Poker Rules: How To Play, Basics of Various Poker Games & More

Poker Rules: How To Play, Basics of Various Poker Games & More

Poker Rules

In poker, people playing put some money into the game, and the person with the best poker hand or the last player remaining wins. If you want to play poker, you should learn the basic poker rules before you start. Poker games have different types, but most of them share some common rules. When you’re learning the rules of the poker game, you should understand the standard poker hand rankings.

What is the Basic Rule of Poker? | How Does Poker Work Basics?

The basic rule of poker is to create the best hand possible from the cards you’re dealt. It’s about strategically combining your cards with those on the table to beat your opponents. The player having the highest ranking hand at the end becomes the winner of the pot. It’s as simple as that!

How Do You Win a Poker Game?

Winning a poker game boils down to having the best hand when all is said and done. You achieve this by skillfully playing your cards, making strategic decisions, and perhaps a bit of bluffing. The goal is to outsmart your opponents and end the game with the highest-ranking hand. So, it’s not just about luck – it’s a mix of strategy, skill, and a good understanding of the game.

The Poker Hand Rankings/Poker Sequence/Poker Hierarchy Chart/Poker Priority List

Let’s explore the top-ranking hands in regular poker, listed from the best to the least favourable:

  1. Royal Flush: This is the rarest hand in poker, achieved when you form a straight from ten to ace, all in the same suit, like 10♠J♠Q♠K♠A♠.
  2. Straight Flush: When you have five consecutive cards of different suits, such as 7♣8♣9♣10♣J♣, you’ve got a straight flush.
  3. 4-of-a-Kind: If you hold all four cards of the same rank, like 2♦2♠2♥2♣, you’ve got quads!
  4. Full House: Also known as a “boat,” it happens when you have three of a kind and a pair together like 5♦5♠5♣Q♣Q♠ (three of one, two of the other).
  5. Flush: With poker having four suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades), a flush occurs when you have five cards of the same suit. For instance, 4♦6♦9♦Q♦K♦. In this example, we have a King high flush.
  6. Straight: Five consecutive cards of different suits, like 3♥4♦5♠6♠7♣, form a straight. An A-2-3-4-5 straight is called a “wheel,” while 10-J-Q-K-A is known as “Broadway.”
  7. 3-of-a-Kind: Whenever you hold three cards of the same rank, like 8♠K♣2♥2♦2♣, it’s three-of-a-kind. If it includes a pair in the hole and one on the board, it’s “a set.” If two are on the board and one in the hole, it’s “trips.”
  8. Two Pair: Having two pairs, with the fifth card as your kicker, is a two-pair hand. For example, 8♣Q♦K♠K♦8♥ means you have kings and eights with a queen kicker.
  9. One Pair: Matching two cards of the same rank, out of the thirteen available in each suit, constitutes a pair. For instance, 3♠3♥9♦5♦J♣ is a pair of threes.
  10. High Card: When no one can form a ranked hand (different suits, non-connected, unpaired), it comes down to your high card(s). For instance, 10♦7♠4♥Q♣2♦ means you have a queen-ten high hand.

How to Play Poker as Per the Poker Rules

This section will help you understand playing a hand using poker rules, and there’s an example below. In a round of No-Limit Texas Hold’em, each player gets two cards facedown, called “hole cards.” When it’s your turn, you can bet, call, raise, or fold. To win, use any combination of your two-hole cards and the five community cards on the board to make the best five-card hand.

After getting cards, there’s a round of “preflop” betting. Each subsequent round is called a different name.

Flop – The first three community cards are “the flop.” All remaining players can use these cards to try and make the best poker hand. Betting happens, starting with the first player still in the hand, to the left of the dealer button.

Turn – After betting on the flop, another community card is dealt, called the turn (also known as Fourth Street). Now, players have two hole cards and four community cards to make the best five-card hand.

Another round of betting follows, starting with the first remaining player to the left of the button. Play always goes clockwise. When all players have acted, the betting round ends.

River – The river (also called Fifth Street) is the last community card. There’s a final round of betting. If there’s a showdown – where all action is complete – players reveal their hands. The last player to bet, the last aggressor, shows first. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot, completing the hand and moving on to the next one.

