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Updated: June 5, 2024
Poker rules

Poker Rules: How to Play Poker

The game of poker dates back several centuries, with its roots embedded in various card games played across different cultures. Over time, it evolved into a widely popular and strategic game we know today. Having earned a reputation as a game of strategy, and skill, more and more people are giving poker a try.

Playing poker online is exciting and thrilling and comes with its own set of rules. It is important that you know the poker rules because the main objective of the game is to either have the best poker hand or trick your opponents to fold and win.

Knowing the poker rules is essential for fair play, strategic decision-making, and maintaining a positive gaming experience and ensuring smooth and confident gameplay.

Poker rules are the same for beginners as well as for the experts. It just matters how players use the rules to enjoy the thrill and defeat their opponents.

Poker has many variations, but the basic rules typically involve players betting on the value of their hand. The most common form is Texas Hold’em, where each player is dealt two private cards (also called hole cards) and five community cards dealt face-up on the table. Players use a combination of their hole cards and the community cards to make the best possible hand.

Objective of Poker Game

While playing an online game of poker, the first step is deciding what type and style of poker you want to play. From No Limit Texas Hold’em to Pot Limit Omaha, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the different versions of the popular poker games.

However, the primary objective in any poker variant is to secure the pot, the cumulative total of all bets placed during the hand. Winning the pot is achieved by either holding the best hand at the end of the final betting round or compelling opponents to fold.

In the most popular version – NLHE – the game is played with a dealer and up to nine players, each participant receives two face-down cards, referred to as “hole cards.” Subsequently, the dealer reveals three face-up community cards known as the “flop.”

Following the betting round, additional community cards, known as the “turn” and “river,” are successively dealt by the dealer, accompanied by corresponding betting rounds. In order to win, players must either possess the best hand or skillfully employ bluffing tactics.

Poker is played with the standard 52-card deck, consisting of the four decks – Spades ♠️, Hearts ♥️, Diamonds ♦️ and Clubs ♣️ ranking from Ace (high), followed by King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A (low).

Understanding Poker Hands

Poker is a game of skill, and knowing your poker hands is the first step to honing your poker edge. To master poker, it’s very important that one must learn the basic poker hand rankings, as this will help you take the lead in the game.

The ability to determine which poker hands holds the advantage and which one prevails over another is crucial for advancing in poker. Understanding hand rankings is fundamental.

There are 10 hands in poker rankings, which comprise poker sequences, pairs, triplets and cards of a suit. The highest amongst top poker hand rankings is the royal flush, and the weakest hand ranking is the high card. Let’s understand each poker hand from the strongest to the weakest.

poker hand rankings

1. Royal Flush:

The highest and the strongest ranked poker hand sequence comprising 10-J-Q-K-A of any of the four but same suit. Example: (A♦ K♦ Q♦ J♦ 10♦)

2. Straight Flush:

The second-highest poker hand, with 9-10-J-Q-K being the highest while A-2-3-4-5 being the lowest straight flush. Example: (10♠ 9♠ 8♠ 7♠ 6♠)

3. Four of a Kind:

The same card in all four suits is four of a kind.
Example: (K♣ K♦ K♥ K♠ Q♥)

4. Full House:

Three cards of one rank (three of a kind) and two cards of another rank (two pair). Example: (A♠ A♥ A♣ K♣ K♦)

5. Flush:

Five cards of the same suit in any order.
Example: (3♦ 5♦ 8♦ j♦ K♦)

6. Straight:

Five cards in sequence, and can be from any of the four suits. Example: (5♦ 6♣ 7♦ 8♠ 9♣)

7. Three of a kind:

Three cards of the same rank in different suits and two unrelated side cards. Example: (8♣ 8♦ 8♠ 7♣ k♦)

8. Two pair:

A hand consisting of two sets of pairs. Each pair consists of two cards of the same rank. Example: (7♦ 7♠ Q♦ Q♥ 6♣)

9. One Pair:

Two cards of the same rank in different suits. In case of a tie, the highest pair wins. Example: (J♦ J♠ 4♠ 8♦ 10♣)

10. High Card:

The lowest-ranked poker sequence.
Example: (A♣ 8♥ 7♦ J♦ K♠)

Betting Rules

Different variants of poker have different betting rules. Texas Hold ’em and Omaha are the two most popular poker games played globally and have identical betting rules, with four rounds of betting known as pre-flop, post-flop, turn and river. Understanding the basic rules of betting in poker makes it simpler for beginners or anyone looking to improve their poker skills.


