Your Ultimate Guide to Playing Online Poker 2023

In this online poker guide, we cover everything you need to know before you hop on your online poker adventure, including handy tips and tricks for bettering your winning odds, terms and terminology commonly used by experienced poker games, how to get started with playing online poker, and more. We also have a list of the best online casinos that offer rich gaming lobbies with many different poker variants.

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Overview

Many newbie online casino players confuse standard poker games with casino poker games. While they appear very similar, standard poker games feature several players, one dealer, and a bunch of equipment. These are the same games you can see played on television or at online poker tournaments.

When it comes to casino poker games, they are powered by RNG software also called Random Number Generator software. When you play casino poker games, you do not compete against other players but against the casino, and this is one of the biggest differences between standard and casino poker games. When it comes to gaming mechanics, the same poker hand ranking and betting options systems are present in both variants.

When you start with an online casino poker game, you get your cards and the casino also gets its cards. The main goal is to beat the house with the strongest poker hand. Other players are not involved like in standard poker games. Since no other players are there, you have more time to decide on your next steps.

Whichever casino poker game you play, the main goal is always the same, get the strongest possible poker hand from what you have. In the following sections of our online poker guide, we briefly discuss the history of poker, we take a look at some of the most prominent online poker pros and cons, and we introduce you to some of the most used online poker terms.

This online poker guide has a bunch of other handy sections, including one section with the game’s rules, another section that introduces you to handy tips and tricks, and one section that includes all the steps needed to finally start playing real money poker games online.

In one of the sections featured here, you also come across all the most popular online poker games you get to play at online casinos and each variant is briefly discussed. We also compare different online poker games based on their rules and winning opportunities.

Once you are done with our guide, you will be ready to jump right into the action and start playing for real money. Once you get here, you have our list of the best online casinos to play online poker and these casinos let you benefit from awesome bonuses and promotions you can use on poker games. Our guide has also a FAQ if you need more information.

Pros & Cons

Pros
You have access to free poker games if you want to practice
Generous casino bonuses available
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Cons
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Briefly About the History of Poker

Now, we briefly discuss the history of poker. These days, most people associate poker with the game of Texas Hold’em which remains the most popular poker game both online and offline. When it comes to the history of poker, we have to go back to the 1700s when one of the earliest versions of poker was played. There is also strong evidence that the game of poker in its different variations was popular among ancient Chinese and Persians. What we know for sure is that the game of poker was called Poque before becoming Poker.

When it comes to all other casino games, most of them were introduced to the United States by European settlers and the same is true for the iconic game of poker. More specifically, the game of poker found its way to the USA back in the 1860s when it was brought by French travelers. Shortly after, new versions of poker were introduced, including Stud and Draw Poker.

At the turn of the 20th century, Robstown in Texas introduces the popular variation of Texas Hold 'em. The game, however, lacked a fan base for close to fifty years. The game was finally given fresh life in Las Vegas when in the late 1960s when many iconic Las Vegas land-based casinos opened their doors and included Texas Hold’em tables in their gaming lobbies. A couple of years later, Dune Casino in Las Vegas organized the first Texas Hold 'em competition. This is what skyrocketed the game’s popularity which persists today.

With the growing popularity of Texas Hold’em, the Binion brothers decided to organize their own poker event after acquiring Gambling Fraternity Convention. This will eventually become the World Series of Poker, the biggest poker event. Thanks to the rise of online casinos, the game of poker skyrocketed in popularity once again and today, online casinos offer quite a few different online poker variants.


Poker Terms You Should Familiarize Yourself With

Turn: In the dealing order, the turn is the fourth community card.

Trips: Having a combo or Three of Kind, such as having three Jacks or three fours.

Round of Betting: Whenever a new betting round starts, players get to decide on their move, they can fold, call, raise, or check.

Royal Flush: Royal Flush is the strongest poker hand and it consists of an Ace combined with a Queen, King, Tens of Spades, and Jack.

Straight: Having a poker hand with five successive cards, such as having a four, three, two, one, and Ace.

River: River is the last community card in the dealing order.

Rake: Rake refers to a commission taken by the house from each pot.

Pot: Pot refers to potential winnings at stake.

Pair: Having two cards of the same value, such as having two fours or two fives.

Hole Cards: Cards dealt facing down visible only to players.

Flop: Flop refers to the first three community cards dealt.

Flush: Having a poker hand with five cards of the same suit.

Community Cards: Community cards are available to all players and they are always placed at the table facing up.

Buy-In: Buy-in refers to the minimum amount of chips you need to invest in order to play.

