Who doesn’t like to play cards?
Poker is a well-known mind sport and can be enjoyed by everyone! Be it with friends or family, as a profession, or a way to learn basic maths - it’s a game that offers a lot!
You can play poker live or online; free-roll or with real money! Online poker, however, has reached new heights because of many reasons, some being:
- A wide range of game options
- Buy-in flexibility
- 24x7 availability
If you want to learn how to play poker online, you’ve landed on the perfect page! In this blog post, we cover all you need to learn about the game and start your online poker journey hassle-free!
Starting off: How to play poker online, what all do you need?
Well, first - you need an internet connection and a device to play on! You can play poker online on your laptop, mobile, tab, or any other electronic device.
With this, you also need to choose a poker app/site. To get you started, here is a list of poker apps that you can play on for free or real money - as you want!
Now that you have all the things you need to play online poker, let’s get you started on the rules and terminologies.
Poker rules: All you need to know
The minute you ask yourself: “how to play poker online?”, the first thing you must know is the rules. We cover everything you need to know below.
1.What is Poker?
Poker or Texas Hold’em Poker is a card game that is usually played between 2 - 9 players.
In this game, players are dealt two cards each and five cards are dealt in the middle in a particular pattern. We explain this in detail in the Betting Rounds/Gameplay section.
The goal of this game is to make the best five-card combination using the two cards you hold and the five cards that are displayed on the table.
The most widely played variant of the Texas Hold’em is No-Limit. As the name suggests, all players have the option to bet any or all their chips (shove/all-in) at any point in the game.
2. Poker Game Types
If you’re playing for real money, there are various formats that poker is played online. We talk about this in detail in the blog Poker Game Variants: A Detailed Guide.
- In poker, all players compete for an amount (cash or free-roll) that is contributed by the players themselves. This amount is called the pot. The pot is displayed in the middle of the table for every betting round.
- Every poker game is divided into a series of deals. This is known as hands.
- Both, cash games and tournaments, have different objectives.
Below, we explain the broad categories of poker game types:
- Cash games
Cash games can be free-roll or real money. In these games, the stakes and buy-in limits are predefined; and every poker chip has a fixed face value.
In cash games, players can leave the game whenever they want. The objective in this format is to maximise your winnings.
Tournaments are nothing like a cash game. In this format, players compete for one goal - the first prize. Tournaments don’t have a player limit and are played in a multi-table format.
In a tournament, players have a fixed buy-in and the stakes keep increasing after every ‘level’. Players are rewarded on the basis of their final position, from a prize pool accumulated from their own entry fee.
As discussed above, the goal of this game is to make the best five-card combination using the two cards you hold and the five cards that are displayed on the table. That is, the player who has the highest hand rank wins the pot. We discuss the hand rankings in the table below.
Hand Ranking Explanation
#1. Royal Flush
A, K, Q, J, 10 all of the same suit.
Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit.
#3. Straight Flush
Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit.
#4. Three of a kind
Three cards of the same rank.
#5. Four of a kind
All four cards of the same rank.
#6. Two pair
Two different pairs.
#7, Full house
Three of a kind with a pair.
Two cards of the same rank.
Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence.
#10. High card
When you haven't made any of the hands above, the highest card plays
Now that you have a basic idea of poker hand rankings, let’s talk about table positions.
In poker, every seat a player sits on is called a ‘position’. Each position has a name and significance. The below image illustrates the different positions in a 9-player poker game.
Basic Poker Terminology: Player Actions
Players, when dealt a hand, can perform the following actions:
- Check: A player can check only when no other player, before them, placed a bet. A check is a 'pass' without putting money in the pot.
- Call: When a player matches the bet made by another player and wants to continue the current hand.
- Fold: A player can quit or exit a hand by folding. When a player folds their hand, it technically means the cards are mucked and no longer a part of the hand.
- Bet: If a player feels they have a strong hand, they can place a bet - i.e., put in money equal to or higher than the big blind.
- Raise: When a player has already made a bet and you wish to increase it, the action is called a raise. A raise must be at least double than any of the previous bets a player makes.
- All-in: An all-in is when a player puts (or shoves) all the chips he has in the pot.
Now that you have a basic idea about poker terminologies, actions, and positions, let’s see the basic steps of how to play poker online.
Once every player on the table gets two cards, the first betting round starts from the UTG position. This betting round is called pre-flop, as it is happening before the first set of cards are displayed on the table.
The player at the UTG position can either fold, check, or raise. Once the player has made his decision, every player from that position has the same options. This action moves clockwise.
- This round ends only when every player has either put equal chips in the pot or folds.
- In this betting round, only the player at the big-blind position has the option to ‘check’ as every other player will have to put the big-blind in the pot.
Once everyone in the pre-flop round has placed their bets, three cards are displayed on the table face-up. This is called the flop. From here, the second round of betting starts from the small-blind position.
After the flop round ends, one more card is opened on the table. This round is called the turn. Here, the third round of betting starts.
Like the previous round, once the turn betting round is complete, another card is displayed on the table. This is called the river. The final betting round starts from here.
Good luck at the tables!
Be confident and go get them! Keep in mind everything we talked about in this blog - and you’re set!
Note: This game has an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk.