How to Play Online Poker

Poker has always been a popular game, even before the mass popularity it enjoys in its online versions.

Although it does take skill and requires the use of betting strategies, its popularity is a sign of it being a truly rewarding experience and open to all. This beginners' guide for playing online poker will help you join the club and play the game, as a first step before later guides and learning more advanced strategies.

Topics Addressed

  • Step-by-step guide to Online Poker for Beginners

*Previously Required Knowledge

Though not strictly knowledge, do equip yourself with a fair amount of discipline. Following through a game plan and a strategy is important to become a good poker player.

With poker tournaments on television, players are exposed to more poker action than in the past and are likely to carry such experiences over to the online poker room. It is probably good advice not to bring this as previous experience to the table or the computer. Not to say that the players are in such a level that is too advanced, though that might be the case. The point is that players on TV might even be plain bad.

The basics and fundamentals of poker are important and must be practiced time and again. You can learn them here at this guide and at the school lessons we offer, and so even this you are not required to know at this point.

Instructions

Step One

Know the goal of the game

The player with the highest ranking hand, or card combination, wins the game and takes in the entire pot. With this is mind, you are ready to enter the poker room, take your place by the poker table and play... poker.

Step Two

Understand the cards hierarchy

So what does it take to win a poker game? These are the possible card combinations that will win you the game or at least challenge the pot, in order from highest ranking to lowest:

  1. Straight flush: five cards of the same suit in numerical sequence. In case two players have a straight flush (though certainly a rare hand), its value is determined by the highest card in the hand. A royal flush is a hand with ace through 10 of the same suit cards.
  2. Four of a kind: four cards in the hand are of the same rank. This hand too ranks by the value of the four cards.
  3. Full house: a hand that involves all five cards, with a pair of one rank and a three of a kind. The three cards determine the hand's rank.
  4. Flush: all five cards are of the same suit, ranked by the highest value card in the hand.
  5. Straight: all five cards in order, regardless of suit, with the ace serving as either top or low card.
  6. Three of a kind: three of the hand's cards of the same rank.
  7. Two pair: a hand that includes two pairs. The higher pair determines the hand's overall value.
  8. Pair: two of the hand's cards of the same rank.
  9. High card: the lowest possible hand, at some games not even a qualifier, which is simply the highest value card in the hand.

Step Three

Learn the betting rules

Each round in a game of poker, from before any cards are dealt, after they are dealt, after replacing a card or more in your hand, you will enter a betting round. The options at this point are four:

Check: staying in the game by betting nothing.
Bet or Raise: challenging the other players by betting a sum higher than the previous bet. The remaining players must at least match this some, or else forfeit the pot.
Call: staying in the game by betting the same amount as that wagered by the previous player.
Fold: dropping out of the game by surrendering the hand.

Step Four

Find a poker room

Playing poker online requires you find a site that you like and trust. Poker rooms are many. They should be sorted and picked from according to elements that are important to you. These can be the game variants offered at the site, the game selection, the site's popularity, membership benefits and other factors. Fish around and even try out free games to get to know the software used at the sites.

Step Five

Begin playing - sit down

Emulating real poker tables, you will find options to "sit down" by the table, which will have you join a game if there is a seat available. Similarly, you will be able to get up by choosing to "stand up" at the end of the session.

Step Six

Play poker

Follow the rules of the game variant, the number of cards to draw, to replace and the betting order. Did you raise? Did you get a four of a kind? Did you lose? Did you win? Either way, you must keep to online poker etiquette, be it by chat or by playing fairly, without pushing the game's tempo or folding on every single game, for example.

Step Seven

Leave on time

When you feel like you have had enough, perhaps have won a considerable amount and before you lose more than you can afford, you must leave the table in an orderly fashion. Find the button to "stand up" and go through the cashier to manage your bottom line at the end of the session.

Tips

  • Online poker has many variants. Not only are there games and tournaments, differing on basic aspects, there are also different games such as Texas Hold'em, Seven Card Stud, Five Card Draw, and others.

Warnings

  • More importantly, the poker variants divide into three categories, according to the betting structure of the game. While limit games have a set amount that is bet and no limit games do away with this, pot limit games allow players to raise, but only by an amount equal to the pot.

See also

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