How To Play Poker Online
How to Play Texas Hold’em
Become a Texas Hold’em pro with this beginner’s guide to poker’s most popular game. All players start off with two cards (known as hole cards) that are kept private. The dealer then flips over three community cards, which are shared by all players. You can use any combination of hole cards and community cards to create a five-card hand strong enough to contend for the pot. The poker hand values are standard and used in Omaha as well.
Before you get into the action, you’ve got to select a table that caters to your wagering style. Ignition Casino offers fixed limit, pot limit and no limit tables.
The amount you can bet and raise is pre-determined in fixed limit poker. For example, if you play $5/$10 fixed limit Texas Hold’em, you can place $5 bets in the first two rounds of the hand, and $10 bets for the last two rounds of the hand. The amount of times players can raise is capped at three, unless there are only two players left, in which case the cap is increased to five.
The most you can bet in pot limit poker is the amount in the pot, which is the total cash in the middle of the board, including the active bets.
No Limit Texas Hold’em
The minimum you can bet in no limit Hold’em is the value of the big blind, and there is no cap on the maximum you can bet. Make your opponents sweat by going all in with a stellar hand.
One player is the designated dealer (distinguishable by the button placed by the player’s name). In online poker rooms, the button is mainly significant to keep track of the blinds and betting order.
Each player starts off with two face-down hole cards. The player to the left of the dealer must post the small blind (a mandatory contribution to help build up the pot), and the following player must post the big blind. The following players can choose to call by matching the big blind, or they can raise, fold, etc.
The flop consists of three community cards that are placed face up on the board. The community cards are to be used in conjunction with your hole cards to create a strong five-card hand. After the flop is revealed, the player to the left of the dealer starts things off by raising (if the hand is strong), checking (if the hand is mediocre), or folding (if the hand is weak). The following players follow suit, electing to either call, raise, re-raise, check or fold.
The fourth card revealed is called the turn. Another round of betting ensues, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. In fixed limit Texas Hold’em, the fixed betting amount increases at the turn.
The final card revealed is called the river. Players will go through another round of betting, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. If at least two players want to battle for the pot, a showdown takes place.
The showdown is the game’s thrilling conclusion. After all rounds of betting wrap up, the last player to raise or call in the final round must flip over their cards. If the following players see that their hands are weaker, they can choose to not reveal their cards by mucking them instead. The player with the strongest five-card hand wins the pot. If two players have identical hands, the pot is equally divided between them.
How to Play Omaha
How to Play Omaha
Ever wish you had a couple extra hole cards to choose from when playing Texas Hold’em? If so, hit up an Omaha poker table because you get more selection and bigger pots with this popular Texas Hold’em variant.
When playing Omaha, you’ll be dealt four hole cards at the beginning of each hand. You’ll use two of the hole cards in combination with any three community cards to make a five-card hand. The hands follow the same standard rankings as Texas Hold’em.
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of how to play Omaha, take a look at the stakes to find a game that fits your betting style.
Fixed Limit: Bets are restricted to pre-determined amounts in fixed limit Omaha. If you’re playing $2/$4 Fixed Limit Omaha, you can place $2 bets on the pre-flop and flop, and $4 bets on the turn and river.
Pot Limit: You can’t bet more than the total pot amount in pot limit Omaha. The total pot amount includes the amount of active bets on the table.
No Limit: As the name suggests, you can bet as much as you want in no limit Omaha poker. Got a killer hand? Go all in like a champ.
Each player is dealt four hole cards, and the player to the left of the dealer must post the small blind (a mandatory contribution to the pot). The next player must post the big blind. The following players must either call (by matching the big blind), fold, or raise.
After the initial round of betting finishes, the dealer reveals three community cards (aka the flop). These cards are shared by all players. The player to the left of the dealer initiates the action by choosing to check, raise, or fold. The following players must either call, re-raise or fold.
The turn is the fourth community card revealed by the dealer. This prompts a new round of action, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. In fixed limit Omaha, betting amounts increase at this stage.
The final card, called the river, is revealed after all betting has been completed with the turn. This prompts the final round of action.
The showdown takes place when all betting rounds are complete and two or more players go for the pot. The last player to raise or call in the final hand is the first to flip over their cards. If the remaining active players have a losing hand, they can choose to not show their cards by simply mucking them. Players’ hands must be comprised of two hole cards and three community cards; whoever has the highest five-card hand wins the pot.
