Poker Games Rules

Poker Games Rules

(In poker, bet are represented in variously coloured chips)

(In poker, bet are represented in variously coloured chips)

Card Game Rules

Poker is a casino type game where the objective is to have the best 5 card hand out of a group of players. Poker is a very general form of game with many types. This guide with first outline the basic rules and then discuss the various types.

If you are looking for cards to play poker with, check out a standard pack here or one of our more recent arrivals here.

For more casino type games, check out our guides for Texas Hold’em and Blackjack.

Below is a list that ranks poker hands from least to greatest.


Ranking of Hands

High Card- If nobody has any pairs, the highest card wins.

One Pair

Two Pair

Three of a Kind

Straight- Five sequential cards that are not of the same suit.

Flush- Five cards are of the same suit.

Full House- Three of a kind and a pair

Four of a Kind

Straight Flush- Five sequential cards that are of the same suit

Royal Flush- 10 through Ace of the same suit.


Set Up

Most of the time, poker is played by a group of people around a circular or oval shaped table. Before the game begins an initial dealer must be chosen. To do so, every player is given a card from a shuffled deck and whoever receives the highest card becomes the first dealer. Ties are broken by a repeated deal. The dealer is given a token or button to illustrate the title. The initial dealer shuffles the deck and the player clockwise to them cuts it. The dealer will then advance the steps of play as discussed below.


How to Play

In general, the dealer begins a game of poker by passing out a set number of cards. Depending on the type of game, the dealer may pass out all of the cards at once, pass them out in sets, or create a community card pile. After cards are initially passed out, a round of betting occurs. When betting, players can either Fold, Check, Call, or Raise.


To fold, players surrender their hand, losing whatever bets they may have made in the game the pot.


To check, players pass on the option to make a bet. Checks can only happen if no bets had been made in the round thus far.


To call, players make a bet equal to the amount of the previous bet.


To raise, players make a bet larger than the amount of the previous bet.



After a given number of rounds or after a given number of people have folded, remaining players participate in a showdown and show their cards to everyone. The player with the best hand wins.



Bluffing is a strategy in poker. If one does not have a good hand, they can bluff and raise bets, in hopes to convince others that they do have a good hand and to possibly fold.



While there are many versions and variations of pokers, there are, for the most part, four main types: Straight, Stud, Draw, and Community.


The oldest and simplest version of poker is Straight Poker. In Straight Poker, players are given all of their cards at once and then bet on their hand. This version allows for little strategy and is often the end part of the game for other variations rather than the game itself.


In Stud Poker, cards are dealt in sets with a round of betting down after each set. For most of the early 20thcentury, this was the most common form of poker played at casinos. The most popular version of Stud Poker is Seven Card Stud Poker.

You may view our guide for Seven Card Stud here.


In Draw Poker, players, like in Straight Poker, are given a full hand after which a round of betting occurs. Players then have the option to improve their hand by discarding unwanted cards and drawing new ones. There is often a limit to how many cards you can draw.


Community Poker, or Flop Poker, is one of the most popular variations today. In Community Poker, players are given a certain number of cards to form an incomplete hand. The dealer then places upright cards in sets on the table. These community cards can be used by any player to make the best hand from the cards they were initially dealt.

For more information of the rules of poker, check out's article here.

The video below illustrates how Hold'em, a community type poker game is played. While Hold'em has specific rules that differ it from other games, the basic rules of poker will apply.


(Poker became incredibly popular on Mississippi River Boats in the early 1800's)

(Poker became incredibly popular on Mississippi River Boats in the early 1800's)

The origin of Poker is a long debated one. For a long time, scholars supported game historian Hoyle’s hypothesis that poker originated from the 17thcentury Persian game As-Nas. Recent scholarship from game historians like David Parlett, however, dispute that characterization and suggest a more European origin for the game.

While the exact origin is debated upon, it is for certain that poker exploded in American around the 19thcentury. By the early 1800’s, poker began to appear in serval gaming publications from Dragoon Campaigns to the Rocky Mountainsand Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling. Most of them pointed to the Mississippi River and New Orleans as the hot bed of the poker world.

For most of the late 19thcentury and early 20thcentury, Stud Poker was the dominate version. By 1960 however, Texas Hold’em had entered into the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas and Community Poker largely overshadowed all previous versions.

If you are interested in the wider historical narrative of poker in general, check out David Parlett's article here or the History Channel’s article here.

For more information on Poker, check out pagat's article here.  


Baseball Poker

In Baseball Poker, players start off with one upturned card and one downturned card. There is then a round of bets. Remaining players receive an additional upturned card. There is then another round of betting. This process is repeated until every remaining player has one downturned card and four upturned card.

9s and 3s are wild card. If a player receives a 3, they must either match the pot or fold.

If a player receives a 4, then they receive an additional downturned card.

The highest ranking hand, because of the wildcards, is a five of a kind.

The best card combination wins.

Cincinnati Poker

In Cincinnati Poker, players are given five cards each. Five additional cards are placed in the middle of the table faced down. A round of betting occurs after each middle card is flipped over. The player with the best five card combination from their hand and the middle cards wins the pot.

Wild Widow Poker

Wild Widow poker is similar to regular poker, however, after the final round of betting, an additional card is placed upward in the middle of the table. The three other cards in the same rank are wild. For example, if the 4 of spades was drawn, the 4 of hearts, diamonds, and clubs would be wild.

Anaconda Poker

In Anaconda Poker, players pass a certain amount of cards to their left before betting. Players begin with five cards. On the first round, each player passes three cards. On the second round each player passes two cards. On the third round each player passes one card. At the end of the third round, the player with the best hand wins the pot.

Cold Hands Poker

 In Cold Hands Poker, all players begin by making a bet in the pot. The dealer then passes out five cards to each player. There are no additional rounds of betting. Cards are revealed and the best hand wins the money in the pot.

Bull Poker

In Bull Poker, each player starts with three downturned cards. The dealer then gives everyone four upturned cards. There are three rounds. Before each round there is a time of betting. In each round, players turn over one of their downturned cards. When all cards are flipped over, the player with the best hand wins the pot.

Looking for more card games to play?  Check out this article:

40+ Great Card Games For All Occasions

About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about card games here and his LinkedIn profile here.

John Taylor Head shot

Last update date: 08/30/20

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Related posts

Playing Card Articles

Playing Card Articles

  We love all things Playing Cards here at PCD and love to share it with our customers or anyone who...
Card Game Rules

Card Game Rules

In this section you will find rules on how to play many popular card games. This page is in progress and...
Soldier Soldier General Card Game Rules

Soldier Soldier General Card Game Rules

 Soldier-Soldier-General   Introducing "Soldier-Soldier-General," a fun and engaging card game designed to help kids enhance their math skills, particularly in...
How a California Middle School Uses Playing Cards to Teach Their Students About Math and More

How a California Middle School Uses Playing Cards to Teach Their Students About Math and More

  Dr. James Prager of Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs, California recently reached out to PCD to...