Online Poker Guide – Rules, Hand Rankings, Top Variants, Best Strategy

A brick-and-mortar casino isn’t the only place you can play a few rounds of poker. Today, with a desktop computer or a smartphone, you can access hundreds of poker games that you can play for free or with the smallest possible stakes. We know that online poker may be a bit easier than the real money games you’ll find at your local casino. Nevertheless, getting started can prove a bit challenging. So if you’re a beginner or a massive online poker fan looking for educative material, continue reading and discover how you can get started and become successful.

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How to play online poker – Basic Rules

There are over ten different real money online poker variants and they all have different rules and strategies. Despite this, learning how to play poker is pretty simple because all the games have one basic rule which is: players should have a stronger hand than their opponents to win.

The first step you should take is to open the game and place your bet. Place an ante bet where all players give an equal amount of money or a blind bet if you’re placed on the immediate left or right-hand side of the dealer.

After you place your bet, you’ll receive two (face down) cards and you’ll have the option of making a check, call or fold. Community cards are then dealt, followed by another round of betting.

The fourth card is dealt face up and another round of betting occurs. Hands are finalized when the fifth card is dealt up and here you’ll have only one remaining round of betting. After the fifth card is dealt, it’s time for the showdown where all poker players reveal their hands to see who has won.

online poker

Most Common Poker Terms

There are numerous words used in the poker world that you should know. However, we can’t list all of them here, so the few we’ll mention are the ones you’ll commonly hear in a poker room.

Let’s get started!

  • All-in – when a player bets all their chips in the current hand.
  • Ante – a type of forced bet that all real money poker players must place before the game begins.
  • Bankroll – the amount of real money you have in your betting account for online poker.
  • Blind – a type of forced bet that players seated on the immediate left or right-hand side of the dealer must place.
  • Buy-in – the minimum amount of chips that must be bought to enter an online poker game.
  • Call – to match a bet or raise in real money poker.
  • Check – to bet nothing.
  • Fold – to leave a poker game.
Online Poker Hand Rankings

Poker Hand Rankings

Hand rankings can slightly change depending on the poker game you’re playing. Below are the ones accepted in major online poker rooms.

  • Five of a kind – a hand that contains five cards of one rank.
  • Straight flush – one that has the highest five cards in a sequence and the same suit – A, K, Q, J, 10.
  • Four of a kind- one with four cards of the same rank and another card of a different rank.
  • Full house- a hand in real money poker three cards of the same rank and two cards of another rank.
  • Flush – a flush is an online poker hand that has five cards of the same suit but of different sequence.
  • Straight- a hand with five cards in a sequence but of a different suit.
  • Three of a kind – In a poker game, a three of a kind is a hand that has three cards of one rank and two cards of other ranks.
  • Two pairs – a hand with two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank, and one card of a completely different third rank.
  • One pair- this hand contains two cards of the same rank.
  • High card- a high card doesn’t fit in any of the hands mentioned above.

The most popular poker game variants

There are over ten different real money online poker variants. All you have to do is pick and play. Regardless of what you choose, here are the three most popular poker games you should try out!

Texas Hold’em

Texas hold’em is, without doubt, one of the most popular poker games in the online gambling community. The game begins with all real money players receiving two cards face-down from a standard 52-card deck with no jokers.

The pre-flop betting round begins after which the players receive a flop or three face-up community cards. A second betting round for the flop begins and after it ends, players are dealt one community card. The third betting round commences followed by the last community card being dealt.

Betting begins for the final round, shortly followed by the showdown where the winner is revealed.

Keep in mind that the dealer duties are shared among the players in Texas hold’em shifting hands in a clockwise direction. Because of this unique gameplay, poker software is designed to show a dealer button on the screen to mark the player with the current hand.

texas holdem

Stud Poker

In online gambling, stud poker represents a number of poker games where players receive both face-down and face-up cards during betting. Real money stud poker is also typically played in a non-positional way, meaning players who bet first on each round can interchange as the game continues.

The best online poker sites offer stud poker variants such as seven-card stud, razz, high-low stud, and Caribbean stud. Seven-card stud and Caribbean stud are among the most popular real money online poker variants on the internet.

