Your Complete Guide to Playing Online Poker 2023

Everything you need to know about online poker. We take you through the most basic rules of the game, advanced strategies, and the full terms glossary. Learn how to play online poker, which casino poker games are available, and which online casinos offer the best real money and free play online poker games.

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Overview

Casino poker games are quite a bit different from poker games you may have seen on TV or played in online poker rooms. While such poker games are played among multiple players and with poker chips and other additional equipment, casino poker is a bit simpler than this. 

In both live and online casinos, casino poker games are offered in abundance, and the goal in them is to simply make a good poker hand with your cards. You will be playing against the house, and not against other players, and your payouts will come in accordance with the game's paytable. 

In every casino poker game, the dealer deals cards to the player and to himself. The player will need to make a strong poker hand to get a payout, and in some versions you will have to beat the dealer's hand as well. 

If you are looking to learn how to play poker without having to worry about what other players are doing, this is a great way to get introduced to basic rules and hand rankings. You can take all the time you need to learn the best possible strategy and the paytable of the game you are playing. 

In online poker gamer, you will want to get a certain hand combination. The harder a hand is to make, the more you are going to get paid. You will need at least two people to play the game of poker, but the dealer will serve as the other player in casino poker games. 

This guide for online casino poker games will teach you all about where poker came from and how it is played. We will give special note to all the upsides and downsides of these poker games. In order to learn how to play, you will need to know all the relevant terms, and you will easily learn this from our poker terms glossary. 

If you are just looking to learn the rules for the first time, we have you well covered. We will also help you out with some great tips from our experts on how to become a great poker player and what strategies to use for best results. 

This guide will teach you the most basic rules of about forty different versions of casino poker. Each game comes with a slightly different ruleset, and these slight tweaks make each of the games unique compared to others. 

When you are finally ready to jump into some real money play, we have prepared a list of the top online casinos that offer casino poker games. Pick a site from this list for best casino bonuses and best game selection. 

At the very end, you can find a number of frequent questions answered by our pros. If you have any questions about online poker, chances are we have answered them for you.  

Pros & Cons

Pros
You can practice your poker skills at demo play tables for free
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Play at your own pace and with absolutely no pressure
Cons
Video slots make for a more exciting gaming atmosphere
The social element of land based casinos is missing

History

Most modern players of poker knows only Texas Hold’em and none of the other versions, although there are many versions of the game from as far back as the antiquity of Persia and China. Poker was introduced in Europe via France with a game named Poque during the 17th century, and it was from Poque that the modern name was possibly derived.

Poker was introduced by French colonists to the New World, just like most other casino games. It spread into the Wild West as the US population expanded but it was originally from New Orleans. It surged in popularity in the 1860s during the US Civil War and it was then that many of the present rules and versions of the game poker was established, which includes Stud Poker, Draw Poker, and the straight.

Texas Hold’em was created in the town of Robstown which is in southern Texas in the early parts of the 20th century but it only took to fame after it was brought to a small casino in Las Vegas called Golden Nugger in the year 1967. Two years after that, Dune Casino held a tournament of Texas Hold’em and it was during that time that more attention was drawn to the game.

The Binion brothers got the fraught Gambling Fraternity Convention and converted it to The World Series of Poker, which is the world’s biggest tournament about poker nowadays. Their choice to utilize Texas Hold’em in the Key/Main event was a decision that would have effects for the entirety of the industry of online gambling.

Texas Hold’em transformed into the most widely- known form of the game poker in the world, thanks to its exposure on TV and to WSOP. This popularity was cemented with the onset of the internet in the later part of the 20th century and made sure that online poker and Texas Hold’em would be enjoyed by tens and tens of millions of players the world over.


Popular Terms

The following definition of terms includes the terms that are a part of elementary poker terminology and some which are specific only for Texas Hold’em.

Blinds are coerced which are made by 2 players to the dealer’s left (person right to the left puts in small blind and person two places to the left puts in big blind).

Bluff refers to a tactic wherein a player wagers on a weak hand to make those with stronger hand make a move out of the game

Buy-in refers to the certain amount/value of chips to be purchased by the player to join a game of poker.

Community Cards refers to the five cards dealt face up in Texas hold’em and can be used by all the players.

Flop refers to the first or initial round wherein three community cards are dealt in a way that they are facing up.

Flush refers to five cards from the similar suit.

Hole Cards refers to two cards dealt to a player.

