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Poker Game Rules

Knowing basic poker rules is absolutely essential if you’re playing poker. Even though you can play free poker games all over the web, or with friends for bragging rights, you want to take the game seriously and prepare yourself for playing poker for real money.

According to Hoyle, the most basic rule to play poker is that you need to have the best 5 card hand to win the game. A basic poker game is played with a regular pack of cards of 52 cards. Each of the cards have their own ranking from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and Ace. The Ace is mentioned twice because it’s has 2 rankings, high and low. There are four different suits: spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds and all the suits are equal. There exist about 15 official poker games with their own rules, but they typically share these same basic poker rules.

Did you know?

There are 2,598,960 possible official poker hands with 52 cards.

Best Poker Hands From Best to Worst

You can see a visual illustration of the best poker hands by viewing our poker hand rank chart.

Straight Flush

It doesn’t get any better than having a Straight Flush. It’s the highest score in the poker hand ranking. A players has to have 5 cards of the same suit in order (like 5-6-7-8-9 or 9-10-Jack-Queen-King). If the series includes an ace as the highest card, 10-jack-queen-king-ace, the hand is called a Royal Flush which is the only hand that can beat a Straight Flush.

Four of a Kind:

When a players has 4 cards of the same rank, like 10-10-10-10, it is called Four of a Kind. When more than one players have a Four of a Kind, the player with the highest ranked Four of a Kind wins the game.

Full House:

A full House is a pair (2 cards of the same ranking) and three of a kind (3 cards of the same ranking), for example Queen-Queen-7-7-7. When more than one player has a Full House the one with the highest card in the Full House wins the hand.


A players has a Flush in his hand when all of the cards are the same suit. The order doesn’t matter for a regular Flush.
Straight: A Straight is 5 cards in order, like 7-8-9-10-Jack. The suit is not important for a Straight hand. When a hand ties, the highest card of the Straight decides who wins the hand.

Three of a Kind:

This hand includes 3 cards of the same rank. The other 2 cards are not important. A three of a kind can be 6-6-6-King-Ace.

Two Pair:

Players have Two Pair when they have 2 times 2 cards of the same rank. The fifth card is of no importance to the hand. An example of Two Pair is 4-4-Jack-Jack-Queen.


To play this hand you only need one pair of 2 cards of the same rank, the other 3 cards don’t matter for the game.

High Card:

When nobody has any of the hands above, the highest card wins the game.

Types of Betting

In poker, there are three basic official types of betting, all according to Hoyle’s basic poker rules a player may Call, Raise, or Fold.

Call means that the player bets enough to match the last bet. Raise means you match the original bet and raise the bet to another amount.  When a player says Fold, the player is out of the current hand and can no longer win the pot, the player doesn’t need to match the bet. The betting continues until everyone at the table calls or folds after a raise or initial bet.

Basic Poker Definitions


The Dealer is the person who shuffles the cards and deals the cards to players. A dealer in online casinos is indicated with a dealer button.

Pocket card:

A Pocket Card is one of the first two cards that were dealt by the dealer.

Community card:

A card that is on the table and available for all players.

Small blind:

The amount of chips that player to the left of the dealer has to bet, depending on stakes.

Big blind:

The amount of chips that second player to the left of the dealer has to bet, depending on stakes.


The first three cards that are dealt on the table.

Turn card:

This is the fourth card of the table, it is also called fourth river

River card:

This is the last and fifth card on the table.


A Hand are the five cards that the players collect from the pocket cards and the community cards.

Dealer button:

This is a red button, that indicates the dealer.


This is a term for the end of the final betting round when all the active players turn their cards face up to see who has won the pot.

Other Resources

If we didn’t do our job well enough, and you still don’t quite yet understand how to play poker, we recommend that you learn how to play poker here . In addition to that, you can also read this article about poker game rules, which includes basic poker terms.