If you are playing poker for the first time, this article is a good starting point. Here we go through the rules of poker, poker hands from best to worst, as well as tips and tricks that will help you as a beginner. So, let's find out how to play poker online!
Learning by doing: Freerolls are the best start!
Poker is a simple game technically. There are few rules to follow, and the only thing you need to learn is the order of the poker hands.
But poker is also a game of skill, which means you have to play many hands and gain knowledge through experience to become good. Our best tip is, therefore “learning by doing” through so-called freerolls. These are free poker tournaments with real money in the pot. There are many players in such tournaments, but here you learn a lot – and still have the chance to win money. Everyone in the list below has regular free tournaments, and also a separate tournament for all new entrants with extra great value.
|Betsson Poker||100% up to €2000 and New Player Missions|
|Betsafe Poker||100% up to €2000 and New Player Freerolls|
|Guts Poker||100% up to €1000 and Daily Missions with Reward Wheel|
|Nordicbet Poker||100% up to €2000 and €1500 New Player Tournaments|
|Unibet Poker||200% up to €200 and €20 Free Cash and €2000 Welcome Freeroll Tickets|
The rules in this article are based on Texas Hold'em. This is by far the most popular poker game online. If you are a beginner, Texas Hold’em is a good place to start. Note that some rules are universal for most types of poker, while other rules will vary from one poker game to the next.
Poker Texas Hold’em Rules
Texas Hold 'em is usually played with 2 – 10 players. The game has 5 community cards that players must combine with their 2 own cards to make the best possible poker hand.
Each game round can be divided into three parts: setup, bet rounds and showdown. Below, we take a look at what's going on in each of the sections and take you through a complete round of Texas Hold’em.
Poker Online Setup
Location of the Dealer button
The first thing to do in the game is place the dealer button. To assign the dealer button, all players are dealt one card. The player with the highest card starts with the dealer button. The Dealer button determines where the game starts each round, and the button rotates one seat to the left at the start of each round.
Payment of blinds
The game rotates from player to player and the rotation follows the clock. The game begins with the person to the left of the player with the dealer button. This person must now pay the small-blind. This is a predetermined amount. The person to the left of the small-blind must then pay the big-blind. The big-blind is normally twice as much as the small blind. After the blinds are paid, the game can begin.
The game itself begins with the dealer handing out cards to the players. The dealer is the person with the dealer button unless the game has a dedicated dealer who does not participate in the game. Remember that the dealer button must be used regardless, as a symbol of where the game should start each round.
The dealer starts on the small-blind person and deals one card at a time to each of the players – until all players have two cards in hand. These cards are called hole cards and will for the time being only be seen by the cardholder. Therefore, it is important that these cards are not shown to the other players.
Once all the players have received their cards, the pre-flop can begin. The players do not yet know which cards will be on the table (the flop), and must now consider whether they will bet money on the hole cards they have been dealt.
In this situation, players have three choices:
Fold: The player is not happy with his cards and does not want to bet money on his hand. The player can then fold without paying more, and wait until the next hand begins.
Sight: The player who calls must pay the same amount as the big blind, or possibly the increased amount that the player previously wagered.
Raise: The player wants to bet on their cards, and must raise to at least twice as much as the big blind. Whether there is an upper limit on how much can be wagered depends on whether No-Limit Hold'em or Limit Hold'em is played. If two players raise one after the other, the second raise must be at least equal to the previous raise + big-blind. The player can also choose to go all-in.
The round is over when all players have: thrown or paid equal stakes to the pot.
After all, players have completed the pre-flop, the first three community cards can be placed on the table. This is called the flop. Players now get a much better idea of how good their hand can be during the round. We take a look at the different poker hands and their value below.
When the flop is completed, the second round of betting begins. This betting round is naturally called the post-flop. The betting round works in the same way as last time, but with the introduction of check and betting, as you see below. The round starts with the first player to the left of the dealer button who is still in the game.
Players now have two choices:
Check: The first player in the betting round can choose to check. This means that the player gives the baton to the next player without placing a bet. Players can only check if they are first in the betting round, or if all the previous players have also checked.
Bet: If the player wants to bet, at least an amount corresponding to the big blind must be bet. More can also be invested, if desired. If a player bets, all the other players must choose whether to follow (sight) or whether to fold. Remember that the later in the game you throw yourself, the more money you will lose.
In this round, the fourth community card is shown on the table. Then it is ready for a new round of betting. This betting round is exactly the same as the post-flop.
In this round, the fifth community card is shown on the table. The players have now seen all the cards, and must make a final decision on whether they want to bet in the final betting round. This betting round is exactly the same as in the previous round. Note that in some cases there will be no more players before the river round starts, because everyone has thrown themselves.
The round is over when all players have: thrown, checked or paid equal stakes to the pot.
In the showdown round, the remaining players will finally reveal their cards to each other. The player who bet first on the river round shows his cards first. Then there is the next person in line from the left, until everyone has shown their cards. If all players checked on the river (no one bet), then the first participant to the left of the dealer button shows his cards first. If a player sees that he/she has lost, he/she can choose not to show his / her hand. In that case, the player loses the pot.
The winner of the game is the person left with the best hand.
