How to Play Poker for Beginners - Your Complete Guide

The traditional card game of poker has evolved with the advent of online gaming platforms. Whether you’re new to or experienced in online poker, it can be thrilling and profitable.

Success in online poker depends on a combination of skill, strategy, and luck. To succeed, learning different game variations like Texas Hold’em and Omaha is crucial. Being a good sport and following proper etiquette is also important in online poker communities. It’s also good to manage your bankroll wisely.

While it takes a lifetime to master, it only takes a minute to learn how to play poker. This guide will cover the basics of poker rules, hands, and everything you need to know to get started.

What Is The Main Goal Of Online Poker?

Millions worldwide enjoy playing poker, a card game that requires strategic thinking. While it is traditionally played on tables in casinos, nowadays, it is more frequently played online. There are many reasons why playing online poker is so popular.

Using your mobile, laptop, or tablet, you can play anytime and from anywhere. Additionally, you can play for as little or as much as you like, and the game is typically faster-paced than in-person poker.

The primary objective of playing online poker is to win the pot. While some believe the main aim is to have the best hand, this is not entirely true. In fact, having the best hand is only important in the showdown. Winning pots can be achieved in two ways:

  1. Having the best-ranked hand at a showdown: This method requires a good understanding of poker hand rankings. You must be confident about your knowledge to win at a showdown.
  2. Betting until everyone else folds: This method requires a good understanding of poker strategy, bluffing, and manipulating your opponents into reacting how you want them to. You can learn more by reading our online poker strategy guide.

How Do You Play Online Poker?

If you’re interested in joining a fun poker night but don’t know how to play, no problem as we’ve got you covered. While poker comes in various forms, they all have the same point: create the highest-ranked hand using five cards.

In this section, we’ll explain how to play poker, specifically Texas Hold’Em, which can be applied to most poker variants. However, Before starting, review any rules specific to the variant. Here are the steps to follow:

Choose a reliable online poker platform and create an account. Select a reputable platform with good user reviews, various games, and secure payment options. Sign up and provide the required information.

Find the right online poker game and join the virtual table. After creating an account, find a Texas Hold ’em game and sit at the virtual table.

Place your bets. Before dealing the cards, players place their bets, including ante bets and blinds. Each player receives two hole (face down) cards. Players must decide whether to check, bet/call any bets, or fold if they have a weak hand. Once a player makes the first bet, all remaining players must call to match that amount.

The community cards. Once the betting is complete, the flop (three face up cards) is dealt. Another round of betting takes place.

It is time for the next turn. Another card will be dealt face up, followed by a betting round.

The fifth face up card, known as the river, is dealt, signaling the start of another round of betting. It’s time to focus on the river.

Hands are finalized. The remaining players can see the actual strength of their hands. Before the ultimate face-off, it’s time for one final round of betting.

The winner is revealed. The showdown occurs, and players show their poker hands to see who has won the pot. A kicker, the card with the highest value, may be used to break ties.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start Playing Poker Online?

Free play can be a fantastic way to start playing online poker if you’re an absolute beginner. It lets you practice and get familiar with the game without the risk of losing money. This option is available on most sites and downloadable software and is an excellent place to start when you’re learning the ropes.

Once you feel confident in your online poker skills, you may consider switching to playing for real money. To begin with, most people choose to deposit a small amount into their online poker account, usually between $50 and $200. There are different types of online poker tournaments, but this amount is generally sufficient to keep you going in low-stake tournaments with a buy-in of $1 or $2. If you win some money, it can help extend your playtime. On some sites, you can even play cash games for as little as 1p or 2p, which means a deposit of $50 can go a long way.

If you’re lucky, you may also receive a fantastic welcome bonus, increasing your funds and extending your playtime even further.

What Types Of Online Poker Games Are There?

Various types and versions of poker are created to draw new players and increase the entertainment factor for existing ones. While some games are well-known and played globally, others are rare.

The most popular games are typically found on poker sites, in land-based casinos, and other poker rooms. Other than the popular Texas Hold’em, there are several other variants of poker that players enjoy. Below are some of the most popular types of online poker games:

Pot Limit Omaha

Pot Limit Omaha is known for being an action-packed game. It is similar to Texas Hold’em but with one distinct difference. In Omaha, you start off with four-hole cards instead of two. In the end, your final hand can only consist of two cards. This game-play difference creates action on every street.

Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker is unique because you play directly against the dealer instead of other players. The rules are similar to 5-card stud, except the dealer must show one of their cards throughout the game. The player and the dealer get a total of five cards each. If the player’s hand beats a qualifying dealer’s hand, the player wins 1:1 on the bet. You receive your stake back if the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify. Moreover, there is a progressive jackpot for grabs, which can make for some exciting moments.

Video Poker

Video Poker is considered one of the easiest types of online poker games. It is available in either standard version or with variations that offer features such as Jokers Wild and Deuces.