How to Play Omaha Hi-Lo
Kick your poker action into high gear with Ignition Casino’s Omaha Hi-Lo – a game with big pots and two ways to win. Once seated, the dealer will send four cards your way; these are your hole cards. Five community cards come next and will be laid face up on the board. Your mission is to create the best possible poker hand using two hole cards and three community cards. Simple enough? It gets better.
Two is Better Than One
With Omaha Hi-Lo, you have two chances to win the hand: the pot is divided between the player with the highest hand and the player with the lowest hand. You can use different combinations of hole cards for each category, or use the same two hole cards for both; as long as you are using two hole cards and three community cards to make up your five-card hand, you’re ready to get in on the action. The high hand rankings are the same standard rankings as in Texas Hold’em, but the lowest hand rankings differ.
To go for the low hand prize, your hand must consist of five cards ranked eight and below, and each card must be a different rank. Eight is the cut-off to qualify for the low hand. If you have a nine in your five-card hand, no dice. If no one has a qualifying low hand, the entire pot goes to the winner of the high hand.
Straights and flushes don’t count against you for the low hand. However, if your low hand happens to also be a straight or a flush, you’ll be in the running for the strongest high hand too.
The strongest low hand in Omaha Hi-Lo is 5-4-3-2-A (known as a Five-low), and the weakest is 8-7-6-5-4 (known as an Eight-low). As you can see, each card rank is different. There are no paired cards in low hands.
Check out this theoretical hand.
Let’s say you’re dealt a hand of Ks-Jc-Ac-3c. The community cards are 2s-Kc-4s-As-7h.
Your low hand would be: Ac-2s-3c-4s-7h.
Your high hand would be: Aces and Kings with a 7 kicker.
When you’re ready to hit the felt, take a look at the stakes to get an idea of how much you’ll be betting and how much is in the pot.
Fixed Limit: The amount wagered for each round is pre-determined in fixed limit Omaha. For example, $2/$4 Fixed Omaha Hi-Lo would entail $2 bets on the pre-flop and on the flop, and $4 bets on the turn and river.
Pot Limit: The most you can bet with pot limit stakes is the total pot amount, which includes the amount in the pot as well as the amount being bet on the table.
Assume we’re playing $2/$4 Fixed Omaha Hi-Low. The game starts with each player being dealt four cards and posting the blinds. The blinds are mandatory contributions to the pot to get things rolling. The small blind is $2 and is paid by the player sitting left to the dealer, and the big blind is $4 and paid by the second player.
After the first round of betting is finished, the dealer will reveal the flop, which contains three community cards. The player to the left of the dealer starts the action followed by the remaining players. The action consists of players electing to check, raise, call or fold.
The fourth card, called the turn, is revealed next, and this begins another round of betting. In fixed limit games, the amount that players can bet increases at the turn. The action goes around the table until all bets are complete.
The fifth and final card revealed by the dealer is the river, and this prompts the final round of betting.
After all the betting rounds are complete, a showdown takes place between the remaining players. The last player to raise or call in the final round is the first one to reveal their hand. If the following contenders see that they have a losing hand, they can choose to show their cards or fold without showing, called a muck.
The player with the highest five-card hand takes half the pot, and the player with the lowest five-card hand takes the other half. Keep in mind, all hands must contain two hole cards and three community cards. If no player qualifies for the low hand, the winner of the highest hand wins the entire pot.
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When it is a player’s turn, they perform an action like folding, checking, calling or raising. Action can also describe the game when there’s a lot of heavy betting and raising, “That game had great action.”
A person that backs a player is said to have part of that player’s “action.”
A player who is playing in a live hand.
The amount of chips that each player must put in the pot before a hand is dealt. You’ll see it in Stud games but not games that use blinds like Texas Hold‘em. Antes can be seen in tournaments where the blinds grow larger and are used to ensure a timely finish to the tournament.
When a player puts all their money in the pot and no longer has any chips to call or raise with.
A hand that can make a draw if it catches two more cards. A backdoor draw is usually not strong enough on its own and the odds against making your hand are high. A backdoor draw is much more valuable when combined with either a made hand such as top pair or a second draw.