Also See: Flop Turn And The River In Poker and How They Got These Names

Poker Rules: Texas Hold’em

In Texas Hold’em, each player gets two hidden cards called “hole cards.” Then, there’s a round of betting. After that, three cards are placed face-up in the middle, called “the flop.” Then more betting happens.

Next, two more cards are added, one by one, with betting rounds after each one. These shared cards are called “community cards,” and you can use any combination of them with your hole cards to make the best hand. You can even use all community cards without your hole cards if they’re better.

There’s a button that moves around the table, and usually, there are two forced bets called blinds. But sometimes, there’s just one blind, multiple blinds, an ante, or a mix of blinds and an ante.

Betting Rounds According to Texas Hold’em Poker Rules Explained:

  1. Opening Deal: Everyone gets two hidden cards.
  2. First Round of Betting: Starting with the player to the left of the big blind, players can call, raise, or fold. The big blind can also raise.
  3. The Flop: Three community cards are revealed.
  4. Second Round of Betting: Starting with the player to the left of the dealer button, players can check or bet.
  5. The Turn: A fourth community card is added.
  6. Third Round of Betting: Same as the second round, but bets are usually larger in limit games.
  7. The River: The fifth and final community card is revealed.
  8. Final Round of Betting: Similar to the second and third rounds.

The Showdown

Finally, everyone shows their best five-card hand using a combination of their hole cards and the community cards. The player who bet last shows first. The highest hand wins the pot. If there’s a tie, the pot is split.

More Texas Hold’em Poker Rules

  • If the first or second hole card is shown accidentally, it’s a mistake. The dealer takes the card back, reshuffles, and cuts the cards again. If any other hole card is exposed by the dealer’s mistake, the game goes on. But the revealed card can’t be used. After the hand is finished, the dealer replaces the exposed card with the top card from the deck, and the exposed card becomes the “burn card.” If more than one hole card is shown, it’s also a mistake, and there has to be a redo.
  • If there are too many cards in the flop, it has to be dealt again. This is true even if you can figure out which card is extra.
  • If the flop has to be redone because cards were shown before the betting was done or there were too many cards, the dealer mixes the community cards with the rest of the deck. The burn card stays on the table. After shuffling has been done, the dealer cuts the deck & deals a new flop without burning a card.
  • If the dealer reveals the fourth card on the board before the betting round is complete, that card is removed from play for that round, even if players fold. The betting continues, and the dealer burns a card and uses it as the fifth card. After this round of betting, the dealer reshuffles the deck, including the card taken out of play, but not the burn cards or discards. Then the dealer cuts the deck and reveals the final card without burning another card. If the fifth card is shown too soon, the deck is shuffled and dealt again in the same way.
  • If the dealer accidentally gives the first player an extra card after everyone already has their starting hands, that extra card is put back in the deck and used as the burn card. If the dealer gives more than one extra card, it’s a mistake.
  • If you decide to use only the community cards to form your hand, you must declare it before discarding your hole cards. Otherwise, you give up your claim to the pot.

Poker Rules: Omaha

Omaha is a bit like Hold’em but with a twist. Instead of two hole cards, each player gets four at the beginning. The game follows the same structure as hold’em, using a three-card flop, a fourth board card, and a fifth board card.

How It Works:

  1. Dealing Cards: Everyone gets four cards face down (hole cards).
  2. First Betting Round: Bet or fold based on your starting four cards.
  3. The Flop: Three community cards are revealed.
  4. Second Betting Round: Bet or fold again.
  5. The Turn: Another community card is revealed.
  6. Third Betting Round: More betting, or you can fold.
  7. The River: The final community card is revealed.
  8. Last Betting Round: Final bets before the big reveal.


  • Everyone left shows their best hand using exactly two hole cards and three community cards.
  • The best five-card hand takes the pot.

Special Rules for Omaha:

  • Unlike Hold ’em, you can’t play the board in Omaha. You must use two cards from your hand and three from the board to make your hand.

Omaha Hi-Lo:

  • Omaha is often played as a high-low split game, aiming for the best high and low hands.

