There are many types of poker some of which you can play at home without money and some that require money and a betting system. The most commonly known form of poker today is Texas Hold’em, which is the type of poker played at all major poker tournaments and pretty much at any online casino you can find.
However, there are other types that are almost as popular, and we’ll talk more about them in this complete guide on how to play poker online in India.
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18+ | T&C's Apply | Responsible Gambling is advised. Casino, Betting and all forms of gambling is an entertainment form that comes with a considerable risk of losing your money. Never play with more than you can afford to lose.
The purpose of this guide is to introduce you to the game of poker and explain the basic rules as well as the difference between a range of poker games. We’ll also discuss how to play poker online and provide some insight into basic poker strategies.
By the end of this guide, you should have enough knowledge about the game to start playing poker, either online or in a real casino.
So without further ado, here is the complete beginner’s guide to poker.
Poker rules are pretty easy and straightforward as long as you get a hang of the basics. In most types of poker, especially the popular poker games online such as Texas Hold’em, your goal is to create the best poker hand possible using five cards.
To better describe the most general poker rules, we’ll use Texas Hold’em as an example.
Remember that you play poker against other players that are all seated around the same poker table. Generally speaking, there is a dealer at the table whose job it is to be in charge of the game without participating.
If you play poker at home or with friends, the role of the dealer is usually switched between all the players after each round so that everyone gets to be the dealer.
Note: before you start playing a round of poker, two players are in charge of placing blinds. The blinds are two predetermined bets that make up the base of the prize pot for that specific round. There is always a big and a small blind, and the big blind is usually twice the size of the small blind. For each new round, the responsibility of paying the blind switches one player over.
The first round of Texas Hold’em starts with every player getting two personal cards dealt face down. These cards are called “hole cards” and belong to the player himself and should not be shared with the others.
After everyone has had a chance to look at their cards, the first round of betting is conducted.
At this point, anyone that wants to continue playing has to match the big blind that was placed before the round started. If a player doesn’t think that his cards are good enough, he can fold without matching the blind. At this point, players also have the option of placing a bet that is higher than the big blind. In that case, all other players have to match that bet to continue playing.
After the first round of betting, three community cards are dealt face-up on the table. These cards are called the flop and can be used by any player at the table. Then the second round of betting is conducted.
When the second betting round is done, a fourth community card is dealt on the table next to the flop. This card is called the turn. Then the third round of betting is conducted.
The fourth and final round starts with the dealer dealing a fifth community card called the river. After the river has been dealt with, a last round of betting is conducted and then the players reveal their cards.
At any given time during the game, players can decide to fold. ie. give up their right to win the ongoing round of poker. Also, as mentioned, a poker hand consists of five cards, and since there are five community cards as well as two personal cards per player, each player has seven cards to pick from to make their strongest hand.
Now, with that basic introduction of how to play poker, we’ll take a look at the different poker hands. This will help you better understand how the game works.
Knowing the different poker hands is essential to playing poker because they are what decides who wins and who loses. Therefore, it’s also the hands that determine how you’re going to play and which strategies to apply.
Luckily, poker hands are pretty straightforward and easy to learn and memorize. Below, we’ve collected all the different hands from the smallest to the biggest, with detailed descriptions of what they are and how you build one.
Remember that most types of poker use five cards per hand. However, as you’ll soon see, you don’t necessarily have to combine all five cards to create a valid hand. For the sake of clarity, we’ll use the most standard poker rules to explaining the hands below, ie. the rules used in Texas Hold’em.
The cards that are not included in the actual card combination are called kickers, or side cards. And even though they’re not included in a combination, they still serve a purpose. You can read more about them further down.
A pair is a lowest-valued hand in poker. It consists of two cards of the same rank, for example, two 2s or two kings. The suit of the card does not matter in a pair but the higher the denomination is, the higher the value of the hand gets
A two pair is a hand made up of two different pairs, for example, one pair of 7s and one pair of 10s. The fifth card is a kicker. Similar to a regular pair, the suite doesn’t matter, but the higher the rank of the card, the better the hand.
Three of a kind
Three of a kind is three cards of the same rank and value such as three Kings or three 3s. Once again, the suit of the card has no meaning but you want to aim at getting a three of a kind with the highest cards possible for the best chance of winning.
A straight is a different type of hand than the three aforementioned. It’s also the first hand to use all five cards. In a straight, you have to have five cards in chronological order. For example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10, J, Q, K, A.
A flush is one of two poker hands where the suit of the cards matter. In fact, the suit of the card is what makes this hand a hand. You need five cards of the same suit to make a flush, although the rank of the card doesn’t play a part. Now, the cards have to be the same suit and not just color, that means you need five spades, hearts, clubs or diamonds to make a flush.
A full house is a combination of a pair and three of a kind, ie. a pair in 6s and three Kings, etc. This is a really hard hand to get, which is why it ranks so high.