The amount of money a player has at hand to play poker with. Learn more about poker bankroll management.
To bankroll a player is to finance their play as an investor.
The action of putting money or chips into a pot
Any point during a hand that players can bet. It begins with cards being dealt. There are a predetermined number of betting rounds for each specific game.
The big blind is a mandatory live bet that is posted before the start of each hand. It is typically anywhere from one-half of the big bet amount for the table to a full big bet, depending on what type of game and limit. The big blind occupies the position that is two places left of the dealer and is almost always preceded by a small blind, the position immediately to the left of the dealer.
A card that likely does not benefit any player or impact the hand.
A mandatory bet posted by a player in relation to the stakes of the game.
A bet made that reflects the action of a strong hand, when in fact it is a weak hand which can only win by forcing the other players to fold out of the pot.
To make a pair with the lowest card on the flop such as holding 8-9 in your hand with a flop of K-10-9.
An Ace-high straight made up of Ace through 10.
A pair of Aces in the hole or pocket. Chips can also be called bullets.
To raise a pot or a hand.
To discard the top card of the deck before each hand and any cards dealt. Done to ensure that the deck is not stacked and that a player has not had the advantage of seeing the top card.
Cards that are discarded and placed in the muck or discard pile during a hand.
To lose all your money or chips. Often for not making a straight or flush draw.
A white plastic disk that moves around the table clockwise in games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha to identify the position of the dealer. A player is ‘on the button’ when they are the dealer.
When a player tries to win a h and by over-betting the pot or buying it. Often a bluff or a bet with a marginal holding. Players buy the button when they knock out players behind them by making a large enough raise to become the last player to act in future betting rounds.
The amount of money needed take part or sit down at a cash game table or buy into a tournament. A specified minimum in a cash game.
To match a bet amount in a round of betting as opposed to folding or raising. A player may say, “I call your raise.”
A passive player who calls hands down instead of raising or folding. This type of player almost always plays off a better hand but is usually tough to bluff.
A pre-set limit on the number of raises allowed in a betting round. Typically 3 or 4.
The last or fourth card in rank when the rest of the cards are in play. When 3 cards of the same rank are on the board then the fourth card is the ‘case’ card of that rank.
Catching cards is when a player is getting the good ones.
A player can check or take no action rather than bet. If a player follows up with a bet, then the player that checked must fold, call or raise the bet on their turn. Another word for a poker chip.
When a player with a strong hand checks during a betting round hoping the opposing player will think they have a weak hand and respond by betting. The player who checked can then re-raise and put more money in the pot.
Small colored disks that represent real money at a cash game or theoretical tournament dollars in a tournament. Each color represents a certain denomination of money.
When a player calls more than one bet at the same time. This typically happens when a bet and a raise have been made before the action reaches them, requiring calling two bets to stay in the hand.
A drawing hand that has no other chance of winning than to draw the cards it needs to complete.
A starting hand with hole cards set for ranking: a 6 and 7, or a K and A.
A hand is counterfeit when a card is dealt that nullifies a player’s hand advantage. For example, if an A-2 is vying for two pairs against a hand with A-K and A-10-2 is on the board, a turn card of 10, counterfeits the first hand’s advantage. The second hand has two pair and a better kicker, and wins the hand.
Any King. A pair of Kings would be referred to as Cowboys.
To beat a very strong hand. For example if Q-J makes 2 pair to beat or crack a pair of Aces.
A player that loses a lot in a tournament hand and has few chips left is crippled.
The act of legitimizing the deck by breaking it into 2 or more sections after shuffling.
An underdog is a player who is not favored to win, or a hand that is a statistically weaker than the other hands.
When one hand is statistically weaker than another it is dominated. For example, a pair of Aces dominate a pair of Kings because the Kings must catch another King to win the hand.
The first card dealt face up in a Stud game after the hole cards are dealt.
When a hand is on a draw but will not win the pot even if they get the card they want to draw. For example, a player calling bets in hopes of making a flush when their opponent has a full house.
When a player folds their cards they ‘drop’ their hand.
The money in the pot likely due to the hand a player is holding. For example, if there is $200 in the pot and the hand has a 50% chance of winning, the player’s equity in the pot is $100.
