How to Play Poker

Poker is one of the most popular forms of casino-based entertainment in the world. It is an iconic game that has been seen in countless movies and TV shows. Furthermore, with the rise of online and live casino games, poker has been further propelled into the spotlight with a recent surge of players who engage with the game on online and mobile platforms. 

In this guide, we are going to break down all there is to know about poker, from how it is played to the hands to look out for and much more. After reading this guide, you will hopefully be able to go away and play poker for yourself without any missing knowledge on how the game is played. 

5-Card Hand Rankings

No matter what type of poker you play, the hands will always remain the same. The hands in poker are ranked in terms of value, with the main goal of the game being to analyse the value of your hand and strategise accordingly. The 10 basic 5-card hands, from highest to lowest, include:

  • Royal Flush – This hand includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit. This suit can only be tied but not beaten by the royal flush of another suit.
  • Straight Flush – This hand is made up of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. 
  • 4 of a Kind – This means you have 4 cards of the same rank but different suits and a fifth card of any rank. 
  • Full House – Contains 3 matching cards of 1 rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. 
  • Flush – Contains any 5 cards of the same suit.
  • Straight – Contains 5 cards of consecutive rank but from more than one suit. 
  • 3 of a Kind – Contains 3 cards of the same rank.
  • 2 Pair – Contains 2 cards of the same rank, plus 2 cards of another rank.
  • Pair – Contains 2 cards of the same rank.
  • High Card – When no two cards have the same rank.


Betting Options 

Every time the dealer puts new cards out, you will have the chance to make a bet. The betting will take place in a circle clockwise. When betting, you will have the following options:

  • If no one else has placed a bet yet, you can make the first bet.
  • Call – Match another player’s bet.
  • Raise – Increase the size of the betting pool, forcing other players to call your bet or fold.
  • Fold – Withdraw from the bet, sacrificing any bets made thus far.
  • Check – Until the first bet of the round has been placed, players can check to avoid betting while reserving the option to bet later.
  • All In – When a player doesn’t have enough chips left to call a bet, they can play all their remaining chips. Subsequent betting takes place in a side pot, and the all-in player can only win the number of chips in the pot at the time they go all-in.  

How to Play 

While there are numerous variations of poker, one of the most popular is Texas Hold’em. In this game, each player receives two private cards, known as hole cards, which are dealt face down. Additionally, five community cards are placed face-up on the table throughout the course of the game. The objective is to form the best possible hand using a combination of the hole cards and the community cards.


Before the cards are dealt, the two players seated to the left of the dealer must post forced bets known as blinds. The player immediately to the left of the dealer posts the small blind, while the next player posts the big blind, typically double the size of the small blind. These blinds initiate the betting action and ensure that there is something at stake in each hand.

Once the blinds are posted, the dealer distributes two hole cards to each player, beginning with the player to their immediate left. The game then proceeds with a series of four betting rounds. The first round of betting called the pre-flop, occurs after players have received their hole cards but before any community cards are revealed. Players have the option to call (match the current bet), raise (increase the bet), or fold (discard their cards and forfeit the hand).

After the pre-flop betting round concludes, the dealer reveals three community cards in the middle of the table in a process known as the flop. Subsequent rounds of betting follow with the turn and river, where one community card is revealed in each round. Players can continue to bet, raise, call, or fold as the community cards are revealed.

Once all five community cards are on the table, the final round of betting takes place. If more than one player remains after the final betting round, a showdown occurs. During the showdown, players reveal their hole cards, and the player with the best hand combination of five cards wins the pot.


Poker Variations 

Similar to Texas Hold’em, Omaha involves players receiving four private cards instead of two. However, players must use exactly two of their hole cards in combination with three of the community cards to form their hand.

In Seven Card Stud, players are dealt a total of seven cards, with three face-down and four face-up. Players must use a combination of their face-down and face-up cards to create the best hand.

Then there is Razz, a lowball variant of Seven Card Stud, where the lowest hand wins. The objective is to have the lowest possible hand using five of the seven cards dealt.

Finally, we have this classic form of poker, players are dealt five private cards, and they have the opportunity to exchange any number of them for new cards from the deck. The goal is to make the best five-card hand.