A no-limit game is one in which players may wager any amount (above a minimum bet) up to the total cash they have at the table at any time. This form of Poker is now the most popular form of Hold ’em.

Fixed Limit

In limit Poker, all bets and raises are restricted to a certain size. This style of play is now quite uncommon in tournament play but remains reasonably popular in cash games.


A pot-limit game is one in which players again choose how much to bet but are limited to increasing bets only up to the current size of the pot (the total amount bet by all players). This style is relatively uncommon in Hold ’em but is much more popular in the game of Omaha.

Blinds and Antes:

Many poker games start with forced bets called ante followed by blinds or antes to initiate the betting.

Ante vs. Blinds

Blinds and antes are mandatory bets that participants in certain poker games must place before any cards are delivered to ensure that there is an initial quantity of chips or money in the pot. They contribute to the creation of actions and incentives for players to participate in each hand.


  • There are two types of blinds in poker – the small blind and the big blind
  • Before any cards are dealt, the two players to the left of the dealer button commonly post the blinds
  • The small blind, in poker, is the first player seated to the left of the dealer. This player is required to place a bet before players have seen their cards, equivalent to half of the small bet limit at the table
  • The Big blind is the second player to the left of the dealer and the immediate player to the left of the small blind. This player is required to place a bet before players have seen their cards, double the bet played by small blind
  • The big blind, along with the small blind, helps ensure there is money in the pot before any cards are dealt, promoting action and strategic play
  • After each hand, the blinds are rotated clockwise around the table, ensuring that each player has a turn posting the blinds.


  • In poker, an ante is a forced bet that each player must contribute to the pot before the start of a hand.
  • In some poker games, particularly tournaments, antes are used to promote action and contribute to the pot.
  • The ante is often a modest fraction of the minimum bet or a predetermined fixed amount.
  • Antes are typically used in the later rounds of a poker tournament to avoid overly tight play and to encourage players to participate more frequently.

Betting Rounds

Betting in poker occurs in rounds, with players having options to check, bet, raise, or fold. The number of betting rounds and the specific actions allowed can vary.


A player can choose to check, which means not betting any chips. This passes the action to the next player.


Players can bet by putting chips into the pot. The amount may be constrained by the game’s betting structure (e.g., no-limit, pot-limit, fixed limit).


After a bet has been made, subsequent players can raise by putting more chips into the pot.


If a player doesn’t want to match the current bet, they can fold, forfeiting their hand and any chips already in the pot.


Matching the current bet is called a “call.” This keeps the player in the hand.


After the final betting round, if more than one player remains, there is a showdown where players reveal their hands, and the winner is determined.

Side Pots:

In situations where one player is all-in and others continue betting, side pots may be created for additional betting rounds.

As it it important to understand the betting rules, it’s equally important to understand the betting rounds while playing a game of poker. The are four rounds of betting known as pre-flop, post flop, turn and river.

Pre Flop:

Pre flop refers to the initial stage of a poker hand, occurring before the dealer reveals the first three community cards. At the pre-flop stage, players are dealt two-hole cards, and the initial betting round takes place based of the strength of the two-hole cards. Pre-flop is where you start shaping the size of the pot and can potentially scare off weaker hands with well-timed raises.


Following the initial round of betting, the dealer places three community cards face-up on the table. This is known as a flop. All players share these cards, which can be combined with the players’ hole cards to produce a winning hand. A new round of betting begins, with the player to the left of the dealer. 


Following the second betting round, the dealer reveals the fourth community card known as the turn (also called the fourth street). This card is added to the three existing community cards on the table. The third round of betting begins, and this time with the player to the left of the dealer button. 


Following the third betting round, the dealer places a fifth and final community card known as the river or fifth street on the table. Here, the last round of betting takes place, using the same regulations as the previous rounds.