Pair refers to two cards of having similar value, e.g., two 5s or two Aces.

Pot refers to the total value bets or wagers on a certain hand.

Rake refers to the commission of the House from each pot. This is the way the House makes money from games of poker.

River refers to the final and fifth community card dealt out.

Round of betting refers to the time the players make a choice out of the four options (call, check, fold, or raise) at each round of betting.

Royal Flush refers to an Ace-high straight of identical suit (Ace, Ten, Jack, Queen and King of Hearts) and is the best but rarely seen hand in poker.

Straight refers to five serial cards of any suit (Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7).

Trips refers to three-of-a-king (three 10s or three 5s).

Turn refers to the fourth community card dealt.


Rules

The game starts as the dealer shuffles a standard 52-card deck. Half of the minimum bet (small blind) is posted by the player to the left of the dealer button. Other players begin to post minimum bet (big blind) following a clockwise rotation. This is the first round of betting. Still starting with the player to his left, dealer deals two hole cards to each player on the table. This is the preflop.

After the preflop, players may fold, raise or call. To prevent cheating, the so-called “burn card”, which is found at the top part of the deck, is discarded by the dealer.

The dealer flips 3 cards on the table face up. These three cards are called communal cards, which each player can use to add with their hole (pocket or private) cards to form their best five hands. The second betting round starts again from the person to the left of the dealer. After this betting round, the dealer lays another communal card on the table. This part is called the “turn”.

The third betting round takes place starting from the person to the left of the dealer. In most poker variants, this is the part where the size of the bet doubles.

After the third betting round, dealer places the final card on the table face up. This stage is called “river”. At this point, each player is allowed to use any card from the five cards laid on the table to form their best five hands.

The final betting round takes place from the person to the left of the dealer. Players reveal their best five poker hand. The player with the best five cards wins the game.

One of the most frustrating things in poker for a new player is not knowing which hand outranks another. Starting with the highest or strongest hand, here is the order of ranks.

  • Royal Flush – This is the penultimate hand of all. This is a five-card sequence of the same suits from 10 to the Ace. You become invincible if you have this combination.
  • Straight Flush – Similar to Royal flush, but sequence involve card/s with value lower than 10.
  • Quads – Four cards having the same value.
  • Full House – Three-of-a-kind and a pair. The three-of-a-kind is the tiebreaker.
  • Flush – Five cards of the same suit but not in sequence.
  • Straight – Fiver cards in sequence but of different suits.
  • Three-of-a-kind – Three cards of the same value and a non-pair.
  • Two-pair – Two separate pair. The higher kicker card (non-pair) breaks the tie.
  • One pair – One pair of the same value.
  • High Card – In the event that none of the players have any hand mentioned above, the highest value card determines the winner.

Strategy

Texas Hold’em is not just a game of poker, it requires precise calculations, ability to read and judge others and at the same time keeping focus on the ultimate goal, which is of course winning. The first thing which every amateur player has to learn is how to use his cards, whether to play them or wait for the next hand.

Poker is game of chance; therefore, there are no sets of rules for winning. A standard practice is that if a player has two cards with a value less than 10 from different suits, then odds of winning are very slim. If a card is worth more than 10, individually or in a pair, then chances of winning as the game goes on increase. Texas Hold’em is a game of risk, you need to analysis what your cards are worth and what amount can be spent. In some cases, doling a few extra bucks can do the trick, in others, folding and waiting for a better hand turns out to be the best option. 

Keep in mind:

  • Do not play each hand. It is okay to be competitive (more so for poker) but then the laws of probability says it’s highly impossible to win each hand. Once you've had enough experience in playing, you’ll know when to hold or fold your cards.
  • Do not go into playing a hand because you have already devoted money and time. This is a good rule that applies to real life as well as poker. If you got bad cards and your competition has increased the stakes really high, it might be worth thinking that your initial bet is now a loss.
  • Be calm. The best players in poker never play or get angry. They keep their cool, hence their thoughts remain clear. They also keep their eyes on their competition and on the table

Have a good look at the community cards. These cards belongs to everyone so if you focus enough you will find out not just your best potential 5-card combo but also the best potential 5-card combo of your competition.

Tips

If you want to win at casino poker, you will need to go in with a strategy. These are some of the top tips to make sure you are playing each poker hand to the best of your ability, regardless of which poker game you choose.