Rules for Omaha Hi-Lo:

  • To qualify for the low hand, you need an 8 or better. If no one qualifies, the best high hand takes the entire pot.

Poker Rules: 5 card Stud

Playing 5 Card Stud is a lot like its relative, 7 Card Stud, but here, each player gets five cards instead of seven. The game involves antes, a bring-in, and a set betting structure. Apart from having fewer cards, the gameplay is pretty much the same as 7 Card Stud.

Antes and Bring-in

Unlike games like Texas Hold’em, 5 Card Stud doesn’t use the small blind/big blind system. Let’s consider a game with ₹5/₹10 limits and six players. Each player might put in an ante of ₹0.50 before the hand. The ante can be any amount, usually a small fraction of the small bet.

  • Once the antes are in, each player receives two cards, one face down and one face up.
  • The dealer starts with the player on the left, dealing a face-down card to each player in a clockwise direction.
  • The second card dealt is a face-up card known as the door card.
  • The player with the lowest-ranking door card must post the bring-in, usually half of the small bet, which is ₹5 in a ₹5/₹10 game. So, the bring-in for this game is ₹2.50.

Initial Betting Round

The player with the lowest-ranking door card must post the bring-in, but they can also choose to complete, betting the full small bet amount (₹5 in this game).

After the first player acts, the next player on the left can call, raise, or fold.

This sequence goes around the table until each player has had a turn. In the first round, all raises must be ₹5 (the small bet), and the maximum number of raises is three. After that, subsequent players can only call.

For instance, if the bring-in is ₹2.50, and the next player completes to ₹5, the next one raises to ₹10, the next to ₹15, and the next to ₹20. After this, other players can only call the ₹20 bets.

Third Street

After the initial betting round, the dealer deals another face-up card to all players still in the hand. The player with the best face-up hand starts the betting round, with options to check or bet ₹5 (the small bet). If the player has a pair showing, they can bet ₹10 (the big bet).

Betting proceeds clockwise, with players having the option to check, bet, raise, or fold. Raises are capped at three, so the maximum bet on Third Street is either ₹20 or ₹40, depending on the starting bet size.

Fourth Street

The process repeats after Third Street, with all remaining players getting another face-up card, known as fourth street. Another betting round takes place, this time using the big bet as the opening size.

Fifth Street

After the fourth street, a final face-up card, known as the fifth street, is dealt to each player. This precedes the final betting round, starting with the player showing the best hand and proceeding clockwise.

If a player bets or raises, and all others fold, that player wins the hand without a showdown. If two or more players make it through Fifth Street without folding, a showdown occurs, and each player reveals their hole card. The player with the best five-card hand, following poker hand rankings, wins.

Poker Rules: 7 Card Stud

Before the big boom of Texas Hold’em took over the poker scene, 7 Card Stud was the go-to poker game worldwide. Every serious poker player knew the ins and outs of this game.

Antes and the Bring-In

Stud typically sticks to limit betting rules. Check our guide on Poker Betting Rules for more on limit game structures, including the “small bet” and “big bet” mentioned in this article.

Unlike Hold’em and Omaha, where players next to the button post blinds, in Stud, everyone at the table puts in an ante, usually 5% of the big bet.

The player with the lowest door card must make a forced bet, the bring-in, which is five times the ante. Optionally, this player can complete the bet by posting the entire small bet.

In a ₹5/₹10 7 Card Stud game, players would ante up ₹0.50, and the bring-in would be ₹2.50. Opting to complete the bet would require paying ₹5, the small bet amount.

The Streets

Stud doesn’t use community cards. Each player gets seven unique cards in 7 Card Stud. The first dealing round gives two down cards and one up card to each player.

Four more betting rounds follow, with each player receiving an additional card in each round.

After all seven cards are dealt, players end up with three face-down cards and four face-up cards.

The Betting Rounds

Once the player with the lowest-value door card posts the bring-in, the action moves clockwise around the table. Every player can either raise, call, or fold.

In a ₹5/₹10 game, players might raise the bring-in to ₹5. Stud is always a limit game, so there are specific limits on how much you can raise.

