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The history of Poker might not be shrouded in mystery, but its exact origins are somewhat unclear. In essence, modern poker is an amalgamation of ancient activities. From 10th century Chinese dominos to Persia’s As Nas and Poque from the 17th century, the roots from which poker sprung run deep.
The one thing we know for certain is that modern Poker gained popularity in the US and states such as Texas. Initially played by road gamblers, it’s since evolved into a mainstream activity that spans different sections of the gaming industry. The game that many people associate with poker is Texas Hold’em. Played in Las Vegas and beyond, this game sees each player start with two hole cards.
The ultimate aim is to make everyone else fold so that you can scoop the pot. Getting to that point requires a combination of checking, betting, and raising. It also involves combining two hole cards with any of the five community cards to make a ranked poker hand that would win if a showdown was necessary.
This variant is popular but it’s not the only way to play poker online. As well as Omaha, Stud and Draw games where you compete against other players, there are casino versions of poker. Video poker is a digital card game where you play solo and attempt to make a ranked hand. Table poker is an online casino game that’s similar to blackjack and baccarat. These games are similar in that you play against the dealer.
Casino poker games are powered by Random Number Generators (RNGs), so everything is 100% fair. Our RNG-powered poker games can be played for free so you can hone your skills and are a great first step if you’re new to the game. Alternatively, you can shoot for cash prizes. If those tables aren’t immersive enough, you can open the Mr Green live casino lobby and take on real dealers.
Poker Guide: Basic Poker rules
Like Live Blackjack and Live Baccarat, the aim of this game is to beat the dealer. However, the ways in which you scoop the pot will be different. The most popular Poker games here at Mr Green are:
Once you’ve placed an opening bet, the game starts with you and the dealer receiving two cards each. From there, three community cards are dealt. At this point, you can choose to fold and lose your stake. Alternatively, you can match your opening bet and see the turn and river. If the dealer has a pair of fours or better, they qualify and a showdown takes place. The best hand wins. If the dealer fails to qualify, you win by default.
Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
Once you’ve placed an opening bet, the game starts with you and the dealer receiving two cards each. You can fold your cards if they’re weak and lose your stake. Alternatively, you can match your opening bet and see the flop. Three community cards are dealt to make up the flop. At this point, you can check and see the turn for free or you can put in another bet if your hand is looking strong. A fourth card is dealt for the turn and the same checking or betting process takes place. Finally, a fifth card is dealt. This is known as the river and it completes the board. Both hands are shown at this point and the strongest one wins.
*Note: It’s also possible to make bonus bets in this game on things such as making XX hand.
Three Card Poker
Once you’ve placed an opening bet, the game starts with you and the dealer receiving three cards each. If your hand is weak, you can fold and lose your stake. If your hand is strong, you can match your opening bet and play. If you play, the dealer shows their hand. If they have jack-high or better, they qualify and a showdown takes place. If they have a worse hand, you win by default.
Basic Poker Rules
Each variant of online poker has slightly different rules. However, they’re all built on the same foundations. These foundations include hand rankings and betting rules. With this in mind, here are the basics of Casino Poker:
- You place an opening bet and receive your cards.
- You place an additional bet if you want to continue the hand or fold and lose your stake.
- If the dealer doesn’t have a strong enough hand to qualify, you win by default. If the dealer qualifies, you go to a showdown and the best hand wins.
Those are the basic rules for our most popular poker games. As you’ll see, showdowns are an integral part of each one. With this in mind, here are the basic hand rankings from best to worst:
- Royal Flush – 10, J, Q, K, A (all the same suit)
- Straight Flush – a run of five cards, all of the same suit
- Four of a Kind – four cards of the same value
- A Full House – A pair and three of a kind
- A Flush – Five cards of the same suit
- A Straight – Five cards in a run e.g. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same value
- Two Pair – Two cards of the same value X2
- A Pair – Two cards of the same value
- A High Card
The above rankings are subject to change in certain variants of casino poker. For example, it’s not possible to make four of a kind in Three Card Poker. Therefore, in that game, the rankings are as follows:
Three of a Kind
The lesson here is to know the hand rankings before you make a bet. Fortunately, every digital and Live Poker table at Mr Green contains information boxes that allow you to check the rules and hand rankings at any time.
Poker: Playing the game
The most played form of poker is Texas Hold’em, which is easy to learn and simple to understand. Its development online has really made it a worldwide phenomenon, with stars like Irishman Andrew Black earning over 5 million euros from the game.
Table: Best hole (starting) cards
*Pocket = a pair of similar cards
Texas Hold’em poker games start off with two cards being dealt with each player. These are called ‘hole’ cards. Five community cards are dealt in total and placed in the centre of the table for all participants to match with their own cards. These have different names, with three laid down at the beginning called ‘the flop’ and the two single ones ‘the turn’ and the ‘the river’ respectively. In total, each game consists of four rounds when each player can place a bet. The first bet is made before the flop, the second after it and each time a card is laid down during the turn and river. When all the bets have been placed and the players have either checked or raised, the final ‘showdown’ occurs when the top hand takes the final pot.