Getting Started

It’s quite easy to get started with online casino poker games. You may be a bit overwhelmed if you are jumping over from slots, but just follow these simple steps and you will be ready to start playing in a very short timeframe.

1 Practice does make perfect

There is no better way to become better at poker than practice. Make sure to practice your poker hand rankings, rules, and strategies before you start playing for real money.

2 Find a reputable casino site

Once you are ready to play for cash, you will want to find an online casino you can trust. Check out our list of recommended online casinos for the best choices.

3 Get a welcome bonus to get you started

Starting out with a welcome bonus will give you a boost before you even make your first bet. Make sure you claim the welcome bonus to get that extra play and increase your chances of winning big.

4 Find your poker seat

You are ready to take your seat at the poker table! Pick one of the many casino poker games out there and make your very first real money wager.

5 Learn as you go along

You will get better at poker as you play it, so make sure you stick with small bets and try to play as many hands as you possibly can to sharpen your skills and become the best player you can be.

Terminology

Learning all the terms you need in poker is a step towards becoming a true poker player. This detailed glossary of poker terminology will teach you all the words and slang you need to know to understand what’s happening at the poker tables.

Poker Glossary

Poker Games Types

We have analyzed and reviewed nearly forty different poker games you can find at your online casinos, so take your pick and enjoy the ride:

Ante Up 21 Blackjack

This casino game puts together the games of poker and blackjack. You will be playing blackjack as base game, but a side poker bet will give you a chance to win up to €10,000 in bonus jackpot on the side.

Poker

The classic game of poker is the most recognizable of them all. You will get paid based on your poker hand strength, which is completely in accordance with the popular hand rankings you use in games like Texas Hold'em as well.

Live Poker

It is not unusual that live poker games have appeared in online casinos. These games allow you to experience the live action, with the dealer dealing the cards out and all the action being streamed to your screen via the internet.

Pai Gow

Loosely based on the Chinese Pai Gow game, this game requires you to put together two poker hands. You will have a total of seven cards, and your only job will be to put them into a five card and a two card hand for optimal results.

Red Dog

A fairly simple poker game, Red Dog is not really a poker variant, despite being categorized as one. The dealer deals two cards, and your bet will be on whether or not the third card dealt will be between the two initial cards. The payouts will change depending on the gap between the two cards.

Texas Hold'em

Also known as Casino Hold'em, this game resembles the poker you see on TV the most. You will be playing against the dealer, but still with two hole cards, five community cards, and trying to beat the dealer's poker hand.

Live Texas Hold'em

The game of Texas Hold'em is so popular that it comes as no surprise it's one of the poker games offered for play with live dealers. Enjoy Live Texas Hold'em and get the full experience of playing at a live casino with this one.

Bullfight

This game takes origin from a Chinese game called Niu Niu. In Bullfight, two hands are dealt out, called the Red Bull and the Black Bull. The two hands will compete based on Baccarat rules, and you will have the opportunity to bet on which hand will come out on top.

3 Card Poker

Like most casino poker games, only you and the dealer will be involved in this one. You will both start out with three cards and turn them around to see who has the best poker hand and who wins the pot.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Based loosely on the popular Five Card Stud poker variation, Caribbean Stud Poker is another interesting casino poker game where your mission will be to make a better five card hand than the dealer and take down the whole pot.

Live Caribbean Stud Poker

Since Caribbean Stud Poker became so popular over the years, it comes as little surprise that the game is offered with live dealers too. A player who makes a royal flush gets to walk away with a massive progressive jackpot in this fun live casino game.

Cyber Stud Poker

Another poker game with five cards and a regular deck of 52 cards, this game is all about making a royal flush. You can win up to 200x your bet if you can make this elusive poker hand. Keep an eye out on the dealer's hand as well, as you only win the full amount if they qualify as well.

Poker Ride

This unusual poker variant gives players access only to community cards, without any hole cards. New cards are revealed on the table, and bets are made as they are. You can win a hefty progressive jackpot in this one as well if you get lucky enough.

Hold Em High

Yet another poker game derived from Texas Hold'em, Hold Em High has much of the same rules as the popular poker variation, but players can make some very high bets to get the blood flowing and the adrenaline rushing.

Tequila Poker

If you enjoy both poker and blackjack, this game might be great for you. In Tequila Poker, you will get a five card hand, but your total will be counted based on the values of the cards dealt and not the traditional hand rankings.

