How to Play Poker — Basic Rules for Newcomers in 2024

Dennis  «Dennis_Stets» 
10 May 2024
Holdem Poker Basics
10 May 2024

Hold'em takes the first place in the list of the most popular varieties of poker. This is due to its easy rules, exciting betting rounds, and simple mechanics of determining winners. You can play it on many poker sites and platforms. In this article we’ll tell how and where to play Texas Hold'em poker against real opponents, what recommendations and tips should be followed by a player.

Poker Rules: Basic Game Information

The discipline appeared in the middle of the last century in the American state of Texas. Initially it was called simply Hold'em. But when it began to hold games in casinos in Las Vegas, it was decided to add the prefix Texas. It quickly gained popularity and after a while pushed the legendary Stud poker game to second place. So how to play poker?

Usually Hold'em games take place at tables for 2-10 people. They occupy free seats. Their position is determined relative to the dealer button.

Before the community cards are dealt, an initial pot is formed. To do this, two poker players sitting to the left of the button, make mandatory bets — blinds. Their size depends on what limit is set at the table. Let's assume that the value of $5/10 is specified. Then the value of the small blind (SB) will be $5 and the big blind (BB) will be $10. So the total bank will be $15.

Betting Rounds

After the bank is formed, the main game begins. It is accompanied by dealing cards in several stages. Let’s name them:


Number of Cards Dealt











At preflop, hole cards are dealt (starting hands) and at other stages — community cards, which are placed in the middle of the table. All participants can use them to make poker combinations.

Between each stage of dealing cards there is a betting round. On it the players can perform the following actions:

  • Bet — bet to continue the game. The minimum size is one big blind.
  • Fold — refusal to participate in the deal. The player folds his cards and loses the opportunity to compete for the money in the bank.
  • Call — equalizes the opponent's bet.
  • Check — passing the move to the next opponent.
  • Raise — raises the opponent's bet.

At no-limit tables players can call all-in. Such a move implies adding all your chips to the pot.

To win a hand, you must build the best hand or try to force all your opponents to fold before showdown.

If there are 2 or more opponents left at the table after a round of betting on the river, the pocket cards are revealed. Whoever has the stronger combination takes the pot. When determining their seniority there is a special hierarchy, which we will talk about in detail below. According to them, the best hand wins the pot.

Poker Hand Rules (Combinations)

There are several varieties of poker offered by online gambling operators to choose from. We advise you to familiarize yourself with the most common games presented in any online room. These are: Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Stud, Razz, Badugi and 5-Card Poker rules.

Since poker was dynamically developed in the United States, all card combinations are characterized by English-language names. They do not contain data on the composition of the cards, but they speak about their strength and are not difficult to memorize. 

The combination includes 5 cards — no more, no less.

When learning the rules of poker for beginners, do not forget to carefully familiarize yourself with each new poker term by opening the dictionary. Poker combinations and their precedence in the picture below — you will also need them while learning:

After carefully reading the rules of all the classic poker games for beginners, choose one area in which to start practicing. Usually beginners stop at Texas Hold'em or five-card poker, as the rules of these games are simple. We similarly advise you to start playing with these disciplines — there are more beginners like you here, so you will learn poker in a more or less comfortable environment.

How to Play Poker for Beginners — Advices for Getting Started

Best poker rooms offer approximately equal playing conditions and a standard set of welcome bonuses. But you should not focus only on these parameters while choosing a poker operator. It’s better to pay attention to how the room cares about the safety of its clients, about the confidentiality of information and high reputation support.

We advise you to do as the majority — get a new account at GGPoker or PokerStars. With over 100 million users, you can't go wrong. Especially since these operators have been offering better conditions for novice poker players lately. Also, these rooms strictly monitor that poker players do not use banned statistical programs that give an advantage to their owners.

Then go to the official site of the room, which you have chosen, and download the client program (for PC or mobile device). When registering, specify your real data (they will not be visible to other users), so that then you do not have problems with the withdrawal of money.

A huge advantage of online poker is that the game is not against the establishment (for example, like online casinos or online slots), but with other real players. For each pot poker players pay a small percentage to the operator — rake. Many poker rooms refund the charged commission. 

Depending on the place (poker brand) and VIP status, the rakeback starts from 30% and higher.

Cash Game or Tournaments — which one to choose?

