Ultimate Online Poker Guide For 2023

Players looking to learn online poker just hit a goldmine. Whether you are interested in free poker, friendly games at home, or high-stakes real money poker online, our guide covers it all.

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You’ll find out all you need to know about the game of poker, the most popular variants, strategies to hold your position and capitalize on your funds, and insights into the biggest poker events and highest earners.


Ultimate Online Poker Guide For 2023

As someone with a decade of experience playing professional poker online, friends and family often ask me what my secrets are. So it was finally time to share some wisdom on this topic.

First, let’s start with some quick golden nuggets for online poker success in 2023:

  • Start small and conquer the micro stakes before you climb the ladder
  • Make your entrance into the pot with a raise, not a whimper
  • Embrace the power of the re-raise before the flop
  • Limit your calls to 3-bets when you’re in a weak position
  • Recognize the strength of the 4-bet and use it wisely
  • Only consider moving up the stakes when you have a cushion of 30 buy-ins
  • Save your bluffs for the sharks, not the fish
  • Use scare cards to your advantage and force the less experienced players to fold
  • When playing against the fish, always go for the value bet
  • Pay attention to re-raises on the turn and river; they’re often a sign of strength
  • Accept that bad beats are part of the game and prepare yourself for them

If you don’t know what words like 3-bets and scare cards mean, don’t worry, I have included the jargon.

Icon Poker Terminology

Poker has its unique language, and understanding the terminology can significantly enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the game. Here are a few key terms every poker player should know:

  • Blinds: Mandatory bets made by the two players to the left of the dealer before the cards are dealt.
  • Check: To pass the action to the next player without making a bet.
  • Fold: To give up your hand and forfeit any chance of winning the current pot.
  • Call: To match the current bet.
  • Raise: To increase the current bet.
  • Bluff: To make a bet or a raise with a weak hand in hopes of making your opponents fold.
  • Pot: The total amount of money bet in a single hand.
  • Showdown: The final phase of a poker hand where the remaining players reveal their cards to determine the winner.
  • Scare Cards: These are cards that, when dealt with, can significantly change the strength of a player’s hand. They’re called ‘scare cards’ because they often make a strong hand weaker or a weak hand stronger.
  • 3-Bet: This is the third bet in a betting round. In other words, it’s a re-raise of an initial raise.
  • 4-Bet: Following the same logic, a 4-bet is a re-raise of a 3-bet. It’s a strong move that often indicates a very strong hand.
  • Turn: This is the fourth community card dealt in games like Texas Hold’ Em and Omaha. It’s dealt with after the flop and before the final community card, the river.
  • River: The river is the fifth and final community card dealt in certain poker games. It’s the last card dealt, and it’s followed by the final round of betting.
  • Bad Beat: A bad beat occurs when a player with a strong hand is beaten by a player with a statistically weaker hand. It’s often the result of luck and can be a tough pill to swallow.
  • Fish: A fish is a beginner that basically plays every hand. They often make mistakes that more experienced players can exploit. They are very hard to bluff though, as they will call you with anything.

Now that you know how to talk like a poker pro, let’s dive right into the fun stuff.

Icon How to Play Poker

Poker is a game of strategy, skill, and even a bit of luck. Here I’ll guide you through the fundamentals and teach you everything I know.

  • Understanding the Basics

    Poker Hand Rankings: You need to know the poker hand rankings by heart. The hand rankings from highest to lowest are as follows: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, High Card.

    The Deck and the Players: A standard deck of 52 cards is used. Poker can be played with as few as two players, and as many as ten in Texas Hold’em.

  • Choosing a Poker Variant

    For beginners, Texas Hold’em is usually the recommended variant to start with. It’s the most popular version of the game and the rules are relatively straightforward.

  • Game Flow of Texas Hold’em

    Pre-flop: Each player is dealt two private cards (known as ‘hole cards’) that belong to them alone. The first round of betting commences with the player to the left of the big blind.

    Flop: Three community cards are dealt on the “flop.” This is followed by the second round of betting.

    Turn: A fourth community card is dealt, and then another round of betting.

    River: The fifth and final community card is dealt, followed by the last round of betting.

    Showdown: The remaining players show their cards. The player who can make the best five-card hand (from their two hole cards and the five community cards) wins the pot.

