If you need information on playing online poker, you have come to the right place. Our online poker experts have created a detailed guide covering everything from card rankings to placing a bet to finding the best poker games for your playstyle. We recommend learning this information to make you a better and more confident online poker player. Below you will also find a list of the best online poker sites ranked and reviewed.
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In This Guide
Online poker is one of those games that has captured the imagination of a generation thanks to its simple gameplay, structured rule set and potential for incredible feats of skill.
While the game is played using a standard 52-card deck and a generic system of hand rankings, the combination of skill and luck makes it so enticing to poker fans. It is up to chance alone to decide whether a player receives good pocket cards and whether a winning hand can be made using the community cards. However, it is up to the player's skill to convince his opponents that he has an unbeatable hand, regardless of its actual value.
The history of poker is rife with players who have won significant jackpots with weak hands purely by being able to out bluff the other players at the table. While we cannot teach you how to read players and become an award-winning bluffer, we can help you understand how the game works and how to learn its rules.
Our guide to playing online poker will provide you with helpful insights into the most crucial aspects of poker for new players. We look at the game's rules, how the bets are placed, how each game flows, and even discuss the pros and cons of playing online.
We delve into the primary types of online poker and how the rules of each differ to help you find a variant that suits your playstyle. In addition, there is a list of popular poker terms to assist you in understanding what is being referred to and asked of you when you come across it in-game.
Finally, we cover the frequently asked questions about online poker to help cover anything we may have glossed over in the guide.
While online poker may appear complex from the outside when you begin to play, it is a straightforward and well-structured game. Here are some of the fundamental rules to keep in mind when seated at a table:
Learn the Card Ranks
In poker, the rank of the cards is determined by their value, with the Ace being the most valuable. The ranking of a standard deck, from highest to lowest, is Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.
Memorize Hand Ranking
Most poker games require you to complete the highest possible ranking hand to win the pot. Doing this ranks poker hands from strongest to weakest: Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, and a Pair.
How Cards are Dealt
While some Texas Hold 'em is played with two hole cards and Omaha with four, the primary gameplay loop, including how cards are dealt, remains the same.
Before each new Street is added to the table, players engage in a round of betting on building the best possible pot while gauging the strength of their opponent's hands.
Understand the Betting Cycle
Poker play is known as an orbit, and each orbit consists of one rotation of play around the table and centres on the dealer button.
While most tables have a dedicated dealer, the Big and Small Blinds will move around the table to ensure each player has their turn in the hot seat.
Here is a comprehensive list of the most popular online poker terms you need to know.
All-In – Going 'all-in' is when a player feels confident in their hand to win and bets their entire chip stack.
Bad Beat – When a player with a strong early hand loses to a player based on cards only revealed late in the game.
Big Blind – The betting player is the one seated two places to the dealer's left.
Bubble – In a poker tournament, the Bubble refers to the person who lost out on winning money by one placement.
Call – To bet the minimum stake required to stay in the game.
Check – To pass on raising the current stake while remaining in the game.
Flop – The first three community cards that are dealt.
Flush – Holding a poker hand containing five cards of the same suit.
Fold – When you choose to sit out of a hand of poker after being dealt your cards.
Freezeout – This is a poker tournament that does not offer any rebuys.
Full House - Holding a poker hand containing three cards of the same suit and one other pair.
Gutshot – Also called an inside straight draw, this is a hand where you hold four of the five cards needed for a straight. The missing card value must sit inside the cards you have, not be able to be added before or after them.
Kicker – The card determines who wins when two players hold equal hands.
Limp – A slang term for passive plays like calling when you could raise.
No-Limit – A poker game where players can bet their entire chip stack at any point. Ideally, these tables should only be played by experienced players.
Nuts – Being dealt the best possible hole cards is called getting the Nuts.
Pocket Cards – These are the cards you are initially dealt. In Hold 'em, you will receive two cards and in Omaha, four cards. They are also known as hole cards.
Quads – A slang term for holding four of a kind or four matching cards.
Raise – Increasing the current stakes and this action will force other players to match your stake or leave the game.
Ring Game – A fancy name for a straightforward real money poker game.
River – This is the fifth and final community card to be dealt.
Short Stack - Short-Stack refers to the player with the minor chips at the table.
Sit-and-Go – This poker game starts as soon as enough players are at the table. Sit-and-Go is very popular in online poker.
Slow Play – To play "passively" when you have a winning hand, and the intention is to drive up the pot value.
Small Blind – The bet required from the player seated on the dealer's left to allow them to stay in the game.
Straight – A hand containing five cards in a sequence not but not of the same suit.
Straight Flush – This hand contains five cards in a sequence and of the same suit.
Trips – The slang term for holding three matching cards.
Turn – The fourth community card to be dealt.
There is much new information to absorb when it comes to learning the ins and outs of online poker. Here are five tips to help you find your way and improve your success at the tables.
