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How to Play Poker

12 May 2022
Phil Lowe 12 May 2022
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  • Learn the Basics of playing Poker
  • Read our guide to basic rules of Poker
Poker is a popular card game that can be hard to master, although it is very easy to learn.

Whether you are new to online poker or want to learn more, our guides to playing poker come with the best poker tips and strategies for players of all levels.

The Basics of playing Poker

Poker is a game played with a normal deck of 52 cards. Players wager bets against each other and rely on their hand, poker strategy, and luck to win the pot.

The most popular version of poker is Texas Hold’em. In Texas Hold’em poker, your hand is formed after you have been dealt two ‘hole’ cards and five community cards (three on the flop, one on the turn, and one on the river), which you must combine to form a five-card hand with the most equity.

There are two different ways to win at poker:

  • You ‘bluff’ and force your opponents to also fold their hands
  • You have the best value five-card hand at showdown

Showdown is when there is no clear winner after the rounds of betting, so all players at the table reveal their cards to determine who has the most valuable hand.

Basic Poker Rules

When playing poker, there are some basic rules that you need to follow in order to establish a basic poker strategy.

The basic rules of poker are:

Poker Hand Rankings: In poker, the highest-value hand determines who is the winner. This means it is important to understand poker hand rankings so that you know whether to bluff, call, fold or raise.

The poker hand with the most equity is a Royal Flush, which consists of A, K, Q, J, and 10 all in the same suit, while the least valuable poker hand is a High Card, which is when the highest card plays in lieu of any other hands. 

Table Positions: Table positions determine the order of the game. The action centres around the button, or dealer, as well as the small and big blinds which are situated to the left of the button.
These positions act first after the flop and influence what other players do in each round. 

Pre-Flop and Post-Flop actions: The pre-flop begins with the player sitting to the left of the big blind, and then continues clockwise with the big blind acting last. Players must decide between three actions: Folding, Calling and Raising.

The flop refers to dealing and revealing the first three of five community cards. The game then progresses to the post-flop, where players have the chance to check, bet, call, fold or raise based on how the three community cards have impacted their hand.

Post-Turn actions: The fourth community card is the turn, which is dealt after the flop, and is followed by another round of betting.

Post-River actions: Next comes the river, whereby the fifth community card is revealed and players will know what their final most-valuable hand looks like.

If the game is without an obvious winner post-river, the game moves to a showdown.

The Showdown: When at least two players are left in the game, the showdown happens. All remaining players must then reveal their cards to win the hand.

The winner is the player with the most valuable five-card hand who then takes the pot.