The straight flush is the best hand one can get in poker and it combines a straight with a flush, ie. five cards in a row and all in the same suit. For example, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 in spades.
Now, if you get a straight that goes from 10 to A (10, J, Q, K, A), in the same suit, you have a Royal Straight Flush, which is the best hand there is.
Kickers are all the cards that are not included in a poker combination. For example, if you have four of a kind, you’ll also have a kicker which is the fifth card. The same goes if you have three of a kind but then you’ll have two kickers instead.
The purpose of the kicker is to determine who wins in case two players have the same hand. The higher the kicker, the better it is. Let’s say that you and one other player have a pair of 4s, then the player with the highest kicker wins.
How to Play Poker Online
If you’re interested in playing poker online, you have a few options to choose from. The easiest version of online poker is the so-called video poker which almost works as a combination of poker and online slots.
However, if you want to play real poker with other players you have to find a poker site where “the real” poker games are offered. Some poker sites are connected to online casinos that also offer live casinos and slot machines, but many poker sites are separate sites altogether. The reason for this is that poker is different from most other casino games.
So, in order to play poker online, you have to find a reliable online casino or poker site. As always, we suggest you stick with our recommendations since our team of casino experts only recommend the best of the best.
Once you’ve signed up for an online poker site, you can pick which type of poker you want to play and join an available table with other players. And that’s it. Playing poker online in India is really that simple.
Different Poker Games
We’ve already mentioned a couple of times that there are different poker games in India and the rest of the world. Below, we’ve listed the most popular online poker games so that you can get a better understanding of how they differ from one another.
Five Card Draw
This is the simplest version of poker and the type of poker many of us learn how to play as kids.
In this poker game, each player gets five personal cards and there are no community cards. Depending on the rules, players have the option of switching cards either ones or twice to create the best hand. It’s one of the few types of poker that can be played without betting and is therefore rarely offered at casinos or in tournaments. Five Card Draw also acts as the foundation for Video Poker.
Texas Hold’em is the most commonly played poker game at online and land-based casinos all over the world. This is the game that’s played in most major tournaments and it’s considered the quintessential version of poker. We’ve detailed how Texas Hold’em is played in the beginning of this guide.
You should not be surprised to find Omaha offered at most online casinos and poker sites in India. It’s quite similar to Texas Hold’em and the goal is to get the best hand. The biggest difference between the two poker games is that, in Omaha, each player gets four hole cards each as well as five community cards. However, each player is only allowed to use two of the four hole cards to create a poker hand.
Stud Poker is a collection of different poker games with similar rules. Caribbean Stud Poker and Seven Card Stud are two popular versions that you can find at many casinos today.
Technically speaking, Razz is a form of stud poker and it’s becoming increasingly more popular at casinos all over the world. What makes Razz unique compared to other types of poker is that the goal is to get the lowest-valued hand possible, instead of the highest.
Three Card Rummy
This is one of the few three-card poker games offered at some online casinos. As the name entails, the goal in three card rummy is to make a hand using only three cards instead of five. Thus, the rules of three-card rummy are a bit easier to learn.
The Poker Table
The poker table is an essential part of any poker game. It’s usually a big oval table with clearly marked seats for players as well as one seat for the dealer. The dealer always sits at one of the longer sides facing all the players.
A poker table is either covered with felt or a Teflon-based fabric that makes it easy to slide playing cards across it.
When playing poker online, you and the other players will be placed around a virtual poker table, often shown from above. This makes the experience much more authentic.
The Poker Chips (set)
Poker chips or casino tokens are small, coin-shaped discs used instead of real money at a casino. To start playing poker at a land-based casino, you have to exchange your money for poker chips.
There are many variants of poker chips and many casinos make their own with the casino name printed on them. The tokens come in several different denominations with unique colors that make it easy to separate them. Also, poker chips are used for most table games at casinos such as roulette, blackjack, and baccarat.
Poker chips are used for several different reasons, one being enhanced security at casinos since it’s difficult to steal them and exchange them for real money. However, the main reason is that poker chips are easier to play with than real money, both for the players and the dealer.
The Poker Cards
You’re probably already familiar with poker cards, also known as playing cards. They are the most essential part of any poker game which is why you must know what they are and what their purpose is.
A standard deck of cards consists of 52 playing cards split into four different suits. The suits are Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades.
Furthermore, each suite has 13 cards each – 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack (J), Queen (Q), King (K), and Ace (A). When playing poker, the Ace can either be the highest valued card or the lowest valued card, depending on the hand you’ve created.
Strip Poker is a variation of the traditional poker where the loser of each round has to take off one clothing item until one player is completely naked and has, in fact, lost.
For obvious reasons, strip poker isn’t played at casinos and it can’t be played online. Instead, it’s mostly played for entertaining reasons at parties and among friends.