Poker is one of the most popular online casino card games played worldwide. There are seemingly countless varieties of this strategic and psychologically thrilling card game, including popular versions like Omaha and Texas Hold’Em poker. It manages to combine gambling, strategy and skill in one card game that is enjoyed by participants and spectators alike.

Many people choose to play poker in online casinos, with many of these hosting live dealer games. This game remains a firm favourite both with people playing for fun and with those playing for big bucks in serious money poker tournaments, such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Whatever the reason you are playing, the goal of any form of poker is ultimately to win the pot and hence the prize.


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As the saying goes "Poker is a game that takes minutes to learn but a lifetime to master", something that, for old poker hands, rings true to the ears. The different poker versions have their own specific sets of rules, recommended strategies and poker set-ups.

However, whichever variety of poker you play, there are four basic rules that you must learn by heart - find out more below. To give you the low-down on all things poker, we'll look at different games and winning strategies. For instance, in poker Texas Hold'Em is a fast-paced game, while 7-Card Stud requires a good memory. We'll also have a look at some of the best online poker sites, video poker games and poker tournaments.

Poker Rules

Whilst there are many variations of poker, the same basic poker rules apply to nearly all of them. These rules must be learned by heart, but once learned, you can apply these basics to the different games. An understanding of the value of poker hands is fundamental and is discussed more below.

In nearly all versions of poker, a hand is comprised of five cards, with a poker hand ranking from Royal Flush (the highest rank) to a no pair or nothing (the lowest rank). There are usually two packs of poker cards used at the same time in order to speed up the game. The best online poker sites also usually use two packs of cards.

There are four main options to consider when betting in most of the poker variants. A player can make a "raise" if he thinks he has a good hand (or wants to bluff). A player may "fold" if he doesn't want to play the increased wager or if he thinks that his hand is not good enough to win.

A "call" can be made if a player decides to equal the amount wagered by the player that rose. Finally, a "check" is when a player passes up his option to bet when no one has increased the wager needed to continue. Making these betting decisions all require good knowledge of poker hand rankings and the ability to rapidly calculate the poker odds.

Poker Hands - Winning Hands

A poker hand simply refers to the five cards held in a game of poker. A key factor in getting to grips with poker is developing a good understanding and knowledge of poker rankings, which will help you to avoid mistakes. Each hand has a rank and for beginner players, the first step is to memorize these ranks.

Many new players can get caught out because they are not familiar with the basics, such as recognizing a winning hand. The basic rankings are listed below and once learned, it is a good idea to practice figuring out which of poker hand will be the best from the combination of your hole cards and the community cards.

●      There are usually five cards in a poker hand

●      Learn to recognise winning hands

●      Learn the poker hand rankings by heart

The hand ranking guide is:

  • Royal Flush (all cards in the same suit, sequence A-K-Q-J-T);
  • Straight Flush (any sequence but all in the suit);
  • Four of a Kind (four cards that are the same value);
  • Full House (three of a kind and a pair);
  • Flush (5 cards, all the same suit);
  • Straight (a basic sequence in any suit, such as 7-6-5-4-3-2);
  • Three of a Kind (three cards that have the same value);
  • Two-Pair (two pairs, like 8-8 and 4-4);
  • Pair (any kind of pair such as J-J or 3-3); High Card (whatever your highest value card is). Do all that you can to remember these rankings, indulge in free poker games until you think you have learned these hand rankings.

A fundamental component of poker is calculating the poker combinations or hand combinations, as they are known. A fancy term, Poker Combinatory, refers to calculating how many different combinations of a hand exist in a certain situation. By making these calculations, you will be better informed when making decisions because you will know the probability of certain hands appearing.

Whilst it's not possible to explain the methods here, it is advisable to do your research in this area. For example, if you have calculated your hand combinations, you'll be able to have some useful information about the possible range of hands other players may hold.

Remember that it's hard to make these calculations on the spot at the table, but familiarizing yourself with different probabilities will most probably be helpful.

