Online Poker Rules

Each hand of a poker game is, in essence, a self-contained game in which someone will be awarded the pot. A new hand is initiated by the dealer who deals the cards according to the specific poker rules for that game. Each player in turn, proceeding clock-wise from the dealer, may either bet or check (also known as a pass). If a player makes an opening bet, the next player clockwise has three choices: fold, call or raise (Players can no longer check once a bet has been made).

A fold means that the player does not want to spend more money to vie for the pot; therefore, he discards his cards and is no longer a part of the hand. A call means that the player stands in the hand by betting an amount equal to the current bet. A raise means that the player increases the current bet. A re-raise is a raise of a previous raise. Betting ends when all who wish to call the highest bet have done so or when all but one player has dropped out. The poker rules for the specific game may limit the number of raises allowed. However if only two players are in the pot they can keep raising each other indefinitely.

The sequence of dealing cars and having a round of betting continues according to the poker rules of the specific game. At the end of the last betting round, all players who are left in the hand have a showdown in which the player with the best hand is awarded the pot. It is the obligation of the player who made the last bet or raise (not call) to show her hand first in the showdown.

The other remaining players then show their hands in a clockwise fashion. However, the other players do not have to show their hands; if they know they are beaten, they can just concede the pot. Remember that not all hands will reach the showdown stage; very often, a player will win the pot because all other players have folded their cards. These are some basic poker rules that should help you in your game of online poker.

The final bit of information that you'll need to know in order to play online poker competently is the ranking of poker hands.

Texas Hold'em Poker Rules:

Sit down
Up to 10 players plus a dealer are seated around a table.

Dealer Button
In front of one of the players is a round disk or button. This dealer button determines the order of betting (explained later) and moves to the left one player at a time, after each hand.

Post Blinds
Before the cards are dealt at the beginning of each hand, the two players directly to the left of the dealer button must post "blinds". To post a blind is to place a bet before getting cards. The player to the immediate left of the dealer button posts the "small blind," equal to half of the minimum bet (e.g. $5 for a 10-20 game). The player to the left of the small blind posts the "big blind," equal to the amount of the minimum bet (e.g. $10 for a 10-20 game).

Pocket Cards
Once the blinds have been posted, the first round of cards are dealt. These consist of two cards face down to each player and are called the "pocket" cards. Each player can see their own pocket cards. Then the first round of betting takes place, beginning with the player immediately to the left of the big blind and continuing in a clockwise direction around the table.

Bet amounts are fixed by the table stakes. For example, in a 3/6 table, bets are $3 in the first two rounds and $6 in the last two. The bet amount can climb a maximum of 3 times in each round of betting. In other words, there can be one bet and three raises in each round.

The Flop Cards
Next, three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. These cards are called the "Flop". All three cards are "community" cards and can be used by all the players at the table to make up their hand.

After the flop is dealt, a second round of betting takes place -- again, beginning with the player immediately to the left of the dealer button. (All subsequent rounds of betting begin with the player to left of the dealer button).

The Turn Card
Following this, a fourth "community" card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. This card is called the "Turn card" and can also be used by all players. It is followed by a third round of betting.

The River Card
Finally, a fifth and final "community" card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. It is called the "River card" and is followed by a fourth and final round of betting.

Once all betting is complete, players determine the best five-card hand that they can make using any combination of their "pocket" cards and the "community" cards. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

Start again!
After a hand is completed and the pot taken by the winner, the dealer button is moved one player to the left, and the next hand begins.

Omaha Poker Rules:

Omaha poker follows the same play sequence as Texas Hold'em poker, but with two differences: a) players are dealt four "pocket" cards instead of two; and b) players must use two "pocket" cards and three "community" cards to make your best high hand. (If anyone tells you that Omaha is just like Hold'em, they are not discussing strategy.)

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