A Complete Guide to Poker

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Poker is arguably one of the most popular gambling-related card games out there. It is a game that you can choose to play online, at a casino, or even home with friends. Poker has appeared in countless casino movies and television shows and its popularity doesn’t seem to be taking off anytime soon.

Poker is even featured as one of the top sports events on networks such as Fox Sports and ESPN. So it should not come as a big surprise about the number of people who play this card game regularly. In fact, according to the Poker Players Research, at least 40 million people play, with 15 million of them playing poker online for real money.

Those types of statistics mean a lot of money is out there on the internet for people to win. Many online casinos will even let you take their game on the go with their mobile version, allowing you to play at your convenience. All it takes is an internet connection, an understanding of the poker game you are playing, and a little luck on your side.

The History of Poker

OGS poker pg The History Poker

The game of poker is thought to have been initially played nearly 1,000 years ago across various cultures and continents. Many historians believe the game originated as a domino-card game that was played by the 10th-century Chinese emperor.

It didn’t make its mark in European cultures until the 17th century in France when it was known as “Poque.” Poque was eventually brought over to settlements in North America, including present-day New Orleans and the surrounding bayou region.

After the Louisiana purchase was completed in 1803, the game spread amongst across the country as settlers moved up the Mississippi River. It became a popular card game by both Union and Confederate soldiers during the civil war. 

After the civil war, it was a frequently played saloon game by those who had taken it with them to the Wild West. The game and its different versions would eventually become more widely accepted in Europe decades later thanks to American soldiers during World War One. While it’s an old game, the popularity of poker continues. 

Poker HandsOGS poker pg The Hands Poker

Before you dive into a game of online poker and pretend like you are playing like a professional on PokerStars, you must have a good understanding of the rules. Poker is not craps, where you can rely on your luck. While there is various kind of poker games available for online players, there are a few rules that typically stay consistent from game to game. 

The first rule of poker is understanding hand values. In poker, a player wins by having the best “hand” that is made up of five cards. These cards might be only known to you, or there may be a certain amount on the table that every play can utilize to build their best poker hand. It ultimately depends on the type of game you are playing online. However, the poker hand ranking does not change.

The best hand to get would be a Royal Flush, which is when a player has an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten all in the same suit (Ace of hearts, King of hearts, Queen of hearts, etc.) This hand is tough to get, but if you are lucky enough to earn it, then you will be a sure winner.

The next best hand to achieve is a Straight Flush, which is five cards in consecutive order (i.e., a two, three, four, five, and six) with each of them being the same suit (a two of spades, a three of spades, a four of spades, etc.).

The next highest hand is a four-of-a-kind, which is having four cards of “equal” value (four 8’s or four Jacks’s).

From there, the next highest hand is a Full House, which is three of one and two of the other (three 10s and two 4’s).

This is followed by a flush, which is when five cards are all in the same suit but can be in a different order.

The next highest hand is straight, which are five cards that follow in order but can be different suits. 3-of-Kind is followed after that (for example, a player can have three 7’s, one Ace, and one 2).

The next best hand is two pair. An example of this hand is when a player has two Jacks’s, two 4’s, with the fifth card being a different value. A One-Pair is the second to lowest hand in poker. This is when a player only has two cards of equal value (ex. two Queens, an Ace, a 5, and a 9). High card is the worst hand to have in poker. High card is when a player has five cards of different suits and values. 

Texas Hold’em

OGS poker pg Texas Holdem

Once you have learned and feel comfortable enough knowing the hands of poker, then you can start to learn about the various games of poker out there. One of the most popular poker games played is Texas Hold’em. This is also the type of poker game that poker players like ElkY participate in on sports networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports. You might see the epic poker tournaments taking place on online casinos as well. Once you learn the rules and strategies, you can try your hand at winning at these types of tables. 

Before a hand is dealt with, it is crucial to understand where on the table the “button” is located. The button signifies who has the big blind — a term used for someone who has to make the first bet of the game. The person to the right of them is known as the small blind or the person who has to make the second bet of the game. Blinds are forced bets that help give the players at the table to place their bets once their hands are dealt with. If a player wants to place a bet, it has to be at least the same amount as the big blind. 

Once the blinds have been placed, the players are dealt with their cards. Each player is dealt two cards face down. In this first round, each player has a chance to make a bet before the dealer flips over the next three cards, which is called the “flop.” This is the first chance each player gets to use the cards on the table to help create the best hand possible.

After the flop is dealt, and the betting commences, the dealer will flip over another card called the “Turn.” At this point, there are four cards on the table that are face up for players to help create their best five-card hand (using the two they were initially dealt before the game started).

