Before Sitting at the Virtual Felt Know Your Poker Rules; Online poker is played by millions of people around the world. The number of sites continues to grow as people play for fun, cash and fame.
But before you can win a seat at the World Series of Poker via an online poker tournament, you need to understand the basic rules and procedures that govern this highly competitive game. That’s the first step towards playing poker successfully online.
Texas Holdem is not the only poker game, but it is the most popular online poker game around. The next most popular games are Omaha and Omaha Hi Lo. Many online sites offer these three games plus Five-Card Draw and versions of Stud. You may also find more esoteric games at some online poker sites, such as HORSE, Razz and Badugi.
If you are just starting out, the best thing to do is to stick with one game. The easiest games to learn are Texas Holdem and Five-Card Draw. Most players start with Holdem because it’s more interesting than Five-Card Draw and a bit easier than Omaha. Also, Holdem players find the most action at online poker sites.
Basic Poker Dealing and Betting
Most online poker games follow a pattern that includes
• Posting an ante or blind.
• Hole cards dealt.
• First round of betting.
• Another card or cards dealt.
• Second round of betting.
• A third round is dealt.
• Third round of betting.
• Final card dealt.
• Fourth and final round of betting.
When playing poker, you’ll find the one basic game that does not follow such a sequence is Five-Card Draw, which involves an ante, dealing, a bet, discarding and dealing and one more round of betting.
No Limit Holdem Dealing and Betting
In order to play well, poker players must learn and understand the basic structure of the game. The dealing and betting sequence for Holdem is always the same.
• Before a hand is dealt, the small and big blinds must be posted. The big blind is equal to the minimum wager and the small blind is equivalent to half the minimum wager.
• The player immediately to the left of the Dealer Button puts up the small blind, while the player to the left of the small blind posts the big blind. (With each hand the blinds and Dealer Button move one seat to the left.)
• Two hole cards are first dealt.
• Betting commences with the player seated to the left of the big blind. That player has three choices:
o Make the minimum bet.
o Make a bet larger than the minimum.
o Simply fold.
o If someone raises the wager, then players must match the raise to stay in.
• The flop, which is the first three community cards, is dealt. From this point on the betting starts with the small blind or the person closest to the left of the Dealer Button. In the second round of wagering, players may:
o Check, which means they neither bet nor fold.
o Bet the minimum.
o Bet more than the minimum, which is a raise.
o For players to stay in the game, they must meet any raise.
• The next community card, the turn, is dealt. Then the third round of wagering commences. Players have the same choices as they do after the flop.
• Finally, the river, the final community card, is dealt. The final round of bets occurs. This is the showdown where the winner is determined.
• The betting follows the same pattern that occurs after the turn and the river.
• With betting finished, cards are revealed in the showdown and the winner is determined.
• Players use five of the seven cards to make their best hand.
• The next hand starts with the small and big blinds being posted.
The differences between dealing Omaha and Holdem are negligible.
• Omaha gives players four hole cards.
• All other rounds are dealt the same.
• The betting also follows the same pattern as Holdem.
• Players use two hole cards and three community cards to make their best hand.
Both Five-Card and Seven-Card Stud are often found at online poker rooms. Here’s how they’re dealt.
• Five-Card Stud:
o There are no community cards in Stud.
o The first two cards are dealt with one down and one up.
o A round of betting occurs.
If there is a bring-in, the player with the lowest up card must pay it.
If there is no bring-in, then the player with the highest up card wagers.
o After that each player gets one card at a time face-up.
o In each round, the player with the best up cards bets first.
• Seven-Card Stud:
o This game is dealt like Five-Card but:
There is one more up card.
There is one more down card, which is the final card dealt.
Online Poker Takes Skill
If you’re playing poker, you need to know how each game is dealt and bet. Doing so allows you to wager in a knowledgeable manner. No matter what game you play, the basis for skill development is knowing the rules of the game you’re playing.