The third and fourth street use the small bet for raising and betting, while the fifth, sixth, and seventh streets use the big bet.

An exception is when a player pairs their door card on the fourth street. They can open with the big bet instead of the small bet if they choose.

In our ₹5/₹10 example, players would raise and bet in ₹5 increments on the first two streets and in ₹10 increments on the later three streets. If a player pairs their door card on the fourth street, they can open with the ₹10 bet.

The Dealing Streets

The fourth, fifth, and sixth streets each involve dealing one card face up to all remaining players. The seventh street is dealt face down. A betting round follows each dealing street.

Starting from the fourth street, the first player to act is the one with the strongest showing hand.

For example, a player showing a pair acts before those without a pair. Face-down cards don’t matter.

The Showdown

If more than one player stays in the hand after the seventh street, players reveal their cards, starting with seat one and moving clockwise. If there was aggressive action on the last betting street, the player who initiated the action shows their cards first.

The player having the strongest 5-card poker hand becomes the pot winner. Standard poker hand rankings determine winning hands. If two or more players have the same hand strength, the pot is split among them.

Poker Rules: Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo

Seven-card stud hi-lo split is a game of cards played in two ways—high and low. To play the low hand, you need cards with a value of 8 or lower. The player with the lowest card starts the game, and a high card is considered an ace for this purpose. In later rounds, the player with the best high hand starts. If there’s a tie for the high hand, the player to the dealer’s clockwise side acts first. In fixed-limit games, the third and fourth rounds have lower limits, while subsequent rounds have upper limits. An open pair doesn’t change the betting limit. Aces can be high or low. The value of a hand’s low part is not affected by straights or flushes. You can use any five cards for the best high hand and the same or different cards for the best low hand.

  • All seven-card stud rules apply to the high-lo split version unless stated otherwise.
  • To play the low hand, you need a hand with a value of 8 or lower, unless specified otherwise.
  • If there’s no qualifying low hand, the best high hand wins the entire pot.
  • For the best high hand, use any five cards, and for the best low hand, use any five cards, whether the same as the high hand or not.
  • The lowest card by suit (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades) starts the game, with an ace considered a high card.
  • Aces can be used for high or low hands.
  • Straights and flushes don’t impact the value of a low hand.
  • In fixed-limit games, the third and fourth streets have lower limits, and subsequent rounds have upper limits.
  • An open pair on the fourth street doesn’t change the limit.
  • Splitting pots is based on cards, not player agreements.
  • An odd chip in a pot goes to the high hand.
  • If players tie for both high and low, the pot splits evenly, with the highest-suited card holder getting the odd chip.
  • In this determination, all cards are considered, not just the final five used in the hand. If there’s one odd chip in the high portion and two or more high hands split the pot, the odd chip goes to the player with the highest card by suit. If two or more players have equally low hands, they share the pot equally, and the remaining chip goes to the player with the lowest card based on their suit.

Poker Rules: Mississippi Stud

The goal of Mississippi Stud Poker is to have the best five-card poker hand out of seven cards to win the pot.

Here’s how it goes: Start by putting in some chips (that’s the ante), then get two cards face down and one face up. The player with the lowest face-up card has to make the first bet if it’s a game with limits. If it’s a big-bet game, the one with the highest card can choose to bet or fold.

  • Now, give each player two more face-up cards and let them bet based on their hand’s strength.
  • After that, give everyone a fourth face-up card and let the betting continue with the highest hand going first.
  • Repeat the process with a fifth face-up card, and then it’s time for the final bets, followed by a showdown to see who takes the pot.

Now, let’s dig into the betting structures:

In big-bet games (where there are no strict limits on bets), everyone puts in an ante, and the player with the highest card or hand starts the betting. The initial bet size is up to the first player, starting as small as one ante and going up to the maximum allowed in that game.

For limit-betting games, there’s an ante, a mandatory initial bet from the player with the lowest card, and bets typically double for the last two rounds. The number of bets is usually capped at three per round, except in one-on-one pots.

In low-ante games, the initial ante is one unit, the bring-in (mandatory initial bet) is two units, and completing the bet is 10 units. The maximum bet for the first two rounds is 10 units, doubling to 20 units for the third and fourth rounds.

