Recently updated on October 11th, 2019
One of the most popular casino game-related internet search queries in the United States is “how to play poker”. After all, the gambling game is probably one of the most famous, and is one of the few that players actually have a limited degree of control over. US players are able to strategize and bluff their way to victory, even with the lowest ranking hand in the game (although we wouldn’t recommend trying that.)
To the unknowing eye, learning how to play real poker online may seem like a very complex task, but it really isn’t. Once you know how to play basic poker, you have pretty much got your entry point to all the other versions of the game. All you really need to learn is the small differences between variations.
If you would like to learn more about how to play poker online for real money, make sure to stick around. Below we provide players with an easy-to-follow online casino game guide that will have them playing the game for high stakes in no time. Some of the areas we focus on in our how to play poker at a casino guide include a look at the rules, the different possible hands, the most popular variations and tips and tricks to keep in mind while playing.
What You’ll Find In Our How to Play Poker Guide
- Best Poker Sites for US players
- How to Play Poker for Beginners Step-By-Step Guide
- Step 1: Choose Your Game
- Step 2: Place a Bet
- Step 3: Cards are Dealt
- Step 4: Call, Bet, Fold – Make Your Decision
- Step 5: Showdown!
- Poker Hands Guide
- Popular Poker Variations
- How to Play Poker Online for Money – Tips and Tricks
- Best Poker Strategies in the USA
- Basic Poker Terminology
If you have ever wondered “how do you play poker”, make sure to read on down below, as our step-by-step guide is about to explain just how to play the game in a few quick and easy steps. (We actually recommend that you learn poker hand variations before starting an online poker game if you want to learn how to play the game well.
It is important to remember that there are many variations of poker available to play online. Some of the most popular variations include Straight, Stud, Draw and Community Card, under which further sub-variations fall under.
Each game has its own rules, which will determine how you play the game, including what sort of bets you can make and when they can be made.
It doesn’t matter which poker game you play, they all start with placing a bet. Depending on the variation, some may require players to place a second bet, otherwise known as a side bet before play can get past the first round.
Now, depending on which game you are playing, you will be dealt anything between two and five cards. Some games will require players to show others their hand from the get go, but others may allow players to keep this information secret. Best rule of practice is to keep your cards secret if you can.
As the game progresses, players will be required to make further bets on the game. In some games, before more cards can dealt, players are required to make a decision on how they will respond to a competitor’s bet. The following options are available:
- Call – when players call, they match the bet made by the previous player.
- Bet – when players bet, they start the round of betting.
- Raise – players raise when they increase the betting amount, and force competitors to match them.
- Fold – folding implies that a player is giving up on a hand.
This is the final round of a poker game. All players are required to show each other their hands in order to determine which player has the highest value. The player with the highest value wins the round and all of the real money staked by other players.
Sometimes, a picture is able to explain something in a way that words never could, which is why we decided to use an image to illustrate the poker hands available in the game. Essentially, these are the patterns you should be gunning for with your hand. The highest possible hand is the royal flush, and the lowest is a high card.
As mentioned above, there are many different variations of poker, and each game is played slightly different from the other. Below we breakdown each of the most popular variations available online. This should at the very least make it easier to learn how to play poker cards.
- Straight – this is the original variation. Players are dealt a five-card hand, and bet in a single round in which it is possible to raise other players. Once all betting is completed, players reveal their hands and the winner is declared.
- Stud – cards are dealt to players in a face-up, face-down pattern. A betting round often takes place in between each card being dealt. Depending on the variant, hands consist of between three and five cards. The most popular stud poker variation is Seven-Card Stud.
- Draw – a group of poker games in which players are dealt a new card after betting round. It is possible for players to dispose of cards in place of new ones. Currently, the most popular variation of this game is Five-Card Draw.
- Community Card – this is one of the most popular variations of stud poker. Instead of each player being dealt full hands, they are made to form hands with community-based cards dealt at the center of the table. The most popular form of community card poker is Texas Holdem.
Every new player who has recently learned how to play online poker well is on the hunt for some tips that are sure to give them the edge in every game they play. Some of our poker tips include the following:
- Examine your competition – if you are playing poker with other real players, it is always important to have a good look at how they play the game and adjust your strategy accordingly. If you see that a player likes to bluff on small hands, call them out on it, etc.
- Make sure to bluff appropriately – the term poker face wasn’t just the title of Lady Gaga’s hit 2009 song, but actually refers to your game face. While players need to be able to keep their emotions in check when playing any gambling game, in poker, they also need to know how to feign positive reactions.
- Be familiar with poker hands – it is extremely important that players make themselves fully aware of the available hands in a game. Remember that if you know the value of your hand, you will know how to respond. There is literally no reason to play all the way through to the end of the round, continuously raising the stake if you simply have a high card.
There is no poker strategy that will guarantee that you win every time you play the game. However, there are some that may help decrease the house edge or help bluff your way to victory. Our recommended strategies include the following:
- Aggressive – this playstyle or strategy requires that players make a lot of big moves with big bets, and raises. It’s a good way to intimidate others but could also lead to you losing a lot of money very quickly if others catch on.
- Loose – this playstyle sees players go for it on a lot of different hands in the hope of winning at some time or another. Players don’t necessarily make big bets though. As with the Aggressive strategy, it is possible for players to lose a lot of money very quickly.
- Passive – players call as oppose to raise bets. Instead of controlling the game themselves, players let their opponents do so.
- Tight – the opposite of the loose playstyle, players choose to play a few hands that they think will win.
We think it best to play with each of these strategies in mind at different times. The most important thing is not to let your opponent size you up or catch on to your playstyle or else they’ll pretty much know your every move.
The one thing that intimidates many players when learning how to play online poker for real money is the number of game specific terms there are available. Well, instead of chucking hundreds of terms your way, we’ve decided to give you the bare basics to get you started in-game as quick as possible. You should practically be able to navigate around any poker table with these terms:
- Buy-in – to purchase your place at a table in a tournament.
- Call – to match another player’s bet and continue the betting round.
- Check – is to pass on betting. This can only be done if players betting before you have not chosen to raise the bet.
- Community Cards – these are the cards that the entire table is required to use to build their hands.
- Draw – when players draw, they discard a card and draw a new one in the hopes of creating a better hand.
- Flop – in community card poker, this refers to the first three cards being placed on the table.
- Flush – a hand of five cards all in the same suit.
- Fold – to give up and accept the loss.
- Limit – when a poker game makes use of structured bets and raises.
- No-Limit – poker games that have a set minimum for betting but no set maximum.
- Pot-Limit – a poker game in which bets are limited by the size of the pot.
- River – the name given to the last dealt community card.
- Raise – to increase the bet.
- Showdown – the final stage of betting, when players reveal their hands to determine the winner of the round.
- Tell – a physical action that tells other players the strength of your hand.
Check out our other poker guides:
Check out our other how to play guides: