Poker rules – Learn the basics and get ready to play

Table of contents

If you are looking to get started on the poker table you best get familiar with Poker rules. Poker is one of those casino games where the amount of skill you possess will decrease the house edge. Basically, by improving your poker skill level and developing your strategy you can tip the game slightly in your favor to increase your chances of winning it big! Before you can even get to that level you will first have to familiarize yourself with some of the rules of poker. This is where I come in. As your guide I am more than qualified to tell you about this amazing game, since I am an avid Poker player myself! So, strap yourself in as I take you on a crash course about everything you nee to know about Poker!

Poker hands

Poker is a casino game that has been adopted all over the world. This of course means that there are many versions of the game with different rules. For the most part however, poker will usually have the same hands/hand values regardless of which version of the game you are playing. Below I will take a look at the most important Poker hands that you need to know before you get started.

Royal Flush: A Royal Flush is the best, and most rare , hand that a player can get in Poker. The hand consists of a Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 all in the same suit. This hand cannot be beaten and is your ticket to a big pay day!

Straight Flush: Your next best hand, after the Royal Flush, is your Straight Flush. This consist of Five consecutive cards in numerical order, all of the same suit. In the even that both players have a straight flush, the player with the highest card at the end of the five-card sequence will win the round.

Four of a Kind: As the name suggest, four of a kind, consists of four cards…of the same kind. In other words this hand will have four cards of the same rank together with a fifth card ( known as the kicker). Where there is a tie the kicker will determine who wins the round.

Full house: The next strongest hand, after four of a kind, is the Full house. This hand consists of 3 car of the same rank, together with a pair of the same rank. For example Three Kings and a Pair of Aces. Where there is a tie, the player with the higher value Pair will determine who wins the round.

Flush: A flush is simply 5 cards of the same suit; the value of the cards is irrelevant. Where two players both have a flush the strongest hand will be determined by the highest ranked card in the flush. In the very unlikely even that all five cards are tied exactly, the pot will be split evenly. It is important to note that the it is not the suit but rather the rank of the cards that is used to break a tie.

Straight: A straight is five cards in sequence according to value, the suit doe not matter. It is important to note that the Ace card plays a special function in the straight hand. The Ace may be used at either the top or the bottom of the straight. Once again, if a tie should occur, the highest-ranking card at the top of the straight sequence will win the round.

Three of a kind: Two is company, three is a crowd! In this case three of a kind is where you have three cards of the same rank together with a pair of unrelated cards. When a tie occurs the highest value three of a kind win. Where there is still a tie, the two unrelated side cards will determine the winner based on the value of those cards.

Two Pair: Nothing fancy here, simply two pairs of cards of the same rank together with one side card. Where there is a tie you will look at the player with the highest pair. If there is the same high pair card, then the second Pair will determine the winner. If the tie persists, the round will be determined on the value of the side card!

A Pair: A pair consists of two cards of the same rank, together with three unrelated cards. Should there be a tie, the player with the highest pair wins. If players have the same pair, the winner will be determined based on the value of the side cards.

High Card: In the unfortunate event that you do not land one of the hands mentioned above, the hand will be called a “High Card”. This is because the highest value card on your hand will determine how strong your hand is. Where there is a tie, the player with the highest value card will win.

poker rules introduced by diverjoe

Common traits of poker rules

So now that you know the value of Poker hands, at the very least you can start your first game. But before you do, you should take note of these common rules that apply to poker games. These are some of the rules which I feel are the most relevant at this stage but can be expanded the better you get at the game. I remember when I first began playing poker with a couple of buddies of mine, I thought I would never be able to get the game on my side! The good news is that it gets better the more you play and you will not remain a beginner for long.

As a starting point it is important to mention that Poker is played with a minimum of 2 players up to a maximum of 10 players. As mentioned before the rules of Poker will depend on the particular variant of the game that you are playing. Regardless of the variant of poker that you are playing poker games usually proceed in a similar way. Firstly, players start by making a bet, called the ante. Once the hands are dealt players make a further bet based on the value they attribute to their hand. This proceeds in a clockwise fashion where players either match, call or fold their bet. Players can also choose to raise the bet. Should a player fold, then they lose their ante and forfeits the round. At the end of the betting round the players left will reveal their hand to show who takes home the pot!

Top 3 highest ranked hands

One of the most consistent rules of poker is the value of the hands. The great news is that the highest ranked hand will always be the highest ranked hands, no matter what! In poker, we have a Royal Flush, followed by a Straight flush and then 4 of a kind. This is then followed by a Full house, Flush and a straight.

Blinds bets

In a classic game of Texas Hold’em the two players sitting next to the dealer are required to place mandatory bets before cards are dealt. Why are they called blind bets? These bets are blind because they are placed before the players have the opportunity to look at the cards that have been dealt.