The amount of money a player will make over time, calculated by dividing the total net win/loss by the number of hours played in a particular game. For example, if you win $1,000 in 100 hours of play then your expectation is $10 an hour
When most of the players in a hand call before the flop. This is when most of the players in a hand call before the flop, making for few raises and many players in the pot. It’s a good time to play suited connectors and small pairs.
A style of action that is aggressive in the first rounds of betting. It’s a good strategy if you have the best hand but don’t want a draw. For example, flopping a small set on a flush draw board with overcards, such as a set of 3-3 on a board of A-K-3 with 2 of the same suit.
A cheeky term for a pair of Jacks.
After the opening round of betting, the flop is dealt at the center of the table as community cards for all players to share. In games like Texas Hold‘em or Omaha, the flop is 3 cards. 1 card is added to the flop at each of the next hands, called the turn and the river.
When you lay down your cards and withdraw from the hand, giving up any claim to the pot.
If rules or procedure are broken, a hand is ruled foul and isn’t played. For example, if the dealer forgets to burn a card before dealing.
If there is no betting in a particular round players receive or get to see the next card. A free card is ideal you are on a draw and don’t have a made hand.
Tournaments with a prize pool that have no buy-in or entry fee.
A hand that has 3 cards of the same rank and 2 cards of 1 other rank. For example, 3 Queens and a pair of 5s.
When a player gets the card that fits in the middle of, and completes, a straight. Also called an inside straight. For example, holding J-10 with a flop that has a 7 and 8 and you catch a 9.
A complete round or game. It starts with the posting of blinds or antes and the dealing of cards to all players. A hand ends when a player wins and gets the pot. Also used for an individual player’s cards. For example, “I have a great hand”.
When only 2 players are in a game or competing for a pot.
The best hand in a round. In Hi-Lo games where both high and low hands can win, the high hand is the best hand made from high cards, but not the only winning hand.
When you get the card you needed to complete a good hand. For example, having an A, K, Q, J and getting a 10 in the flop. If you say, “hit me” you want to catch the right card.
The space where the game is played, such as a casino or poker room. Also refers to its employees, particularly the management. A house also refers to a full house hand.
The bottom of a straight that is risky because another player may have the higher end of the straight. For example, if you have a 6-7 on a flop of 8-9-10 making you vulnerable to a player holding the Q-J.
The pot that a player hasn’t gotten yet, but expects to get in upcoming bets if they make their hand. The odds are based on the amount of money in the pot.
When you have 4 of the cards to make a straight and need one of the middle cards to complete it. For example, having a 10-J in hand with a 2-Q-8 board. You’ll rarely have the right pot odds to draw an inside straight, so it’s best to play it only if there is a big pot. .
When a very strong hand is beaten by an even stronger hand, the prize pool is called a jackpot. For example, 4 Aces being beaten by a straight flush. There is usually a preset minimum for qualifying hands, like beating 4 of a kind or better, and sometimes both players must use both of their hole cards.
When you play very quickly and aggressively. A ram-and-jam game has heavy betting and fast action.
The second unpaired card of the 2 hole cards used to break a tie between hands. For example, if the board has K-J-9-7-2 and 1 player has A-K, the next has K-10, and the third has K-3, the player holding A-K has an Ace high second card or kicker, and wins the pot.
Cards that have not been dealt or exposed are live cards. Knowing which cards have not been played yet tells you which cards are still live and have the potential of being drawn or dealt to complete a hand. A live game or player is one with plenty of action or opportunity. A live hand is one that hasn’t been folded or discarded.
A forced bet, posted just ahead of the button before the hand begins in games like Texas Hold‘em and Omaha. The blind is live because the player who posted the blind still has to check, call or raise depending on what happened during pre-flop betting.
When a player or game tends to have or play too many hands. The opposite of loose play, is tight play when very few hands are played. Typically loose players are in on almost any starting hands and stay in the hand for too long without a reasonable chance of winning.
An unbeatable hand that is guaranteed to win the pot.
When a player gets the cards needed to have a hand of some value. You can say, “Did you make your hand?”
A player that raises again and again without considering the value of their hand. Maniacs are typically volatile and unpredictable and feared for it, but are rarely strong players.
