The Ultimate Guide to Online Poker

Online poker is one of the most popular games amongst players in Canada and the demand for it is ever-increasing. That’s why you can find this game at all top Canadian online casinos. This widely available casino classic can be very rewarding, as it requires some careful thinking and decision-making. It can also be quite challenging at first, but there are plenty of variants that are suitable for beginners, too. In this article, we’ll go over the basics and give you a crash course on online poker. Read on and learn all about the game rules, discover some useful strategies and you’ll be ready to start your journey in no time.

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History of Poker

Poker is believed to have originated in the U.S.A. sometime in the early 19th century. French sailors arriving in New Orleans brought with them the poque game, which was a parlor game. It then became known as ‘poker’ and it was spread to new places by the sailors who were traveling up the Mississippi River. It certainly resembled the game that’s played today but with one key difference – at the time only 20 cards were used. 

Later in the mid-19th century, the game evolved. It expanded to 52 cards and more rules, rounds and ranks were added, too. By the end of the century, it was much closer to today’s standard poker games. By the early 21st century, poker was already a big hit at many land-based casinos throughout the world. Thanks to the televised competitions and the emergence of online poker, the game became even more popular. While poker is still played by many at land-based casinos, it has gained a huge online following, with people of all experience levels regularly taking part in internet-based tournaments. 

history of poker

Common Poker Terms

Poker is a game with a lot of specific terminologies and it can be a little overwhelming. We’ve compiled here some of the most popular terms to help you get a quick start. 

  • All-in – When you go all in, you have staked all your chips at once.
  • Ante Bet – This is a bet that all players have to place before a round begins. 
  • Bank – In poker the bank is the casino, or some might say the house. The bank handles all bets and pays you when you win.
  • Bet – This is the act of placing a wager. If you’re the first one in a round to bet, all other players must fold, call or raise. 
  • Blind Bet – A blind bet is a forced bet that the two players to the left of the dealer have to place.
  • Call – To call is to place a bet equal in size to the one that’s just been placed. 
  • Check – If no one has placed a bet yet then you can check, which means you pass on making a bet but stay in the game. 
  • Community Card – Any card that can be used by all of the game’s players at the same time is a community card.
  • Dealer – A dealer is a person who hands out the cards to players and facilitates the game.
  • Draw – An incomplete hand is called a draw in poker. To complete it, obviously, you have to draw another card.
  • Fold – When you fold you declare yourself out of the current round and thus can’t win any money either.
  • Hole Card – A hole card is a card that can only be used by the player it has been dealt to. 
  • Raise – To raise is to place a bet greater in size than the one that’s just been placed. 
  • Rank – This refers to the number or letter on a card, e.g. a 7 or a king. 
  • Showdown – The final round of a poker game is called the showdown. All remaining players reveal their hands and whoever has the highest-ranking one wins the pot. 
  • Tell – A tell is a subconscious action another player makes and it may give you a clue about the strength of their hand or their next action. 
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Types of Poker Hands

To play poker, you’ll need to know the different hands and how they’re ranked. In most poker variants, a hand can belong to one of nine ranks, also known as categories. If your hand is ranked higher than those of all other players – you win. Here are the possible combinations in descending order:

  • Straight Flush – In this hand there are five cards of the same suit in sequential order. 
  • Four of a Kind – This hand consists of four cards of one rank and one card of another rank. 
  • Full House – A hand that contains three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. 
  • Flush – This hand consists of five cards of the same suit that aren’t in sequential order. 
  • Straight – This hand is made up of five cards that are in sequential order but not of the same suit. 
  • Three of a Kind – This hand includes three cards of the same rank and two cards of two other ranks. 
  • Two Pair – A hand that contains two cards of one rank, and two cards of another rank (i.e. two separate pairs), and the fifth card of a different rank.
  • One Pair – A hand that contains two cards of the same rank (i.e. a pair) and three cards of three other ranks. 
  • High Card – This is any hand that doesn’t belong to any of the categories above.
  • Five of a kind – This hand combination is not always possible. You can only form it in games where there’s a wild card. It should have four cards of the same rank and a wild card acting as a fifth card of the same rank. The five of a kind hand ranks above the straight flush and is therefore the highest-ranking poker hand. 
Types of Poker Hands

The Basics of Playing Poker

Actually, poker isn’t just a single game. In fact, poker is a broad term for a family of games with lots of variations in rules and gameplay. They can vary by how many decks or what cards are used. Also, it depends on whether any cards are shared by all players or not. 

In general, the objective of poker is to get a hand that ranks the highest. Games typically have at least two rounds where each player can place a bet if they think their hand is worth staking on. Usually, before each round takes place you’ll either receive extra cards or a new community card will be revealed. And, of course, the game ends with the showdown. 

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Main Types of Poker

Most poker games fall into one of three categories – draw, stud, or community card. In draw games, you’re dealt a hand of five cards that are hidden from the other players. On the other hand, with stud games, at least one of your cards is visible to the other players. As for community card games – they involve one or more community cards that all players can use to form their hands. 

Here are just a few of the more popular online poker variants:

Texas Hold ’em

Texas hold ’em is a community card game where you can use up to two community cards to form your hand. These cards are dealt in three stages and there are multiple betting rounds. 

Omaha Poker

Omaha poker is similar to Texas hold’em, except that to form your hand you must use two of your four cards and three of the five community cards. 

