How to play poker - beginner’s guide

Poker

What is poker?

Poker is a series of tash wala card games in which the basic objective is to get a stronger hand than the other players or dealer. It first became mainstream in the US during the 19th century, although it’s believed to have been inspired by the ancient Persian game of As-Nas.

Playing poker is among the most popular forms of gambling in India, and top online casinos have multiple variants available in RNG, live dealer, and multi-player formats. You can even join gambling sites that exclusively offer poker games and rooms, and claim generous bonuses and promotions that you can use on poker titles.

Being good at poker requires you to understand the basic rules and hand rankings, while also having enough intuition and cunning so that you can read other people and bluff your way to victory when required.

How to play poker

You can play poker for real money online by creating an account with one of our top-rated poker casinos, making a deposit, and choosing a poker game to play.

While there are numerous variants of poker, most games follow the same basic structure as follows:

Step 1 The pre-flop round

The game starts with what is sometimes called the pre-flop round. The player to the left to the dealer places a small blinds bet, as according to the table’s betting limits. The next player to their left must then place a big blinds bet, which is double the small blinds bet. After that, the dealer deals two facedown cards to every player on the table.

Poker - Place your bets
Step 2 Bets are placed

Once every player has received their two cards, the player to the left of the big blind and anyone else yet to place a bet has three options – fold (withdraw from the round), call (match the bet amount of the big blind) or raise (place a bet larger than the amount of the big blind). Any player placing a bet must match the big blind or the amount of any raises.

Playing Action
Step 3 Community cards revealed

Once every player has taken their turn, the dealer reveals the first three community cards in the centre of the table. At this point, players can check their two facedown cards to see what hand they have between that and the three community cards. Another round of betting then starts, with players having the option to fold, call, raise, or check (wait to see what other players do before the cycle returns to them). Again, this continues until every player has folded, matched the maximum bet limit, or gone all in (bet all of their remaining chips).

The Community Cards
Step 4 Turn more cards

If more than one player remains, the dealer reveals a fourth community card and another round of betting commences. This is then repeated to reveal the fifth (and final) community card. In both instances, hands can only be formed from five of the six or seven cards in total.

Time for the turn
Step 5 Cards revealed

After the betting round following the reveal of the fifth community card has finished, the remaining players take it in turns to reveal their two facedown cards to see who has the strongest hand. Whoever has the highest-ranking hand wins, and the next round then begins. The overall winner of the game is determined by the last player remaining, or whichever player has the most money after a specified time limit.

The Showdown and Final Round

Best online poker bonuses in India

Checked & verified by

ecogra itech trusted secure mcafee
RANK 1
22Bet
22Bet
₹27,000
Bonus:
5.0/5.0
5.0/5.0
Expert Rating
₹27,000
Bonus:
RTP: 96.35% Games: 1100 Payout: 1-2 days
RANK 2
Casino Days
Casino Days
₹50,000
Bonus:
4.5/5.0
4.5/5.0
Expert Rating
₹50,000
Bonus:
RTP: 98.50% Games: 1000+ Payout: 1-2 days
RANK 3
fairplay
fairplay
₹50,000
Bonus:
4.5/5.0
4.5/5.0
Expert Rating
₹50,000
Bonus:
RTP: 97.54% Games: 1,000+ Payout: 0-1 days
RANK 4
10CRIC
10CRIC
₹15,000
Bonus:
4.0/5.0
4.0/5.0
Expert Rating
₹15,000
Bonus:
RTP: 96.45% Games: 2400 Payout: 2 days
RANK 5
Parimatch
₹105,000
Bonus:
4.5/5.0
4.5/5.0
Expert Rating
₹105,000
Bonus:
RTP: 95.81% Games: 3,500 Payout: 1-3 days
RANK 6
Jackpot Guru
Jackpot Guru
₹100,000
Bonus:
4.0/5.0
4.0/5.0
Expert Rating
₹100,000
Bonus:
RTP: 98,76 % Games: 700+ Payout: 1-3 Days
RANK 7
Melbet
₹155,000
Bonus:
4.0/5.0
4.0/5.0
Expert Rating
₹155,000
Bonus:
RTP: 97.15% Games: 5000+ Payout: 0-7 days
RANK 8
Casinoly
Casinoly
₹40,000
Bonus:
4.7/5.0
4.7/5.0
Expert Rating
₹40,000
Bonus:
RTP: 96.58% Games: 750 Payout: 1-3 days
RANK 9
Spin Casino
Spin Casino
₹100,000
Bonus:
3.5/5.0
3.5/5.0
Expert Rating
₹100,000
Bonus:
RTP: 97.59% Games: 550+ Payout: 1-2 days
RANK 10
Dafabet Casino
Dafabet Casino
₹8,000
Bonus:
4.6/5.0
4.6/5.0
Expert Rating
₹8,000
Bonus:
RTP: 98.48% Games: 550 Payout: 0-2 days
RANK 11
JackpotCity Casino
JackpotCity Casino
₹40,000
Bonus:
3.5/5.0
3.5/5.0
Expert Rating
₹40,000
Bonus:
RTP: 97.84% Games: 500+ Payout: 1-2 days
RANK 12
Bet365
Bet365
₹30,000
Bonus:
3.0/5.0
3.0/5.0
Expert Rating
₹30,000
Bonus:
RTP: 96.26% Games: 120 Payout: 1-2 days
RANK 13
Betway Casino
Betway Casino
₹90,000
Bonus:
3.0/5.0
3.0/5.0
Expert Rating
₹90,000
Bonus:
RTP: 97.55% Games: 400+ Payout: 1-3 days

