Poker Rules Adrian Sterne

Poker Rules for Beginners – Easy Step by Step Guide to Get You Started

by Adrian Sterne Updated: October 5, 2021
Poker RulesIn the article below, I will try to explain everything there is to know about the great game of poker.

My guide is tailor-made to beginner players that haven’t tried poker before, and for those who are not sure about the rules of certain poker variants.

Poker is a very competitive card game in which skill outweighs luck. Due to their complexity, poker rules can be somewhat confusing to a person who is used to playing simpler card and table games like blackjack, baccarat, and roulette.

However, you shouldn’t worry one bit. I will try to make my explanations as clear as possible so you can start playing poker today!

My guide will cover the following:

So, are you ready to learn all about the most exciting casino game of all time? Read on!

What Is Poker?

Poker is a card game in which two or more players wager their hands and compete against each other according to specific rules.

The game uses a standard 52-card deck, although some versions are played with less than 52 cards.

A hand of poker usually comprises several betting rounds in which players take turns at folding, betting, raising, or calling other people’s bets. Instead of real money, chips are used to indicate the value of each player’s wager.

Each poker game uses a dealer who deals the cards to players and also puts some cards face-up on the table. These revealed cards are referred to as community cards and can be used by all players in combination with the cards they’re holding in their hands.

The winner of a poker round is decided in two ways:

  1. When a player has the best hand at the showdown;
  2. When all but one player fold their hand before the showdown.

In certain situations where two or more players have a hand of the same rank at the showdown, there is no winner, and the pot is split in equal ways.

Not all poker rounds reach the showdown, and that’s what makes this game so interesting. By implementing the right strategies (calling, betting, and raising at the right time), a player with the weaker hand can convince another player to fold before showing their cards.

Poker is also the only casino game where players can use psychology to their advantage.

How to Play Poker — Basic Poker Rules for All Popular Variants

Poker originated in the late 19th century and only had a couple of variations to it at the time. However, as the game became more popular and spread all across the globe, players found a way to adjust poker rules and play the game in all sorts of different ways.

The most popular forms of poker today include:

Texas Hold’em Poker Rules

Texas Holdem PokerIf you ever saw poker on TV, it is likely that you watched a Texas Hold’em tournament.

Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular form of poker today, and many players agree that it’s the most interesting one.

A game of Texas Hold’em includes 2 to 10 players and a 52-card deck. The betting limits can vary, but each round is played in the same way.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to play Texas Hold’em:

  1. One player acts as the dealer. Even if you’re playing in an official casino where a professional dealer deals the cards, there’s still a dealer button placed in front of one of the players that indicates who will act first. The player on the button changes after each round in a clockwise direction.
  2. Each player must put down a nominal bet to get the action going. This bet is called the ante.
  3. Players on the left of the dealer button are called the small blind and the big blind, respectively. The small blind puts double the amount of ante in the pot, while the big bling puts twice as much as the small blind.
  4. Every player receives two face-down cards (also referred to as hole cards).
  5. The first betting round (pre-flop) begins, and players perform an action according to the cards they were dealt. The first player to act is the one seated left of the big blind (under the gun).
  6. Players make their moves in a clockwise direction and can choose to fold (surrender), call (match the current bet), or raise (bet more than the current highest bet).
  7. After all the players have agreed upon the same bet, three face-up cards will be placed in the middle of the table (the flop). These cards are known as community cards, and every remaining player can use them in combination with their hole cards to make up a hand.
  8. Another betting round begins. The players can now choose to bet, check (if there were no bets made behind them), call, or raise. After the round of betting is over, the fourth community card will be revealed (the turn).
  9. Another betting round starts and follows the exact same rules as the previous ones. If there are still two or more players left standing, the dealer will flip the fifth and final community card (the river).
  10. After the river, the final betting round commences. If there are more than two players who haven’t folded until this moment, it’s time for the showdown.
  11. At the showdown, all remaining players must show their hands. The winner is a player with the best five-card combination.

The winner is decided by specific Texas Hold’em poker rules and hand rankings. Here are all hand rankings in Texas Hold’em from weakest to strongest.

  • High Card — An unpaired card with the highest value in a five-card combination e.g. 5 , 6 , J , Q and A
  • Pair — Two cards of the same value e.g. A and A
  • Two Pair — Two sets of two cards with the same value e.g. A , A , K and K
  • Three of a Kind — Three cards of the same value e.g. 2 , 2 and 2
  • Straight — Five cards in concession (e.g. 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 and 9 ). An Ace can count as a high card (after King) or as a low card (before 2).
  • Flush — Five cards of the same suit e.g. A , J , 9 , 6 and 3
  • Full House — Three of a kind plus one pair e.g. Q , Q , Q + J and J
  • Four of a Kind — Four cards of the same value e.g. A , A , A and A
  • Straight Flush — Any five consecutive cards of the same suit e.g. 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 and 9
  • Royal Flush — A same-suited straight from 10 to Ace e.g. 10 , J , Q , K and A

The hand rankings, blind positioning, and betting rules in Texas Hold’em work the same for most other poker variants, so use this information to fully understand other forms of poker.

Omaha Poker Rules

Omaha PokerOmaha poker rules are pretty much the same as in Texas Hold’em, but with a few exceptions.

At the start of each round, the dealer will give four hole cards instead of two to each player. The button, blinds, antes, betting rotation, and community board work just the same as in Texas Hold’em.

However, things get a little different when it comes time to decide a winning hand.

Namely, players are only allowed to use exactly two cards from their hand and exactly three cards from the board.

This means that calculating the best hand is a little bit more complicated, and that’s why many beginner players prefer Texas Hold’em to Omaha because of its simpler rules.

In the game of Hi-Lo, which is a sub-version of Omaha poker, flushes and straights don’t count, and two players can win the pot — a player with the lowest hand and a player with the highest hand.

