Below you will find the basic poker rules.
Learn these basics (especially the hand ranks) as these
apply to all variations of poker that you might play. We
tried to make these poker rules simple and easy to follow
in one short guide, but please let us know if there is anything
we can change to make these poker rules easier for you to
For more specific poker rules on popular games, check out
Poker Rules, Omaha
Poker Rules, and Seven
Card Stud Poker Rules.
A really good way to learn to play poker is to use poker
software. You can download the PartyPoker
software and play for free as long as you want in their
free rooms which is a great way to learn the game. PartyPoker
also has their own poker rules they
supply for players.
Poker Rules - How to Play
Poker uses a standard pack of playing cards, 52 cards (there
are some poker games that uses more or less depending on
the variations such as adding wild cards like jokers). The
card ranking is as follows Ace (the highest), King, Queen,
Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (the lowest), Ace (this
may also be the lowest card depending on the variations
you are using, but it is usually the highest).
There are four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs).
No suit is higher than another. All poker hands contain
five cards, the highest hand wins.
The use of Wild Cards depends on the variations, wild cards
take on whatever rank or suit you want it to take. A wild
card can either be a seperate card added like a joker or
you may specifiy a certain card in the standard deck to
be wild (such as dueces wild).
The number of cards dealt is dependant on what type of
game you are playing: in 5 card stud, you are dealt five
cards; in 7 card stud, you are dealt seven. I know this
is obvious, but I don't want anyone to get confused. Five
card draw is the standard poker game where 5 cards are dealt
to each player face down.
Poker Rules - TOP
Poker rules of Betting Procedures - In
most poker games you start the betting with an ante just
to get the cards dealt. The money is put in the center of
the table and is called the "pot".
When the betting gets to you (betting is handled in a clockwise
order), you have three choices:
- Call - betting enough to match what
has been bet since the lasttime you bet in that particular
betting round. An example would be if you bet 50 cents
and somebody then bid $1.00, you you would owe another
50 cents . If you decide to Call then you would put the
amount that you owed into the pot and you would stay in
- Raise - when you raise you first put
enough in the pot to match what has already been bet and
then you raise the pot by putting an additional amount
in (the limit on how much you can raise depends on the
game). So lets say the initial bet was 25 cents, you could
say you're raising by 25 cents and you would then have
to put a total of 50 cents in. Now the other players will
either Call, Raise, or fold.
- Fold - dropping out of the current
hand and losing the possibility of winning the pot. You
don't have to put money in and you would only lose the
ante, if it's on the first turn, or whatever you put in
the pot later. Sometimes it's better to get out than to
waste money on bad cards.
Each poker game has a predetermined number of betting rounds.
The highest hand at the end of all betting rounds wins the
Poker Rules - TOP
Ranking of Poker Hands - it wouldn't be
a bad idea to print a copy of this for use during your first
poker game, but I would recommend memorizing it in order
to prevent uncontrolled laughter from your opponents (if
you're playing online however, feel free to use it without
embarassemt ;-) Also check our Poker
Hand Ranks for more examples.
- Royal Flush - The best possible hand.
Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10, all of the same suit.
- Straight Flush - A straight flush is
a straight (5 cards in order, such as 7-8-9-10-J) that
are all of the same suit. As in a regular straight, you
can have an ace either high (A-K-Q-J-T) or low (A-2-3-4-5).
You can not use the Ace in a wraparound and example would
be K-A-2-3-4, which is not a straight.
- Four of a Kind - Four cards of the
same rank like four Aces or Four Kings. If there are two
or more hands that qualify, the hand with the higher-rank
four of a kind wins.
- Full House - A full house is a three
of a kind and a pair, such as K-K-K-2-2. When there are
two full houses the tie is broken by the three of a kind.
An example would be J-J-J-5-5 would beat 9-9-9-A-A. If
for some reason the three of a kind cannot determine the
victor then you go to the pair to decide (this would only
happen in a game with wild cards).
- Flush - A flush is a hand where all
of the cards are the same suit, such as A-J-9-7-5, all
of Diamonds. When flushes ties, follow the rules for High
- Straight - Five cards in rank order,
but not of the same suit (it can be any combination of
the four suits). An example of a straight is 2-3-4-5-6.
The Ace can either be high or low card, either A-2-3-4-5
or 10-J-Q-K-A. Wraparounds are not allowed (an example
being K-A-2-3-4). When two straights tie, the highest
straight wins, K-Q-J-10-9 would beat 5-4-3-2-A. If two
straights have the same value, AKQJT vs AKQJT, the pot
- Three of a Kind - Three cards of any
rank with the remaining cards not being a pair (that would
be a full house if it were). Once again the highest ranking
three of a kind would win. K-K-K-2-4 would beat Q-Q-Q-2-3.
If both are the same rank (only in a wild card game),
then the High Card rule come into effect with the remaining
- Two Pair - Two distinct pairs of card
and a 5th card. The highest ranking pair wins ties. If
both hands have the same high pair, the second pair wins.
If both hands have the same pairs, the high card wins.
- Pair - One pair with three distinct
cards. Highest ranking pair wins. High card breaks ties.
- High Card - When a hand has none of
the above qualications of any of the ones listed above,
nobody has even a pair or better, then it comes down to
who is holding the highest ranking card. If there is a
tie for the high card then the next high card determines
the pot, if that card is a tie than it continues down
till the third, fourth, and fifth card. The High card
is also used to break ties when the high hands both have
the same type of hand (pair, flush, straight, etc).
Poker Rules - TOP
Rules of Common Poker Games
Some of the most common poker game variations are Texas
Card Stud, and Omaha