Poker Rules, Bets and Odds

Learn the basics of the most popular card game!

Although it’s easy to learn, mastering poker is challenging. Luckily, you can be one step closer to doing this by learning the rules, bets, and odds. Our guide will take you through the essential aspects of how to play poker to increase your knowledge.

Breakdown Of A Poker Round

Even though the game can be highly complex game, poker rounds always follow the same format. Every Texas Hold’Em poker round is divided into four phases: blinds, dealing, betting, and payouts. Each phase is characterized by different actions performed by players or the dealer. 

Find out the rules of poker

Texas Hold’Em is the most popular poker variant in the US

Texas Hold’Em Poker rules are what everyone knows as the basic poker rules. To play poker, you must first understand the rules of the game. Take your time to read through the poker game rules and familiarize yourself with the game’s terms.

LEARN POKER RULES

Add money to your balance

You’ll first need to fund your online casino account to play poker. Make sure to deposit an amount suitable to your playing style and budget. Look through your preferred casino‘s supported payment method selection and pick your favorite.

Blinds and minimum bet

Before a poker round can start, players with the small and big blind buttons place their bets. Blinds are a type of forced bet placed by the two players following the player with the dealer button. The small big is half the minimum bet, while the big small is equal to the minimum bet.

The dealer deals the hole cards

Hole cards are the two cards dealt to each player at the start of a poker round. Once the round begins, the dealer hands each player two cards face down. Hole cards are used with the cards facing up to create a hand.

Players make their decision pre-flop

Before the dealer deals the first three cards, a betting round ensues. Players can make four major decisions:

  • Bet – Match the big blind.
  • Raise – Increase the stake over the big blind.
  • All in – Bet their entire bankroll.
  • Fold – Quit the round.

Keep in mind that when participating in poker, never do so with money you are not willing to lose. Bankroll management is key to success and the only way to guarantee an enjoyable gaming experience.

LEARN ABOUT POKER BETS

The flop is the first three cards

After the bets are placed, the dealer burns a card and deals three cards to the table – the flop. These are the first three of the five community cards players must use with their hole cards to build a five-card hand.

Post-flop betting

After the flop, a betting round occurs, starting from the player on the left of the dealer button (the small blind). In this phase, any player can check, assuming no bets were placed.

The turn is the fourth card

On this turn, the dealer burns a card and deals another card face up on the table, called the turn.

Post-turn betting

After the turn, a new round of betting starts. Players bet in the same order as the flop, starting from the small blind.

The river is the fifth card

The dealer burns a card and deals the last card – the river. Players must use their hole cards combined with three of the five community cards to create a hand. 

The final betting round

After the last card is dealt, players have a new chance to place their bets before their hands are compared. If two players remain and one folds during this phase, the winning player can choose whether or not he wants to show his hole cards.

Wins are paid

The last remaining player takes the whole pot. If two or more players remain, the best hand is the winner. If there’s a tie, the players’ highest card – the kicker, will be considered. If both players have the same kicker, the pot is evenly split.

Players can predict the change or obtain a specific combination of cards by calculating the poker pot odds. Alternatively, you can find a poker odds chart or use a poker odds calculator to make your decision easier.

LEARN ABOUT POKER ODDS AND PAYOUTS

Rules of Poker

Fortunately, the rules of poker are easy to understand. This section will approach everything you need to know about poker rules, including hand rankings, buttons, pot limits, and other essential terms.

The goal of poker

Poker has a straightforward goal – to win the pot. You can achieve this in three main ways: having the best hand, making bets that no player calls, or bluffing your way through. 

Hand rankings

There are ten different hands in poker, each with a different ranking. By having a better hand, players have a higher chance of winning. Check out the poker hands odds in the table below:

HandExampleExplanationOdds
Royal Flush10 to ace with an equal suit649,739:1
Straight FlushA sequence of five cards of an equal suit72,192:1
Four of a KindFour cards with the same face value4,164:1
Full HouseThree cards with the same face value and a pair693:1
FlushFive cards with an equal suite508:1
StraightA sequence of five cards254:1
Three of a KindThree cards with the same face value46.3:1
Two PairTwo cards with the same face value and two cards from another rank20:1
PairTwo cards of the same rank1.37:1
High CardA high card, usually a face card or ace0.995:1

Turn, flop, and river

There are three main phases where cards are placed on the table – the turn, flop, and river. The dealer burns a card before each phase. See how each game phase differs:

  • Turn – Three cards are dealt to the table.
  • Flop – The fourth card is dealt.
  • River – The fifth and final card is dealt.

Dealer button

The dealer button is used to identify the dealer. It’s rotated clockwise every time a new hand is shuffled. The two following positions after the dealer are the small and big blinds. 

