Back in the day, poker was a reserve for witted individuals, mainly due to film influence. Well, this game indeed requires skills and strategy. However, as you’ll find out soon, playing poker online is quite easy since game management is automatically done for you. All you do is learn the mechanics of the game.
By mechanics, we mean familiarizing yourself with the rules of poker, understanding hand rankings (how you win or lose), and learning basic poker terms.
There are different poker variations, but Texas Hold’em is the most popular due to its simplicity. The main objective in Texas Hold’em is to create the best possible 5-card hand using your holecards (personal cards) and the community cards.
How to play online poker (Texas Hold’em)
If you want to learn how to play poker online for real money, the first step is to sign up for one of the best poker sites in India and deposit some cash. You’ll then join a table with other players and a computer dealer designated as a button.
Before the game begins, the 2 players to the left of the button are forced to make a bet each. These bets are called blinds. The first player to the left of the dealer posts a small blind, which is half of the minimum bet amount, while the second player makes a big blind, which is the minimum bet amount.
After posting the blinds, the computer dealer deals 2 cards (aka holecards) face down to all the players. Then the betting rounds (aka streets) begin.
1st betting round: Pre-flop phase
The first player to act in this round is the person to the left of the big blind. After looking at the holecards, the player can make any of the following choices;
- Fold– quit and give up the chance to win the hand
- Call– contribute the minimum bet, which is equal to the big blind
- Raise– bet an amount higher than the current stake
After all the players have played, it’s time for the second round of betting.
2nd betting round: Flop
In this round, the dealer deals the first 3 community cards on the table face up. The immediate player to the left of the dealer is the first to act. In addition to all the decisions explained above (fold, call, and raise), this round also allows you to check.
In Texas Hold’em, checking means passing the action to the player on your left. You don’t have to wager. However, checking is only available if no bet has been made on the current street. If the player before you has bet, you have no option but to call, raise, or fold.
3rd betting round: The Turn
In the third street, the dealer deals the 4th card of the community cards, and another round of betting happens. The actions in this round are similar to those of the previous round: Check, fold, call, or raise.
4th betting round: The River
In the fourth round, the last card, called the River, is dealt face-up, triggering the final round among the remaining players. Once again, the players can check, fold, call, or raise.
After the River card has been dealt, the remaining players reveal their cards to each other, and the winner is determined. You need to have the best hand using your holecards and the community cards to win the pot. You can also use community cards only.
Identifying the winning hand in Poker
Here are hand rankings in poker game starting with the strongest to the weakest:
- Royal flush– 10-J-K-Q-A
- Straight flush– five consecutively ranked cards with same suit
- Four of a kind– four cards with equal ranking plus a kicker or side card e.g., A-A-A-A-8. In case of a tie, the player with the highest side card wins.
- Full house– three cards of equal rank and two other cards with similar ranking e.g., 3-3-3-7-7
- Flush– any five cards with same suit e.g., 2-7-5-8-4 all black spades
- Straight– any five cards ranked consecutively and not suited e.g., 3-4-5-6-7
- Three of a kind– any three cards with equal ranking e.g., 4-4-4-6-9
- Two pair– two pairs of matching rank and more pairs with different but matching rank plus a side card e.g., K-K-8-8-3
- One pair– a set of five cards of which two have the same rank e.g., Q-Q-6-3-5
- High card– cards that don’t qualify for any of the hands above. In a tie, the player with the highest hand wins.
Best Online Poker Casinos in India
Luckydays is among the top casinos for poker in India today. This online casino offers players up to ₹100,000 of free play besides allowing you play in Indian rupee. Also, Luckydays has one of the best poker software. Other worthy recommendations include Pokerstars, 888 Poker, Adda52, and Spartan Poker.
5 Top Tips on How to Win Online Casino Poker
- Always start with low-stakes poker
- Begin by playing single table online poker before thinking of multi-tabling
- Always consider playing in a distraction-free zone
- Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the rules of playing casino poker game first
- Be keen on each player’s betting strategy and be prepared to fold some big hands