How to Play Poker

how to play poker

Poker is a type of card game that combines luck and skill. As you learn the rules and hands of the game, you can improve your tactics and potentially end up with very high tournament payouts. Today, poker games and tournaments can be accessed with just the click of a button. Here we go through the basics of how to play poker so that you can get started with online poker!

Different poker games

First of all, it’s important to note that poker is not a specific game but rather an umbrella term for different poker game variations and real money games. The different versions have a lot of similarities in terms of the rules and poker hands, but can for example be played with different amounts of cards (on hand and/or the table). 

Some of the most common poker game variations include Texas Hold’em, Casino Hold’em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, and Blackjack. It’s very important to know which game you are playing in order to ensure you don’t mix up the rules and gameplay.

We recommend trying out and sticking to one type of poker when you get started. Once you’re comfortable with the basics and understand the gameplay of that one variant, you can expand your horizon.

Poker rules

Luckily, there are some poker rules that are universal or very similar across the different variants. Let’s start learning how to play poker with some basic poker rules:


First of all, poker is normally played with one standard (52-card) pack. Some variants will include a joker or two, but normally you will only play with the 52-card deck. Depending on the variant, each player will have 1-5 cards on hand. In addition, there might be a selection of shared cards on the table.


A poker game can be played with just one opponent up to a group of players. As an example, Blackjack rules will be quite different from Texas Hold’em rules. In Blackjack, it’s you against the dealer, while in most other poker games you are playing against the other players at the table.

Gameplay and aim

The aim of poker is always to have the best hand (or trick the other players into believing you have the best hand) so that you’re the last player standing. The game will start with a dealer dealing the cards. Then each player will announce if they want to play or not (bet or pass). More cards can then be dealt and players will take their turn placing bets, passing, or calling. 

Poker hands

In most poker versions, a poker hand will consist of five cards. Your hand will normally be a combination of cards on-hand as well as shared cards on the table. The aim is to have the best hand, where the most desirable are the following:

  • Five of a kind: As the name suggests, this hand has five of the same card (value). As this is not possible if only one deck of cards is used, this hand can only be achieved in games where jokers or other types of wild cards are in use. Example: 9, 9, 9, 9 and a Wild.
  • Straight flush: This hand will have five cards of the same suit, in sequence. This is the highest possible hand from a standard, 52-card deck. Example: 10, J, Q, K, A of hearts (royal straight flush). 
  • Four of a kind: This hand has four of the same card (value). The second highest hand possible. Example: 4, 4, 4, 4.
  • Full house: This hand combines three cards of one value plus two cards (a pair) of another value. Example: 10, 10, 10 and A, A.
  • Flush: This hand is all made up of the same suit, but not in sequence. For example 2, 5, 9, Q and A of hearts.
  • Straight: This hand has a five-card sequence, but not in the same suit. For example 10♥, J♣, Q♠, K♠, A♥

The hands above are ranked from the highest value. Below straight you will find three of a kind (5, 5, 5), two pairs (Q, Q, 8, 8), one pair (10, 10) and finally no pair/nothing.

Play poker online

Poker can be played among friends or at land-based casinos and poker rooms. But if you don’t want to have to worry about your poker face, playing online is the best option. When playing poker online, you can join a poker room whenever and wherever you wish. Find a game that fits your skill level and budget, and play against players from all over the world.

Are you ready to get started with online poker? Sign up at one of our recommended online casinos and try it out today!

Akanksha Walla
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