Limit vs. No limits

The “Limit” here refers to the amount that can be bet on a hand. No limit poker will involve players being able to bet as much as they want, which allows for more deceptive strategies. In No limit poker players will ‘over bet’ as a bluff that their hand is stronger than it actually is. In Limit poker, this is not possible as your bet will be restricted to a certain amount. No Limit Poker is of course the better option as it is way more exciting!


When playing No Limit Poker you will see the pays reaching epic proportions as each player attempts to out-bluff the other. This is of course only possible when playing no limit poker as their will be no pot limit. When playing Limit Poker the average size of the pot stays relatively low. Players who choose to play No Limit Poker stand the chance of winning a lot more money. More experienced players will be able to coax other players into making larger bets than they normally would, which is a sure way to turn a profit!


Fixed limit poker is a betting structure and refers to the maximum amount that can be bet or raised during a round of poker. Fixed limit poker, or simply limit poker, is in direct contrast to no limit poker where payers are free to raise the bets as much as they wish.

The action

In Poker, whenever you make a move it is called an “action”. The action that you choose to make will depend on what stage of the game you are at. In the larger scheme of things, the action in a poker game refers to the intensity of the bets being paced and a round. An action player is one that makes a lot of actions throughout the game and one who does nothing is referred to as a “rock”.


When it is your turn to act you will be faced with different options. If you wish to do nothing and pass the baton onto the next player you can “check”. This is allowed as long as you are not required to make a blind bet or you are not responding to a bet made by an opposing player.


If you feel your hand will bring you no luck in the round and you wish to forfeit you can Fold/discard your hand. Once you fold you will not be able to make any further actions in the current round


This action involves a player making their bet based on their respective hand. Players can either match the bet or raise the value of the bet depending on what their exact strategy is.


When a player faces another players bet they can choose the action called “raise”. This involves placing a bet higher than the amount that the opposing player wagered.


If you do not wish to raise another option is to call your opponents bet or match their raise. If you place a bet or raise a bet and no other player calls, then you are the winner of the pot.

The betting rounds

A poker game does not consist of just one single round, but rather a number of rounds. These rounds include the preflop, the flop, the turn and the river. In this section I will be telling you a bit more about these rounds individually so that you understand exactly what is going on when you are in the thick of things. The betting round starts with players being dealt two cards, referred to as hole cards.


The preflop is ( as you guessed it) the round before the flop. Unlike the flop which refers to the betting that occurs after the first three community cards are dealt, the preflop occurs before this. This only occurs in certain variations of poker.


The flop is the betting round that occurs after the first three community cards are dealt . Naturally, where the variation of poker has a pre flop, the flop will be the second round of betting that occurs. Players can now determine the strength of their hand based on the 2-hole cards and the flop in front of them.


After the flop betting round comes the Turn. After players have betted on the flop, a fourth card is dealt from the deck. This fourth card is known as the turn card. Players now have six cards to make their best possible 5 card hand. Players who wish to continue will place their bet based on their strategy and cards available.


Now we have the infamous river card. The players still in the game now have 7 cards( 2 hole and 5 community cards) to choose to make up their best possible hand. Final bets are placed and the card are then revealed.

Table stakes

Table stakes is a term that extends beyond poker, and is used in business and other activities. In terms of Poker, Table stakes is the amount that a player stands to lose on a particular hand. Particularly in online poker, the tale stakes will be the amount of money, in chips, that the player had at the start of the hand. This amount is the total amount that the player can bet and possibly lose. This will avoid the situation where players burn through their bank roll by playing on emotion. On the flipside of the coin, players will not be able to go all in on everything they have if the opportunity arises.

learn the rules of poker with Diverjoe

Glossary – Learn the Poker terms

Action: An action refers to the move a player can make when it is his or her turn. There are a number of actions a player can make including, bet, raise, call or fold.
Action card: An action card is the card that has the most impact on the round being played. This card is usually a decisive factor when it comes to a round of Poker.
Advertising: A tactic of the experienced player, advertising is where a player purposefully displays a certain playing style inn order to mislead the other players in a poker game.
All in: When a player decides to put all chips onto the table we refer to the action as going “all in”.
Ante: An ante, or the blind, is the bet that must be placed by a player before any card are dealt or bets placed.

Bank: The bank is the player who takes control of distributing chips to players.
Bankroll: A player’s bank roll refers to the total amount which the player has to bet on the game of poker, which amount extends what he currently has for a particular round.
Big blind: In Texas Hold’em we have the big Blind and the little Blind. The big Blind refers to the larger of the two forced bets/ante bets.
Bleed: If a player is bleeding it means that they are losing chips as a result of their terrible decision making. You should avoid bleeding out if you want to have a successful poker game.
Bluff: Poker is not a game where you tell the truth (That would be boring). Players will bluff, by placing a large bet on an average hand, to convince players that they have a strong hand. This tactic is used to out maneuver players regardless of what cards they are dealt.

