Poker goes back centuries and is one of the most-played gambling games. Online casinos fueled its popularity, making the game a staple on gaming websites worldwide. Most casino sites in Arab nations have some version of online poker. Some platforms offer poker games as part of their catalog, while others have a separate section or even standalone poker software. So, if you want to play poker online for real money, the options are limitless. If you have never played online poker and need a how-to, then this guide tackles a few fundamentals. Learn how to play poker from scratch or remind yourself of a few aspects if it’s been a long time since you played.
Basic Rules of Online Poker
Once you grasp the basics of a typical online poker game, the rest is not so hard. You will find that different games of poker online vary slightly in rules. However, whatever poker room you are in, the objective remains the same – have a stronger hand than the other players. The following rules apply to Texas Hold’em, the most popular online poker variant. You start by placing bets, which can be ante or blind, depending on the online poker room. After shuffling, the dealer distributes two hole cards (face down) to everyone. Poker online players can decide to check, meaning refusing to bet but maintaining the right to do so later.
Betting begins clockwise with the player to the left of the dealer. You can decide to take any of these actions:
- Call – match or raise another player’s wager.
- Raise – add to your original bet.
- Fold – withdraw from that round of betting due to a weak hand.
Next, the dealer deals three face-up cards; these are community cards. Another round of betting happens. The next step is the ‘turn,’ when a fourth community card is dealt. You use this to improve your hand. After this round of betting comes the ‘river,’ the dealing of a fifth community card. The final betting round takes place. If more than two players remain, everyone shows their hands, and the strongest one wins.
Common Poker Terms
Whether you are playing poker online for real money or for free, familiarise yourself with the terminology. It will make online poker games easier to follow, particularly in live gaming and tournaments. Here are some popular terms:
- Ante – a small real money wager players have to make before betting starts. It contributes to the pot.
- All-in – wagering all your chips in one round.
- Blind – a bet by two players to increase the pot size. The small blind is the position to the immediate left of the dealer or button, while the big blind is to the left of the small blind.
- Buy-in – the price for joining an online poker tournament or the minimum bet for a cash game.
- Flop – the first three community cards after the initial betting round.
- Late position – the stage in a betting round where a player acts after most of the players are done.
- Rake – the amount the operator takes from each poker hand.
The following is how poker hands rank from the strongest to the weakest:
- Royal Flush – A, K, Q, J, and 10 of the same suit.
- Straight Flush – five sequential cards in the same suit.
- Four of a Kind – four cards of a similar face value.
- Full House – three cards of the same rank and two of another (pair), for example, 8-8-8-J-J.
- Straight – five consecutive cards of different suits.
- Flush – any five cards of the same suit.
- Three of a Kind – a trio of equal rank.
- Two Pair – two cards in one rank and two in another, for example, 10-10-6-4-4.
- Pair – two matching cards.
- High Card – a hand that doesn’t make any of the known combinations.
Popular Poker Variants
As poker evolved, it offered numerous iterations with varying gameplay. While learning to play poker for real money, know how to approach different types. The game selection available varies across online poker sites. Here are the main ones.
Almost every online poker room offers this version because it’s the most played. The World Series of Poker has contributed to the game’s prominence. Texas Hold’em is uncomplicated and is the template for many how-to real-money online poker guides. The game requires two players to place blinds before the first betting round. Subsequent community cards are dealt after each round, as explained earlier. Hold’em is a type of community card poker. This online poker variant requires you to make the best poker hand using your cards (hole cards) and community cards.
Another community game is Omaha, which is usually available as a pot-limit game. So, you will find it on some poker sites such as Pot Limit Omaha (PLO). The gameplay is the same as Hold’em, except you receive four-hole cards instead of two. Players still have to compete for the strongest poker hands using two of their cards and three from the community pile. Due to the increased number of cards, the chances of landing a great hand are better in Omaha than in Hold’em. Play free online poker to try the different variations of Omaha, such as Hi-Lo. Note that bet sizes in Omaha are limited according to the pot size.
Before Hold’em took over, stud poker was king. This online poker variant doesn’t use community cards. Every player must first place a real money bet (ante) to get dealt into a hand. First, you receive two cards, face down and one face-up card. In 7-Card Stud, the player holding the lowest exposed card starts the betting round. Once the round is complete, the dealer gives another face-up card, with the highest value betting next. Fifth and Sixth Street follow with their corresponding wagering rounds. On Seventh Street, the dealer presents the last card face down, allowing you to make the best five-card hand.
When playing online poker, you can choose between cash games and tournaments. In power tournaments, you must put up a buy-in, which varies across events. The competitors play online for a guaranteed prize pool. Online poker sites offer different types of tournaments. A Sit & Go has a pre-defined number of players, with 6-9 at a table.
Multi-tables offer substantial real money prizes as players relocate to other tables when opponents bust out. Poker satellites let you enter tournaments with low buy-ins, with the prize being tickets to bigger events. Participating in online poker tournaments can help you grow your skills and join big events like the World Series. Have a tournament strategy and try free online poker to hone your skills.
Poker Tips and Winning Strategies
What does it take to become a winning poker player? A lot of effort, for one. Real money games come with actual risk, so ensure you know everything you can. Research the rules of various online poker types before wagering real money.
Know hand rankings and learn how they differ in specific poker games. Also, understand poker odds. When playing a certain hand, you should be aware of your winning probabilities. Evaluating pot odds tell you if a poker room offers good value for your real money wagers.
Don’t be scared to fold. Whether playing tournaments or cash games, don’t get stuck with poor hands because you don’t want to lose. Also, learn how to identify strong, medium, and marginal hands.
Take advantage of free online poker. While you are still learning the essentials, play demos. Besides helping you understand the rules, free online poker allows you to test strategies. You can polish your betting system without risking real money.
Learn to play responsibly. When playing online, you can easily lose track of your spending and time. Therefore, find ways to ensure your online poker gaming doesn’t get out of control.
You can have unlimited fun with online poker, especially once you get comfortable with basic rules. The game is stimulating, with a potential for big wins. The fact that it comes in different types makes it even more interesting. However, don’t jump into real money gaming without learning as much as you can. Practice with free money play for a while until you are confident about your online poker skills. Also, pick online poker sites wisely. Ensure your preferred poker platform can securely hold players’ funds, and offer fair gaming and exciting cash games.