How To Play Poker

Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world, how you play it will depend on what type of poker you choose to play. The most commonly played poker game, both in land-based casinos and online ones, is Texas Hold'em. Any casino tips site will tell you to familiarise yourself with the rules of Texas Hold'em before you sit down at the table, if you don't it could prove to be a very costly trip to the casino.

Texas Hold'em starts with every player being dealt two cards face down. This is followed by a round of betting, known as the 'pre-flop'. During the pre-flop players can check, bet or fold depending on the strength of their starting hand. Once the betting has come to a close, three cards, called the flop, are dealt face up on the table. Then there's another round of betting before the fourth community card, known as the river, is dealt. Another round of betting takes place before the fifth and final community card is dealt. Once again, the remaining players either check, bet, fold or raise before a winner is determined.

Getting Started

One of the most basic casino hints you will pick up quickly whilst playing poker is that the strongest hand doesn't necessarily always win. Quite often you will have a stronger hand than the eventual winner of the round, but because they had a stronger playing style, they were able to bluff their way to the pot. There are endless strategies and tips surrounding poker, but it's generally advised to adopt a conservative approach when starting out.

Make sure you study the game thoroughly, and only bet big when you're confident you have a strong hand. There are two ways any hand can end. One way is when the players in a certain hand turn over their cards; in this instance the player who has the best hand wins. These instances are referred to as a showdown. Another way a hand can end is through aggressive play. This is when someone bets big enough to force everyone at the table to fold. Sometimes the player will be bluffing, other times they will genuinely have the strongest hand. As you become more experienced in poker playing, you may develop the skills you need to tell the difference. Remember, we offer completely impartial casino reviews, so if you're thinking about trying your hand at online poker, register with us to see where the best tables are.

Beginner Tips

Red Poker Chip

Learn the basics: You must know the basics of the game before you get down to playing it.

Manage your bankroll: Ensure that you spread out your wagers carefully. Low bets to start with may be a good idea if you are a beginner; that way you can feel your way through the game and if you lose the first few hands you still have money at hand to carry on.

Learn to quit: Carry on further and you stand the chance to lose more than you probably should have. Quitting also works if you are ahead – you at least get to keep your winnings and not lose it all later on.

Popular poker games

Texas hold 'em

In Texas Hold ‘Em, players are dealt two “pocket” or “hole cards” then wait for 5 community cards to be revealed.

Betting takes place in four rounds: once after the hole cards are dealt, once after the first three community cards are revealed (referred to as “the flop”), once after the fourth community card is revealed (“the turn”) and lastly after the fifth community card is flipped (“the river”). Players must make their best hands with any combination of 5 cards (their hole cards and the communal).

High / low chicago

This stud game can be played for the highest hand or the lowest. In High Chicago, the player with the highest spade face-down wins half the pot. In Low Chicago, the player with the lowest spade face-down wins half the pot.

The other half of the pot is won by the player with the best hand. If someone, however, has the best hand and the winning spade (high or low, depending on version), that player will win the entire pot.

This game can be added to, and played simultaneously with, many other poker variations.


Omaha is another type of Hold ‘Em that can be played by 2-10 players at a time. Like Texas Hold ‘Em, there are four rounds of betting, but unlike that version, each player is dealt four hole cards and the five community cards are immediately revealed. Players must make their best 5-card hands from two of their hole cards and three of the common.

7-card stud

In 7-Card Stud, each player is dealt 7 cards, three down and four up. Players must make best possible 5-card hand from their 7.

5-card draw

IEach player is dealt 5 cards, but on the initial go around, the player may choose to trade in up to 3 of them.

Follow the queen

This is a 7-card stud poker game in which the wild card is designated to be the next exposed card after a queen is flipped. If no queens are flipped, there are no wild cards that hand.