Bluff: Bluff refers to tricking other players into believing you have a strong poker hand when in reality, your hand is probably among the weakest. The main goal of bluffing is to make other players fold.

Blinds: Blinds are small and big and both are compulsory wagers that have to be made. The player sitting next to the croupier on the left side must place a small blind, while the player sitting two places on the left side from the dealer must place a big blind.


Playing Poker – Rules of the Game

Now, we examine the game’s rules. Every poker gaming round starts when the croupier shuffles the deck in use and all poker games use a fifty-two-card deck. When it comes to playing big blinds or the lowest bet, it is placed by the player seated two places from the dealer on the left side. Small blinds are generally half of the big blind and they are placed by the player sitting right next to the croupier also on the left side. Once blinds have been placed, all players get two cards.

The gaming round starts with the participant who placed the big blind or the person seated next to the dealer on the left side. Players have a couple of options. They can increase the stake or make a call and match the stake in the game. Players can also check if they have reached the maximum bet. Players can also fold and quit the gaming round if they do not have strong cards.

Once all players have made their decision, the flop is dealt or three community cards. The fourth community card or Turn is dealt the following gaming round and the next betting round starts. The last community card or River is then dealt before all players who are still in the game show their cards. The winning player is the one with the strongest five-card hand. Below, you will find all of the poker hands starting from the weakest to the strongest.

High Card: If you do not have at least a Pair or higher, you have a High Card. If nobody has a Pair or higher, the player with the strongest high card wins.

Pair: Having two cards of the same value.

Two Pairs: Having two Pairs with one odd card.

Three of a Kind: Having three cards that have the same value and two odd cards.

Straight: Having five successive cards that do not share the same suit.

Flush: Having five cards that have the same suit.

Full House: Having three same cards with two odd cards.

Four of a Kind: Having four cards of the same value and one odd card.

Straight Flush: Having five successive cards that have the same suit.

Royal Flush: Having Straight Flush made of higher cards, Aces, and higher.


Playing Poker- Strategies to Use

More experienced poker players understand the importance of incorporating certain winning strategies to boost their winning odds. In order to help you out, we have a couple of easy-to-understand tips and tricks for you featured down below which could easily improve your winning odds. 

HORSE May Not Be the Best Option for New Players

What makes the poker game called HORSE very exciting is the fact that it combines multiple different games. With this being said, you cannot be good at playing HORSE if you are not familiar with a couple of different poker games, including Seven Card Stud, Fixed Limit Omaha, Fixed Limit Hold’em, Razz or Seven Card Stud Low and Seven Card Stud. Essentially, HORSE is not the best option for beginner players. 

Understand Your Payout Potential

Having a winning hand does not guarantee a payout and this is true no matter which poker game you play. This is why it is important that you understand your payout potential on different qualifying hands and how your payout potential can fluctuate based on what the dealer has. 

Having One Winning Hand is Not Always Enough

You also need to understand that having one winning hand may not be enough, depending on which poker game you play. For instance, in Pai Gow poker, you need to have two winning hands or two hands that beat the croupier’s hands. 

Know When You Should Raise

It is also important that you understand when to raise and when to fold. Most professional and more experienced poker players who play Caribbean Stud Poker recommend you raise the stake whenever you have a Pair or anything stronger. If you do not have at least a Pair, consider folding. 

Test Different Winning Strategies

To become a better poker player, you also want to test different winning strategies. In other words, you want to invest some time into exploring and testing different poker-winning strategies. With the right winning strategy, you can increase your winning odds every time. 

Know the Payouts Associated with Each Winning Hand

You also want to invest some time into familiarizing yourself with the payouts associated with each winning hand. Also, keep in mind that scoring wins on your lower-paying hands can sometimes generate more profits in the long run than scoring big wins not so frequently. 

Learn the Difference Between Having a Strong and Weak Hand

No matter which poker game you play, knowing the difference between weak and strong hands always goes a long way. Sometimes, the best route to take is to quit and start playing again if your hand does not have high winning odds. 

Tips When Playing Poker Online

Now we have a couple of simple tips for you if you want to make smarter choices when playing online poker. You can apply these tips no matter which poker game you play.

How to Start Playing Poker Online?

Turning into a good poker player is easier than you may think even if you have spent most of your online gambling sessions playing instant-win or slot games. Below, you will find all the steps needed to finally start playing poker.

1 Register at a Licensed Online Casino

The very first step is to find yourself a licensed, reputable online casino that has a rich selection of online poker games. Licensed casinos commonly feature guides on playing different casino games, including poker.

2 Find Your Seat

Once you have registered for an account at a licensed, reputable online casino, make a deposit and head to the casino’s poker or table/card games lobby. Here, click on the poker game you want to play. Follow the gameplay rules and place your first bet to get started.