Hand ranking:

●      Royal Flush

●      Straight Flush

●      Four of a Kind

●      Full House

●      Flush

●      Straight

●      Three of a Kind

●      Two-Pair

●      Pair

●      High card

What is a Poker Face

You may have heard of a "Poker Face", immortalized by Lady Gaga's hit tune of the same name. The meaning behind this phrase relates to the inscrutable face that does not reveal any hint of a person's thoughts or feelings. In big bucks professional poker games, such as those in the World Series of Poker, mastering your poker face may be almost as important as your strategizing.

Good players are adept at reading the body language of other players. So showing your emotions may betray your game and result in a loss. Hence, poker players quickly learn how to mask their thoughts and feelings with an expressionless face so that it is impossible for other players to guess how well they are doing in the game or their next move.

Omaha Poker

Omaha Poker is very similar to Texas Hold'Em and is one of the most popular poker variants. There are several Omaha variants including Pot-Limit, No-limit, and Omaha Hi-Lo. It is a community card game whereby each player is dealt four cards. Players must use two of their hole cards and three cards from the community pile in order to build their hand.

For Pot-Limit Omaha, players can only bet or raise up to the current size of the pot. It is quite a different game to No-limit Omaha where you can lose your money faster unless you strategize well.

Therefore, a helpful tip is to be selective with your starting hand and take big bets and raises seriously as players bluff less in the Pot-Limit game.

World Series of Poker (WSOP)

This is probably the most famous and most well-established poker tournament in the world. Benny Binion in Las Vegas established the WSOP poker tournament more than 50 years ago in 1970. The tournament is held annually and is currently sponsored by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. In the last couple of years, there have been around 74 different events featuring the main poker variants.

However, over half of the featured events have been the Texas Hold'Em version. This tournament is a place where records are set and money is made, Antonio Esfandiari holds the envious record of winning a cool $18,346,673 from a single event in 2012. He also sets the record for the highest total career earnings of $21,917,460 (figures from 2014).

Even champion poker players have to learn their trade from scratch. The availability of free online poker from many poker sites helps make this process easier and obviously less expensive. Free poker games enable you to practice your skills without risking your own money. Many poker sites are happy to offer these free games because it encourages people to gain enough confidence to move on to play real-money games.

In addition, free interactive tutorials can help guide the learner in explaining the fundamentals of a poker game. Some sites tout their free games by emphasizing the fun and risk-free element of the game, with many online casino sites allowing you to just sign up and play without the need for downloads.

Poker strategy - tips on how to play Poker

There are many different ways that you can enjoy poker. You may play at home with friends, at a land-based casino or, as more and more people are increasingly doing, you may play at an online casino. The rise of online casinos has also seen a huge rise in the number of video poker games that are offered.

Whilst they have long been available in the brick and mortar casinos, the level of choice of games offered online is quite astounding. Popular titles include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wilds and Five Aces Poker. Some games, like Jacks or Better, have a fantastic Return to Player (RTP) rate of 99.54%, which is one reason why people keep on playing.

Poker is a game all about strategy. There is a multitude of websites that offer poker strategy tips and advice as well as many published books including titles like "The Theory of Poker" by David Sklansky and "The Mental Game of Poker" by Jared Tendler. Both books offer detailed strategies on how to get winning hands.

The first step in the strategy is understanding your reasons for playing, whether you are playing just for fun or whether you are playing seriously to make money.

Having your own motivations clearly understood is invaluable in being able to make the correct game decisions. Another key component is understanding that you will, at times, lose regardless of your poker playing ability, and recognising this will enable you to improve your game.

Luck and Skill

How to maximize your chances of repeated poker winning hands? Winning hands come with a healthy dose of luck, serious skill and nerves of steel. Some people believe that playing poker online is easier than in a land-based casino, although there are many online forums that debate this very topic - with many people expressing polarized views. One thing is for certain and that is online poker tables move quicker than live tables so you can get more hands in and hence more practice.

You can expect to play around 100 hands an hour at an online table compared to 30 hands per hour at a brick and mortar casino.

Play Poker Online

Playing poker online has become even easier thanks to the poker calculator. This is a piece of software that calculates your odds and enables you to run the different scenarios that you might see at the poker table.

This is a very useful tool in helping you understand where you stand in a game by calculating the odds of winning or losing. There has never been as much choice available to poker fans as there is now, especially the great poker sites that offer something for everyone.

In addition, for poker players who play for a living, the variety of good quality tournaments provides some serious winning opportunities.

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