Best online casinos to play poker

Rank Casino Games RTP Bonus amount
🥇
1,100+
96.35%
₹25,000
🥈
1,000+
98.50%
₹50,000
🥉
1,000+
97.54%
₹50,000
#4
2,400+
96.45%
₹60,000
#5
3,500+
95.81%
₹105,000

Online poker variants

One of the reasons why online poker is so popular is that there are multiple different versions you can play, which feature differences in the rules and ways to win. There are over 20 poker variants, but here are the most frequent you’ll find at online casinos:

The most widely played variant online, Texas hold'em poker involves the standard process featuring each player being dealt two cards before up to five community cards are revealed. It’s recommended for poker beginners to start with Texas hold’em before trying out other poker variants.

In Omaha poker, players are dealt four cards instead of two, meaning you can form hands with a selection of up to nine cards.

Seven card stud poker does not use community cards, and instead each player gets their own individual set of up to seven cards to form hands. This variant has different rules as to when cards are placed face up, meaning you can see the potential hands other players may have earlier in the round.

In five-card draw poker, every player is dealt a full hand at the start of the round, which can they view immediately. After the first betting round, players have the option to swap out their cards. This is followed by a second and final betting round before the winner is revealed.

This version is simpler and requires you to play against the dealer. You’re dealt three face-up cards, while the dealer receives three cards facedown. You must then decide to play (by doubling your initial bet amount) or fold depending on whether you think you can beat the dealer.

Caribbean stud poker uses the rules of seven card stud, except it is only played with five cards and against a dealer as opposed to other players.

Poker glossary

When you play online poker, there are various terms used in every game that refer to what is happening, bet types, and more. The full list of poker terms is extensive, but we’ve provided the definitions for the most common: 

  • Action: The decision a player makes when they have the option to bet, fold, or raise.

  • All in: When a player bets all the cash or chips that they have.

  • Ante: A small bet all players are required to make before a hand is dealt (this is a different to a blind). 

  • Blind: The initial bets made at the start of the round by the two players to the left of the dealer. The small blind is placed by the player to the left of the dealer, while the big blind is placed by the player to their left and must be double that amount.

  • Bluff: The act of trying to convince other players that you have a stronger hand than you actually do, in order to intimidate them into folding.

  • Call: A bet worth the minimum amount a player must wager to continue playing their hand.

  • Check: When a player does not make an immediate action because they want to see what players will do. You can only do this once in each betting round.

  • Community cards: The cards dealt face up on the centre of the table that all players use to make a hand. The first three community cards are called the flop, the fourth is the turn or fourth street, and the fifth is the river.

  • Fold: Withdrawing from the round. This requires you to forfeit all the money you have bet in it up to that point.

  • Hand: A set of five cards. In most poker games, this is comprised of a player’s two dealt cards and three community cards.

  • Pot: The total amount of money bet by players during the round, which is claimed by the winner.

  • Raise: A bet worth more than the check, which thereby increases the minimum amount players must bet.

  • Tell: An indication from a player as to how strong or weak their hand is.

Poker hand strengths and rankings

The main thing to remember when playing online poker is the ranking of potential hands, and which sequences of cards can beat others. This will help you assess your chances of having the strongest hand, and therefore how likely you are to win the round in play.

As a quick guide, here is the ranking of poker hands and what they all involve. Remember that individual cards are ranked from Ace to King, although an Ace can serve as the lowest ranked card in a straight of ace to five.

