What is Online Poker?

Poker is a game of cards where players strive to make the best hand with the dealt cards by following specific rules of the game. Online poker is an adaptation of this card game into online casino platforms through gaming software.

When creating various poker games, software providers have changed several rules, leading to multiple variants. Each variant has a different gaming experience and payouts, but they all have similar goals.

Online poker differs from live dealer poker in that it offers cards from a randomizing software while the latter uses a human dealer to shuffle and deal cards. Otherwise, you are likely to find similar variants across these two types.

What are the Best Poker Poker sites?

Most poker sites around the world use the same software providers for their poker games. However, the gaming experience and environment differ from one casino to another. These experiences differ through things like bonuses, website layout, ease of navigation, ease of transacting with accounts the customer service.

Here are leading online poker sites:

The Rules of Poker Explained

The Poker card game is played using the standard 52-unit deck. However, you will find some online poker variants with extra jokers. Many variants only use one pack, but few use two. While rules differ from one variant to another, many basic ones are the same across the board.

When we talk about playing Poker online, we are mainly talking about playing Texas Hold’em, although there are variations of the game and indeed several other popular online poker games such as Omaha or 7 Card Stud. Below we have outlined how to play Texas Hold’em and defined some popular terms you will come across when playing.

The Basics

Texas is a poker game where players are not playing against the casino, players are playing against each other. The number of players at the table, in general, is between 2-10. Each player is dealt 2 cards face down, not allowing other players at the table to know the value of the two cards is paramount to the game. These cards are known as the players ‘hole cards’. A further 5 cards will be drawn face up in the centre of the table over several rounds of betting, these cards are known as the ‘community cards’. The basic idea of the game is for players to make a 5 Card hand using their 2 hole cards and 3 out of the 5 community cards.

What makes the game so interesting and popular is the fact that not all 5 community cards are revealed at once and the rounds of betting between the following 2 cards being overturned. Of course, a knowledge of the ranking of each poker hand is key to playing poker. We have listed and described all of the possible 5 card poker hands further on this page.

The Buy-In

In order to enter a poker game or tournament a player first needs to Buy-in. The value of the Buy-in depends on the limits of the game. In a cash game, it is the initial amount of money a player exchanges for chips when they sit down at a poker table. The amount of the But-in in a poker tournament normally determines the prize money for the tournament finalists.

The Blind Bets

Each hand begins with the dealer's button (a small round disc) moving one seat clockwise around the table to the player next to the button's previous position. The first two players sitting to the immediate left of the button are required to post a 'small blind' and a 'big blind' to initiate the betting.

The big blind bet must be double that of the small blind. In each game, the value of the blinds will change depending on the status of the game. A high roller game may have Blinds as high as 100, 200 or even higher. In tournament games, the Blind Bet value will increase during the game. In cash games, the blind bets stay the same.

The Pre-Flop

Each player is dealt 2 cards face down. Depending on the value of the hole cards the players will decide to play or fold. The player to the left of the big blind begins the betting. To play, they must match the big blind bet (known as ‘call’), or they may ‘Raise’ the bet to a higher value. If the player does not wish to continue with the hand they will fold their cards and not continue in the hand. This continues in a clockwise direction, each player wishing to play either matching the big blind or the raised bet.

The Flop

After the first round of betting is complete the dealer will reveal 3 cards face up known as the ‘Flop’. Players who have not folded their cards then have a further round of betting where they can again fold, call or raise. Players also now have the opportunity to ‘check’; If no betting has occurred in the betting round the player can defer their bet, If someone else bets, any player that has checked must call, fold, or raise.

The Turn

The turn card is the fourth community card to be dealt. Players now have another round of betting as with the flop, however, players now have more of an idea of how their hand and their opponent's hand may develop. The betting at this stage will be strategic and can be aggressive.

The River Card

The ‘River’ card is the final community card to be overturned. Players now have a final round of betting before revealing their 2 hole cards (known as the ‘Showdown’). Any remaining players will expose their 2 hole cards for the dealer to determine which player has the strongest hand and win the ‘pot’ (the chips that have been wagered during the hand).

The player closest to the left of the dealer must open their hand first, continuing clockwise around the table. Final poker hands must be exactly 5 cards made up of the 2 hole cards and 3 of the community cards and only those five cards are used to evaluate the winning hand.

A Summary of Poker Terms

  • Buy-in - The initial amount of money needed to enter a poker game or tournament
  • Community cards - The 5 shared cards the dealer deals face up at the centre of the table used by all players to make their hand.
  • Button - Represents which player is the small blind, rotates clockwise to the next player after each hand.
  • Pre-Flop - The first round of betting before the first 3 community cards are overturned.
  • Flop - The first 3 community cards.
  • Turn Card -  The 4th community card to be dealt
  • River Card - The final (5th) community card dealt
  • Call - to call is to match a bet
  • Raise - to raise the value of the bet to be matched
  • Check - to defer your bet if not betting has taken place
  • Showdown - Where the players in the final round overturn their cards to determine the winning hand.

The Odds of Online Poker Explained

Most online poker sites shuffle their cards after cards dealing each hand. This affects the gaming probabilities. However, it may also improve your chances of making a better hand than if the cards were not shuffled.

With shuffling, the odds of pocket pair to set may increase from 8% to 10%, while those of a flush draw may move to slightly above 37%. On the other hand, shuffling may lower these probabilities by over 3%, depending on the game that you pick.

Poker Hand Rankings

Here are the hand rankings from the highest to the lowest.

Poker Strategy - How to Win

Here are a few strategies that can work.

You should consider playing with fewer hands at the best online poker sites but play poker aggressively. Playing with hands bleeds away your chips fast. Aggressive playing helps build a strong hand fast.

