Having its origins in the 17th century, Poker is a casino classic that has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed by millions of casino players across the globe. With the advent of online casino sites, Poker fans now have the option to try their hands at numerous exciting Poker variants anywhere, anytime.
In this casino guide, we take a look at the ins and outs of this exciting card game to help you get started. Also, we offer a comprehensive list of the top online casinos that make for a safe, immersive, and realistic Poker experience. Let’s get started!
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Poker is a casino card game in which players place bets over which hand is best according to the game’s rules and its hand rankings.
Although the origins of Poker are unclear, the widely accepted theory is that it was created in America in the 1800s based on a derivative of Poque, which is a French Parlour game. Poker began as a regional game in saloons in New Orleans before becoming a part of the US.
In the mid-1800s, the playing cards deck expanded from 20 to 52 cards. Following that, an additional round of betting was added to the game and the hand rankings started including a “flush” (five cards of the same suit) for the first time. Five-card Poker became popular on the west coast in the years surrounding the California Gold Rush in 1849.
Since the past 100 years, the game of Poker has not changed much. Decks and rules of the game have become standardized, and the popularity of the game has exploded in the past few decades. Today, thanks to the advent of the internet, casino players can engage in a virtual Poker game without the need of having to leave their homes.
The game of Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, which sometimes include one or two jokers. Depending on the game variant, players are dealt with 2 or more cards, whereas five cards are placed in the center of the table. These five cards are called community cards.
As a player, your aim in the game is to combine these cards with the community cards to form the best five-card hand. In most Poker games, the hand rankings, from highest to lowest, are as follows:
Straight Flush - Five cards of the same suit in sequence. For example, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 of hearts.
Four of a Kind - Four cards of the same rank, and one side card. For example, four Queens and a 6.
Full House - Three cards of the same rank, and two cards of a different rank. For example, three 5s and two 3s.
Flush - Five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence. For example, J, 8, 7, 2, 5 of spades.
Straight - Five cards in sequence, but not of the same suit. For example, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of different suits.
Three of a Kind - Three cards of the same suit, plus any other two cards. For example, 3 jacks, and a 2 and a 5.
Two Pair - Two cards of the same rank, another two cards of a matching rank, and one side card. For example, two Queens, two 7s, and one 4.
One Pair - A hand consisting of one pair plus 3 other cards. For example, two 8s, a Queen, an Ace, and a 2.
High Card - Any hand that doesn’t qualify under a category listed above.
As the game of Poker has been around for centuries, there are several variants of it, all of which come with their own set of rules. As such, we take a look at the gameplay of Texas Hold’em, which happens to be the most popular variant of Poker.
Texas Hold’em consists of the following betting rounds:
As there are hundreds of online casinos offering Poker games, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. So, we have created a list of the best online casinos that have a vast selection of Poker games, offer a variety of bonuses and promotions, and provide excellent customer support. All these listed sites are regulated by the leading global gambling authorities, so you can rest assured that you’ll have a safe and fair gaming experience with any of them.
When playing poker online, there is a great variety to be found at the top real money Poker sites. Below are some of the Poker games you can expect to play:
Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular variants of Poker that you can find at almost every online casino. As mentioned earlier, each player gets 2 hole cards at the beginning, whereas the board will consist of five community cards. The four betting rounds in Texas Hold’em are Pre-flop, Flop, The Turn, and The River. This Poker variant is unpredictable and requires both luck and great shrewdness in terms of making clever bets to increase your chances of winning.
This variant of Poker is an exciting one to play if you are able to get a hold on the rules. Here, you receive four cards and you need to pair them with three community cards. If it happens that more than one player stays at the end of the betting round, then players will compete for two halves of the pot.
This game takes the concept of community cards from Texas Hold’em but alters the math. Here, you receive four hole cards, and three community cards are dealt face-up on the table. The goal is to form the best five-card hand with two of your hole cards and the three community cards.
Unlike other Poker variants, this game provides you with the chance to improve your hand. In this variant, you’ll get five cards, unknown to other players at the table, and you’ll have the chance to discard ones you don’t want for others drawn from the deck.
Here are the most common online Poker terms and phrases to help you get started with the game:
Action refers to any of the available betting options such as bet, raise, call, check and fold.
This means committing all your chips in a Poker hand.
Refers to the total amount of money a player has at their disposal for the purpose of playing Poker.
Refers to performing an action without looking at the cards.
To “call” means to match the existing bet on the current betting round.
To “check” means to make no bet.
These are the cards that are placed face-up on the table. They can be used in forming the best five-card hand.
The person who deals the cards and overlooks the gameplay action.
A Jack, Queen, or King of any suit. These cards come with a picture of a face on them.
To lay down your hand or to throw down your hand in instead of calling or raising a bet.
A highest unpaired card in a hand used to break ties.
To bet more than the previous wager.
When playing Poker online, you’ll typically find a selection of virtual Poker games and live Poker games. There is one major difference between these two types of online Poker games. In virtual Poker, you play the game against a computer program that generates cards at random. As there are no other players involved, you can play virtual poker whenever you want. Also, a great thing about virtual poker is that you can play it for free to get acquainted with the rules or to test your basic strategy.
Live Poker, on the other hand, involves a live dealer with whom you can interact in real-time online. In Live Poker, the cards are drawn manually by the croupier, and players can watch that being done in real-time. The experience of playing live Poker is as close as it can get to playing Poker in a land-based gambling venue.
If you choose to play Poker with any of our recommended casinos, you can rest assured that their games are completely fair and trustworthy. These casinos are licensed by reputable gambling authorities, which ensure that the casinos are offering fair and safe services to their players. Also, all the games at these sites are tested by independent authorities for their fairness.
Virtual Poker games at our listed casinos make use of a Random Number Generator which ensures that the outcome of the game is completely random. On the other hand, live Poker games are offered by reliable software providers and managed by a real-life croupier. You can watch the croupier shuffle and deal the cards in real-time, giving you the required peace of mind.