Need to know what are the rules of poker are? We’ve outlined how to play a poker hand from start to finish.
Looking to learn what are the rules of poker and don’t know where to start? GGPoker has the perfect poker tutorial for you. It’s one of the easiest card games to learn and the hardest to master, and definitely the most thrilling to play. With a mix of strategy, calculation, luck, and psychology it’s unrivalled by any other card game.
At GGPoker, you’ve found the right place to learn the basics you need to start playing the most popular card game online. We also have a list of common Poker Terms, so if you get lost in unfamiliar language we have an easy reference point for you. At GGPoker, we offer the two most popular poker games out there; Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker.
Texas Hold’em: Each player is dealt two hole cards, which are solely for each individual player and not shown to anyone else.
Omaha: Each player is dealt four hole cards, which no other player gets to see.
When the blinds are in place, the dealer distributes first one card and then another face down to each player, starting with the small blind. These two starting cards are called hole cards. Your hole cards appear face up on screen, but don’t worry; only you can see your hole cards. Only the backs of every other player’s hole cards appear on screen. Every other player has a similar view, with only his own hole cards visible.
When you get your hole cards you have 3 options.
- Fold – If you don’t like your cards you can fold them and wait for the next hand.
- Call – If you like your cards and want to continue you would Call. You would match the Big Blind amount. If there has been a raise before your turn you would have to match the raise amount to make a Call.
- Raise – If you really like your hand you can Raise. In No Limit Hold’em you can raise as much as you have in play at that time.
In both Texas Hold’em and Omaha games, there are three rounds of community cards dealt, each accompanied by a round of betting. These community cards are dealt face up for every player to use, with players given the chance to check or bet after each round. In total there are five community cards (three dealt on the flop, one on the turn and one on the river).
Players make their best five-card hands using a combination of the five community cards and their hole cards:
Texas Hold’em: You can use one, two or even none of your hole cards to make the best combination.
Omaha: You must use exactly two of your hole cards to make the best hand, no more and no less.
Blinds are paid at the beginning of every hand. The player immediately to the left of the dealer will pay the Small Blind, and the player to the left of the Small Blind will pay the Big Blind. Blinds differ in amount depending on what blind levels (in a tournament) or stakes (if you are seated at a cash table) you are playing, and you can choose your stake level from the table list within the GGPoker app. The Small Blind is normally half the size of the Big Blind.
Example: Small blind $0.50 – Big Blind $1.00.
Blinds are needed so there is something to play for from the start of a hand; bigger blinds tend to drive more action.
In Texas Hold’em, when the blinds are in place the dealer distributes one card to each of the players, starting with the small blind, clockwise around the table and then another face down to each player. Although your hole cards will appear face up on screen, don’t worry; only you can see your hole cards. The backs of every other player’s hole cards appear on screen if they are still in the hand. Every other player has a similar view, with only their own hole cards visible.
In Omaha, the dealer distributes a total of four hole cards to each player.
After you get your hole cards you have 3 options.
- Fold – If you don’t like your cards you can forfeit the hand and wait for the next one.
- Call – If you like your cards and want to play your hand you would Call. If there has been no raise you would match the Big Blind amount. If there has been a raise before your turn you would have to match the raised amount to make a Call.
- Raise – If you really like your hand you can Raise. The minimum you can Raise is typically the Big Blind amount, and in No Limit Hold’em or No Limit Omaha you can go “all-in” and raise as much as you have in play at that time. In Pot Limit games the amount you can raise depends on the size of the pot.
Once the Pre-flop betting round has finished, the dealer deals three cards face up in the center of the table. These three community cards are called the flop.
A second round of betting now takes place. In this round, the betting starts with the first active player (one who still has cards) to the left of the button/dealer
- Check, that is, make no bet
If no one bets, each player in turn has the same choice to Check or Bet. It is possible in every round except the first for no betting to occur. If everyone Checks in a round, it’s called being checked around.
However if somebody bets, each succeeding player has three choices:
- Call, that is, match the preceding bet
- Raise, that is, increase the preceding bet
Once the second round of betting has finished, the dealer deals another card face up on the table. This fourth community card is called the turn.
A third round of betting takes place. The betting proceeds just the same as the second round, with the betting starting with the first active player to the left of the button/dealer.
Once the third round of betting is finished, the dealer deals a fifth and final card face up on the center of the table. This final community card is called the river.
The last round of betting takes place. The betting takes place just like the last two rounds, with the betting beginning to the left of the button/dealer.
Once the final round of betting is completed, we have a showdown. All the remaining active players show their cards, comprised of the best five cards from each player’s combination of hole cards plus the community cards. The player with the strongest hand wins the pot. If there is a tie, the pot will be split equally among the tied players.
If one player bet or raised and no one called, there is no need for the showdown, and the GGPoker software awards the pot to the player with the uncalled bet. This is also the case on any previous round, and no further cards are dealt because the hand is over.
Sometimes a player can bet all their chips before the betting rounds are over. In this case, one or more side pots may be created, and the software designates main and side pots. When a player is all in, a bet or raise can be made that is not called, but a showdown still takes place assuming that another player has put at least as many chips into the pot as the player who is all in.
Players usually have the choice to not show losing hands. You can, however, see any cards that were active in the showdown even if they were not shown. Just click on “Hand #” to bring up a new window and it will show the results of the last hand and all the active cards.
In Texas Hold’em, when determining the winning hand the combination of five best cards sometimes includes both a player’s hole cards, only one of a player’s hole cards or, rarely, no hole cards are used. In these cases, the board would contain a combination better than any hand that can be made using the player’s hole cards. This is called playing the board. If all players play the board, the pot is split equally among all players remaining in the hand at that point.
In Omaha, you must use exactly two of your four hole cards. So your best hand is any two from your hole cards and three from the community cards.
Are You Ready?
Although it doesn’t take long to learn how to play online poker, it takes years to master. GGPoker provides the perfect place to improve your game. We’ve unique in-game features you won’t find anywhere else. Download our poker app available for Android, iOS, Desktop and Mac and get playing poker online today.