How To Play

Poker Basics

If you're still learning how to play poker online, it's important to get the game basics down so that you can build your skills off of a strong foundation. Once you have a solid grasp of the basics, you can better understand the general rules for poker, and then begin to learn strategy. Here are three key points that'll help you understand what online poker is all about.

1. BETTING

After you receive your hand, there is a series of betting rounds where you are given the choice to do one of the following:

  • Check – If you don't want to bet any chips or money, this is the "free" option. This can only be used if someone hasn't already placed a bet during the round.
  • Bet – This is where you offer up chips or money. Once you've made your bet, other players need to match it or they are eliminated.
  • Call – You are "calling the bet" if you're matching another player's bet that was made previously in the round.
  • Raise – If another player has made a bet during the round, you can raise that bet by putting more money or chips down.
  • Fold – If a bet has been made but you don't want to match the bet or raise it, you "fold" – eliminating yourself from the hand.

2. NUMBER OF PLAYERS

The number of online poker players varies based on what type of game you're playing and a number of other factors. In cash games, you're competing at a single table against other players. The total number of players could be anywhere from 2 to 9, depending on how many seats are open. A full table is not required for a game. In Sit & Go games, a full table is required for a game to begin, and in tournaments there are multiple tables full of players.

3. WINNING WITH THE WORST HAND

Unlike casino games where you either win or you don't, poker game rules are a little different. Online poker is one of the only games possible where holding a mediocre hand can actually make you a champion. When you play poker online, it's not necessarily about having the best hand. It's about being able to outsmart your opponents, and who has the best strategy. That includes bluffing your way out of a hand to make your opponents think you have them beat, even when you don't.