Poker rules

How to play Poker – learn the basic Poker rules!

Does Poker fascinate you, but you’re afraid that it’s too complicated? Whether you’d like to play free Poker just for fun, or you’re looking to bet real money to amp up the excitement, knowing the basic Poker rules inside out will help you take the best decisions and improve your chances of winning. In this guide, we’ll go over the most important Poker rules and will provide you with additional information on how to play Poker at Canadian online casinos and have an exciting time!

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Poker Rules - the basics

Poker is played with a deck of 52 cards, sometimes including one or two Jokers (wilds). Players are dealt 2 or more cards each, and another 5 cards, called Community Cards, are dealt on the table. The aim of every player is to try and match his cards with these community cards to form the best 5-card Hand. There are various types of hands one can form, which we explain in more detail in our Online Poker Guide.

Texas Hold Em Poker rules

Texas Hold Em is the most popular poker variant, and you can play it at almost any online casino. In this variant, players are free to choose whether to use one or both hole cards to form the best hand by matching their card(s) with community cards. The game consists of 4 betting rounds  as follows:

  • Pre-flop – players bet as soon as they receive their hole cards, before the community cards are dealt.
  • Flop – players bet after the first 3 community cards.
  • The Turn –this takes place once the fourth community card is dealt.
  • The River – the last betting round, which takes place after the final community card is dealt.

Omaha Poker rules

Omaha poker is similar to Texas Hold Em, in that it also involves the 4 betting rounds described above. The main differences are that in Omaha Poker, every player gets 4 cards instead of two, and they must use exactly two of these cards in combination with any three of the five community card to get the best poker hand. The fact that players receive more hole cards results in bigger pots in Omaha poker leads to more bets being placed, since players are encouraged to stay in the game given their larger number of combinations.

A player wins a hand if all other players fold their hands, and he is the only one left in the pot, or if he has the best hand at showdown. it’s more likely for players to get three of a kind, straights, flushes or full houses in Omaha poker, so that you can rarely win a hand with a ‘pair’.

Video Poker

Given its wide availability online, we thought we’d give video poker a mention here. This is a programmed casino game which is played against the machine, and where outcomes are based on a Random Number Generator (RNG). In video poker, there are no community cards – players are dealt five cards and the aim is to hold on to some and replace others in the hope of getting a good poker hand.

There are many variants of video poker available today, most of them with no download requirements: one may mention Deuces Wild, which involves having the Two as a wild card, Joker’s Wild, where a joker functions as a wild, and Jacks or Better, which is the original Video Poker game where a player wins if his hand consists of at least a pair of Jacks.

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How to play Poker at online casinos

Thanks to the numerous online casinos that are accessible from Canada, it’s getting easier and more exciting to play poker online. Players can now choose to take their time to learn the basic Poker rules by playing the game for free, while more experienced players can take a seat at a live casino or an online poker table and play against real players.

Free video poker games are usually found at a casino’s Table Game section, and will be played against the machine. On the other hand, live casino poker games will be played against real players from all over the world and will be managed by a professional croupier, streamed from the provider’s game studio. You can find different variants of live poker, with the most popular being Live Three Card Poker and Live Texas Hold’Em

At the majority of poker sites, you will be required to download the software before you can join a poker table. Live casino poker and video poker are an exception to this - at most casinos, you can play these in instant play mode on both desktop and mobile by enabling your flash player.

Online poker tournaments

At the best poker sites, you can play online Poker for free or by betting very small stakes, thus risking very little, especially while you're still learning the basic Poker rules. More experienced players will also find opportunities to play in poker tournaments, which can be freerolls (tournaments with no entry fees) or poker tournaments that require a buy-in.

The best poker sites typically run various types of tournaments. There are Sit & Gos, which are small tournaments with one table that start as soon as enough players join the table. These will take place around the clock. Then, you've got online poker tournaments linked to massive prize pools, some of which come with a very low buy-in fee, which makes them very accessible and rewarding. For example, PokerStars' Sunday Million tournament runs every Sunday and comes with a $1 million prize pool. Next, in satellite tournaments, professional players play poker with the aim of winning buy-ins to a larger tournament, which can be either land-based or online-based.

Those players who do not want to commit to online poker tournaments can also find Cash Games, which are real money poker tables that allow you to come and go as you please. In these tournaments, players can buy in by depositing a certain amount of cash and receives chips that will have real-money value. Cash Games offer players more flexibility since they don't need to commit to playing more rounds, as is the case with online tournaments.

Play with the best poker sites!

And now that we've given you the basics, it's time to try out online poker for yourself! There's no better way to learn how to play poker than through practice, and beginners have ample opportunity to join low-entry cash games and even freerolls to sharpen their skills. Poker can be incredibly rewarding if you play smart - be patient with yourself, and best of luck!

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