While the seven-card stud begins with players being dealt two cards face down and one card face-up, its Caribbean counterpart begins with both the dealer and players getting five cards face-down. Additionally, in Caribbean stud, you’ll be playing against the house unlike in seven-card stud where players try to out-win each other.

omaha poker


In this real-money poker game, players first receive four cards face down. The rest of the gameplay is similar to Texas Hold’em. During the showdown, however, a player’s hand is judged by the three of the five cards on the board plus two of the player’s own cards.

Omaha poker is often played as a limit or pot-limit game. In pot-limit, you can get further sub-variations such as Omaha high or Omaha 8-or-Better. Omaha high is similar to Texas hold ’em where the player with the best hand wins the pot.

On the other hand, in Omaha 8-or-better, the pot is split between the best high hand and the best low hand. This makes it quite an interesting online poker variant to play in the dazzling poker rooms of the internet.

The difference between cash games and tournament poker

From what we’ve discussed so far, you now understand that there are different forms of real money online poker. But did you know that online poker can be widely categorized into cash games and tournaments?

These two ways of enjoying online poker are extremely lucrative. However, there are slight differences you’ll discover when playing. The first and most noticeable is the fact that in cash games, you can join and leave whenever you want while in tournaments you’ll have to play for hours until the event ends.

In cash games, you can also win real money consistently, while in tournaments you can only get big wins once in a while. Cash games also require high stakes, unlike online poker tournaments that only require small stakes due to the large number of players.

How to pick a winning strategy?

How to pick a winning strategy?

Online gambling fans always crave the classic entertainment that poker offers. This doesn’t mean that winning isn’t on everyone’s minds when they join a poker room. To win real money when playing poker, you’ll need a few easy and straightforward strategies.

First and foremost you should play fewer hands. If you play too many hands, you may end up exhausting your chips and missing out on the pot. While doing this, also remember to keep an eye out for your strong hands.

If you find yourself with a relatively strong hand, don’t shy away from raising your bet. Just make sure you’re certain of the bet before making the move. Lastly, when you play poker, you have to know when to fold. Leaving the poker room when you feel a bit unlucky is a great call and it will help you avoid large losses.

Useful tips before you start playing poker

Finding a good online poker site is the first step successful online poker players take. Therefore, when exploring online poker sites, ensure the ones you choose offer a vast game selection, top-notch security, and reliable customer support that can help you in times of trouble.

Playing at the world’s largest poker site is nice. But does the site offer incentives? Bonuses and promotions are also extremely important in online poker, so don’t take those reload bonuses for granted. With a good poker bonus, you can play for longer and increase your chances of winning without risking your real money.

Free money play is the other trick you can use to up your poker skills. As the name suggests, with free money play, you’ll be tackling a free poker game. Meaning, you won’t be playing with real money and so you won’t win any real money.

Nevertheless, the gameplay and the visuals are the same thanks to the amazing poker software used to design these games. So if you ever feel like playing no-limit hold’em for fun, join the top online poker sites in your region and play for as long as you want.

live poker

Online poker vs Live poker

If RNG online poker becomes a bit too monotonous for your taste, you can always play real money live poker. Nowadays, poker sites offer numerous live dealer games including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud poker.

These games are available through live streaming and they are played the same way poker is played in brick-and-mortar poker rooms. The only difference is that you’ll be watching them unfold on your computer’s screen.

In a live dealer poker game, you’ll also find a real human dealer, table, and cards. You’ll also be able to place your bets through a small virtual table on the screen and interact with the dealer and other players through a live chat feature.

Aside from this, everything in the game will be taking place in real-time including card shuffling and dealing.


Poker games are fun and lucrative regardless of whether you play them at the world’s largest poker site or at a land-based casino. However, online poker is quite honestly, stress-free because you’ll be able to play and win real money without leaving the comfort of your home.

Major online poker sites also ensure that their games can be played on mobile devices, so prepare to catch all the action even as you travel. If you’re feeling a bit risky today, play poker online and you’ll enjoy a generous welcome bonus plus all the other fruits that online gambling offers.