3 Practice with Free Poker Games

Before you place your first real money wager, you may want to practice with free poker games. If your chosen online casino offers free poker games, make sure you benefit from this option.

4 Benefit from Poker Bonuses

Another great idea is to take advantage of online casino bonuses and promotions that are usable in poker games. Claim a welcome bonus if available to boost your bankroll from the very beginning.

5 Check Your Cards

During each gaming session, you need to check your cards carefully and examine how your cards compare with your game’s paytable. Remember, you need a hand stronger than the dealer’s to win.

Dictionary

With the help of our beginner-friendly poker glossary featured down below, you get to familiarize yourself with all the most commonly used poker terms and play like a true professional.

Learn more

Different Poker Variants

Below, you will find all of the most popular poker variants you get to play online and offline at modern, reputable casinos.

Live Dealer Poker

These days, online casinos offer super exciting live dealer poker games and these follow the same rules as standard RNG poker games but they are hosted by real dealers. When you play live dealer games, your main goal is to beat the dealer’s hand. You can also play with other players.

Ante Up 21 Blackjack

Ante Up 21 Blackjack is one of the most unusual poker games simply because you get to play side bets and the standard blackjack rules apply mixed with the most exciting poker features. When you place side bets in Ante Up 21 Blackjack, you can win awesome bonus prizes up to GH₵100,000 which is quite impressive.

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is an exciting Chinese variant of poker that you can play at many online casinos. In Pai Gow Poker, your goal is to have two strong poker hands, one made of five and another made of two cards. If you have only one winning hand, that gaming round ends up in a draw.

Classic Poker

Classic casino poker games are most suitable for beginners. These are single-player games with the standard poker hand ranking. Having a hand that beats the dealer’s hand gives you a payout.

Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold’em Poker played against the casino is called Casino Hold’em. Unlike Texas Hold’em Poker which includes other players, in Casino Hold’em, you compete against the casino. You and the croupier get two hole cards and you can use all of the community cards placed at the table to get the strongest five-card-hand.

Red Dog Poker

In Red Dog Poker, each gaming session starts with the croupier placing two cards on the table. Players then predict whether the third card dealt will have a value between the value of the two cards placed at the table. When it comes to payouts in Red Dog Poker, they are based on the spread or on the number of cards that fit between the two cards at the table.

Live Dealer Texas Hold’em Poker

Thanks to the rise of live dealer poker games, the game of Texas Hold’em also got its modern live dealer variant which like other live casino games is played with real dealers. The rules of the game are the same as the rules in the standard single-player version. However, in Live Dealer Texas Hold’em games there are several players seated at the same table.

Three Card Poker

In Three Card Poker, you also compete against the croupier. Both you and the croupier have three cards. Once all the wagers have been placed, both parties show their cards, and the winner is revealed.

Bullfight Poker

This leads us to yet another Chinese version of poker called Bullfight. This is a game inspired by the game called Niu Niu and Bullfight poker, you have two betting boxes, including the Black and Red boxes. Each box gets five cards. The game shares the same point-scoring system used in Baccarat. Essentially, the winning hand is the one with the total point value closest to nine.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker also known as Casino Stud Poker has the same rules as the standard Five-Card Stud Poker. However, this is a single-player game so you compete against the house and no other players are involved.

Cyber Stud Poker

Next, we have Cyber Stud Poker and which is also a poker game based on five-card games. In Cyber Stud Poker, you compete against the croupier. The main goal of the game is to get a Royal Flush and Royal Flush winning combos can get you prizes up to 200x your stake. You get reduced payouts if the dealer’s hand does not qualify.

Live Dealer Caribbean Stud Poker

Just like in the standard RNG-powered Caribbean Stud Poker games, in Live Dealer Caribbean Stud Poker you get five cards and you compete against the croupier and other players. In Live Dealer Caribbean Stud Poker, you can place side bets and you can win a progressive jackpot if you have a Royal Flush.

Poker Ride

In Poker Ride, the main focus is on community cards simply because no hole cards are dealt. Players have two options whenever a new card is dealt, they can either raise or call. In Poker Ride, you can also place side bets if you want to have a shot at winning progressive jackpots.

Tequila Poker

Tequila Poker is yet another exciting poker game that creates unusual gaming sessions by combining elements of blackjack and poker. The main goal is to have the strongest five-card poker hand. In Tequila Poker, you can win based on the total value of your card points.

Hold Em High Poker

If you want to play Texas Hold’em at higher stakes, Hold Em High Poker is the best option. The same poker rankings system and gameplay rules of Texas Hold’em are used in Hold Em High Poker just the stakes are higher.