And there you have a round of Texas Hold’em in a nutshell! Below we take a look at the different hands in poker, as well as how their value is weighed against each other.
Hands in Texas Hold’em
All Texas Hold’em hands are shown in the image below. As you can see, all poker hands consist of 5 cards, not more. These 5 cards can be any combination of your two cards and the five cards on the table. You can choose whether you want to use one, both or none of the cards you have on hand.
The hands in the image are ranked with descending value from left to right. The top row has the highest value, and the row in the middle has a higher value than the lowest. This means that any hand will lose to the hand to the left in front of or above them, with the exception of Royal Flush, which is the best hand you can get in Texas Hold’em. The different colors add no extra value to the hand. This means that two players with the same hand, but with different colors, will have the same value.
How do you win in poker? Learn some poker strategy!
So far, it may seem like there is only one way to win at poker: by having the best hand at the end of the game. But as you can see below, there are actually two ways to win.
You can win in poker in two ways:
- By having the most valuable hand at the end of a round, when all the cards are shown (showdown)
- By getting the other players to throw themselves before a possible showdown
Bluffing and manipulation of competitors
The first way to win should be relatively self-explanatory. You have the best hand at the end of the game and therefore win the round. The other way to win may seem a little vaguer: you win because all the other players have thrown themselves. What does that mean?
It can mean one of several things:
- The other players did not have faith in their cards
- The other players thought you had the best cards
- You made the other players think you had the best cards by manipulating!
Manipulating other players in this way is a big and complex part of playing poker. And with the help of good manipulation, you can win the round, even with the worst hand on the table.
With the help of a good manipulation, you can win round, even with the worst hand on the table!
It can be difficult to manipulate in the beginning, and it is recommended that you work well with experience before testing it out. Especially if there is a lot of money at stake. If you do not have a good understanding of the game, you will easily end up bluffing yourself instead of your competitors. But if you manage to land a big bluff, it will often be incredibly rewarding afterwards.
Different players will use an incredible number of different tactics to manipulate their competitors. Some will be loud and talkative, while other players will be quiet at all times or try to hide their feelings with the help of, for example, sunglasses and headgear. Body language is also a very important tool. When different types of players meet each other, very interesting situations can often arise around the table.
Why online poker differs from regular poker
Online poker differs from regular poker for several reasons, but the most obvious reason is perhaps that you do not sit face to face with other players. Thus, the bluff aspect will take on a different role than it does in regular poker. Bluffing is not ruled out, but it takes place in a different way than when the players are face to face.
An advantage of online poker games is that you can play on several tables at the same time. This is not something we recommend if you are a beginner, but for advanced players who want to maximize their time, this is a great option.
Online poker is also an advantage for players who prefer to remain anonymous. Not everyone wants to tell the whole world that they play poker. In that sense, the internet is the perfect platform.
A beginner's tip
A typical beginner mistake is to jump from poker game to poker game in search of the “best” game. This is an ineffective way to learn poker. Every time you start a new game you will to some extent start from scratch because you have to learn the rules must be new. We rather recommend that you find one game, and stick to that game until you have become really good at it. Both you and your bankroll will appreciate it.
Best poker site for casino players
There are a large number of poker sites online, but not all sites are equally good. Some sites may even be illegal. Thus, it is wise to do some preparation, especially if you want to play with a player you have not heard of before. At the top of the article, we have put together a list of some of the best poker sites for our players. These sites are safe, legal, and all of the highest quality.
Further up you will see some of the best poker sites online, where you can find great bonuses when you make your first deposit.
To read more about them, you can click directly on the reviews:
- Unibet Poker – register (Offers poker from Microgaming and has regular tournaments)
- Guts Poker – register (Same poker client, but is a pioneer in online poker and is always a sponsor of the biggest Poker tournaments)
- Betsson Poker – register (Slightly smaller poker client, but often has tournaments with guaranteed and added jackpots that can provide good value)
- Betsafe Poker – register (Same network as Betsson, but has some own tournaments and freerolls)
- Nordicbet Poker – register (Powered by Betsson Poker Network, it is a very good alternative for all those who seek solid welcome bonus and freerolls)
Do not miss the best poker bonuses
When you register with a poker site, you will often have the opportunity to claim a bonus on your first deposit. If you are looking for value for money, this is a golden opportunity to get some extra money in the player account. But remember to check the terms of the bonus, as some sites will offer seemingly good bonuses that in reality have almost unattainable terms.
Play video poker with play money
If you are in the start-up phase, we can recommend that you start with video poker, rather than a real poker client. Here you can play poker against the computer, and you can even play with play money. This means that you can learn the rules and gain experience for free. If you want to try free video poker, you can check out the selection in the casino section at Bethard. Here you will find a good selection of poker games – also Texas Hold’em, which we have reviewed on this page.
Do not bet more than you can afford to lose
Finally, we would encourage you to play in moderation. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and by all means, try not to win back what you have lost. Log off, forget the loss and come back another time.
And remember to have fun! Poker is a game that is relatively easy to learn, but difficult to master. Thus, there is always room for improvement – and the joy of getting new things in the game.
Interested in more guides? See our other articles on strategy!