The aim of the game is to have the highest-scoring hand of five cards from each player’s two cards and the community cards. As there are four rounds, the strategy in poker becomes very important, with the mind games involved making it the most popular variant of the game for newcomers.
What’s a Blind and Button?
Two of the most important terms to learn are the blinds and the button. Each player will see the button in front of them when it is their turn that rotates around the table.
Blinds refer to the two players to the left of the button at the beginning of each game, that must each make a bet. The big blind must play double the value of chips of the small blind, which goes first. After each game, the blinds change to those placed in an anti-clockwise direction.
Poker is all about making the most accurate decision at the right time and the first one comes as soon as a player has the two hole cards. At that point, they have to decide whether their hand is good enough to keep on betting. This play is made in a clockwise direction from the left of the starting position of the big blind. If a participant decides to go ahead he must at least equal the big blind bet. However, if the player before them has raised the players, they must equal or raise it further.
The big blind also has the opportunity to raise the bet further themselves.
Know what a Flop is?
The three cards placed in the centre of the table for all players to match up with their own hands are called the flop. Once it has been dealt, players will start betting from the left of the button in a clockwise direction. The choice here is to fold, check, call or raise. If players don’t want to bet any more funds they can check as long as they have already paid out the amount everyone else has already. This will enable the player to remain in the game unless someone raises. Once all of the participants have paid equal amounts the turn and the river cards are dealt out with the same process occurring for each of them.
Taking part in the Showdown
Table: Top poker hands
|Rank||Hand name||Hand description|
|1||Royal Flush||10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit|
|2||Straight Flush||Five consecutive cards of the same suit|
|3||Four of a Kind||The same card in each of the four suits|
|4||Full House||Three of a kind and a pair|
|5||Flush||Five random cards in one suit|
|6||Straight||Five consecutive cards in mixed suits|
|7||Three of a Kind||Three of the same cards|
|8||Two Pairs||Two pairings of the same card|
|9||One Pair||One pairing of the same card|
|10||High Card||No matching of either card or suit|
At the end of each game, the showdown occurs when each player matches their own two cards with those in the centre to get their top-scoring five cards. The players compare their hands with the best one taking the pot. When there is a tie between any number of winning hands, the pot gets split evenly between them. For the next game, the button will move clockwise, marking the end of that game.
Different types of poker
Other than Texas Hold’em, there are a variety of different poker games to check out. These can be well-known or not, depending on their popularity throughout the years online and in real casinos. Omaha, Razz, Seven-Card Stud and Five Card Draw are four of the most common:
This variant is only pipped in the popularity stakes by Texas Hold’em. Both are quite alike except that in Omaha each player gets four hole cards, making higher scoring combinations easier to attain. There are different sub-variations like Omaha Hi-Lo and Omaha High. The second is probably the simplest to learn, giving the novice a good idea about Omaha Poker.
This form of the game used to be the standard before Texas Hold’em replaced it. Two cards are dealt face down and one facing up to each player. This makes luck less important increasing the need for a sound strategy to make use of that extra information.
This is the form of poker many people play with friends for fun which is also available at online casinos. Players get five cards at the beginning of each hand and get the chance to replace a maximum of four of them. Strategy is not as vital a part of it but it may be easier for complete beginners to the game.
This form of poker is perhaps not as common as the other variants but still has some followers. The main thing to keep in mind is that the idea is to get the smallest scoring hand to win the game. This ‘low-ball’ version also doesn’t use flushes or straights, instead preferring combinations known as ‘wheels’ or ‘bicycles’.
Prefer a mix of all these different incarnations of poker? Well, mixed poker offers just that, making it much more unpredictable what variant will be played next. It normally changes after a number of hands, so being able to understand all of the different versions is essential. In this light, it is probably best left to more experienced all-round poker players.
There are even more alternatives to choose from. Some have chips with different values to provide an opportunity for higher wins or cash poker where there is always cash on the table for each hand. Then there is speed poker which skips a round and is streamlined to take less time.
Concerned about over-betting? Well, choose a betting limit that stops players from putting more than a certain quantity of chips into the pot, which in turn moulds tactics. In these games, big and small bets tend to be the options available.
Choosing a style of poker starting out
There are so many different versions of poker but the one that stands for newcomers is Texas Hold’em. It is the simplest for learning the basics, is accessible from most platforms and has the biggest following. The choice is yours whether to go for a tournament or a cash game with a fixed limit or unlimited betting.
After feeling at home within the Texas Hold’em format, you can look to explore additional variants. Omaha tends to be the way to go when you’re branching out but always remember to not gamble big until you know what you are doing. You will be kicking yourself if you make a silly error of judgment just because of a lack of experience.