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Poker rules – Learn the basics and get ready to play

For most new players, Poker can seem like a very tough game to play. But in reality, it’s not that difficult. Of course, poker has its fair share of complexity, but learning and understanding its rules are relatively simple. In this article, we’ll highlight and explain everything you need to know about poker rules. We’ll begin with the basic aspects of the game and then work our way up to the complex areas of the game. If you’ve always wanted to master Poker and play like the Pros you see on TV, here’s your best shot at understanding the game. Keep reading this guide to learn more. Read more

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Poker hands

Majority of poker titles like Omaha Hi/Lo and Texas Hold’em have their respective poker hands. But the amazing thing is that they all share something in common; the same ranking. We will be taking a look at them below:

Royal flush is not just considered the best hand in the game, it is also the rarest. Royal Flush is made up of 4 cards from the same family (spades, clubs, diamonds or hearts). Getting a Royal Flush Instantly signifies good luck for the player.

thegambledoctor poker royal flush

The next most valuable hand after Royal Flush Is Straight Flush. In this Flush, you will find 5 cards of the same type in a consistent order. If the cards are of different types, then the hand will be referred to as Straight.

thegambledoctor poker straight flush

Like its name hints, it is made up of 4 cards that are alike. The fifth card on the hand happens to be the highest card on the table or on your hand. A win occurs when a player has the highest four of a kind cards.

Full house: The fourth most valuable hand is a Full House. It is very easy to get and it comes as three of a kind and a pair. If more than one player has a full house, then the winner will be decided by the player with the highest three of a kind.

thegambledoctor poker four of a kind

A flush is a group of cards that are of the same class. In this case, their order of appearance is irrelevant. All that matters is that they are of the same kind.

thegambledoctor poker flush

A Straight is not required to be of a consistent order before it can be useful to a player. Even in terms of colour, the cards are not required to share the same colour. For this reason, a Straight is very easy to obtain.

thegambledoctor poker straight

3 of a kind affords the lucky player the chance to finish his hand with two of the highest cards they can find. This poker hand can either be three aces of three 2's. As long as there is three in them, your gameplay is on the right track.

thegambledoctor poker three of a kind

This is one of the simple, yet effective hands in poker. It is made up of a hand with two pairs, as well as the highest cards present.

thegambledoctor poker two pair

A pair means when you obtain two cards of the same kind. Then proceed to complete your 5-cards hand with three cards that have the highest value.

thegambledoctor poker pair

This is a hand with no pair. It is neither a flush nor a straight. It is, in fact, the hand with the lowest possible winning chance in poker.

thegambledoctor hogh card

Common traits of poker rules

Against popular belief, Poker is a game that is fun, exciting and easy to learn. Like every other casino game out there, Poker also has rules and conditions that must be followed when playing. In this section, we’ll explain poker traits in simple terms that you can understand. But before we get into that, here are some basic knowledge about poker game:

The game of poker can only commence when there is a dealer and a minimum of 2 players. The game has the capacity to accommodate over 10 players at once. The rules of the game vary according to the poker variant in play.Nevertheless, there are similarities that are shared by majority of the game variants, such as:

  • All players must make a forced bet (ante) at the beginning of the game.
  • The value of each player’s hand determines the bet they will make.
  • The game moves in a clockwise direction and each player must participate by either making a call, fold or match.
  • A player who decides to match a bet may also raise the bet.
  • Once a player folds, he is eliminated from the round.
  • The end of the round is signified when all players have either folded or matched.
  • In the event that more than one player is remaining, a showdown will be used to reveal the winning hand.

thegambledoctor online poker rules

Top 3 highest ranked hands

Royal Flush: This is regarded as the strongest of all poker hands. It is your strongest backup when heading to a showdown. Since it cannot be beaten, it has been given the name “absolute nuts.”
Straight Flush: The best combinations of five cards is regarded as a Straight Flush. The hand comprises of consecutive cards that look alike, with the addition of the rare Royal Flush.
Four of a Kind: This is one of the best poker hands a player can hope to get. Sometimes referred to as “quads,” it comprises of four cards of the same rank or kind.

The action

This game is packed with a lot of poker terms. These terms have where they apply and what poker games they serve best. However, they all refer to the actions players make during the course of the game. Listed below are the terms:

This allows a player to forgo his option to bet when no one has made an effort to increase the wager needed to continue.

A player folds when he believes his hand is not a winner and he does not want to bet the increased amount. To do this, the player lays down his cards.

This action is usually undertaken by the first person to put money into the pot. The first player puts money into the pot in order to make other players to follow suit.

A player may raise the wager of the game to give other players the impression he has a good hand or in the case that he actually has a good hand.

When a player raises the stakes, other players must decide whether to give in, call, fold or to raise the stakes as well. To call simply means to match the amount wagered by the player who raised.

thegambledoctor betting rounds

The betting rounds

Poker is a betting game. Players who come together to make bets form a pot with their wagers. These wagers are designed to earn them more money. Betting rounds include the following: pre-flop, flop, turn and river.

After posting the blinds, 2 cards will be given to each player faced down. The first card is issued to the small blind, while the remaining players around the table are dealt clockwise.

This refers to the dealing of three community cards. The remaining players make use of the community cards simultaneously to try and make the best poker hand.

This is an additional community card dealt for active players. This card adds up to a current total of 4 community cards and 2 hole cards. Its purpose is to help players make the best 5-card hand.

River is the 5th and last community card that is dealt to players. Active players at this point must determine how strong their best 5-card hand is. It ushers in the final round of betting and afterwards, a showdown commences.

