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Basic Poker Rules: Learn the Main Rules in Poker

Poker is a game of skill, and it is a trendy casino game, both in offline and online casinos. But how to play this game? You can’t just sit down at a poker table without knowing what to do, as there are vital rules you need to know. Well, here we will discuss the basic poker rules; we’ll focus on the rules of Texas Hold ‘em poker, as this is by far the most popular poker variety out there, but no worries, we’ll touch upon the rules that govern poker tournaments and other poker variants.

General Poker Rules

Here, we will list the general poker rules that govern all poker games, regardless of the poker variety. These rules apply to online and offline poker games:

✅ Buy-in

To enter any poker game, you need to pay the buy-in, the compulsory amount you must pay to ensure a place at the table. When you pay the buy-in, you actually purchase a certain number of chips that you use during the game. If you are playing a limit poker game, the buy-in is usually about 10 times the high limit of the table.

✅ Shuffle & Cut

Shuffle refers to the shuffling of the poker deck: in a land-based poker game, the dealer does this and places the cards in the card shoe. In online poker games, if the computer runs the game, the shuffling is done automatically, while in live online poker games, the live dealer shuffles the cards. Cutting the cards is, as the name suggests, cutting the stack of cards in two parts, laying the top section at the bottom to ensure the cards will come in a completely random order.

✅ Dealing the cards

Once all the players take their seats and the cards are shuffled, the dealer deals the hole cards. The number of cards depends on the poker variety you play. In the case of Texas Hold ‘em, each player gets two hole cards, with the dealer first giving each player one card and then another in two dealing rounds.

✅ Betting & Raising

After the cards are dealt and every player sees their hole cards, the betting commences. The first player on the left of the dealer starts the betting, and the circle continues with the rest of the players. All the bets in a round must be equal to or greater than the previous bet.

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Texas Hold ‘em Poker Rules

Now that we’ve outlined the basic poker rules let’s talk about the rules of Texas Hold ‘em poker, which is the version you’ll most likely play at an online casino. Two to ten players can play Texas Hold ‘em poker at a single table, and the game is played with a single 52-card deck. The general rules are stated above, but here are the specific Texas Hold ‘em rules:

  • Blinds – Texas Hold ‘em has blind bets, the small blind and the big blind. These are placed by the first and second players to the left of the dealer, where the first player places the small blind, and the second player on the left of the dealer places the big blind before the players can see their cards. The small blind is usually half of the low bet limit at the table, while the big blind is the same as the low table bet limit.
  • Opening bet – usually, the big blind in Texas Hold ‘em poker is considered the opening bet, setting the betting minimum at the table for the round.
  • First round of betting – the first round of betting continues after the placing of the blinds, and the position just after the big blind position is known as Under the Gun, as the player in this position must make a bet that is equal to the big blind or they can raise. If they decide to raise, the raise amount must be at least double the big blind.
  • The Flop – after the bets are called, the dealer deals three community cards on the table; the action is known as the flop. These three cards are shared by all the players who are still in the game.
  • Second round of betting – after the flop is on the table, the second round of betting starts, with the player on the left of the dealer starting first. The possible actions are bet, check, or raise.
  • The Turn – after the second betting round ends, the dealer places a fourth community card on the table, known as the Turn. As the other cards on the table, all the players share the community cards.
  • Third Round of Betting – after the Turn, the players continue with the third round of betting. Again, the first player on the left of the dealer starts the betting round.
  • The River – the final community card in Texas Hold ‘em poker is known as the River; this is the fifth card that completes the community cards.
  • Final Round of Betting – after the River is dealt, the remaining players continue with the final round of betting in Texas Hold ‘em poker. Again, the players can call, raise, or fold.
  • The Showdown – the showdown is the last action in the Texas Hold ‘em poker game, where the remaining players compare their hands. The goal is to make the best possible five-card poker hand using the two hole cards and the five community cards, and the players compare to see who has the best hand.

Cash Game Rules

The most common poker variants that are played as cash games are Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha poker, and the same rules we’ve outlined above apply here. However, some specific rules apply to cash games. One of these is that you can leave a cash game any time you like, and you can re-buy your chips if you run out of money.