5-Card Draw Poker Rules

5 Card Draw PokerAccording to a lot of players, 5-Card Draw is the simplest form of poker and an ideal game for beginners.

In this version of the game, each of the players receives five cards from the dealer. There are no community cards, and the best five-card hand wins at the showdown.

After the blinds and the antes have been put into a collective pot, the dealer gives five cards to all players. According to the cards they’ve been dealt, players start the first round of betting.

Once the betting round is completed, the draw can begin.

Each player is allowed to discard any number of their cards and draw new ones from the deck. Of course, a player can discard or keep all five of their cards during the draw.

Once the new cards have been dealt and each player again has five cards in their hands, the second and final betting round can begin. If two or more players are left standing, they all must show their cards, and the best five-card hand wins the pot.

7-Card Stud Poker Rules

7 Card Stud Poker7-Card Stud might seem a little confusing at first, but once you hear all the basic rules, you will figure out that it’s actually one of the simplest variations of the game.

Before the cards are dealt, all players must chip in with an ante. There are no blinds in 7-Card Stud.

The dealer then gives each player three cards, two being face-down and one face-up.

Unlike Texas Hold’em where the dealer button determines the betting order, the betting in 7-Card Stud starts with the player who has the lowest up-card (the door card).

7-Card Stud is a limit game, meaning that the limits of the bets are predetermined. Apart from the ante, there is a small bet and a big bet.

The first player to act can bet the “bring-in” (bet an equal amount of the ante), or “complete” by putting in an amount equal to the small bet. Players who decide to raise can only put in a small bet to raise the bring-in, or make a big bet to raise a small bet.

After the first betting round (third street) is completed, the dealer will give each of the remaining players the fourth card face-up. The second betting round (fourth street) starts with a player who has the best two up-card combination and continues clockwise.

The same rules apply for fifth and sixth streets, only the betting limits are not doubled. The final seventh card is dealt face down to each player. Once it’s completed, players can turn over their down-cards and the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

Razz Poker Rules

Razz PokerRazz poker can be seen as 7-Card Stud turned upside-down, meaning that the lowest hand always wins. Straights and flushes don’t count, and an Ace counts as low. The best hand in Razz is 5 , 4 , 3 , 2 and A (the nuts) because it has no pair, the cards are of the lowest possible value, and the straight doesn’t count.

Hand rankings in Razz poker take some time to get used to, but they are basically like in regular 7-Card-Stud poker, only the objective of the game is to “lose” and have the “worst” possible hand.

In a version of the game called London Lowball, straights and flushes do count against a player’s hand, so the best possible hand is 6 , 4 , 3 , 2 and A .

Single-Player Poker Games

Poker usually requires more than one player, but some online versions of the game allow you to play alone, either with RNG-based poker machines or by going against the dealer.

Video Poker (Jacks or Better)

Jacks or BetterVideo poker follows the basic poker rules of 5-Card Draw. The game is also called Jacks or Better because you can’t win with a high card or if you have a pair that’s lower than jacks.

If you get a pair of jacks, queens, or kings, you can only break even, while better hand combinations bring you a profit.

Here is an easy-to-follow chart on how Jacks or Better video poker usually pays out.

COINS 1 2 3 4 5
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 50 100 150 200 250
Four of a Kind 25 50 75 100 125
Full House 9 18 27 36 45
Flush 6 12 18 24 30
Straight 4 8 12 16 20
Three of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two Pairs 2 4 6 8 10
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5

Casino Hold’em

Casino Hold’emCasino Hold’em follows the same rules as Texas Hold’em, with the only difference being that you’re not playing against other players but against the casino dealer.

Before the cards are dealt, you are able to decide on how high your ante is going to be. Once the two cards are shown to you and the flop has been put on the table, you can decide to either fold or call by doubling your initial bet.

There are no more bets after this and the dealer will reveal the last two community cards, as well as their own cards. The best five-card hand wins.

The payouts in Casino Hold’em can vary depending on the version you’re playing. If the dealer qualifies with a pair of fours or better, you will get an extra payout for the win.

Where to Play the Best Poker Games Online?

If you feel like you’ve mastered the rules of every poker variant, you should test your skills online where you will find plenty of poker action.

The list below includes some of the best poker sites in 2020. They are all completely legitimate, have great bonuses for new players, and feature state-of-the-art software that will guarantee you the best poker experience.


Final Thoughts

Each poker variation has its charm. No matter what form of poker you end up choosing, you should know that you can read all about its rules in detail right here on this site.

I hope that my guide was helpful to you and that you learned something new about poker.

If you have any additional questions about poker rules or you feel like you want to add something, just leave a comment below and I will be more than glad to reply.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular version of poker?

Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker variation today. The rules are easy to learn, and the game can be played on almost every casino site.

Is playing poker legal?

The legality of poker (both online and land-based) depends on each country’s gambling laws. If you are thinking about playing poker, make sure to check if you’re not breaking any laws by doing it from your location.

What is the best hand in poker?

The best hand in most poker variations is the Royal Flush. It consists of the five highest consecutive cards (10, J, Q, K, A) that must be of the same suit.

Can I play poker for real money online?

Yes, you can test your poker skills on many poker and casino websites. To enjoy the best possible poker experience, make sure to check my list of best poker sites in 2020.

Can I make a living by playing poker?

Poker can be a profession if you’re really good at it. However, you will need a lot of practice. Poker is a game of skill and it takes plenty of time to master.

About The Author

Adrian Sterne Editor

Hi, I am the Chief Editor of, this site is dedicated to all thing poker. I have been working around the poker industry for the last 15 years, with different brands. The main purpose of this site is to keep you uptodate with the industry and offer you the best deals around.