Online Poker Rules — an Introduction to Playing Poker Online
Online poker has pretty much identical rules to poker that we play with our friends in real life. The only difference is that poker games are played on the web against people from your country and other parts of the world.
You can find basically all types of poker on the web, including Texas Hold’em, Stud, Omaha, Draw, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and more. Although each of these variants has different rules, there are a couple of universal poker rules that apply to all of them.
Every poker type has but one goal — to beat your opponents by having better card combinations than them, and ultimately win all their chips or money. Furthermore, each type uses pretty much the same card ranking rules. Ace is always Ace, and it will be regarded as the highest-ranking card regardless of the poker game you choose.
Before we proceed to talk about poker rules, let’s take a look at all the games available on the web.
What Types of Poker are Available Online?
The most popular online poker game is definitely Texas Hold’em as the majority of people know poker rules for that variant. You can also find that many people enjoy playing Pot Limit Omaha, Caribbean Stud Poker, and Video Poker.
Furthermore, people enjoy less popular games such as Casino Hold’em Pai Gow Poker, and more. Almost all types of poker are available in online tournaments, which is a specific type of approach to playing poker that we will cover later.
How to Win in Online Poker?
First things first, let’s revise poker rules concerning the basic goal of this game — having the highest-ranking hand in a single round. A hand in online poker is a collection of five cards that you combine and compare with other players at the end of each round.
The lowest possible hand in poker is a Pair, meaning that a player has two cards of the same rank. For example, if you have two Queens, you have a Pair. The next one in line is Two Pairs, which is pretty self-explanatory.
According to general poker rules, a Three of a Kind hand is stronger than Two Pairs, and it consists of three cards of the same rank. The next one in line is a so-called Straight, which is a combination of five consecutive cards regardless of their suit. For example, a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 can form a Straight much like 8, 9, 10, Jack, and Queen.
On the other hand, if you manage to match all cards just by their suit, you will make a Flush — the next one in the hierarchy as stated in poker rules. A Full House is ranked higher than the Flush, and it consists of Three of a Kind + Two of a Kind. For example, three kings and two tens can make a Full House.
At last, we reach the hand called Four of a Kind, meaning that a player has four cards of the same rank, such as four Aces. Many non-poker players consider this to be the highest possible hand, but it isn’t. In fact, there are two stronger hands than Four of a Kind.
The first one is called a Straight Flush, and it consists of any five consecutive cards of the same suit. An example of a Straight Flush is 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of hearts.
Finally, poker rules state that the highest hand ever in all poker games is called a Royal Flush. It must always include the following cards of the same suit: 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace.
If none of the players have any of the combos mentioned above, then the player with the highest card wins the hand. Furthermore, if both players have the same highest card, then poker rules state that they need to follow suit rankings.
Starting from the lowest, they are:
Big Blinds and Small Blinds
Every round in poker, as stated in poker rules, starts with forced bets everyone has to make. They are called blinds because the dealer hasn’t dealt any cards yet, meaning that players do not have an insight into the possible outcome of the round.
The small blind is made by the person to the left of the player who has the dealer button, and the big blind is made by the person next to them.
Dealing Cards and Possible Betting Actions
Poker rules state that the dealer should deal cards after everyone has placed blind bets. The number of cards that players receive may vary in poker games, but we will stick to Texas Hold’em for now. In this poker variant, players receive two cards known as hole cards. Furthermore, the dealer places five face down cards on the table — these are known as community cards.
This is the first time that players have an opportunity to display their poker strategy. Some of the possible actions they could take are:
- Check – A player who checks doesn’t want to be the first one to place the opening bet.
- Bet – A player who places chips is making a bet.
- Fold – Players who want to quit the round usually “fold” their cards, showing them to others and waiting for the next round to begin.
- Call – If you call, it means that you bet the same amount of chips as the player who placed the bet first.
- Raise – If you raise, you deposit more chips than the player who placed the bet first. Poker rules state that, in this case, all players who want to remain in the round need to “call” your bet.
There are four betting rounds in total. Once again, we will stick to Texas Hold’em poker rules, but you should know that these rounds also exists in the majority of poker variants.
- Pre-flop – Pre-flop bets are made before any community cards are turned face up.
- The Flop – The flop betting round begins once the first three community cards are turned face up.
- The Turn – The turn is usually the name for the fourth community card, as players get to place bets once again when it is turned face up.
- The River – Finally, the river is the name of the fifth and last community card and players, once again, get to place a bet when they see it.
The all-in bet is a special type of bet that is used in particular poker strategies in order to dishearten opponents from calling your bet and make them fold. When somebody places an all-in bet, they usually bet all of their chips at once.
However, all-in is not always used as a poker strategy, as players usually go all-in when they simply don’t have enough chips to call a bet made by other players but they want to stay until the end of the round.
The showdown is the last part of a poker round when players get to show their hole cards to their opponents and compare them. Poker rules state that the player who has the highest-ranking hand takes all the chips that were placed during the five betting phases.
Types of Betting Limits
Poker rules are quite clear when it comes to the amount of chips players can use. There are three types of betting limits in poker games: no limit, pot limit, and fixed limit.
- No Limit – When there are no betting limits, players are free to bet or raise any amount of chips in any betting round.
- Pot Limit – The upper limit for placing bets is the total pot size at that time.
- Fixed Limit – Players can bet up to a fixed amount.
Cash Games vs Tournaments
Cash Games and Tournaments are two main ways to play poker, and their poker rules differ slightly. Let’s take a quick look and see in what aspects these two competition variants differ.
- Players can usually occupy multiple tables at the same time during tournaments, whereas cash games are played exclusively at one table.
- Cash games allow players to exchange money directly for chips, meaning they can receive chips that are directly related to the amount of money they deposit. Casinos and poker rooms usually determine the minimum and maximum buy-in amounts. On the other hand, poker rules state that tournaments have fixed buy-ins and that everyone gets the same number of chips.
- Cash players can quit the game anytime and exchange the remaining chips for money, whereas tournament players hit the rail only after they have lost all chips. Tournament organizers usually determine how many players get paid in the end.
- Cash games have fixed blinds for every hand. However, poker rules are a tad different in tournaments and suggest that blinds increase with time (for example, they can increase every 15 minutes or so for a certain amount).
- Players who lose chips in cash games can buy their way in once again by buying more chips, but once tournament players lose their chips, they are out.
Poker rules may further differ a bit for every separate cash game or online tournament, so make sure to check out these details before enrolling into one.
Conclusion — How to Adhere to Poker Rules?
We’ve covered basic poker rules that should help all people who want to learn how to play Texas Hold’em and other poker games on the web. If you know how to play this card game, you will get accustomed to online play very quickly. Even if you are new to poker, just make sure to read these poker rules carefully and check out the Poker Strategy page as well in order to learn more about basic and advanced strategies.