Poker players can play cash games or participate in tournaments. Cash is a classic game when a player can take a seat at the table before a new hand and leave with his money at any time. The player personally decides how many chips from his bankroll will make up the stack in a given game. 

That’s why firstly the player should choose the limit of the game — depending on the size of bets. The minimum buy-in for No-Limit and Pot-Limit games is 20-100 big blinds, while for Fixed Limit games — 10 small blinds.

No-Limit Hold'em:




$0.01/$0.02 to $0.05/$0.10


$0.1/$0.25 to $0.5/$1


$1/$2 to $4/$8


$5/$10 and above

Fixed Limit Hold'em:




$0.01/$0.02 to $0.25/$0.50


$0.5/$1 to $3/$6


$5/$10 to $10/$20


$15/$30 and above

If you lose the whole stack, in a cash game you can take the necessary amount of chips from the bankroll. It's the same with winnings — complete freedom of action. Many players prefer to leave the table after taking the pot.

After that you can divide the winnings — part of it can be left for the game, and the rest can be deposited or withdrawn from the online room.

Poker tournaments are held a little differently — there is a certain start time for them. Quick tournaments start as soon as the last missing player registers. Large regular tournaments start at a strictly designated time. 

For registration you will need to pay a buy-in. Its cost is indicated in the name when you go to the client's lobby.

Players who lose their entire stack in a tournament, if there is no possibility to rebuy, are eliminated from the tournament. Winning in tournaments does not depend on the size of the pot in a hand. The prize pool is guaranteed by the room and consists of all buy-ins of the participants. The number of prizes depends on the total number of players. Usually all poker players playing at the final table receive huge cash prizes, 100x or even 1000x more, than initial buy-in.

If more players take part in the tournament than the room calculated when creating the prize pool, the payout will be larger. If there are fewer players, the prize pool will not reach the guaranteed prize pool, and the poker room will still pay out the promised prizes, albeit at a loss to itself. In poker it’s called overlay.

How Does Poker Work — General Recommendations

To succeed in poker — it’s not enough to learn the rules and memorize the combinations. Also it is necessary to study the theoretical part more deeply. Beginners should familiarize themselves with the principles of basic strategy, hands charts, learn the basics of poker math, etc. Other tips:

  1. Don't rush into high stakes. You should always start with free tables on play chips and then move to micro- and low limits.
  2. Start with the cash format. This implies participation in single hands, where there will be no more than 9 opponents.
  3. Take into account the position at the table. It affects the choice of cards to enter the deal.
  4. Leave bluffing for later. For its successful realization you need more experience.
  5. Take losses calmly. Even professional poker players face them.
  6. Evaluate your success over the distance, as poker is a variance game.
  7. After each session be ready to analyze the hands. You need to identify your mistakes, successful decisions of your opponents and adjust your strategy based on this data.

Final words on Rules of Poker

Online poker is played by millions of people in different parts of the world. A certain percentage of these users become professionals in the game and start earning real money. The current poker stars also once started by learning the rules of poker for beginners, watching videos and reading instructional books. 

Tens and hundreds of thousands of hours of practice go by before a «dummy» turns into a regular successful poker player. But earning money in online poker is worth it, especially if you progressively evolve and master your skills!

To start playing online poker, you need to fulfill a few conditions. The first thing to do is to study the rules and combinations of the chosen direction. It’s better to stop at Poker Hold'em, because it is held more tournaments and cash games. Next, you will only need to choose a suitable poker room, and register an account. Now you’re ready to go! Also, if you want to grow, you should learn strategy.

Commonly Asked Questions by Poker Players

Can I play in poker rooms for free?

Yes, at tables with play chips, getting no deposit bonuses, or freerolls (tourneys without buy-ins).

Are there other types of poker available at the rooms?

Yes, you can play Omaha, 6+ (Short Deck Poker), Pineapple and other disciplines.

Do I have to pay for the client software of the rooms?

No, it is provided on a royalty-free basis. Despite this, the software of the rooms is made by professional developers in the gambling industry and supports numerous options and features.

How much does it cost to participate in Hold'em tournaments?

Usually buy-ins start at 20 cents.

How much can I win in freerolls?

The average size of guarantees in them is $20-50, so the amount of payouts even for the first places is not that big.


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