Discarded and burned cards collected in a pile in front of the dealer that are dead. If your had accidentally touches the muck, your hand is automatically ruled as dead. Also used when folding a hand. “I mucked my hand.”
A type of game limit or stake that has no maximum bet, you can put all your chips in on your turn, unlike Limit poker games where you can only bet multiples of the game’s limits or stakes. Texas Hold‘em is a classic game for No Limit stakes.
The best possible hands when you take the exposed cards or community cards into account. The nuts often change as cards are dealt.
Cards that aren’t of the same suit in a starting hand.
A variation of Texas Hold‘em. 4 hole cards are dealt instead of 2 and you must make the best 5-card hand using 2 of the hole cards and 3 of the community cards. Omaha also has a Hi-Lo game.
When a Texas Hold‘em player’s starting hand has 2 hole cards that are separated in rank by 1. For example: a K-J in the hole.
A card that improves your hand. For example, if you have a flush, any of the remaining cards of the same suit would be outs, or cards that would make a flush.
When you start ahead in a hand but end up losing to a player who catches the cards needed to make a better hand.
To call a bet after one or more other players have already called.
A pocket card that is higher than any card on the board or community cards that are higher than a player’s pocket.
A pocket pair that is higher than any card on the flop.
Any face cards: Kings, Queens and Jacks.
Used when a player or a game doesn’t have enough raising or betting happening, only checking and calling.
When a player thinks they are behind in a hand, and calls so they can see the other player’s cards.
Play The Board
To you use all the community cards to make the best 5-card hand. If no other player can use their pocket cards to beat your hand, the pot is split evenly between all the players in the hand.
The cards dealt face down to a player. They aren’t exposed until showdown.
Cards dealt to a player that are for their eyes only.
To put in a blind or make a forced bet at the start of the game or when in the blinds.
All the chips put into play during a hand and the prize to be won. The pot keeps growing until the last cards are dealt and all betting is finished. Then the winner takes the pot.
A limit put on the amount the players can bet when it is their turn to act.
A way of calculating whether or not it is profitable to keep playing a hand by comparing the amount of money in the pot with the amount you must call to continue.
The pot odds a player will get if they draw or call that determines whether or not to continue competing for the pot.
To keep your cards close so they aren’t accidentally taken by the dealer and put into the muck or touched by another player’s cards, in which case your hand would automatically be ruled dead. You can avoid this by putting a marker of some kind on top of your cards. When you have an average hand and call a raise out of the blinds to make sure other players don’t steal your blinds. If you have a made hand and bet out to protect your hand from drawing hands.
4 of a kind. You could say, “I flopped quads”.
A low card that isn’t likely to affect anyone’s hand in a significant way. You could say, “The board is all rags,” when the flop is low or doesn’t match up.
A flop or board that is uncoordinated: ranks and suits don’t match up to help build a strong hand.
When all the cards in a flop are of different suits, or when the final board doesn’t have more than 2 cards of the same suit. In this case there’s no chance to make a flush.
When a player bets more chips than the last bet posted. The amount you can raise depends on the type of limit set.
The profit the house makes by taking a percentage of the pot, collected by the dealer during each hand. The rate of rake varies. Bovada has one of the lowest rakes of any online poker room set at 5% with a cap of $3. Land-based poker rooms typically take 10% to a maximum of $5 or higher.
The value of each card in relation to others. For example, in a game of Texas Hold‘em, a 9 is of a higher rank than an 8. In a low game rankings reverse and a 9 is weaker than an 8.
When you play in a way that makes other players think you’ve got a hand that’s different than what you’re holding. For example, making a large bet pre-flop, and then another heavy bet heavily on your next action.
To raise a raise. For example, if a player bets, and the next player raises that bet, when the following player raises the last player’s bet he is re-raising.
An ongoing game with fixed blinds that doesn’t stop as long as there are players seated. Also called cash games because the chips in play represent real money.
The fifth and last community card in games like Texas Hold‘em and Omaha.
A player who takes very few chances and doesn’t play a lot of hands. A game with many tight conservative players can be called a rock garden.
To catch a card on the turn that gives you a draw. For example, if you have a 9-10 with a 4-Q-5 flop, and the turn card is a Jack you have an open-ended straight draw. A runner-runner is when the fifth and final card completes the draw.
