Learn how to play online poker
Did you know that Poker has been recognized as an official sport since 2017? That’s right, this simple card game played in casinos, online poker sites and even at home with friends all around the world is now an official sport modality. But it’s not just any sport. Contrary to most popular sports, to master the poker game you don’t need to be fit or spend a lifetime at the gym. Poker requires a different set of skills that anyone with time, patience and determination can master.
In this page you will find all the basics you need to know to start your journey into becoming a poker master. Make sure to come back anytime you have a doubt or you seek clarification.
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Poker Rules – Texas Hold’em
Poker is a game with a lot of variants. We will proceed to explain the rules that apply to Texas Hold’em, since it is by far the most popular poker game of all game variations. Once you are sure you understood these basics that apply to Texas Hold’em, you can go on and check out our page dedicated to the Most Popular Poker Games to get acquainted with some other fun ways to play online poker.
The goal is to get the best five-card poker hand according to the official poker hand ranking. The game starts with each player being dealt two cards face down – these are the hand cards and belong just to you. In the following rounds there will be five more cards facing up for everyone to see – these are community cards and can be used by every player to complete their best five card hand.
The five community cards are turned over in three phases. The first three cards are shown at once and are called the “flop”. The fourth card is turned, called the "turn". Finally, the “river” is the last community card being turned over. Not every round will reach the river phase because sometimes a bet can cause every player but one to fold, which means the remaining player receives the pot without having to reveal their cards. This means that the best hand will not necessarily be the winning one since it is possible and usual for a player to bluff and make everyone else fold.
In the case of two or more players reaching the showdown when the last community card is revealed and the betting round is complete, then the only way to win the pot is to have the best five-card hand.
The button determines who the dealer is and play proceeds clockwise on the table, with action starting to the left of the dealer button. The first two players seated immediately to the left of the button must put the small and big blind to initiate betting. After that, the action takes place in several betting rounds: pre-flop, flop, turn and river.
Before each hand two players will be required to put on the table the small and big blind. Who those players are rotates according to the button. The blinds translate into forced bets, ensuring that there will always be action in every hand.
In some games, the value of the blinds is predetermined and it remains unchanged throughout the game. In some other games, especially in tournaments, the blinds go up at regular intervals.
The player directly to the left of the button puts the small blind, and the next player puts the big blind. The small blind is generally half the size of the big blind, however this designation can change from room to room and can also be dependent on the game being played.
First round – Pre-flop
The first round of betting takes place right after each player is dealt the two hand cards. The first player to act is the player immediately after the big blind and this player has three options:
Call: match big blind value
Raise: Raise the bet within specific game limits
Fold: give up your hand
The amount the player can raise depends on the game being played. Most commonly, in a no-limit Texas hold'em game, the minimum raise is double the big blind value, and the maximum is all the chips the player has in their stack ("all-in").
After the first player acts, play proceeds clockwise around the table, with each player also having the same three options.
Second round - Flop
The first three community cards are turned over on the table and the second round of betting begins with all players who didn't fold in the first round.
In this (and later) betting round, action starts with the first active player to the left of the button. In addition to the bet, call, fold or raise options, players can now also “check” if no action has taken place previously. A check means passing the action to the next player.
The action continues until the last bet or raise is matched. It can also happen that no player bets and everyone checks which also completes the action.
Third round – Turn
The fourth community card is dealt face up on the table. Another round of betting takes place, similar to the previous round where players can check, bet, call, fold, or raise.
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