Let It Ride Poker

Let It Ride Poker also called Let’em Ride has very simple rules. The main goal of the game is to have the strongest five-card hand made of two community cards and three hole cards. In Let It Ride Poker, you have to use the two community cards placed at the table.

Stud Poker

Stud Poker also known as Casino Stud is an exciting poker game based on the classic Five Card Stud poker game. In Stud Poker, your main goal is to beat the dealer’s hand with your five-card hand like in the vast majority of other poker games.

Side Bet City

Side Bet City is a live dealer poker game accessible at many online casinos. In Side Bet City, the croupier places cards on the table and these cards can make seven, five, and three-card poker hands. Players bet on which card hand they believe will lose. Players can also place No Win bets.

Live Dealer Stud Poker

In Live Dealer Stud Poker, you follow the same rules as when you play the standard Stud Poker games powered by RNG. Here, you compete against the dealer and you can place a couple of different side bets. Side betting can get you a progressive jackpot.

2-7 Triple Draw

This is a five-card poker hand and the main goal is to have the weakest five-card poker hand made of both community and hole cards.

2-7 Single Draw

2-7 Single Draw poker is played just like the standard triple draw variant. However, when you play this variant, you can redraw and discard your hole cards once during each gaming session.

Badugi

Badugi is fun for players who enjoy card-draw poker games. The strongest hand must not have any duplicate cards in either rank or suit in order to win. Players can receive up to four cards.

8-Game Mix

8-Game Mix is more suitable for experienced poker players as it requires knowing the rules of 2-7 Triple Draw, Limit Hold 'em, Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, Razz, Seven Card Stud, Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, No-Limit Hold 'em, and Pot-Limit Omaha.

Fast-Fold Poker

Fast-Fold Poker also called Rush and Zoom poker is an old poker game with the most basic gameplay rules. However, if you choose to fold your hand, you instantly get a seat at another table, so no waiting time is involved.

HORSE

The poker game HORSE is intriguing if not a little complex and the game comprises of rounds of Hold 'em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Stud Hi/Lo. Every time a new gaming round starts, you play a different poker game and this is what makes HORSE so exciting for experienced poker players.

Five Card Draw Poker

In Five Card Draw Poker, you can discard your weak cards in hopes of getting something better. At the start of each round, you get five hole cards and you can get rid of three of these if they have no value. The strongest hand made of five community and two hole cards wins.

Open Face Chinese Poker

One of the casino poker variations with the most intense gaming sessions is Open Face Chinese Poker. Thirteen cards are drawn by players and they need three different hands. These three hands must follow the exact ranking system and the top hand is always lower in ranking.

Irish Poker

This variation of casino poker switches from an Omaha-style game to a Texas Hold'em game. Each round starts with four hole cards, but by the conclusion, two of the four are out of the game. Once you get to this point, you need to make the strongest five-card hand made of five community cards and the remaining hole card.

Pineapple Poker

Pineapple Poker uses the same card hands as the most popular Texas Hold’em poker game. However, in this poker variant, you get three hole cards and you have the option to discard one of these and keep the two others.

Short Deck Hold’em Poker

Short Deck Hold’em Poker games use a thirty-six-card deck. At the start of each round, you get two hole cards and the main goal is to make up the strongest five-card hand with five community cards.

Razz Poker

In Razz, the main goal is to have the lowest-valued poker hand made of community and hole cards. Up to five community cards are dealt during each gaming round.

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FAQ

No, if you play your favorite online poker games at reputable online casinos, you enjoy fair gaming sessions. Most licensed and reputable online casinos have RNG certificates that prove the fairness of their games.

This really depends on your gaming preferences. To find the game that suits your gaming style the best make sure you check out our guide on different online poker variants which are accessible at reputable online casinos.

This once again comes down to your gaming preferences. If you are looking for reputable online casino sites to get started, check out our list of the top-ranked online casinos for playing poker first.

Yes, playing online poker is perfectly legal for as long as you play your favorite games at online casinos that have valid remote gaming licenses issued by reputable iGaming regulatory bodies.

Yes, the vast majority of online casinos let you access their online poker games on any modern smartphone or tablet.

No, there is no online poker winning strategy that guarantees you win every single time. At the same time, relying on different online poker winning strategies can significantly boost your long-term winning odds.

No, counting cards does not work when you play poker online simply because the deck in use is reshuffled before every new gaming round.

In poker tournaments, you compete with other players while in casino poker, you compete against the house. At the same time, the same poker hand ranking system is used.

Yes, if you play real money poker games online, you receive real money winnings.

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