  • Betting Rounds

    In each round of betting, players can either check, bet, or fold. If a bet is made, the following players can call (match the bet), raise (increase the bet), or fold (give up their hand).

  • Blinds and Antes

    Games usually start with two players to the left of the dealer posting a small blind and a big blind to initiate the pot. In some games, an “ante” is also used, where every player contributes a certain amount to the pot before the hand starts.

  • Building a Strategy

    Once you’ve grasped the basic rules, you can start to think about strategy. Remember, poker is a game of skill and strategy, as well as chance. Pay attention to how your opponents play, learn when to be aggressive with your betting, and when it might be wise to fold.

  • Practice!

    Here’s the thing – just like learning to ride a bike or perfecting a killer lasagna recipe, getting the hang of poker takes practice. So, how about starting slow and steady? Play games with small bets or even no money at all. This way, you can stumble, learn, and get better, all without emptying your wallet. And hey, if you mix up the rules or make a mistake, don’t sweat it – every poker champ was once fumbling around too!

    Poker isn’t just about those cards you’re holding. It’s also a big guessing game – trying to figure out what your opponent’s got, and making them second guess what’s in your hand. The more you play, the better you’ll get at these mind games, and the more comfortable you’ll feel at the table.

Icon Poker Strategy

Playing poker isn’t just about luck; it’s also about your game plan. Check out some of the strategies often by myself and other professional poker players:

Maniac Strategy: This one’s pretty wild. You’re in for almost every hand, regardless of whether your cards are hot or not.

Loose-Aggressive Strategy: With this one, you’ll find yourself playing a bunch of hands, even if they’re not the best. The trick is, you play them like they’re a winning hand.

Tight-Aggressive Strategy: Here, you’re more picky about the hands you play, but when you do decide to play, you go all in.

Loose-Passive Strategy: This one’s a little more laid back. You’ll play a lot of hands, but you won’t be doing much betting or raising.

Tight-Passive Strategy: With this strategy, you’re pretty selective about your starting hands and tend to follow the lead of others after the flop.

Nit Strategy: This strategy is all about being careful. You only jump in when you’ve got a strong hand and then play it safe.

Icon Poker Psychology

Understanding poker psychology is crucial to becoming a successful player. It’s not just about knowing the rules and strategies; it’s about understanding your opponents and yourself. In poker, you’re not just playing the cards; you’re playing the people.

For instance, you need to be aware of your opponent’s tendencies and patterns. Are they aggressive or passive? Do they bluff often or rarely? Understanding these aspects can help you make better decisions during the game.

Similarly, self-awareness is equally important. Are you on tilt because of a bad beat? Are you playing too conservatively because you’re afraid to lose? Being aware of your emotional state and how it affects your play can help you avoid making poor decisions.

Icon Poker Variations

In the world of online poker, there are several variations that you can play in any poker room. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Community Card Poker: Picture a poker game where cards are laid out face-up in the middle of the table. These cards are communal, meaning all players can use them to craft their best hand. Some well-known community card poker games you might have heard of are Texas Hold’ Em, Omaha Hold’ Em, and Pineapple Poker.

Stud Poker: This poker style hands players a mix of face-down and face-up cards over several betting rounds. It’s a non-positional game, so the playing order remains constant. Stud poker comes in many flavors, including Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud High Low, and Wall Street Stud.

Draw Poker: In this poker spin-off, players receive a full hand right off the bat, and they can opt to discard and draw new cards to enhance their hand. Some crowd-pleasing draw poker games include Five Card Draw, California Lowball, and Gardena Jackpots.

Chinese Poker: This is a more relaxed variant of poker that leans more on luck than strategy. The game revolves around poker hand rankings. Some Chinese Poker variants include Open-face Chinese Poker Game and Pai Gow Poker.

Icon Cash Games

Cash games, or ring games as they’re sometimes called, are the bread and butter of poker, where every hand has real money at stake. Unlike tournaments where you pay an entry fee and vie for a prize pool, in cash games, you’re playing with actual money. Each chip carries a real cash value, and you can hop in or out of the game whenever you please.

In a cash game, the blinds remain constant, and you can rebuy or add on as many chips as you want (up to the table maximum) at any point when you’re not in a hand. This format offers a lot of flexibility and continuous play.

