Poker Games Rules

Posted by John Taylor on

(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.  

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 is working towards a Masters degree in English at the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about card games here and his LinkedIn profile here.

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Last update date: 06/29/20


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