Poker hand Explanation Example hand
Five of a kind
Four cards of the same rank and a joker (in poker variants that use them).
A♣️, A♦️, A❤️, A♠️, Joker
Royal flush
Five cards in rank order from ace to 10 of the same suit.
A❤️, K❤️, Q❤️, J❤️, 10❤️
Straight flush
Five cards in rank order of the same suit.
10♦️, 9♦️, 8♦️, 7♦️, 6♦️
Four of a kind
Four cards of the same rank.
Q♣️, Q♦️, Q❤️, Q♠️, 2♣️
Full house
Three cards of the same rank with a pair of the same rank.
5♣️, 5♦️, 5❤️, 3♣️, 3❤️
Flush
Five cards of the same suit.
K❤️, J❤️, 7❤️, 4❤️, 2❤️
Straight
Five cards in rank order.
J♣️, 10♦️, 9❤️, 8♣️, 7❤️
Three of a kind
Three cards of the same rank.
4♦️, 4❤️, 4♠️, 8❤️, K♣️
Two pair
Two pairs of the same rank.
6♣️, 6❤️, 2♦️, 2♠️, A❤️
Pair
A pair of the same rank.
9♦️, 9❤️, 5♣️, Q♠️, 7♠️
High card
The highest-ranking card of the hand.
K♦️, Q♦️, 7♠️, 4♠️, 3❤️

Poker tips and strategies

Becoming good at poker requires you to consistently practise and develop your skills over a long period of time. However, if you’re new to the game, there are a few tips you can follow to help you out while you get started:

  • Play for free first: You should begin by trying out free poker titles before you start staking real money. This will help you understand how the game works with no financial risk while allowing you to learn at your own pace.

  • Choose your variant: With so many different poker variants to choose from, you may find it beneficial to initially stick to one. After all, it’s better to be good at playing one variant than to have limited experience of many.

  • Utilise casino promotions: An easy way to give to yourself extra money to play with is by claiming casino bonuses that you can use on online poker games, such as deposit matches and cashback.

  • Bet within your means: Poker can require you to wager large amounts of money in every round, so it’s important to gamble responsibly and don’t exceed your budget.

Offline vs. online poker

Poker is a popular game to play in India at both online gambling sites and in-person at brick-and-mortar casinos or among friends, but there can be big differences between the two. Here are the main pros and cons of online and offline poker:

Online poker Offline poker
✅ Allows you to easily play multiple poker variants
✅ Offers the full poker experience in which you can read other players
✅ Can take advantage of casino promotions to play with bonus funds
✅ Brick-and-mortar poker rooms often have larger bet limits
✅ Can play poker where and when you like
✅ May be easier to learn how to play in-person
❌ Doesn’t replicate the in-person experience of taking on other players
❌ Requires you to visit a physical casino or have other people present to play
❌ The poker games available at online casinos vary
❌ Removes option to claim online poker bonuses

Play poker on mobile

If you like the idea of playing poker on the move, many of the best mobile casinos in India have dozens of fun poker games covering popular variants. Mobile poker games are built with HTML5 technology, meaning they offer fast loading times and eye-catching graphics on all smartphone and tablet screen sizes and devices.

Best of all, you can easily access mobile casinos by visiting the casino’s mobile site on your smartphone browser or downloading its casino app if it offers one to players. For the best experience, we recommend playing on casino apps, as then you can also enjoy benefits such as exclusive bonuses for mobile players and push notifications when new poker titles have been added.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

In poker, your aim is to try and get a better hand than the other players or dealer. The player with the highest-ranking hand between their dealt cards and the community cards wins all of the money bet in that round.

There are numerous top online casinos in India that have poker games. Our recommended poker casinos include 22Bet, Casino Days, and FairPlay.

Yes, you can win real money playing online poker. For the chance to do so, sign up for a poker gambling site, deposit money, and pick a poker game to play and wager money on.

The laws regarding online poker vary from state to state in India. While some states have clear laws either allowing or prohibiting card games, others have more ambiguous regulations. We strongly suggest researching the rules for your state to ensure you can play within legal boundaries.

Individually, Aces are high in poker, meaning they outrank Kings. However, an Ace can serve as the lowest ranked card in a straight of Ace to five.

Blinds are bets placed at the start of the round in poker, which determine the minimum amount players must bet to place a wager. Each round has a small blind and big blind, which can be dictated by the table limits.

Multi-player poker can have anything from two to 10 players. However, at online casinos you can also play RNG and live casino poker games in which you play alone and take on the dealer.

Most poker games do not rank suits, meaning there is no trump suit, and one can’t beat another.