Casino Hold'em

In Casino Hold’em, your objective is to create the best possible five-card hand, just like in Caribbean Stud Poker. However, there’s a significant difference. Both you and the dealer receive only two cards each. If your hand is superior to the dealer’s, you win the game.

Pai Gow Poker

The goal of this game is to beat either the banker, who represents the casino, or one of the players at the table. Additionally, there is a joker in the game to increase entertainment value. To start the game, you are dealt seven cards, which you must divide into a five-card hand and a two-card hand. Your five-card hand must have a higher ranking than your two-card hand. The joker can fill in a straight or flush or as an Ace. To win the Pai Gow Poker game, both hands must beat the banker’s. If one hand wins but the other loses, it’s a push, and your stake is returned.

How To Start Playing Online Poker For Beginners

Starting to play poker online can be a bit confusing if you’re new to it. There are two options: the best poker sites for Arab players and downloadable poker software. Generally, software is better than most sites, but both options are good for beginners.

There are numerous online poker sites to pick from, and there are no rules on how to pick the best one for you. However, the most important factor is the types of poker variants they offer. Most sites offer Texas Hold’em, which is the most popular poker game. But if you want to play a different variation, research the site to make sure they offer it.

Also, consider the skill level of the other players – are they experienced or beginners like you? Lastly, check out the welcome bonuses offered by the site as these can help you get started with paid play if you want to bet with real money.

Basic Online Poker Rules Explained

Poker games come in various forms, but most share standard rules. Even if you’re familiar with how the game is played, you should know some poker rules before you start playing for real money at top-rated online casinos offering live casino holdem. The details of these rules may differ between variants, but these are the usual rules you should be aware of:


In all types of poker, a single deck of cards is used to prevent impossible hands, such as 5 or 6 of a kind. The cards are shuffled and burned to guarantee that players cannot predict which cards will be dealt next.


In most forms of poker, there are big and small blinds that players have to pay to boost the value of each pot. This is a customary part of the game that cannot be avoided. You just need to hope you have a good hand when it’s your turn to pay the blinds.


Whether you are playing in a physical or online casino, the house always takes a specific percentage of the pot or tournament buy-in to generate profits. This percentage typically ranges between 3-10% and is a completely legitimate practice that cannot be avoided.


The amount of chips that a player receives upon joining an online poker game can differ significantly. It depends on things like table limits and whether you’re playing at a tournament or not. Make sure you check this out in advance so you don’t end up feeling like a fish out of water.


The number of cards you get and whether they’re face up or face down vary widely, counting on the poker variant you’re playing. Ensure you understand your chosen variant’s rules before you start playing.


The number of people who can play varies slightly from casino to casino. In theory, 20 or more players could play at a single Texas Hold’ Em table, but in practice, most online poker sites or online casinos limit tables to around 10 players. If there are more than 10 or 12 players at a table, hands simply take too long to play out.

What Are The Winning Online Poker Hands?

A poker hand typically consists of five cards. In specific poker variants, the five cards that make up a player’s hand can come from a combination of the cards in their hand and the ones in the middle of the table. This is generally seen in Hold’em and Omaha, as opposed to Stud and Draw, where only the player’s hand is used to form a five-card hand.

Understanding hand power is very important for becoming a better poker player. It’s generally not a wise choice to play with cards that offer unfavorable poker odds. You’ll likely find yourself eating away at your bankroll as you stay in the round, trying to put together a decent hand.

To increase your chances of success, below are the winning poker hand rankings from best to worst:

  • Royal Flush

    The best possible hand in poker is the royal flush, consisting of five cards of the same suit in numerical order from 10 to ace.

  • Straight Flush

    A straight flush is any series of five cards of the same suit. It should be noted that a straight flush is only defeated by a higher-ranking straight flush or a royal flush.

  • Four Of A Kind

    Originally created for the game of craps, Oscar’s Grind has been successfully applied to blackjack. The betting system is progressive, with each win resulting in a doubling of the previous bet.

  • Full House

    A Full House is a poker hand consisting of 3 cards of the exact rank in different suits and a pair of cards of the same rank. If more than one player has a full house, the player with the highest value, three of a kind, will win the hand.

  • Flush

    A flush is a hand of five cards of the same suit with no specific order. In the event of a tie, the hand with the highest-valued card wins.

  • Straight

    A straight is a hand that has five cards of consecutive numerical value composed of more than one suit. An ace can rank as low (below a 2) or high (above a king) but not simultaneously in one hand.

  • Three of a Kind

    Three of a kind is a hand containing three cards of the same rank in three different suits. The two highest available cards, besides the three of a kind, complete the hand.

  • Two Pair

    A two pair hand has two different sets of two cards of matching rank. The highest-ranked left available card completes the hand.

  • Pair

    A pair is a hand that has two cards of the same rank in different suits. The hand can be completed using the remaining three highest-ranked cards.

  • High Card

    The high card is the lowest-ranked hand available in poker. The ‘best hand’ is the highest card in your hand. In this case, it is the king of clubs.