A card that could help another player or a card that is higher than any of your hole cards. For example, if there is a raise pre-flop and an Ace comes on the flop, a player with a weaker hand than a pair of Aces would call the Ace a scare card.
A pair that uses the second highest card on the flop and one of your hole cards. Also called a middle pair.
When you have a strong hand and play it in a way that gets other players to call or raise. For example, making a small to medium size bet like someone with a weak hand. Be sure to bet enough to build the pot for your win, but not so much that you scare off the other players.
To bluff with a hand that isn’t great now but could become a winning hand with time if another player calls or re-raises. This strategy gives you 2 ways to win, by getting others to fold or by catching the right cards in time for showdown.
A 3 of a kind made from a pocket pair and another card of the same rank on the board.
Each player is dealt 7 cards, the first 2 face down, followed by 4 face up and a final face-down card. There are no community cards and the best 5-card hand wins.
When a player has a lot less chips than the other players at the table, and is in danger of being busted out, like in a tournament where the blinds increase over time.
After all the cards have been dealt and all action has been completed, the players turn their cards over to see who has the best hand and wins the pot.
If one or more players go all-in and have no more chips to bet or call with, a side pot is started for any bets that follow and can only be won by remaining players involved in the hand. The all-in players are only eligible to win the original pot and can’t take any of the side pot.
When you have a strong hand and choose not to raise or play aggressively early in a hand so that other players stay in the pot as long as possible. Also called sand bagging, it’s a good strategy for building up the pot.
A mandatory live bet posted before the start of each hand that is usually a quarter or a half of the big bet amount depending on the game and limit. The small blind sits to the left of the dealer, followed by the big blind.
When 2 or more players have the same hand the pot is split evenly between them. This can happen when players start off with similar cards and share community cards, or when the community cards make a great hand that all players can combine with their own.
Split Two Pair
When your 2 hole cards are each paired by cards on the board.
The player to the immediate left of the big blind voluntarily posts an extra blind to stimulate action, usually twice the big blind amount. The action is live, and the player who posted the straddle can re-raise.
A player puts their chips into the pot in two separate movements without announcing that they are betting or raising. The dealer will usually rule this as a string bet. Now the player is only allowed to call, not raise. Otherwise players could deliberately do this to gauge their opponent’s reactions to the initial call, and then use that information to their advantage.
When betting stakes and the rounds they apply to, are pre-determined. For example, in a $2/$4 Limit Texas Hold‘em game, players can only bet $2 in the first 2 rounds and $4 in the last 2 rounds.
Found in games like Texas Hold‘em, there is a fixed amount for bets and raises before the flop and on the flop, and then twice the amount on the turn and river.
When pocket cards are of the same suit in a starting hand of Texas Hold‘em, or when a player’s first 3 cards are of the same suit in 7-Card Stud.
A player can’t go into his pocket for money during a hand. This rule makes sure that players only invest the amount of money in front of them.
When a player is unaware of a movement they make that gives other players clues about their hand, next action, etc.
In this game 2 pocket cards are dealt to each player, and then 5 community cards for all players to use. There are 4 rounds of betting.
Playing poorly because you’re upset or angry. Often the result of a bad beat where their strong hand was beaten by a much weaker hand.
A player can ask the dealer for time out when faced with a tough hand. Most often used in tournaments. Some houses make their profit by collecting a set fee at intervals during the game, like every half hour.
A tip given to the dealer by the winner of a pot. It’s not mandatory but it is good etiquette.
When you pair 1 of your hole cards with highest ranking card on the board, you have top pair.
A 3 of a kind. Trips use only 1 hole card and 2 cards of the same rank from the board.
The fourth and second-to-last card in community card games like Texas Hold‘em and Omaha. Also the round in Limit games when the betting limit doubles.
Under The Gun
The player sitting to the left of the big blind and the first to act in the pre-flop betting round. Sometimes used to describe any player that is the first to act in later betting rounds.
A player who is not expected to win, or a hand that is statistically weaker than other hands involved in the pot.
To bet on a hand when you’re ahead and want to make sure you get paid off by a player calling with a worse hand.
A measure of the money that flows in and out of a player’s bankroll over time, rather than how much you win or lose. The more hands a player plays the larger their variance or swings.