opportunity to win the chips that are in the main pot, as well as lose the ones that you have wagered so far. To play again, you must wait for the game to end so that you can be dealt a new pair of cards and start a new game.
- Pass/Check: This is a rather uncommon option in poker. However, it can be cone. It consists of passing the turn to the next player without betting or folding. Checking is only possible when no one has placed any bets and you don’t want to bet anything either.
- Once all players have been dealt their two cards, and the blinds are on the table, each player has the opportunity to take a turn with the actions described above. Poker has four betting rounds in which players can take these actions. During those rounds, the dealer must draw cards from the deck so that the players can build the highest-scoring combination of cards.
- The game is over when one player wins all the chips in the main pot. The dealer must deal new cards and a new game must begin.
Betting Rounds in Poker
Whenever a poker game starts, all players must place their bets. In poker, each betting round is called something in order to identify how far along the game is. In a poker game, there will be four rounds of betting.
Pre-flop – First Round of Betting
After the blinds have been decided, the first betting round starts. When the game starts, all players at the table have the opportunity to review their hands and place their bets. The first player to start betting is the one to the left of the big blind (in a clockwise rotation). When all players have placed their bets, the pre-flop round is over.
Flop – Second Round of Betting
Once all players have placed their bets in the Pre-flop round, the dealer must draw 3 cards from the deck and place them on the table for all players to see. The players will then use these cards, including those in their hand, to obtain any valid combination in order to win the game. If the cards on the table combined with those in the player’s hand form a good combination the player can continue to bet chips (call or raise) in order to continue the fame. Unlike in the pre-flop round, in this round, the first player to start is the one who posted the small blind. If he decides not to participate, the one that follows him, in a clockwise direction (the player with the big blind), will start.
Turn – Third Round of Betting
After the betting round called Flop is closed, the betting round called turn begins. In this round, the dealer must draw one more card from the deck and place it on the table for all players to see. The first player to start is the one who posted the small blind. Again, the players must assess whether the cards drawn by the dealer can be combined with the cards that they have on hand in order to make a good combination. Based on their assessment, they are to decide whether they want to stay in the game (by calling or raising) or to fold.
River – Fourth Round of Betting
Once the third round is closes, the fourth and final betting round starts. In this round, the dealer must draw one more card from the deck and place it on the table next to the others. In total, the dealer will have drawn 5 cards that will be on the table for players to use in order to build their combinations. As in previous rounds, players must assess whether the cards on the table match well with the ones on their hands. The total number of cards will be 7 (two from the player's hand and five on the table). Each player must make the best 5-card combination possible from the 7 cards that are available. By assessing all cards, the players will be able to decide whether to stay in the game (by calling or raising) or to withdraw and lose the chips that they have bet thus far.
If no winner has been determined in the River round, the remaining players at the table must show their cards in order to determine who has the best hand. The player who has made the last bet is the first one to show his/her cards. However, if poker is played online, a player’s cards may be revealed regardless of order and regardless of whether or not the player wishes to do so. Once the cards are revealed and it’s decided who will take the main pot, the game is over.
Interesting Ways of Playing Texas Hold’em Poker
Texas Hold’em can be played in two interesting ways. One is the tournament mode and the other is cash tables.
Poker tournaments are organized when players pay a buy-in in order to participate. With this money, a prize structure is formed and the players who come closest to first place will be the ones to win money proportionally to the position in which they end up. Although, this depends on the casinos and the organizers of the tournaments. Generally, only 15% of players win money. That is, of the total number of players, the 15% that comes closest to first place are the ones that will win money. Of course, the player who wins first place will win the most money. In the tournament, the money that is being bet with is the money that was used as an entrance fee. In other words, the chips that the bets are made with aren’t really worth any money.
Another interesting aspect of tournaments is that the organizer decides the level of the blinds. Also, the size of the blinds will vary throughout the game, in order to force players to eliminate each other in a much quicker manner. Otherwise, the tournament would last for way too long.
Players who want to participate in a cash table must enter with the amount of money that has been decided on. Players try to win money from their opponents, and chips are equal in value to money, so players risk their own money.
Different Types of Poker
- 5-Card Poker or Classic: In this variant, each player has the right to discard between 0-5 cards, and they can replace them with the same number of cards from the deck. For some games, only 3 cards are allowed to be discarded. Then, the round of betting continues and the winner will be found.
- 5-/7-Card Stud Poker: 5-card and 7-card stud are both very similar variations, but the 5-card stud has fewer betting rounds and only one hole card (a card that the player must keep secret from the rest of the table). In a 7-card stud, 4 cards are shown and 3 cards are hidden (face down). The player has 5 cards available in order to get the highest combination possible, but unlike Texas Hold’em there are no community cards.
- Razz: A very fun game in which the object of the game is to get as small a hand as possible. It may sound very easy but strategy and practice are very necessary. The smallest hand is A-2-3-4-5, and a Straight and Flush doesn’t even exist in the game. There are no blinds in the game. However, each game begins with a forced bet (called an ante). There are quite a few differences between Razz and Texas Hold’em but it’s definitely a game worth trying.
- Omaha: The game that is most similar to Omaha would be Texas Hold’em since there are 4 betting rounds in both games. Furthermore, winning combinations are made with a maximum of 5 cards in both games. The difference between Texas Hold’em and Omaha is the way that the cards are being distributed. The player will receive 4 cards from which he can only choose 2 in order to form the combination that he/she wants. This means that even though you receive 4 cards, you can only use 2 of them. Just like in Texas Hold’em, you have 2 cards in your hand and 3 cards on the table. The difference is that you will have more cards to choose between. It may seem like an insignificant detail but the game takes on a much different dynamic. Furthermore, you have to be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that you have a stronger hand than you actually do since you can only use 2 of the 4 cards in your hand.
Poker is a game that can be enjoyed in many different ways. It is a game in which strategy and luck go hand in hand in order to produce a good game...
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