Let It Ride

Sometimes this game is also called Let 'Em Ride and it is one where you get to use three hole cards and two of the community cards on the table. This little shift can make all the difference in the world.

Side Bet City

Another live dealer poker game, Side Bet City is different than any other poker game. The dealer sets up a three card, a five card, and a seven card hand on the table. Your job is to bet on which of these hands will be best once the cards are turned over.

Stud Poker

The rules of this game come from Five Card Stud poker that used to be played back in the day. You will compare your cards with the dealer and the best hand will win, no funny business or nonsense.

Live Stud Poker

Casino Stud Poker is an extremely popular variant, which is why casinos decided to offer it in a live setting too. This game is very dynamic, fast, and extremely enjoyable to play, especially if you are lucky enough to land the progressive jackpot.

2-7 Triple Draw

This lowball poker variation is all about making the worst possible poker hand. You get five cards and you need to avoid any straight, flushes, or pairs to make the worst possible hand and win.

2-7 Single Draw

Just like 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Single Draw is about making as bad a hand as possible, only you get to draw only once and show down your hand.

8-Game Mix

8 Game Mix is a mix of a number of mega popular poker games, including the likes of Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud. This game is very popular among pro poker player and not played in online casinos.

Badugi

While most poker games are all about making the best possible poker hand, this one is just about getting four cards that include no pairs and don't include any cards of the same suit.

Fast-Fold Poker

This poker game takes poker to a whole new level. Instead of having to wait for a brand new poker hand to be dealt, you will get a new hand against new opponents immediately. You will need to sign up to a proper online poker site to play this one.

Five Card Draw

Players in Five Card Draw start with five hole cards, and they each get a single draw. The goal is to make the best possible poker hand or bluff your opponents out of the hand without making a great hand yourself.

HORSE

A mix of some of the most popular poker games, HORSE is a popular game in high-stakes poker circles. You will need to learn how to play five different games to excel at HORSE which is why this game is not recommended for beginners.

Irish Poker

This version of Omaha poker will have you start out with four hole cards, but you will have to discard one of them on each betting street. By the river, you will be holding two hole cards and five community cards will be on the table, allowing you to make a five card hand of your choosing.

Open Face Chinese Poker

Open Face Chinese Poker is a variation of poker in which players get 13 cards in total and need to set them up into three separate poker hands, each stronger than the next. Yours and your opponents' poker hands are compared and points are assigned after every deal.

Pineapple Poker

This version of Texas Hold'em Poker plays with three initial hole cards, only two of which remain by the river. You will have to drop one of the cards when the flop is dealt and proceed with a regular Texas Hold'em hand to showdown.

Razz

A lowball poker game where low straights are amazingly strong and high hands have nearly no value, Razz is a crazy variation of poker that often confuses new players who try it out.

Short Deck Hold'em

Short Deck Hold'em is played exactly the same way as Texas Hold'em, except only 36 cards are left in the deck and all deuces, trays, fours, and fives are discarded before the dealing even begins. This generates a ton of action and makes the game super fun and enjoyable.

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FAQ

There are many amazing online casinos out there. The final choice is up to you, but we recommend you pick one of the sites listed in this guide if you want to play in a safe place and enjoy the best poker games around.

Yes! Online casino poker games, like other casino games, are perfectly legal to play. Just make sure you are playing at a properly licensed casino that has the legal permission to operate in the first place.

Yes! Most casino poker games have a mobile version you can play. Sign up to an online casino of your choice and log on from your phone or tablet to find out which poker games are available.

You can absolutely win real money in casino poker. The only condition, of course, is that you play the real money version, which means you will need to wager some money if you want to win some.

Casino poker games are played against the dealer and there is no competition with other players. Online poker tournaments and cash games, on the other hand, allow you to compete with others in poker variants like Texas Hold'em or Omaha.

No. There are no guarantees in casino poker and even the best strategy won't give you an edge over the house. This is also the biggest disadvantage of casino poker, as casino will always be a slight favourite to beat you.

No. Card counting is a technique that works well in blackjack, but has absolutely no place in any poker game. You cannot count cards in poker as you won't see any discards and the deck is shuffled after every hand.

This is completely up to you. We are going to introduce you to nearly 40 different casino poker games, and the ultimate choice is yours, as each of them offers a unique approach to the game of poker.

No! As long as you find a legitimate and regulated online casino to play at, you can be 100% sure that the games are fair and unbiased and there is nothing shady going on.

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