Big and small blinds

These are two forced bets placed by the first two players after the dealer button. The small is equal to half the minimum poker stake, while the big blind is the same value as the minimum bet.

No limit, pot limit, and fixed limit

Poker games can differ in terms of the pot. Pot limits help dictate what bets players may or not place. See how each pot type is different:

  • No limit – This type of pot has no maximum bet. Bets are only limited by the players’ stacks.
  • Pot Limit – A type of poker game where the size of the pot limits bets and raises. 
  • Fixed limit – The maximum bets are predetermined before the game begins.

Poker terms you should know

Knowing the different poker terms is an excellent way to improve your knowledge about the poker rules in NJ. Check out our casino dictionary for more poker terms.

TermExplanation
Hole CardsThe two cards given to each player.
FlopThe first three cards dealt to the table.
TurnThe fourth card.
RiverThe fifth and final card.
BlindA forced bet placed by two players every round.
CheckAn action where players can pass on betting.
DrawStaying in a round for a chance to improve your hand.
FoldGiving up your hand.
HandA combination of five cards made from the hole cards and community cards.
KickerA high card is used to determine who wins or loses. In the case of a tie, the player with the highest card wins.
StackThe total amount of chips a player has.

Rules in other poker variants

As one of the most popular card games of all time, poker has multiple variations with different rules and gameplay mechanics. Caribbean Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, and Omaha are the most popular poker versions. Check out some of their rule variants:

  • Omaha – In this variant, players receive four cards instead of two. However, they can only select two to create a hand. 
  • Caribbean Stud – Players go against the dealer in this variant and must pay an ante to enter the round. 

Additionally, poker can have side bets – secondary bets agreed between players. Some popular side bets in poker include betting on who will last longer, who will take the pot, or what color the flop will be.

Poker Bets

Taking advantage of every situation and knowing each action in and out is a massive part of every poker strategy. This includes learning how bets work and what actions players can perform.

Bets start from the seat on the left of the dealer button, also known as the small blind. This section will approach all the bets players can make.

What are the betting options in poker?

Poker is a game centered around betting. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how each bet works. Every round has five main actions – call, raise, fold, check, or all in. Learn what each action means:

Call

With a call, players match the previous bet or raise. 

Raise

A raise involves betting over the highest amount on the table. Players can also re-raise by the same amount that was previously raised. For instance, if the big blind is $2 and someone raises their bet to $5, the next re-raise should be a minimum of $8.

Fold

A fold involves giving up your hand, voiding any bets placed so far by the player.

Check

Players can check if no one has placed a bet in the current round. During the pre-flop, the big blind is the only player that can check.

All in

When you go all in, you bet your entire stack. Players with more chips than you only need to bet the amount that matches your poker stake.

Poker Odds And Payouts

Learning the odds and payouts of poker is crucial if you want to learn more about the game. Essentially, the poker odds help players calculate their chance of winning. Pot odds depend on the number of “outs” – the number of cards that improve a hand. See the table below for more information about the most common draws:

DrawHole CardsFlop ExampleNumber of OutsOdds By the River
Pocket Pair3♦ 3♣5♠ Q♣ 4♥28.4%
High CardA♣ 8♥7♥ 5♦ 2♦312.5%
Inside Straight DrawJ♣ 9♦Q♦ 8♥ 4♣416.5%
One Pair to Two PairA♣ Q♦A♠ 10♠ 3♦520.3%
No Pair to Pair9♣ 7♦2♠ 3♦ J♣624.1%
Set to Full House or Poker6♣ 6♦J♣ 6♠ 7♥ 727.8%
Open-Ended Straight 9♣ 8♦ 10♥ 7♣ 3♠831.5%
Flush K♠ J♠ 6♠ 8♦ A♠935%
Inside Straight With Two High CardsA♣ K♦ 2♠ 10♣ Q♥1038.4%
Inside Straight and FlushA♦ K♦ Q♦ J♠ 3♦1245%
Open-Ended Straight and FlushK♥ Q♥ 4♥ 10♥ J♠1554.1%

Players should also be aware of house edges – the casino’s advantage over the player. Although traditional Texas Hold’Em doesn’t have a house edge, other variants, such as Caribbean Stud or 3-Card Poker, have a house edge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about pod odds can help you make the right calls. You’ll learn how to tell if a pot is worth chasing by quickly calculating your odds of winning based on your bets.
The pot is split when players have the same hand with the same kicker (the highest card).
Only the big blind can check during the pre-flop. Other players must match the big blind to stay in the game.
The most valuable poker hand is the royal flush – a 10 to Ace sequence of the same suit.