Poker Rules

While there are several variations regarding how Poker is played, there are basic rules that will remain the same across the board, regardless of the variant at hand. Quite common or ‘popular’ variations include Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and 7 Card Stud. It behooves new players to familiarize themselves with the basic rules first in order to acquire a firm grasp of Poker Basics in order to maximize the enjoyment and excitement of the game. It's also an invaluable way to increase the chances of winning with skill and strategy building.

Put on Your Poker Face

Poker is a game that is essentially quite simple and can be learned quickly. Mastering the art of poker takes some time. The first step in the process is becoming acquainted with the rules of the particular variant at hand. Certain facts about the game must be known to the player in order to proceed effectively and experience the ultimate excitement of the game. To get started one puts on his/her ‘Poker Face’. This cliché applies to the nature of how one will engage in play during a Poker game. This aspect of the game has come to reflect a representation of a neutral expression that reveals very little about the intentions or emotions of the player at any given time. If one acquires what they believe to be a likely winning hand, they certainly do not want to grin or jump for joy in front of the opponents. Three of the more popular variations of poker include Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud. It is good practice to become acquainted with the basics before engaging in poker gaming.

Variations and Terminology

Texas Hold'em poker is a community card game with emphasis on the cards being played, the betting and the players. The end goal in Texas Hold’em will vary slightly for cash games vs. tournament play as tournaments have added twists and rules. To win a pot in this version you must have the best hand or all other players must fold before the showdown. In Texas Hold’em the goal is to win as many ‘pots’ as you can, and the game is typically played with 2 to 10 players.

In Omaha players will likely call more bets and play more hands which will create more robust competition than Texas Hold’em. Every player is dealt 4 cards and there are added rules in Omaha for determining the winning hand at showdown. This game is also played with 2 to 10 players. The way to win a hand in the Omaha version is to have the best hand, or wait for all other players to fold their hands.

7 Card Stud is considered to be a more ‘pure’ variation of Poker and is somewhat more difficult to play. 7 Card Stud is played with 2 to 8 players and has the same goal as the other versions - to win as many pots as possible. 7 Card Stud is a bit more difficult to play than the aforementioned variants and will require substantially more poker savvy.

Introductory Terminology

The very first thing you want to learn will be the words that you will hear when you play any variation of poker. Below is a list of words that will become quite common when players get started in real-time, or online play.

  • Blinds: A blind-bet is a forced bet made before the cards are dealt. In Texas Hold’em blinds take the place of the classic ‘ante’
  • Burn Card: The burn card is dealt face-down before any community cards are dealt
  • Button: This is the ‘nickname’ for the player who is acting as the dealer in any given hand
  • Check: Similar to a ‘call’, but no money is bet. If there is no raise ‘pre-flop’ the big blind may ‘check’
  • Pre-Flop: Anything that occurs before the flop is dealt
  • Flop: The first 3 community cards dealt
  • River: Same as Fifth Street – The final 5th community card dealt
  • Fourth Street: The 4th community card dealt
  • Turn: Same as Fourth Street - the 4th community card dealt
  • Fifth Street: The final 5th community card dealt
  • Showdown: The point at which players show their hands to determine which pot wins