What Makes a Good Starting Poker Online Hand?

At the beginning of each Texas Hold ’em game, players face the same question – whether to play their cards or not. There are 169 possible combinations of two cards in a standard deck, and some of these starting hands are better than others.

For instance, most players know that a pair of aces is a good starting hand, while a 2-7 is not. However, deciding which hands to play is not as simple as waiting for pocket aces. You also need to consider other factors, such as your position at the table, the actions of other players, and their playing styles.

Determining the appropriate percentages for playable starting hands can be a challenging task. However, it is a skill that can be achieved by comprehending the factors that make a hand playable and knowing when to preserve your chips for a better chance. To increase your chances of success, utilize the guidelines below to assess which hands are worth retaining and which ones to abandon:

Starting Hands

In poker, you are dealt only two cards at the beginning of a hand. It is important to have a strong hand in order to avoid getting into tricky situations. If you realize that you have lost the hand, it is better to fold and wait for another opportunity to play, even if your cards seem good. For beginners, a solid strategy is to play tight and stick to ABC gameplay for micro and small-stake games, which can still result in a significant profit.

Strong Hands

Some examples of strong starting hands are high pairs like A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, and 10-10, which are worth raising, especially in late position. Other hands like A-K, A-Q, and A-J, all suited, are also strong hands that you should raise with before the flop. These hands are also ideal for making Continuation Bets if you have raised pre-flop and the flop doesn’t help much, such as if all three cards are below your hand.

Medium Strength Hands

Medium strength hands include K-10, Q-10, J-10, and medium pairs such as 9-9, 8-8, and 7-7. Depending on your position and the table’s dynamic, these hands can be raised, but you can also call them during an aggressive pre-flop betting round.

Marginal Hands

Marginal hands like 2-2, 3-3, and A-9 are decent hands for calling pre-flop if you’re in late position. When you land a set (three of a kind) on the flop, it can be advantageous to play aggressively and conceal the strength of your hand. Remember that online poker tables can differ in playstyle, and you can adjust your starting hand range accordingly to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. However, for beginners, sticking to a solid game plan with strong starting hands is a sensible strategy, even if it may seem a bit dull initially.

Online Poker Tips for Beginners

Poker is a widely popular game due to its ease of learning. However, winning at poker is much more challenging, particularly for beginners. While we cannot turn you into a pro player overnight, we can at least point you in the right direction with some simple tips.

Learn The Rules

it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the rules before playing poker for real money. This may seem obvious, but it’s essential to dodge costly mistakes that can put you at a disadvantage.

Set a Budget

When starting out, it’s important to establish a budget and adhere to it to prevent losing more money than you can afford.

Start Online

we suggest starting online as playing this way offers numerous benefits for beginners. You can play whenever you want without the distractions of live play, and there’s no need to worry about handling chips or keeping a poker face.

Stick to One Table

when starting, stick to playing at one table. Focusing on one table allows you to concentrate better, develop your skills, and learn the game more effectively.

Always Pay Attention to the Table

not just your cards and bets. Observing your opponents’ actions can provide valuable insight into their gameplay, which you can use to make informed decisions.

Take Your Time

take your time when making decisions, especially as a beginner. Beginners should take their time to make thoughtful decisions, while experienced players can make faster choices. Remember, quick decisions do not guarantee success in poker.


What are the distinctions between online poker and live poker?

Although online poker and live poker share the same basic rules, they have some key differences. Online poker is played online, allowing players to participate from anywhere with an internet connection. In contrast, when playing poker in person, you are seated face-to-face with other players at a physical table. Online poker also offers more game choices and faster gameplay.

Is it safe to play online poker?

Playing online poker on reputable and licensed poker sites is generally safe. To keep your sensitive personal and financial details safe, opting for reputable websites that utilize encryption technology is crucial. It is also advisable to read reviews and research before selecting an online poker site to ensure its reliability and trustworthiness.

How can I learn to play poker?

If you’re interested in learning poker, consider exploring online resources such as this guide and dedicating ample time to practicing for free. Apply your skills to online poker tables when you’re ready to bet real money.

How can I improve my poker skills?

To improve your poker skills:

  • Study the rules and strategies.
  • Read books and watch instructional videos.
  • Practice regularly.
  • Evaluate your gameplay and learn from your errors.
  • Join online poker forums or communities.
  • Consider taking online courses or getting a poker coach.

Can I play poker online for real money?

Yes. Many online poker sites and online casinos offer real money games and tournaments. However, make sure to play responsibly and set limits on your spending.

Ahmad Al-Azizi

Greetings, fellow casino enthusiasts! I'm Ahmad Alazizy, a seasoned casino expert deeply passionate about all things related to the thrilling world of gambling. From the time I first stepped into a casino, I knew that my journey would involve delving into the intricacies of games, strategies, and the vibrant casino atmosphere. My mission is to share with you the most effective tips and insights, ranging from understanding the intricacies of various casino games to making informed and successful bets.