In high-ante games, the ante is four units, bring-in is five units, and a raise is 10 units. Bets increase to 20 units in the third and fourth rounds. So, that’s the scoop on Mississippi Stud!

Poker Rules: Lowball

Lowball is a type of draw poker where having the lowest hand is the key to winning the pot. Here’s how it goes:

Each player gets dealt five cards face down, and then there’s a round of betting. Players have to either start with a bet or fold. Those who stick around after the first betting round can try to improve their hands by swapping out some cards, and this swapping is known as the draw.

The game often involves blinds, and sometimes an ante is thrown in. Different betting structures may allow calling the big blind, or they might require the minimum opening bet to be double the big blind. In limit poker, the usual setup is to double the limit after the draw, though Northern California does things differently.

Now, let’s talk about the popular forms of lowball:

  1. Ace-to-Five Lowball (California Lowball): In this version, the best hand you can have is 5-4-3-2-A.
  2. Deuce-to-Seven Lowball (Kansas City Lowball): Here, the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2, and the cards don’t have to be of the same suit.

For more details on the specific rules of each type of lowball, you can check out the individual sections for each game. If you want to know about rules for misdeals in lowball, they follow the same guidelines as hold’em and other button games:

A misdeal occurs if two players have acted on their hands before:

  • The first or second card is dealt faceup due to a dealer error.
  • Two or more cards are exposed by mistake.
  • Too many cards are dealt initially.
  • An incorrect number of cards is given to a player (except the button, who can get one more card to complete the starting hand).
  • The button is in the wrong position.
  • The 1st card is dealt to the wrong-positioned player.
  • Cards are dealt out of order.
  • Cards are given to an empty seat or a player not entitled to a hand.
  • A player entitled to a hand is mistakenly dealt out unless they are present, at the table, or have posted a blind or ante.

Poker Rules: Open-Faced Chinese (OFC) Poker

In Open-Faced Chinese (OFC) Poker, the most popular version of Chinese poker, players aim to create three distinct poker hands with five cards each and one hand with three cards. The key is to rank the cards from the best to the next best. The front three cards can be arranged in three ways: high card, one pair, or three of a kind.

Here’s how it goes:

  • Number of Players: Typically played among two to four players, OFC Poker follows the standard poker setup with a dealer button.
  • Dealing: Cards are dealt from the dealer’s left. Each player in OFC poker receives their initial cards and strategically places them face up on the table. This initial arrangement sets the stage for creating the front, middle, and back hands. Once placed, these five cards cannot be rearranged.
  • Additional Dealing: The dealer then continues by dealing one card face down at a time until each player has received a total of eight cards. Players take turns placing these remaining cards, completing their three poker hands.

It’s important to note that the poker rules of Open-Faced Chinese poker share similarities with Chinese poker, and the dealer button is employed just as it is in standard poker games

Poker Rules: Razz

In Razz, the one with the lowest hand takes home the winnings. It’s a bit like seven-card stud high, but here, the high card (remember, aces are the lowest) has to make the first bet, and the player with the lowest hand goes first in all following rounds. Forget about straights and flushes affecting rankings; the top-notch hand is 5-4-3-2-A, also known as a wheel. And just so you know, an open pair doesn’t mess with the betting limit.

Razz Poker Rules Simplified

Think of all the regular seven-card stud rules—they apply in Razz, with a few exceptions. Remember, the winner is the one with the lowest hand. Aces are at the bottom of the hierarchy, and straights and flushes don’t change a hand’s low value. The unbeatable hand? 5-4-3-2-A. The player with the highest card of a suit starts things off with a mandatory bet. From then on, the player with the lowest hand acts first. If there’s a tie for the lowest hand, the player next in line, clockwise from the dealer, takes the lead. In fixed-limit games, stick to the lower limit on the third and fourth streets and switch to the upper limit for the streets after that. And yes, an open pair doesn’t mess with the limit. Oh, and by the way, the dealer only announces pairs the first time they show up, except for pairs of face cards—they’re a silent duo.

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