Poker Rules

You generally play any game to relax and be entertained, isn’t it? If you get the chance to earn while doing so, wouldn’t you love to play such a game? Well, that is exactly what you get from the game of poker. It is a fun and fascinating game that has grown in popularity over the years. In fact, people have liked it so much that different types and variants of poker have evolved – Texas Hold’em, Omaha, etc. to name a few. You need not worry – as most of the basic poker rules are common for most of the poker game variants!

Poker Rules: General Betting Rules

Your objective is to win the game of poker by making the best hand with five cards. You can achieve the same either by following the poker game rules:

  • Bluffing (through betting as well as raising) and forcing your opponent players to fold up their hands.
  • Having the best poker hand at the final frontier (showdown) when two or more players display their hands after all the betting rounds are completed.

Some of the popular poker hand rankings (necessary for you) corresponding to the popular poker hand rules are as under (in descending order with the first example):

  • Royal Flush

This one is a Straight high flush of A, K, G, J, and 10, of the same suit.

  • Straight Flush

This one comprises of five cards for the same suit in peculiar numerical order.

  • Four of a Kind

In this poker hand, there are four cards of equal rank for any suit. For example, an ideal example could be 4 Kings and Eight of diamonds.

  • Full House

Also known as full boat, this one comprises of Three of Kind and a pair. For instance, you can have 3 Kings (except for diamonds one) and any two sevens.

  • Flush

Here, you can have five cards of the exact same suit, irrespective of the order/sequence. For example, you can have King, and 3,4,5,6 of diamonds.

  • Straight

This comprises of five cards of the same suit, in numerical order for citizens. For example, a hand will be 8,9,10, J, and Q.

  • Three of a kind / set

It refers to the three cards from any three cards of the same rank from any suit, along with two cards of any suit.

  • Two Pair

Here, you can have two pairs from two ranks each, with the last card (fifth) to be of any rank for any suit.

  • One Pair

It comprises of one pair of one rank, with the remaining three cards to be of any rank and that too from any suit.

  • High Card

This ranking indicates that the person with the highest card wins.

You can keep these popular poker hand rankings in mind to be used in combination with poker rules for consistent performance in a variety of poker games.

Possible Actions with Cards

Once the cards are dealt initially, the players have to start taking action in a clockwise direction on the table / board. When you get your chance to play, you can take any one of the following possible actions:

Check

This action of checking indicates your refusal to bet (or open the betting). You can check only when there is no bet in the existing round, and the action opportunity gets passed to the next person in a clockwise direction for that hand.

Fold

As the name suggests, this action refers to the act of you forfeiting your cards and withdrawing any possibility of you taking any action in the existing hand. You give up the opportunity to win the current hand.

Raise

You can choose to ‘raise’ and match the highest bet as well as put in a greater bet. The subsequent players are then supposed to call the ‘raise’ or ‘raise again’ in order to stay in that hand.

Call

You can choose to ‘call’ and match the highest bet to stay alive in the hand. Clearly, you can bet if your opponents have placed bets during the current round.

Bet

You can choose to ‘bet’ even if no other players have chosen to ‘bet’ in the existing round. Once you opt to ‘bet’, your opponent players have to ‘call’ by matching the amount of your bet if they intend to stay in the hand.

While the different variants of poker game might involve different rounds of betting, the popular variants like Texas Hold’em and Omaha comprise of similar betting structures.

Most of the common betting rounds include the following:

1. Blinds

Before the actual betting round begins, you have a round where money / chips are collected in the pot. You won’t have any motivation to win the hand if there are no chips in the pot and you would tend to fold more frequently, isn’t it?

For this purpose, two players on the table are made to place forced bets initially. The player who sits immediately clockwise from the dealer (one with the ‘marker button’ or the ‘dealer button’ or ‘button’) has to place the first forced bet – known as the ‘small blind’. The next clockwise player from the small blind player will be the player who is forced to post a big blind, which is typically twice the overall size of the ‘small blind’.

The total size of these blinds will determine the stakes of the poker game you would play. In case of a situation where you do not have enough chips stack to make the blind bet, you have to put everything you have at stake. When there are just two players left in the game, the dealer is expected to post the ‘big blind’, whereas the other player has to post the ‘small blind’. Once this round is completed, the actual betting round begins with following types of betting limits.

