Master the Rules of Poker

With so many variations of poker to choose from, learning the game can appear complicated. But at the most basic level, almost all forms of poker share the same four concepts; 

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CanadaCasino official guide to all the different types of Poker Rules, Bets, Odds and Payouts

The Objective

The main objective in any game of poker is to win against your opponents and where real-money betting is involved, to capture the pot and finish the game with a bigger bankroll than you started with. Depending on the venue, a poker game may last minutes, hours or days.    

Poker Hand Rules

Not all poker games determine hand value in the same way. Rules of Poker Hands vary, for example: High-Hand Poker uses the ranking order above. Low-Hand Poker in effect reverses traditional hand values and may impose other ranking rules. Hi-Low Poker often splits pots between the highest and lowest hands

Ranking Starting Hands BEST to WORST  -Texas Hold'Em

Pre-Flop, Flop, Turn, River, Showdown

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Flop, Turn, River – Explained

In the most popular poker games like Texas Hold’Em, a hand is played in steps where the dealer will follow a specific sequence. These are known as the Flop, Turn and River. Before and between each step, players can make bets.   


Considered as the first round of the Poker Gamen before the first 3 community cards are dealt. players in this round receive two cards each – known as Hole Cards.


A Flop is a group of three community cards dealt face-up on the table. Known as ‘community cards,’ all players at the table can make use of them to create a winning hand. 


after the Flop bets are placed, after which the dealer places a fourth card on the table face-up. This card is known as the Turn.


the River is the fifth and final community card placed face-up by the dealer. After bets have been placed on the Turn, players see the River and can use this card as the last opportunity to better their hands.


In this final step, known as Showdown, the highest playing hand declares itself and wins the amount put in the pot.

Dealer Button

The Dealer Button is a token, chip or another device that designates which player is the ‘Dealer’ for a given round. Typically, the Dealer Button moves clockwise in one position with each hand played. The true significance of the Dealer Button is in identifying which player bets last, a distinct advantage in poker. 

Big and Small Blinds

The Big and Small Blinds are the player positions to the left of the dealer. The Small Blind sits next to the dealer, the Big Blind next to the Small Blind – two away from the dealer. These two positions are responsible for placing compulsory bets.

The Big Blind typically bets the table minimum, the Small Blind half that amount. The compulsory bets are important to create a minimum pot for the hand and act as an incentive for players not to automatically fold. 

No limit, pot limit and limit – explained

When it comes to poker, every variation of the game will stipulate the type of pot being played for and the type of Poker betting rules that apply.

Rule Variations

For most players, Texas Hold ’Em is synonymous with poker and although it is the most popular, it is only one of the variations of the game. Most poker games can be categorized as Draw Poker, Stud Poker and Community Card Poker – of which Texas Hold ‘Em is one type. 

While basic poker rules generally apply to all games, players may come across a few rule variations with respect to Dealing methods, Hand Ranking and/or Betting. 

It’s also possible to tie in poker, which might come as a surprise to some players. Our video guide below breaks down exactly what to do if you find yourself in this situation at the poker table.

Poker School 101: What Happens When You Tie? (Episode 3)

Types of bets in Poker

Success in Poker is in knowing how to bet. Poker bets are where player psychology meets strategy because every bet has a motive behind it – to challenge or to create fear, to build the pot and ultimately to win.

Of the Nine bets that are fundamental to poker, the Six most important are value bets, continuation bets, slow plays, overbets, all-in and pot bets. Choosing and using these bets wisely is a cornerstone of every successful poker strategy.   

Poker odds and payouts

OddsFlop to Turn Turn To River Turn & River
191.47:1 1.42:1 0.54:1
122.92:12.83:11.22: 1
113.27:1 3.18:11.40:1
103.70:13.60:1 1.60:1
66.83:1 6.67:1 3.15:1
58.40:1 8.20:1 3.93:1
314.67:114.33:1 7.00:1

House Edge in Poker

When considering poker odds players joining a land-based or online casino game should always be aware of the House Edge.

The House Edge is the numerical advantage the casino has over players in terms of overall wins. The House Edge for most poker games is quite low, ranging between 5.22% for Caribbean Stud Poker (highest), 2.19% for Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em and 0.46% for Video Poker (lowest).

How to play Poker – Breakdown of a round

A step-by-step guide through a round of Texas Hold ‘Em…

  1. The Dealer is selected and deals two cards to each player at the table
  2. The player directly to the dealer’s left places a bet in the pot – the Small Blind
  3. The player two places to the dealer’s left places a bet in the pot – the Big Blind
  4. In clockwise order, the remaining players bet based on their confidence in their two cards
  5. The Dealer deals the Flop – three community cards dealt face-up
  6. The second round of betting begins clockwise from the dealer’s position
  7. The Dealer deals the Turn – the fourth community card dealt face-up
  8. The third round of betting begins, clockwise from the dealer’s position
  9. The Dealer deals the River – the fifth and final community card dealt face up
  10. The final round of betting begins, clockwise from the dealer’s position
  11. If two or more players remain in the game when betting is concluded, cards are shown
  12. The highest-ranking hand wins and the pot is collected by that player


Poker is popular and the Poker game rules are concise, but its many forms and variations can make it harder to understand which style fits you best as a player. Once you do get a hang of it the different bets, odds and payouts Poker features, you can then decide your way forwards and bet real money.

You can visit our list of safe and top casinos in Canada – they all feature different Poker Variants and a range of different betting options for all types of casino players.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most popular variation of poker in the world, Texas Hold ‘Em is in the community category of poker games and is among the easiest to learn to play. Texas Hold ‘Em is typically a No Limit game, generating tremendous excitement with bet sizes.
Straight poker is the earliest form of the game and the most basic. Players are dealt five cards after which they bet and re-bet on the outcome. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot.
Poker is a game that combines elements of chance with playing strategy. Poker strategies are a group of choices players make when playing and betting that optimize the chances of winning. These choices consider how opponents bet, their appearance (tells) and other cues that inform an experienced player about their decision-making during a game.
Casino Content Writer
M'Louisa spends most of her time chasing after a certain cheeky monkey that is growing up too fast. When she has a moment to spare you'll find her with a paint brush in hand or reading a good book. For the past 3 years she has enjoyed watching the industry grow and thrive, and thinks that is the most satisfying part of her job!

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