Betting Limit

Betting limits in poker refer to the predetermined or restricted range of allowable bets in a particular game. These limits define the minimum and maximum amounts that players can wager during each betting round. The three main types of betting limits that are commonly associated with different poker variants are:

Fixed Limit

  • Fixed limit poker has predetermined, fixed bet sizes and raise amounts that players can make throughout each betting round
  • Fixed limit poker often uses two bet sizes: one for the early betting rounds (pre-flop and flop) and one for the later rounds (turn and river)
  • In fixed limit poker, the number of permitted raises per betting round is also usually limited
  • Fixed limit poker is frequently preferred by players who desire a more organized and risk-free style of play

Pot Limit

  • In a pot-limit game, the maximum bet is restricted to the total size of the current pot. Players can bet an amount up to the total chips in the pot
  • Similar to No-limit, the minimum bet is often the size of the big blind

No Limit

  • In a no-limit game, there is no predetermined bet or raise restrictions. During any betting round, players can stake any quantity of chips they have in front of them (up to their stack).
  • This implies that players can place higher bets and raise in each hand, possibly putting more chips at risk.
  • No-limit poker provides for more aggressive and strategic play because players can place greater bets to put pressure on opponents or safeguard their own strong cards.
  • All-in bets are prevalent in No-limit poker, where a player puts all of their chips in a single bet. Other players can then call with the same amount or fold.
  • No-limit poker can result in larger swings and more dramatic moments since players might go all-in or face enormous bets that can possibly win or lose their whole stack.

How to play poker?

Playing poker online is exciting and thrilling and comes with its own set of rules. Every game of poker evolves around one common factor and that is poker hand rankings. The hand rankings decides which player wins based on the rankings.

It is important that you know the poker rules because the main objective of the game is to either have the best poker hand or trick your opponents to fold and win.

Poker has many variations, but the basic rules typically involve players betting on the value of their hand. The most common form is Texas Hold’em, where each player is dealt two private cards (also called hole cards) and five community cards dealt face-up on the table. Players use a combination of their hole cards and the community cards to make the best possible hand.

But games are just games. Okay, sort of! But knowledge is power in poker, as it is in many other aspects of life. While offline poker games have their own charm, but the emergence of online poker has transformed how individuals engage with and enjoy this skillful game.

Type  Online Poker Offline Poker
Accessibility Easy to access  Limited accessibility
Game Variant All variants available online  Limited variants
Player Pool Much bigger player pool Shorter player pool
Time Duration Game ends in 15-20 minutes Could stretch for hours
Player Anonymity Absolute anonymity No anonymity

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How to play Texas Hold’em poker?

texas holdem poker poker rules

Although there are many different variations of poker, Texas hold’em poker game reigns supreme as the top contender. 

Texas hold’em Poker has gained immense popularity among poker enthusiasts for a multitude of reasons. Not only is it a favorite among many, but it’s also an incredibly entertaining game that’s easy to play. The straightforward and easy-to-understand Texas hold’em poker rules allow you to learn how to play this poker variant quickly. Plus, the best part is that you can potentially earn a significant amount of real money by playing real money poker it.

Texas hold’em poker is a popular poker variant that requires a minimum of two and a maximum of nine players. The game is played using a standard deck of 52 cards, and the primary objective is to make the best 5-card poker hand based on the poker hand rankings to win the game. To play this variant of poker, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules, including the different hand rankings, the betting rounds and the limits of the game.

How to play Omaha poker

Omaha poker rules

Unlike Texas Hold’em, which mostly is a no-limit game, Omaha’s most popular game structure is pot-limit. As the name says, Pot-limit Omaha is the pot-limit version of the game Omaha. So, the games that are played with the fixed limit are called pot-limit Omaha. The same is also known as PLO Poker.

In this game, the value of the pot is pre-decided in advance. With this predetermined pot value, the player cannot go all-in with the chips. This is so because the player cannot bet more than the amount decided previously in the game.

Unlike Texas Hold’em poker, in PLO poker, the players are dealt with four-hole cards instead of two. The players cannot use all four hole cards to make a hand as they can use only two of them. In the case of a 5 card poker hand, the players need to use two of their hole cards and three of the community cards to make a five-card poker hand.

Types of Pot-Limit Omaha

There are three types of Pot-Limit Omaha. One of them is the 4-Card Pot Limit Omaha or PLO-4. And the other ones are the 5 Card Pot Limit Omaha or PLO-5 and the 5 Card Pot Limit Omaha or PLO-6. The difference between these three is that in a 4 Card PLO, the player gets four hole cards in the first betting round, and in the latter, the player gets five hole cards, and six hole cards, respectively to play the game rather than four.