Experienced players will know how to draw new players into investing in a weak hand. Unfortunately, this way to play becomes exceptionally risky at no-limit tables where they can goat you into betting your entire chip stack only to dole out a 'bad beat' during the late game.
Many poker rooms offer the ability to make notes while playing and even change player names to different colours (permanently). Use these features to track aggressive players, players who always bluff, hands where you got the odds wrong and other crucial pieces of information that will advance your poker skills over time.
With the strategic nature of online poker, do not underestimate the value of getting in many hands. The more you play, the more natural it will become to discard certain types of poker hands, slow play, learn other player behaviours and instantly recognize a robust set of cards. Practising at free tables will remove the stress of getting it wrong.
Stick to low-stakes games when you transition from freerolls and free tables to cash tables. These tables do not attract sharks, meaning you should match players of equal skill, and a rash betting decision will not cost you your entire chip stack.
Online poker software allows players to open and play at multiple tables. Playing at numerous tables may look fun, but it takes experience to track all the cards and stakes in play. So, first, learn to efficiently manage a single table before adding in the challenge of multiple active tables.
It is simpler than you think to find a trusted poker site and play your first hand of Texas Hold 'em or Omaha Hi-Lo. Follow these valuable tips, and you will be riding the river like a pro in no time.
Before you play at a real money poker table, take the time to learn the hand ranking for Texas Hold 'em and Omaha, as most games use these for payouts. You can test your knowledge at practice sites and free play tables.
When you're ready to play for real money, find a poker site that offers excellent bonuses and the other tools, resources, and customer support you will need in the long run. These features ensure you will enjoy playing with them far after the bonus has been played out.
We recommend poker sites that offer beginner-only tables to allow new players to test their skills against opponents of equal skill and experience. Use these tables to get comfortable with playing for real money.
Whether new to poker or an experienced player, it is good to keep track of your results. Tracking your results will help you fine-tune areas where you can improve your game and develop your skillset.
With the ebb and flow of chip stacks in online poker, many players forget that leading poker rooms award points for real money stakes. Use these points for poker chips to boost your bankroll without making an additional deposit.
With the popularity of card games among online gamblers, it comes as no surprise that there are several poker games for you to choose from when playing. Here are the most popular types of online poker and what sets them apart.
Texas Hold 'em is the most ubiquitous form of poker found anywhere globally. It forms the foundation of most other online poker games and sees the player needing to build the highest possible ranking 5-card hand using their hole cards and the community cards. The highest-ranking hand wins the entire pot.
Omaha poker is a well-known game type where players use the same hand ranking as Hold 'em to determine who wins. The significant difference is that each player receives four hole cards and may only use two of these in combination with three community cards to build a winning hand. In Omaha Hi, players with the strongest hands win the entire pot. During Omaha Hi-Lo, the prize pool is divided between the strongest and weakest hands at the end of the round.
In Stud Poker, players do not receive secret hole cards but are dealt a selection of face-up cards and face-down cards. Players use the information gleaned by reviewing the up cards of their opponents and bet accordingly. Over the next few turns, each player will receive three more face-up cards and a final face-down card. Once the betting is complete, players' hands are revealed, and the strongest Hold 'em hand wins.
Draw poker games such as 5-Card Draw, 7-Card Draw, and 2-7 Triple Draw allow players to improve the strength of their hole cards by replacing them with face-down cards from the deck. These games do not use community cards as players strategically hold or replace cards to win.
Short Deck Poker is a Hold 'em variant where the twos, threes, fours, and fives are removed from the deck. While the game is played using the now 26-card deck, standard Texas Hold 'em rules still apply to every other game aspect.
Popular poker games like HORSE play with the traditional poker formula by combining the gameplay and rules of several poker variants into a new game. Playing a game of 'HORSE means that you will play one round of Hold 'em, Omaha, Razz, Stud Hi and Stud Hi-Lo in that order.
Razz is just another Stud Poker game in terms of its basic premise. However, the game is interesting because players attempt to make the lowest ranking hand claim victory rather than trying to get the most substantial hand.
Yes, all reputable online poker rooms are licensed and regulated by one or more gambling regulators.
No, they are not. Gambling regulators and other watchdog organizations review the results of poker games for accuracy and fair play.
Yes, you can. Many online poker sites offer free-to-play tables and tournaments, which are excellent ways for new players to learn.
Yes, you can. The sites we recommend all offer real money poker games.
Rake is the small fee that the poker room takes from each pot. The rake is the only way the site makes money as player losses get paid over to the winning player, not to the house as it does at an online casino.
Yes, all the poker rooms we recommend offer mobile poker games.
All the sites we recommend perform excellently on iPhone. Choosing the best website for your needs comes down to personal choice.
No. While most poker sites will accept credit card deposits, they also feature a few other solutions, including e-wallets, bank transfers and Bitcoin.
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