Know when to fold or raise. Do not raise when the hand is bad. Instead, fold and quit when you cannot improve the situation. Besides, time your callings to avoid losing a high win. Again, you should learn your cards well so that you can create a strong hand without having to check the ranking table all the time

If you are new to poker gaming, consider practicing free on the best online poker sites before risking your cash. Most poker sites offer a free mode for all the table games, including online poker. It is a great chance to try new strategies without any risk.

5 Mistakes New Poker Players Do

Here are five mistakes that new online poker players do.

  1. Playing with more hands
    Playing with more hands spreads your bet among too many hands causing you to lose chips without any advantage.
  2. Play against newer players 
    Playing poker online against better opponents means you have a high chance of losing.
  3. Playing for too long
    Online poker is a mental game that requires concentration to make the right decision. If you play poker for too long, you may end up making mistakes.
  4. Using emotions in the game
    Excitement and frustrations may affect your decision-making and increase your chances of losing even when playing at the best online poker sites.
  5. Moderate your bets
    Playing with too high stakes bleeds more cash than they may make.

Online Poker Sites vs. Casino Sites

Poker Sites
  • You have a wide choice of games at dedicated online poker sites
  • There are often more features than you find at the casino
  • You can engage in tournaments and high win offers
  • You can play poker against other players on dedicated online poker sites
  • You can play online poker table games free
  • You have a choice of other games on the platform, unlike the dedicated online poker sites
  • There are many other games on the platform

Poker Variants

There are many variants of the poker game on online poker sites. Each variant has its set of rules but usually, the same goal, to make a better hand than the dealer or other players. Here are some of the popular online poker variants.

Texas Hold’Em

In Texas Hold’em, players are dealt with two down cards as hole cards. Then players receive a set of three additional cards and then a card after each round. Players make the best 5-card hand from the set of the provided cards

Caribbean Stud Poker

This is an online poker game where you play against the house, not fellow players. You also get to place your ante bets before starting a round. Players of Caribbean Stud Poker also have an option to participate in the online poker progressive jackpot.


This is a community card online poker game where players get four cards each at the start and an additional five cards later. They must make the best 5-card hand using two of the initial cards and three of the later cards. The game is only available on selected poker sites.

7 Card Stud

A 7-card stud is a classic online poker game where players get dealt with seven cards in the course of the game but must make the best five-card hand out of them. In this poker online game, the bets are in fixed increments.

High/Low Chicago

High/low Chicago is a stud poker game like 7-Card Stud. However, players make ante bets at the start. Then, each gets dealt two face-down cards and one face-up. They get additional cards with bet increments until they hit the best 5-card hand. Some poker sites offer it as a variant of 7 Stud poker.

History of Poker

Historians believe that the fame of poker came to being about 1000 years back. However, the game has been refined to the great game it is now over the years. One of the notable historical accounts is the domino-card game played by a 10th-century Chinese emperor that looks like poker. In the 16th century, Persia played NAS, a card game, while the French had a poque which was similar to Nas. Several variants of the game were played around the world.

However, modern online poker is thought to originate from the US. It was adapted from the Persian Nas and each player got dealt five cards to make the best hands they could from the cards. Initial decks were made of 20 cards but got increased to 52 cards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Poker

Casino.online FAQ

 How do you play poker online?

When playing online poker, you are dealt with two cards face down. Then, you get dealt three cards face up in the middle of the game. In the next two rounds, you get dealt with a card each. You are to make the best five-card hand from the cards dealt. A few variants may have a few changes on the issuing of cards.

 Can I play poker for free?

Yes. There are online poker sites that allow you to play online poker for free. Just visit the online poker platform and pick free play or demo mode for the game that you would like to play. In the free mode, you access all the features of the game except that you cannot withdraw any winnings you make.

 What’s the trick to winning at poker?

To increase your chances of winning online poker games, become selective when starting hands. Then, aggressively play the games without bluffing too much. You can also try the games free at poker sites to understand the process and craft a strategy. Practicing with various decisions increases the chances of a win. Finally, start by staking low and then increase the bet amounts based on your performance. Do not forget to check bonuses at various poker sites.

 Is poker rigged?

While some rogue poker sites try to cheat their players out of their cash, they cannot rig online poker. Besides, authentic gaming software is secure from casino interference. The cards are offered randomly, and the result is provided without any human interference. Therefore, there is little chance that you will lose cash unfairly on poker sites.

 What’s the best poker variant?

There are no specific variants that can be said to be the best. Players get a chance to choose the online poker variants they love most. What differs is the quality of experience from poker sites. We recommend trying various titles before picking one.

 Can I just keep folding until I get a winning hand?

There is nothing wrong with folding until you win poker online. However, this strategy is dependent on the quality of other players’ decisions. If the players are strong, you are likely to lose a lot of cash at poker sites. Some variants also l lower your chances of a win with this strategy. Try mixing the strategy with others to increase your chances of winning big at the poker sites.

 Are there any working online poker strategies?

Yes. There are few workable strategies. First, consider playing conservatively with medium hands and aggressively with strong hands. Then fold whenever it is the best decision to make. Second, if playing against players, bluff the runner-up but do not overdo it. Finally, plan your bankroll so that you get enough to play poker over a considerable period.

What are the best poker sites?

There is no such thing as a best poker site - it's up to you to find the best online poker experience for yourself. Some people are looking for a particular poker software, others - for specific poker variations. Some might even be interested in sports, and as such looking for sports betting in addition to cash games. No one can tell you what the best place to play poker for you will be, although personally we recommend a site with a decent poker bonus!

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Jacob Evans Written by Jacob Evans