Welcome to one of the popular casino games around – poker! While there is no general agreement as to where this exciting game originates from, 17th-century Persia and a card game called As-Nas which featured very similar rules, or a 16th-century Spanish game Primero, today millions of players around the world frequent online casinos for a dose of this fun, skilled-based game.
A visit to an online gaming venue will always give you a chance to launch poker as a table game, where it’s you against the computer, but sometimes also offer an opportunity to test your skills against those of other players from around the world. Playing with live opponents delivers a different kind of experience and might get you hooked for life. In a good way! But before you take a virtual seat at one of the tables in an online poker room, make sure you understand the basics of the game.
In general, the goal of the game is to achieve the best ranking hand of all. In majority of poker games, winning hands are composed out of 5 cards. How they are dealt depends on the game variety, but each features several betting rounds which give you a number of options as to the kind of action you can take. Based on the quality of your hand, and an educated guess on what your opponents might be holding, you can see the game through until the “showdown”, or abandon it at an earlier stage to cut your losses. So let’s have a look at the what you absolutely need to know before placing your chips on the table for the very first time.
The best hand of all is called a Royal Flush and consists of 5 cards in a sequence, from 10 to an Ace, all of the same suit. It’s worth mentioning that in poker, all suits have equal value. The second best you can achieve is a Straight Flush, which is any other combination of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. What follows is Four-of-a-Kind (any 4 cards of same rank), Full House (combination of 3 cards of the same rank, plus a pair), a Flush (5 non-consecutive suited cards), a Straight (any 5 consecutive cards of different suits), Three-of-a-Kind, Two Pairs and a Pair. The worst hand you can get is a High Card, which is any five card hand not mentioned above.
While normally in each of the games cards will be revealed gradually, there are different rules as to how they’re dealt for different types of poker. In Stud games, each person gets their own cards, some of which are face-up, and some hidden. If you’re playing a Draw variant, you’ll get your own cards but also have an opportunity to exchange one, a few or all of them for new ones. Games such as Hold’em and Omaha poker feature community cards, on top of your own, which can be used to form winning combinations by any of the players sharing the same table.
In each game round, there are normally several types of action you can take when it’s your time to act. One is to Check, meaning you continue the game without placing additional bets. One can only do this if none of the opponents have made a bet during that particular round. An alternative action to take in this situation is to Bet an additional amount, forcing other players to follow if they wish to remain in the game. When you’re holding a low value hand and your chances of winning are poor, you can choose to Fold, discarding your cards and removing yourself from the game. While you’re still in, and one or more players make a bet during a certain round, you can Call by matching the amount(s) they have staked. And finally, you can Raise by matching the highest bet made, and making an additional bet on top.
Having learned these basic rules, you might want to get a taste of the game by joining a table which comes with low betting limits (to minimise the risk) or even play for fun money until you feel confident enough to invest cash. If, on the other hand, you’d like to find out a bit more about different poker variants, learn about the strategy and get some useful tips, browse our extensive range of articles prepared to help you master this wonderful game.
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