General Poker Rules

The main goal of poker game is to win the bank, making up the higher possible hand with 5 cards or making your opponents quit the game. The cards used in a hand can be faced-up or faced-down. The rules vary depending on a certain game type. But the betting rounds and the hands is what stays similar in any poker discipline.

Traditional Poker Hands

Commonly, a hand includes 5 cards. Traditional poker high-hands are applied in the majority of the disciplines: Holdem, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, 5-Card Draw Poker.


  • Royal Flush is the best probable variant of straight-flush. It is made up with the cards from Ace to 10 of the identical suit. Constantly it is thought to be a separate hand. But actually, it is a kind of straight-flush.
  • Straight-flush is a hand of 5 cards of sequential order in the equivalent suit. If several players make up this hand, the opponent with the lower card is beaten. The highest achievable straight-flush is royal flush with Ace as the strongest card.
  • Four of a kind (or quads) is a hand of 4 cards with the identical rank and a fifth card called kicker. If various players make up quads the winner is the one with a higher card in quads. If quads are equal in rank the winner is chosen with the kicker.
  • Full house is a hand composed of 3 cards of identical rank and two more cards of another rank. In case of alike hands, the participant with higher 3 cards wins. If they are of the identical rank, the pair is compared then.
  • Flush - a hand of 5 cards in one suit. When two opponents have flush, the one with the higher card wins the bank. If the best cards happen to be of the equivalent rank, the second, third etc. are compared. If all the cards happen to be equivalent, the bank is shared by the players.
  • Straight - 5 cards in sequential order but in different suits. Ace can be played both as the highest and as the lowest card. The owner of a higher card wins in the case of alike hands.
  • Three of a kind (set) – a hand of 3 cards of the identical rank and two extra cards. The competitor with the higher trips cards wins. If several opponents have the alike rank of trips, the best extra card wins.
  • Two pair - 2 pairs of the identical rank and a 5th card. In equal hands the higher ranked pair wins, if they are alike, the second pair is compared. If both pairs are with the equivalent rank, the higher fifth card wins.
  • One pair - is a hand with 2 card of the identical rank and three other cards. The participant with a better rank of a pair wins in equal combinations. If both pairs are of the similar rank, extra cards are used to determine the number one.
  • High card includes all the hands, not mentioned above. The winner is determined with a stronger card here.

Actions in Poker Games

The flow of the game includes dealing cards, betting rounds and determining a winner. Meanwhile, a betting round is held one of the following actions must be chosen:

  • Check – if no one made bets in the current round, you can make check. This indicates that you pass a turn to another player and continue the game. If all the participants choose to check the bank does not raise in the current round and the game goes on.
  • Bet – is the first bet in any betting round.
  • Fold – is folding the cards, the player is not making bets in this game, loses a possibility to win the bank, and all the previous bets.
  • Call – is matching the bet size in comparison with the one made by a previous player.
  • Raise – is raising a bet, so that your bet is bigger than the one of a previous player. All the players who make bets after you, in this case, need to call, raise or fold.

Number of betting rounds

The total number of rounds differs depending on the exact discipline being played. Let’s discuss the rounds in the poker games with community cards:

  • Pre-flop – is a round, when the competitors have already received their cards face down, and community cards are not open yet. It’s a first chance to evaluate the chances of the initial hands and possibilities of playing them.
  • Flop – is a round, when three community cards are put on the table face up. It’s a key moment to determine the potential of pocket cards and chances to win. Usually, the game is quite aggressive in that round, as this is an opportunity to kick the opponents out of the game.
  • Turn – is the third round, when the 4th community card is open. The last card remains closed, that is why mathematical calculations are important here. Unconfident game on this stage leads to stealing the bank by other more aggressive players.
  • River – is the last betting round when the fifth card is open. It’s getting clear how strong the opponents’ hands are. You need to evaluate your hand compared to the opponents’ hands.


The game can end up before all the four betting rounds are over. If all the players are folding, the one who does not takes the bank, no matter what cards he/she has.


The final stage of the game is named showdown. The players must open their cards, and the winner is determined. The participant with the strongest hand wins. If during the last betting round nobody makes bets, the showdown launches with the opponent left to the Button and goes clockwise. If there were bets, the player who made a bet is the one who opens the cards first. If someone opened a higher combination you have the right to fold the cards without opening them. An exception is a player who made an all-in, he is obligated to show his hand.

Game Types

Poker games can be limited with the bet size. The limit sets the maximal sum you can bet in every betting round. From this point of view, the games are divided into:

  • No Limit. Maximal raising sum is not limited, while minimal must be equal to or higher than big blind and the previous bet.
  • Pot Limit. The minimal raising sum should be equal to the previous bet (or big blind is there were no bets made before). The maximal bet size is limited to the total bank size, you cannot make a bet that is higher than the bank amount.
  • Fix Limit. The minimal and the maximum raising sums depend on the blind sums. In the first two betting rounds, you are allowed to raise the initial bet with the small blind sum. In the later ones – with the big blind sum.

Information on the Table

  • Buy-in – is an entry fee you pay to play on a certain table. It is changed for chips and on cash-tables is equal to the certain number of big blinds. In tournaments, the prize pool is composed of buy-ins.
  • Button. In offline poker, a dealer deals the cards, and in online games, this is done by software. But anyway, the dealer needs to be marked, to set the players positions on the table. The button is moved clockwise from game to game. The player who is in the button position is the last one to make bets, so this position is considered to be the best because here you have all the information about other players when you make your bet.
  • Blinds – are the bets made earlier than the initial cards are dealt. They are applied in Texas Holdem, Omaha, Lowball, Draw Poker, Badugi. Blinds (big and small) are made by two players left from the button.
  • Positions – is the players’ placement within the table. Positions are changed all the time because the button is passed clockwise. The closer the competitor is to the end of the round, the better his/her position is considered to be. If you are the one who is making a big or small blind you need stronger cards. At the button position, you can analyze the actions of other players and make your decisions depending on them. This position gives you chances to apply different poker moves, that will increase your chances to win the bank.