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How to Play Poker for Beginners: Basics and Poker Rules

Learning how to play poker should not be difficult. If you want to understand why so many people love this game, this beginner's guide to the rules and the basics of poker is all you need.

Poker is a simple game to learn, but the poker rules can be challenging for a complete beginner.

But don't let that put you off. It is not hard to learn how to play poker, and you can move from the basics of the game to the tables of the top online poker sites in no time.

Here's everything you'll learn in this guide on how to play poker:

  1. The basic rules of Texas hold'em
  2. The basic rules of Omaha poker
  3. How do you play poker online for free
  4. And lots more

Before you move to the 'practical' side of this guide on how to play the most popular variants of this game, you need to learn the basics of poker.

When most people say they want to know "how to play regular poker," they imply that they want to learn the basics of Texas Hold'em.

Texas Hold'em is (by far) the most popular poker game out there and it's the one you find at every online poker site.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. With so many poker variants to play online and offline, the only proper guide on how to play poker for dummies is the one that gets you access to all the best games out there.

Not just to the most famous one.

Many poker rules are consistent from game to game, although among the dozens of variants such as Texas hold'em, Omaha, and seven-card stud you will find some ket differences you need to kno.

Let's have a quick look at the poker rules of the most played poker games online:

How to Play Texas Hold'Em

GameTexas Hold'em
How Many Players2-10
Poker RulesHow to play Texas hold'em

Also called the 'Cadillac of Poker,' Texas hold'em is the one you are going to play over and over again.

This is the most popular poker game online and it is also the one you are most likely to play with our friends in your next home game.

Whether you play it in the form of a tournament or as a ring-game, the basic poker rules and the hand rankings don't change.

> Discover how to play Texas Hold'em


How to Play Omaha Poker

GameOmaha Poker
How Many Players2-10
Poker RulesHow to play Omaha
Where to PlayTop poker sites

The second-most popular poker variant. Omaha poker finds its roots in the game of Texas Hold'em, although the rules of the two games are slightly different from each other.

Many players find learning how to play poker Omaha to be the natural step to take after they have successfully mastered the basics of Texas Hold'em.

In the poker rules page dedicated to the game, you find the perfect beginner's guide to moving your first steps in the world of Omaha.

> Learn how to play Omaha poker


How to Play Seven-Card Stud

GameSeven-Card Stud
How Many Players2-8
Poker RulesHow to play 7-card Stud
Where to PlayTop poker sites

Before Texas hold'em became king, anyone who wanted to learn the basic poker rules and how to play poker had to go through the game of seven-card stud.

As the name suggests, this is a variant of stud poker. 7-card stud is also the 'S' game in the H.O.R.S.E. poker — but if you are still learning how to play poker, it's probably too early for you to jump on that.

> Discover how to play seven-card stud poker


Other Poker Rules to Learn

If you want to go deeper and you want to learn how to play even more poker games, PokerNews is the right site for you.

Pick one poker variant to learn from the list that follows and find out how to play some of the most exciting and lesser-known poker games out there!

Use these guides to learn how to play poker and master not only the most 'obvious' games like Texas hold'em bu also all the other different variants out there.

In our guides for beginners, you find the official poker rules, the basic strategy tips, and the hand rankings — because knowing how to calculate points is key if you want to win at poker.

Common Traits of Most Poker Rules

The Value of Poker Hands

One element used in most poker variants is the system of hand rankings.

The highest ranked hand is a Royal Flush (five cards of the same suit, ranked ace through ten), followed by a Straight Flush (five cards of the same suit of consecutive ranks).

The third-best combination is the Four-of-a-kind, which is then followed by the Full House (three of a kind plus one pair), the Flush, the Straight, the Three-of-a-kind, Two Pair, One Pair, and High Card or no pair.

When a hand reaches the showdown, the player with the highest-ranked hand wins the pot.

That's true of Texas hold'em, pot-limit Omaha, seven-card stud, and five-card draw.

Of course, in "lowball" games like razz or deuce-to-seven triple draw, the hand rankings are turned upside down and the 'worst' hand according to traditional hand rankings is the winning one.

Poker Hands Ranking

  • Royal Flush 10JQKA
  • Straight
    Flush
    56789
  • Four Of
    A Kind
    3333K
  • Full House JJJKK
  • Flush 2459K
  • Straight A2345
  • Three Of
    A Kind
    45777
  • Two Pair 499KK
  • One Pair 3QK1010
  • High Card 248QK
Download as PDF / Image Image

Suggested Readings

  • Poker Hands Chart: The official classification of all poker hands with a free pdf to download and print.
  • What Beats What in Poker: the perfect starting guide to learn how to count points in poker and discover the real value of each hand.

Blinds and Ante Bets

Games like hold'em and Omaha feature small and big blinds, so called because they are "blind" bets players have to make before they are dealt any cards.

Meanwhile stud games usually use "antes", which also involve players putting chips in the middle before the hand begins.

From there players bet more as the hand progresses, thereby creating larger pots.

Limit vs. No Limit Poker Games

Some games are played with no-limit betting, which means players can bet as much as they like at any point in the hand, including going "all in."

Pot-limit betting means that the current size of the pot creates an upper limit on how much a player can bet.

Games that are played with fixed-limit betting have predetermined amounts from which players cannot vary when they make their bets and raises.

The Action

There are other terms that tend to be used in all different poker games, including many having to do with the actions you perform when playing.

When the action is on you, you can:

  • Check: Decline to bet
  • Fold: Withdraw from the hand, if someone else has bet already
  • Bet: Place a wager on the table
  • Raise: Add more chips by matching your opponent's bet and putting in a greater amount.
  • Call: Match the bet of your opponents to stay in the hand and continue to play.

All of those terms are an important step in your journey to learn how to play poker since they tend to come up in all poker variants.

The Betting Rounds

In games with community cards like hold'em and Omaha (also sometimes called "flop games"), the betting rounds are referred to as:

  • Preflop: The bets made before any community cards are dealt
  • Flop: The bets made after the first three community cards are dealt)
  • Turn: The bets made after the fourth community card
  • River The bets made after the fifth and last community card.

Suggested Readings

The Table Stakes

One other poker rule common to just about every variant of the you'll play – whether you are playing live poker or online poker – is one called "table stakes."

Table stakes means that once a hand begins, you can only bet whatever amount you had on the table to begin the hand and are not allowed to add anything more during the hand as it plays out.

If you only have $100 on the table to begin a hand, you can't pull out your wallet and add more halfway through the hand – you can only play out the hand with whatever you had to start.

Practice Poker Online for Free

Now that you know the basic poker rules and you have links to go back to your poker guides when you need to, it's time to look for the best websites to practice poker online.

Don't start to play poker for real money right away. Try out the games for free first. That's the only way to discover if you have really learned how to play poker.

Looking for a site to practice online poker for free?

Don't miss the updated list of the best free poker sites in 2020!

There are countless options to give the game a test run, but the best way is to try out the real deal.

Sign up for a poker account with one of the big online poker rooms and give the freerolls a try.

That way, you can practice poker online without any risk; you're not wagering any money.

And if you want to try out cash games instead of tournaments, all major poker sites online have so-called play money tables.

That way you can practice the game, learn the rules, and figure out how the software works, readying yourself for the big stage.

Register a free gaming account and test your poker knowledge in the next freeroll!

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