2. Pre-Flop

This is the betting round that kickstarts once all the players are dealt with the hole cards, but are yet to receive any of the community cards. Here, you

3. Flop

This is the round where bets are placed after three community cards are dealt face-up on the board to all the players.

4. Turn

This is the round of bets that need to be placed after the fourth community card is dealt.

5. River

In this round of betting, the bets are made after the fifth/final community card is dealt.

For every round of betting, the betting continues till each player either matches the bets placed or folds up. In case of no bets made by any of the players, the round completes when every player has taken the action to ‘check’.

6. Showdown

Once the last round of betting is completed, and more than one player is remaining on the table, the last person who put a bet/raise will display his / her cards. Say if there was no bet in the last round, the player who is immediately clockwise direction from the button shall display his / her cards first. Now, who turns out to be the winner?

The player with the best-ranking hand is declared as the winner of the pot. There can be a situation in different poker games where multiple players can share the pot, based on the poker rules of that game.

Betting Limits

There are various betting structures possible for different poker games. The most popular ones are as described below:

No Limit

As the name indicates, this ‘no limit’ poker game does not have any bet or raise limit. You can place any amount of bet in any of the betting rounds, even betting the entire set of chips you possess at that point in time in any betting round.

Pot Limit

Here, you are free to bet or raise an amount up to and including the overall size of the total pot at that given point in time.

Fixed Limit

With this betting structure variant, you can place a bet or choose to call or raise by an amount that is fixed in advance for the betting round.

Poker Rules – Cash Games vs Tournaments

You can play poker in cash games or tournaments, depending on your choice. You need to note that while the potential to earn big is greater with tournaments, the time taken to emerge as a winner is also greater in tournaments.

When it comes to cash games, you can choose to sit-down or stand-up at any time based on your preference. But, when it comes to tournaments, the play continues till you arrive upon the eventual winner from the table, or a deal is finalized between the remaining players.

  • You have to play for pots with real money in case of cash games. On the other hand, with tournaments, you get tournament chips to play against the fixed buy-in fee paid by you.
  • The blinds remain constant and do not increase with cash games. However, the blinds can increase ‘n’ number of times, on the basis of the blind structure for that tournament.
  • The chips you hold in a tournament cannot be cashed out against money, and these serve only for determining your player position.
  • In case of fixed limit tournaments, three raises and one bet are permitted. When it comes to no limit and pot limit tournaments, there is no limit on the raises permitted.

Poker Rules – MTTs

When it comes to multi-table tournaments (MTTs) which are not one-off tournaments, the button is decided by the high card and 1 up card is dealt to the players.

Assignment of seats is random in such tournaments that start at pre-determined times.

This type of tournament is complete when one of the players on the table wins all the chips that are under play.

Poker Rules: Table Stakes and All-In

Have you watched any of the movies where a person is playing poker at the casino with a fixed amount (chips) and then places things like watch, car keys, etc. as bets due to shortage of chips or money? Well, such a scenario is not possible in real life poker game rules (be it any variant).

Once you start a hand, you can utilize only those many chips you had with you at the start of that hand, to bet. This is known as ‘table stakes’. You are not permitted to add anything (chips or amount) during the hand as play moves on. So, does it mean that you have to forfeit you hand and cannot call a bet if you do not have enough chips left with you to call the highest bet on the table?

 Even if you do not have enough chips to call a bet, you can be declared as ‘All-in’, where you become eligible to win a portion of the pot up to the amount for which you have the chips. All the remaining portion of the pot is moved to a ‘side pot’, which is not eligible to win by you (the All-in player). If multiple players are declared All-in during the same hand, there is a big possibility of having numerous side pots.

Thus, you have some amazing poker rules like this which make the game even more interesting for different variants of the game.

The Verdict

Poker is a highly fascinating game that you will enjoy more each time you play. While we have discussed the general poker rules so far, there are certain poker rules applicable for playing poker online at Spartan Poker. When you start playing online poker at Spartan Poker, a fee is charged and collected from every hand. This fee is referred to as Rake and we have a rake chart to determine how much will be collected by a player. When it comes to chips, it is a must for online poker. When a game comprises of seven players or more, it is necessary to have a supply of minimum 200 chips.

You need to start playing on a platform like Spartan Poker or even download real money poker app to get going with a few poker games.


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