Poker Tournament Rules

Poker tournaments have very much the same rules for playing poker, but some specific rules apply only in such instances. The most common poker variants that are played at poker tournaments are Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha poker. These, along with Stud and Razz poker, are a part of the H.O.R.S.E. acronym, which is a mix of poker variants played at many poker tournaments. Here are the main rules found in poker tournaments:

  • Freezeout: at the start of the poker tournament, the players get a set number of chips. The rule allows the players to play the games as long they have chips; once the player loses all their chips, they are out of the game.
  • Re-buy: this rule allows players to re-buy chips when they lose all their chips in a poker tournament. The rule also allows you to top-up your chip count after a particular time.
  • Bounty: per this rule, a part of your buy-in goes to the tournament prize, but the other part goes to any player who knocks you out of the tournament.
  • Progressive Knockout: this is very similar to the bounty rule, as you immediately get half of the opponent’s bounty when you knock them out of the tournament, and the other half is added to your own bounty, so you can win cash by knocking out players, even if you don’t win the tournament.

Other Poker Variants

Alongside Texas Hold ‘em poker, here are some other poker variants that have similar rules:

✅ Omaha Poker

We mentioned Omaha poker a few times throughout the text, and the rules of this variant are very similar to Texas Hold ‘em. The rules are the same, and the only difference is in the hole cards the players get, as every player gets four hole cards, and they can only use two of these in combination with the community cards on the table.

✅ Seven-Card Stud

This poker variant does not use community cards, but the players initially get two face-down cards and one face-up card and later get three more face-up cards and a final face-down card. The players get to make bets at every round, and the players need to make the best five-card hand with the seven cards they are dealt.

✅ High-Low games

The high-low poker games, or Hi/Lo, is a rule that is applied to Omaha or Seven-Card Stud. Per this rule, one half of the pot is awarded to the best poker hand, and the other half is awarded to the worst poker hand. Per the rules, the worst/low hand mustn’t contain a card higher than 8 and should not have any pairs. It is also expected to win both the high and low with the same cards.

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What is Texas Hold ’em poker?

Texas Hold ‘em poker is one of the most famous poker variants that is played in online casinos and card rooms worldwide. The game originated in Texas, USA, in the early 20th century and spread all over the USA in the 1960s. Since then, Texas Hold ‘em has become highly popular, mainly because of the World Series of Poker.

How can I win at Texas Hold ’em?

Texas Hold ‘em poker is a game of skill, and you need to apply careful planning and Texas Hold’em poker winning tips and strategies. We also suggest that you learn a lot of things regarding the poker hand rankings and the poker odds and outs, as well as all about poker ranges.

What is the order of play in Texas Hold ‘em?

The playing order in Texas Hold ‘em order is simple, and it starts with the small blind, big blind, Under the Gun position, the middle position, and the late position. The first players to make a bet are the small and big blind, then the Under the Gun position makes a bet or raises, then the middle positions, and lastly, the in-position or late position, which is the last one to make an action.

Can players use all, some, or none of their hole cards to form their hands?

In Texas Hold ‘em poker, the players get two hole cards and five community cards, and they can use their two hole cards and three of their community cards to make the best possible hand.

Is bluffing important in Texas Hold ‘em poker?

Bluffing in Texas Hold ‘em poker is vital, and it is essential for a viable poker strategy. Bluffing is also considered an art form, as its primary goal is to make your opponents fold while building the pot and tipping the scales in your favor.

Can you show your cards to other players during a poker game?

You should not show your hole cards to other players during a poker game. You can do this, but you’ll be revealing your edge and will destroy your chances to bluff or win the game.

Where can I play Texas Hold ’em poker online?

You can play Texas Hold ‘em poker online on one of the many top online casinos like 22Bet, Wazamba, Karamba, Betway, 20Bet, 1xBet, Ivibet, etc. Please find a detailed list of the best online casinos where you can play excellent poker variants online.

What are the different types of online poker games available?

Online poker has the same rules as land-based poker games, and many reputable online casinos offer a broad range of poker varieties like Texas Hold ‘em, Casino Hold ‘em, Caribbean poker, Stud poker, and more.

Is online poker fair, or is it rigged?

Online poker games run by an algorithm are run by a random number generator, meaning the outcome of the cards is entirely random. The live poker games played online that are run by a poker dealer follow the same format as land-based games and are entirely random, fair, and not rigged.