Once again, after players have finished their bets, the last card is flipped over. This action is known as the “River.” At this point, the player must create their best five-card hand using the two at the very beginning and three others from the cards that were flipped over by the dealer.

Whoever has the highest hand after the last round of betting takes place gets to keep the “Pot,” or the money pile that was built up from all the rounds of betting that took place that hand. 

Omaha Hi/Lo

OGS poker pg OmahaHi Lo

There are many other types of poker games out there, with some of them having similar rules and playing styles as Texas Hold’em. An example of this is Omaha, which in this case, should not be confused with the Nebraskan city. There are many similarities between Omaha and Texas Hold’em.

For instance, similar to Texas Hold’em, Omaha starts with two blinds. These blinds are also known as the big and small blind, and they follow the same betting behaviour as Texas Hold’em. Once the big and small blinds have placed their required limits, the dealer can deal the cards to each player.

Another similarity between Omaha and Texas Hold’em is that each player’s initially dealt cards are face down, and only kept to themselves. However, the noticeable difference between Omaha and Texas Hold’em is that each player is dealt four face-down cards. This is compared to the two that each player receives in Texas Hold’em.

Once all the cards have been dealt the better commences, starting with the player to the left of the “Big Blind,” or the person who has the “dealer” button. This player can decide if they want to “call” the bet’s that are on the table or fold instead.

Just as it is the case in Texas Hold’em, if the player elects to call, then, they must place a bet at least equivalent to the amount of the big blind that was placed. Their bet can exceed that of the big blind if they choose so. If that does happen, then each player around the table must bet equivalent to the newest amount that was betted. If a player elects to fold, then they automatically withdraw themselves from the hand, and they are no longer obliged to place any more bets. 

When the first round of betting is completed, and each player has had the chance to either fold or match the total betting, then the dealer can deal their first three cards face up. These cards are placed in the middle of the table for everyone to play, just as is the case in Texas Hold’em. At this point, the second round of betting starts.

Once that round is completed, then the dealer will turn over the fourth card and place it in the centre of the table with the other three.

Another round of betting takes place between the remaining players in the hand before the dealer flips over a fifth and final card for the hand. The final round of betting takes place before each player who is still in hand flips over their cards to determine who has the best hand. 

You might be thinking what is the difference between Texas Hold’em and Omaha, aside from the fact that each player is dealt four cards face down versus two. The underlying difference is despite each player receiving four cards face down, they can only use two of them to make their hand.

The other three cards that they can utilize will come from the communal cards that were flipped over and placed at the centre of the table. 

Etiquette of Poker

OGS poker pg Etiquette of Poker

As you start to play more poker, you will become more comfortable with the various games available. Likewise, you will also become more comfortable knowing what poker etiquette is and what not to do to break the “unwritten” rules of poker. It is something that might not be officially thought of when playing online poker, but that does not mean they are non-existent. 

One such rule is to “act swiftly.” While poker players will understand that some time may need to be used for you to think before your next move, you should still be courteous of people’s time at the table. It is rude to step away from your computer for long periods because by the time it is your turn to play, you could be holding up the rest of the table. 

Another “unwritten rule” of online poker is to not get into any arguments with other players. This might feel like the easy thing to do at times, especially when real money is on the line and when you can write your feelings through a chat box rather than having to face someone in person. However, it should be remembered that online arguments do not resolve any problems. It can make the playing experience uncomfortable for everyone else at the table. 

The last important piece of etiquette that should be thought of is always to be a gracious winner or loser. There is no need ever to be demonstrative after you have lost a hand or your money. Likewise, there is no need to ever be boastful after winning someone’s money. Everyone who is online playing understands they may win or lose money in the process. The most important thing to remember is to have fun while playing, no matter what the outcome is.

Where To Play

As lovely as it might be to live near a casino where you could play poker for real money in-person, that type of environment does not exist for many players. That’s why people turn to online poker sites instead. So while all you might be doing is just sitting at home in front of the computer, you can still get that “live” poker feeling when you play against other people for real money.

On the internet, there are numerous sites available for poker players to play. Besides, online poker allows players to play different variations of poker, such as Stud Hi-Lo, Triple Draw 2-7, and Omaha Hi/Lo.

Before jumping at the first online poker website you come across in your search bar, it is vital to do some research. Determine which online casinos are the most legitimate and which ones will provide the best playing experience for you. Some casinos are offering bonuses for playing poker and other casino games, make sure to take advantage of those.