How to Play Poker: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners

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There is no doubt about the fact that poker has been around for centuries now. But the presence of poker on the online platform from the past few decades has contributed to its popularity. The fancy poker rooms, global tournaments, and much more adds glamour to the world of poker.

Every day there is a new poker site that attracts a player to try his luck and hone his skills of playing cards. Despite the popularity of poker, there are still some players who are unknown to the basics of it. To master poker, a beginner needs to understand it in depth rather than following a handy poker tutorial. So, to become a pro at playing poker, let’s get into its step-by-step guide.

Meaning of poker

Before jumping directly into the intricacies of poker, it is essential to know the meaning of poker. It is a card game that can be played by two or more players. The player bets on the value of their hands or combinations of cards, the winner gets the pool of the money at the end. There are many variants of poker but all poker games have the same betting principles. It is the way of bets in poker that makes it different from other card games.

Different types of poker

There are various variants of poker. Many players wish to stick to one poker variant but others like to play all of them. Here, are the 3 main categories of poker that every beginner should know:

  • Draw poker: the famous variants in this game are Five Card Draw and Badugi.
  • Stud poker: the famous variants in this game are Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud, and Razz.
  • Shared card poker: the famous variants in this game are Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

How to play poker?

In Texas Hold’em, a famous poker variant, the purpose is to use player’s private, hole cards, 2 face-down cards that are primarily dealt by the dealer. Later, when combined with the community cards dealt face-up on the poker table, it forms the toughest hand of 5 cards.

These face-up, community cards are later dealt with in the following stages:

  • The flop – the first three cards laid out after the first round of betting.
  • The turn – it is the fourth community card, after the second round of betting.
  • The river – it is the fifth and final card, after the third round of betting.

The main concern is to win the money and this can be done by following:

  • Getting hands-on the best five-card poker hand by using current community cards as well as the other two hands available in hand.
  • It is necessary to ensure that your opponent believes that your hand is the strongest.

The entire process of playing poker makes it unique. A player doesn’t need to have the best hand but can bluff or make his opponents feel that he has a strong hand. In case one player folds then the remaining player will win the game without the need to show the cards. Otherwise, if two or more players get to the showdown then after all the betting rounds are complete, the winner needs to have the highest five-card poker hand.

How many players can play poker?

Poker is a game for two or seven players. However, other variants of poker can be played by more than seven players. Also, there are some massive poker tournaments where in the early stages around eleven players can play.

Here are some of the common formats of poker played:

  • Full ring – this format of poker involves a whole table where a maximum of ten players can play. It is a common format for Texas Hold’em.
  • Short-handed – the number of players that can play short-handed is six. However, it can be played with a fewer number of players as well.
  • Heads up – this refers to a match between two players. It is an online popular format.

Basic rules of playing poker for beginners

The basic rules of playing poker for beginners are simple to understand. Here are some of the rules of playing poker mentioned below:

  • Poker-hand rankings – types of poker game revolves around poker-hand rankings which decide the winning hand. In some poker games, the winner is decided by the strongest hand. Whereas, in games like low-ball poker, players with the weakest hand wins.
  • Bluffing – bluffing is an essential part of poker. It is a skill that only a few players can master. Bluffing means having the confidence to suggest that you have a stronger hand and you need to make your opponent fold before the final round.
  • Forced bets– many poker games have some sort of mandatory bet at the beginning. These are also known as ante or blind.
  • The dealer– the role of the dealer is to ensure the order of any forced or other bets placed. When playing at home, the player with the button does all the dealing.
  • The blinds–before every hand, the two players left to the dealer needs to make blind bets.

First betting round: Preflop

Now it’s the first round where every player is going to deal with two cards face down. The first player will be the person left to the big blind. This position is popularly termed as ‘under the gun’. He will get 3 betting options, including:

  • Call where he can equal the amount of the big blind.
  • Raise to amplify the bet.
  • Fold to leave from the game.

Second betting round: The Flop

After the completion of the first betting round, the dealer brings out the 3 community cards to initiate the 2nd round. It starts with the player on the dealer’s left. Here, the 4th betting option is unveiled which is Check- moving the action to the next player in the game.

Fourth betting option: The turn

Here, the fourth community card is being introduced by the name Turn. It’s a Face-up option to resume the next round of betting with the same 4 options.

Fifth betting round: The river

After the completion of the turn, the 5th community card called the river is being introduced. It kick-starts another betting round. Once the betting round is completed, the left-out players with hole cards reveal their cards to call out the winner.

The showdown

Here, the player who has the best combination of 5 important cards will win the pot.

What are poker betting options?

In the betting round, every player has various betting options to choose from:

  • Bet – in every new betting round, a player who is willing to put in new chips is making a bet. The first bet is entirely created on the two cards of the players. After making the first bet, the players have to choose to either:
  • Call – calling or seeing a bet is equal to matching the previous bet or a player can raise it.
  • Raise – raising a bet means adding more money. If a player decides to raise a bet then the other players can call your new bet or fold.
  • Fold – if a player decides to fold his bet then he cannot match his previous bet which means the player is dropping out of the poker game.
  • Check – it means to skip the current round but the player remains in the game.
  • All-in –the player can decide to put in all his remaining chips.

What are basic Poker hands?

It is very important to understand the poker card’s value and strength. Poker hands are nothing but the combinations of cards in the game. Every hand comes with a different strength as per the poker hands rankings. It is an indispensable tool to know how to play poker.

Here are ten basic poker hands starting from the strongest to the weakest:

  • Royal Flush is the highest-ranked hand with 5 consecutive cards in the order value starts from ace to 10.
  • Straight Flush is the combination of 5 sequential cards of the same suit.
  • Four of a kind has 4 cards on 1 rank in all four suits. However, a single card of a different rank is known as the kicker.
  • A full house is called a full boat. It contains the same cards in 3 vivid suits and an essential pair of the similar rank in two vivid suits.
  • Flush contains 5 cards of the same suit in any order.
  • Straight contains 5 cards in a sequence created from different suits.
  • Three of a kind contains over 3 cards of similar value in 3 different suits.
  • Two pair contains 2 different sets of 2 cards of similar rank.
  • Pair contains 2 cards of equal rank in different suits.
  • A high card is known as the lowest-ranked card.

Pros of playing poker online

  • First of all, it’s very convenient to play the game online. You can play right from the comfort of your home round the clock without making much effort.
  • If you are new to the game then online poker sites and casinos offer lower betting limits along with some signup bonus that will help you to kick-start your game without taking much risk.
  • There will be no distraction while playing poker online. You can easily focus on your game and make your strategy.
  • You can easily keep a track of your losses and winnings within a few clicks.
  • You can easily choose any poker variant without burning a hole in your pocket.
  • The best part is that your fellow players/opponents can’t read your hand.

Cons of playing poker online

  • If you are someone who loves to experience the real casino experience with flashy lights, models, and waiters all around then it’s not your cup of tea.
  • While playing online poker, you can’t recognize whether your opponent is bluffing.


Playing poker is a lot of fun and is a skill that every player should know. However, with basic knowledge and some practice one can easily get a pro at playing poker. The above mentioned step-by-step to play poker for beginners is simple and can help them win big. Also, it’s recommended to play at licensed and regulated online poker sites or casino sites to stay away from fraudulent activities.

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