PLO Game Rules

The main game rule of Pot Limit Omaha is that the bet value cannot exceed the pot limit. So, the players can bet up to the size of the pot.

As per the minimum raise rule, the raise amount needs to be at least the same as the previous bet or raise in the same round. Or the minimum bet allowed in this game is equal to the big blind.

The maximum raise rule considers the size of the pot or the active pot, plus the bets on the table and the amount the player needs to call before raising.

Seven Card Stud

Seven Card Stud poker is a popular game variant in which the players are dealt seven cards while they try to make their best five-card hand. Though they get seven cards throughout the game, they need to present only the best five-card poker hand to become a winner.

While Texas Hold’em and Omaha are played as limit (PLO) and no-limit games, Seven Card Stud is mostly played only in the Limit betting structure format.

Etiquette and Fair Play

Observing proper etiquette at the poker table is crucial for maintaining a fair, enjoyable, and respectful gaming environment. Here are a few poker etiquettes that one must follow:

  • Pay attention: Stay focused on the game, avoid distractions, and pay attention to the action. Observe your opponents and ensure a smooth flow of the game.
  • Act swiftly and in turn: Wait for your turn to act and make decisions promptly. Avoid delaying the game by taking excessive time.
  • Don’t splash the pot: When betting, place chips neatly in front of you rather than throwing them directly into the pot. 
  • Don’t discuss folded hands: Refrain from discussing or revealing your folded cards during the hand. It can influence the game for others.
  • Be respectful: Treat fellow players, dealers, and staff with respect. Avoid offensive language and maintain a friendly atmosphere.
  • Control your emotions: Stay composed and control your emotions, whether winning or losing. Avoid excessive celebrations or outbursts.
  • Respect house rules: Familiarize yourself with and follow the specific house rules of the poker room or casino where you’re playing.

However, the unspoken rules of poker etiquette may occasionally coincide with the official rules of the game but it is very important that one must never lose the cool and abide by the rules and regulations of the game.

Fairplay in Poker

In a game of poker, where intense competition and the hunger to win often dominate the table, it becomes essential to uphold the spirit of fair play.

Fair play encompasses principles like integrity, respect, and sportsmanship. It serves as a reminder that the ultimate objective surpasses mere victory, highlighting the significance of ethical conduct and honorable behaviour.


1. Is there a time limit in poker?

There is no time restriction on the duration of a hand in a live poker match, allowing players the flexibility to take as much time as they need for decision-making. On the contrary, online poker incorporates timers to establish the maximum time allocated for a player to play a specific hand.

2. Why poker is a game of skill?

Poker is a game whеrе your smartnеss and tactics mattеr. Every movе you makе involvеs thinking ahеad and outwitting your opponеnts. While luck plays a role in thе cards you’rе dеalt, your choices can significantly influence thе outcome. In a pokеr game, you’re not just playing your cards; you’re playing thе pеoplе sitting across you. Obsеrving their behaviour, spotting their bluffs, and adapting your strategy accordingly arе еssеntial skills. It’s a mind gamе whеrе you try to prеdict and control thе actions of othеrs.

3. Are there variations in online poker rules?

Yes, there can be variations in online poker rules, and these differences may depend on the specific online poker platform or website you are playing. While the fundamental principles of poker remain consistent across most platforms, certain aspects may vary.

4. What are the basic rules of poker which are common to all types of poker?

While specific poker variants may have their own unique rules, there are fundamental rules that are common to most types of poker games. These basic rules form the core of poker gameplay.

The card rankings range from Ace (high) to Ace (low), followed by King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. There are four suits – Spades ♠️, Hearts ♥️, Diamonds ♦️, and Clubs ♣️ – with no suit holding a higher status than the other. Understanding the hierarchy of poker hands is crucial. In poker, all hands consist of five cards and the hand with the highest ranking wins.

5. What is a poker ante?

In poker, an “ante” is a forced bet that each player must contribute to the pot before the start of a hand. Unlike blinds, which are also forced bets, antes are typically smaller bets and are paid by every player at the table, regardless of their position.

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