Cash games are available in both brick-and-mortar poker rooms and online poker sites, with stakes that range from mere pennies to thousands of dollars. They’re an excellent way to learn the game at low stakes, but they also offer the potential for skilled players to build a significant bankroll.

One thing to keep in mind is that even the most popular poker gambling sites take rake, which is basically a fee for hosting the game. So if you’re looking to play a cash game and tournament online, make sure to only go for the best online poker sites. BetMGM Poker is one of the best real money poker sites in 2023 when it comes to cash games.

Icon Real Money Poker Games

Playing online poker for real money is like a thrilling roller coaster ride. Real money poker games offer the possibility of winning actual cash. The high-stakes drama of a cash game, and the complex strategies and mind games are all part of the allure of real money online poker.

When you step into the world of real-money online poker sites, you’re opening the door to a host of advantages. Not only do you get the exciting chance to put your money where your mouth is, but these sites also offer a solid platform to sharpen your skills, come up with new strategies, and dive headfirst into the cutthroat competition that defines top-level poker games.

Icon Play Free Poker Online

Dive into the world of poker without risking a dime with free online poker. It’s the perfect starting point for your poker journey. Numerous online poker sites offer free games, providing a risk-free environment to learn the ropes, sharpen your strategy, and get a better feel of playing poker online.

While you won’t be raking in real money playing free poker, the experience and knowledge you gain are invaluable. And let’s not forget; it’s a whole lot of fun! Just bear in mind the dynamics of free poker games can be quite different from real money games. Players often adopt a more aggressive style and take bigger risks when there’s no real money at stake.

Download your favorite poker client and start practicing. The top poker sites will also allow you to play without downloading any software. If you’re looking for us online poker, make sure to stay up to date and go for one of the legal poker sites, as the regulations are in a constant change.

And don’t worry, most poker sites in the us offer online poker tournaments just as the international ones.

Icon Types of Poker

There’s a smorgasbord of poker games you can enjoy online. Here are some fan favorites:

Multi-table Tournaments (MTT)

Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) are high-stakes contests where players battle through rounds, with losers bowing out until one champion remains standing. MTTs come in different flavors:


Imagine a tournament where the prize isn’t cash but a golden ticket to a larger, more prestigious tournament. Most poker apps offer both free and real money satellites.


These are free poker tournaments that offer small cash prizes to the top performers. It’s all the thrill of a poker tournament without the entry fee, and they allow you to win real money. Almost every online casino or reputable poker site offers freerolls. Think of it as something like a poker bonus.

Deep Stack

This is a poker tournament variant where players start with a hefty stack of chips, encouraging a more aggressive style of play. Many online poker players love these types of tournaments.


These are poker games on fast-forward. The blinds increase at a rapid pace, and players have less time to make decisions. It’s all about quick thinking and swift action. Most online poker sites in 2023 offer turbo games.

Sit & Go Tournaments

This type of poker tournament springs into action when a specific number of players have registered. It’s a popular format for online poker games, combining the thrill of a tournament with the flexibility of a cash game.

Poker Tours

These are the big leagues of the poker world. Major events, such as the world series of poker, with high entry fees that attract the crème de la crème of poker players from around the globe.


This is a poker game where two players face each other one-on-one. The majority of online poker sites 2023 offer heads-up games.

Icon Poker Rules

The rules will vary on the poker variations, but there are some basic rules that apply to most games, even live poker.

First, each player is dealt a certain number of cards. Then, a round of betting occurs. Players can bet, check, call, raise, or fold. The goal is to make the best five-card poker hand possible, according to the specific hand ranking system of the game you’re playing.

Once everyone has had their turn to bet and if there are still two or more players left, it’s time for the final showdown. Here, everyone shows their cards and the person with the best hand takes all the money in the pot.

But there’s a catch. If at any point during the game everyone else folds and leaves just one player, that person wins. They get all the money and they don’t even have to show their cards. This is a great way to win if you can bluff well!

Adam Shaw

Adam Shaw


Hi, I'm Adam Shaw, the Chief Editor at I love casinos and have been working in the slots industry for more than 12 years. My passion for slots and casino games made me create this website, and under my supervision, our team will make sure you're enjoying the latest games and getting the best online casino deals!

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