Call: This action involves matching a players bet or matching the amount which another player has raised.
Cap: The cap refers to the amount of times players can raise a bet in a particular round.
Chase: When a player has called and raised the whole round, even though they have a terrible hand, they are said to be chasing the round. This is of course not a good position to be in.
Check: If you choose to do nothing in a particular round, ie to skip your turn, this is referred to as a check.
Continuation bet: The bet that you place after another player has wagered is referred to as the continuation bet.

Dead hand: A dead hand is one that has been discarded because one or another error has occurred. This usually does not occur when playing online (except for live online poker).
Dealer: The dealer is the person in charge of shuffling and dealing out cards to the players at the table. In online poker an algorithm determine the cards using a RNG.
Deuce: A deuce refers to a card that has the rank of 2.
Donkey: Also sometimes referred to as a fish, the donkey is the player that is clearly less experienced than the other players at the table. You don’t want to be the donkey.
Drop: Another word for fold. This is when you decide to tap out from the round and forfeit the pot.

Flash: When a card is show, by accident to one player, the card must then be flashed to all other players before it is discarded. This is a way to keep the game fair at all times,
Float: This strategy involves calling a particular bet. This is done with the intention of bluffing in the next round.
Fold: You fold when you discard the hands you were dealt. This is advisable when you do not have a strong enough hand or enough chips to carry your bluff.
Fouled hand: When there has been noncompliance with the rules of poker a hand is considered a fouled hand, this hand is then discarded.
Full ring: A full ring refers to a game of poker where there are 6 or more players present, up to a maximum of 10 players.

Heads up poker: A heads up game of poker is a one on one game of poker.
H.O.R.S.E.: This is a Poker tournament that has 5 different rules of poker in each of the games. An exciting tournament that keeps you on your toes.

Pat: A Pat is a hand that requires no other cards from the table after the flop. This is a complete hand. Poker face: A poker face is the blank look on a player’s face, that does not give any hints as to the players game plan.
Pot: The total amount of money that has been wagered in a particular round is called the pot. This pot goes to the player who wins at the end of the round, either because he is the last one standing or he has the best hand.
Push: If you are going all in you are pushing.

Raccoon: Similar to the fish or the donkey, the racoon is the unexperienced player who doesn’t really know what they are doing.
Rake: The rake is the amount of funds paid to the casino in exchange for hosting a poker tournament. Nothing comes free, including poker tournaments!
River: The River is the most infamous round in Poker. It is where the final community card is revealed. After this one final betting round occurs before the cards are revealed.
Rock: A rock is a player who doesn’t really take any risks or plays according to emotion. They stick to their game plan no matter what. You can’t bluff a rock!
Royal cards: Your Royal cards are your higher order cards, such as King Queen Jack.

Satellite tournament: A satellite poker tournament is where the prize is a ticket into a bigger tournament, where the stakes and payout is higher.
Scoop: In High low poker the scoop is where you win both the high and the low part of the poker game.
Shoe: The shoe is derived from brick and mortar casinos. It is the plastic container where the cards are held.
Shorthanded: Where there are 6 players or less at the poker table, this is referred to as shorthanded.
Showdown: After the river, the players that are left (who haven’t folded) will reveal their cards. This reveal is referred to as the showdown.
Sit and go: A sit and go poker game is where players can come and go as they please. You are free to leave after a round and buy back in once you are ready.
Straddle bet: After the blind bets in poker there is the option to have an additional bet, called the straddle bet.

Tell: A tell is a clue which reveals what the true position is of a player. This tell sign can be used to see through a player’s bluff.
Tilt: The opposite of the rock, the tilt is a volatile player that makes unpredictable actions.
Toke: After a player wins the pot, he may choose to tip the dealer. This tip is referred to as a Toke.

Under the gun: The person sitting to the left of the ante bets is referred to being under the gun.
Up the ante: If you raise the ante bet, you are upping the ante ( now you know where this phrase comes from)

Window card: Where a card is lying face up on the poker table it is referred to as the window card.
Walk: If the participants in the poker game choose to fold on the big blind this is a “walk”

Frequently asked questions about poker rules

What is the best poker game to play?

The most popular variation of Poker is Texas Hold’em. It is the most popular because it is the simplest to play. You can learn it fast but you will only be available to master it through tons of practice.

What’s the difference between fixed and no limit?

The main difference between fixed limit and no limit poker is that in the latter you can lose your entire bank roll in a single hand if you choose to go all in.

What if someone bets more than I have at the table?

You should not bet more than you have, or be lured into betting your entire bank roll by a big fish. This is a rookie error and will see you leaving empty handed. Simply count your losses and live to play another round!

Instead of going all-in can I buy more chips during a hand?

No, the table stakes will mean that you cannot buy more chips but can only bet as much as you have when that round began. » Games » Poker » Poker rules – Learn the basics and get ready to play
Last updated: 15/02/2022