Blinds bets

The two players situated at the left side of the dealer in the game of poker must place mandatory bets before the dealing of cards can commence.

Limit vs. No limits

In limit, raises and bets during the initial two betting rounds (pre-flop and flop) must equal the big blind. In no-limit, players have the freedom to raise or bet any amount over the minimum raise up to the total chips the player has at the table.


At any time, the number of chips in the pot dictates what the bet or raise should be. Even when the pot limit is taken into consideration and played accordingly, a maximum limit is always set. An example is 50 chips.


No player will be allowed to exceed the stipulated number of chips when they want to bet or raise. An example is 2, 5 or 10. However, the imposed limit is based on the stage of the game.

Table stakes

Each player has a limit and it is dictated by the number of chips that is right in front of them. For instance, a player with 10 chips will not be permitted to bet more than 10 and the same number will be used by him to call the bet of other players.

thegambledoctor table stakes

Glossary – Learn the Poker terms

Action: Action talks about the turn of each player. The appropriate time for the participants to make a bet.
Action card: This is a card that causes a great buzz during gameplay. It is because the card means a great advantage for any player.
Advertising: This is a strategic move made by a player to try and confuse or mislead his opponents.
All in: This refers to a player betting everything.
Ante: The forced bet made before the commencement of the betting rounds.

Bank: This is the player who is charged with the distribution of chips.
Bankroll: The total amount a player can use to make bets.
Big blind: The bigger part of the two forced bets in a poker game like Texas Hold’em.
Bleed: This is when a punter makes wrong plays and in effect, loses many chips.
Bluff: This is a strategy that involved making a huge bet, even with a bad hand, for the purpose of confusing an opponent.

Call: To raise or match a bet
Cap: The set number of times a bet is allowed to be raised in a round.
Chase: This refers to remaining in the round, despite having a bad hand, simply because of the big amount you have in the pool.
Check: To pass up a chance to make another bet.
Continuation bet: To place a bet after the leading player has made his.

Dead hand: A discarded hand due to an error.
Dealer: The individual who deals cards at a casino.
Deuce: A card that has the value of two.
Donkey: This is a player who is weaker than others at the table. He is sometimes referred to as a “fish.”
Drop: Another name for “fold.”

Flash: This happens when a card is mistakenly shown to a particular player or more at the table. Thereby resulting in the card being shown to all the players and subsequently discarded.
Float: This is when a player calls a bet with a plan to bluff in a later round.
Fold: To drop a hand and forfeit your forced bet and the ability to continue competing for the pool.
Fouled hand: A hand that is discarded as a result of a breach.
Full ring: A game of poker that consists of 6 or more players, often between the range of 9 and 11.

Heads up poker: A poker game where players play 1 on 1.
H.O.R.S.E: A tournament which houses 5 different poker games with their own rules.

Pat: A complete hand which needs no more cards from the table.
Poker face: A blank facial expression and an unreadable body language that gives no clue of the player’s position to his opponents.
Pot: The sum total of wagers made by players.
Push: To initiate an All-in.

Raccoon: A player with little or no experience.
Rake: A fee players, who take part in the tournament, pay to the casino.
Rakeback: An amount returned to a participant who has previously made payments to partake in the tournament. It is often paid by a third party whose interest in the participant is financial in nature.
River: This is the last card supplied by the dealer in a round. This heralds the last betting round and is followed by a showdown.
Rock: A gamer whose gameplay is precise. Only the best hands are played by him or her.
Royal cards: These cards are synonymous with picture cards.

Satellite tournament: These are tournaments where the first prize is access to other big tournaments.
Scoop: This is when a player wins both the high and low parts of the pool in the poker games of Hi/Lo
Shoe: This is a collection of playing cards in brick-and-mortar casinos. They are usually kept in a plastic container.
Shorthanded: This is a game with only 6 players or less.
Showdown: If after the last betting round more than one player remains, their cards will be revealed and the winner will be the player with the best hand.
Sit and go: These are tables or hands where players can freely come and go as they please within a certain time period.
Straddle bet: This is an optional bet that comes after blind bets in a poker game.

Tell: A giveaway of the true position of the player.
Tilt: This refers to a player who plays without caution.
Token: These are tips given to a dealer by the winner of the pot. It usually denotes appreciation.

Under the gun: This is the position towards the left side of the big blind. It refers to the player who takes the lead in the pre-flop betting round.
Up the ante: This has to do with raising the forced bets.

Window card: Window card is simply a card that has its frontside up in Stud Poker.
Walk: Walk is a scenario when all players in a match decide to fold for big blind.

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Frequently asked questions about poker rules

What is the best poker game to play?

The best poker game to play is Texas Hold'em. It is played in the World Series of Poker and is also the most popular poker game in the United States today.

What’s the difference between fixed and no limit?

The difference between fixed and no limit is that betting is exponentially increased in no limit, while in fixed limit, every player has a certain number of chips they must not exceed when they want to raise or bet. Though this is dependent on the poker game stage.

What if someone bets more than I have at the table?

It does not matter because the rule called table stakes will cover for you. When an opponent makes a bet more than you, you can call an "all in" with the chips you have available. When this happens, your opponent will receive the remainder of the amount you couldn't match.

Instead of going all-in can I buy more chips during a hand?

It is normal for a player to bring up their chip count to the maximum buy-in amount during a hand. A good number of casinos will allow you buy-in at 2/3 of the biggest stack at the table.

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