Omaha hi/lo

Omaha hi/lo is an interesting variant where you actually have to form two hands – one high-ranking and one low-ranking. Your goal is to have both the best and the worst hand at the same time. 

Seven-card Stud

Seven-card stud is called that because over the course of a game you’ll receive seven cards. You have to then use five of them to form the best hand. The caveat is that four out of the seven are dealt face-up for other players to see. 

Poker Beginner Tables

Beginner tables have a relatively slow pace which keeps pros away. The advantage of online poker is that there are games that suit players of different bankrolls and level of skills, unlike playing poker at a brick and mortar casino which only host a limited number of games.

Since it is much easier to match up with players who have similar skill level for an enjoyable and challenging game, you will not focus a lot on the money and you’ll be able to enjoy the game more.

Online Poker Tournaments

Some poker sites usually sponsor tournaments where players can win large amounts of money. Enthusiastic poker players can also compete in online satellite tournaments where, if they win, they can get a seat at the World Series of Poker or another big live tournament. You should always keep an eye on such special tournaments.

The real online poker looks just like an advanced video game. Players can see the actual table with chips, cards and some online casinos have enabled you to upload your custom avatar, which, together with your username, allows you to create an online persona.

Free Mode vs. Real Money Play

There is a lot of decision-making involved in poker. It is a game that requires concentration, skill, and strategy. It’s a good idea to play for free at first, especially if you are a beginner. This way you can get used to how the game works and test your skills before taking on other players. With free play, you can have as many goes as you like without committing any real money and it’s a great way to get started.

On the other hand, when you play with real money you stand a chance of winning actual cash. When you stake real money there’s that extra element of risk, which makes the game that much more exciting. If you play your cards right, you may end up making a profit and leaving the game with more money in your account than when you started. 

Live Poker VS Online Poker

Live poker games are played with other people in land-based casinos or other gambling venues. They can be very sociable and interactive but can also last quite a while. The main advantage of live poker is that you get to observe your fellow players and look out for tells. 

On the other hand, online poker is entirely virtual and more like a video game in that respect. In addition, there’s much more diversity. There are games tailored both for solo players and for those who want a more interactive experience. Online poker is played at a faster rate, too – you don’t spend hours to get to enjoy the thrill. The ultimate advantage, though, is the convenience – online poker can be played anywhere and at any time. You can also enjoy live poker through the live casino option offered by most online casinos, which is as close as it can get to a live gaming experience.

Live Poker VS Online Poker

How to Find The Best Online Poker Sites

There are lots of sites offering online poker games, from specialized poker ones to online casinos. To find the best one for you, you should compare what different operators have to offer and sign up for the one that appeals to you the most. When comparing your options, you should take into account the variety of casino games, payment methods, and bonuses. In addition, you should look for mobile compatibility(if that’s your thing) and, of course, for a decent customer support system. Don’t forget to check for a proper license and to run a background search for the site’s reputation. If there are other gambling opportunities available under the same roof – all the better! You can also check our online casino reviews, we conduct a detailed check of all the important aspects of the casinos and provide you with a high-quality review.

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Video Poker Explained

Video poker is an online casino game that’s a combination of slots and poker. The way video poker works is pretty straightforward. You’re dealt a hand of five cards at random and for each one, you can decide to keep it or replace it. Once you’ve made your decisions, any replacements are made and your hand is ranked. 

Your payout depends on how high your hand ranks, of course. There are many video poker games you’ll find at online casinos such as Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, and Bonus Poker. 

Playing Poker on Your Phone

Most online poker games these days are designed to be mobile-friendly. You can access them by visiting a casino site directly through your device’s web browser or by downloading an app. Some players prefer casino apps because they’re designed to perform smoother on a phone or a tablet and sometimes have a bigger choice of titles. Others prefer flash-based online games that can be accessed with a mobile browser, as they don’t require additional software that takes up space. Either way, both these options are widely available at nearly every site out there.

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Online Poker Tips and Hints

For new and not-so-new casino players alike, online poker can be hard to wrap your head around. For those who want some extra push, here are our top tips for playing online poker: 

  • Practise playing poker to get used to how it works. 
  • Play in the free mode at the beginning, so you can build up your skill without risking your money.
  • Make sure you know all the game rules and hand rankings before playing. 
  • Stick with playing virtual games against the computer at first. 
  • Develop or adopt a strategy and implement it in your gaming style.
  • When you feel confident enough, start playing against other players. Game on!
online poker

Conclusion

Poker is a classic casino table game, that involves both luck and some skill. It has lots of different variants, especially online, but at the core, it’s all about getting the best five-card hand possible. Online poker involves some strategy implementation and decision-making, so it’s a good idea to get some practice in and play for free first. Once you’ve got the rules down you’ll be ready to explore the world of real money online poker. 

The best way to enjoy poker is by playing with real money – take on other players and you could earn yourself a handsome profit! There are many online casinos in Canada for you to pick from and we’ve got a full library of casino reviews to help you out. Head to that section to find the best site for you and start chasing the thrill!

FAQ

When playing poker, your objective is simply to have a hand of cards that ranks higher than all other players’ hands.

Folding is the act of forfeiting your hand for the current round. It doesn’t cost you anything, but once you’ve folded you’re essentially out of the game for that round and can’t win any money.

There are dozens of different versions of poker you’ll find available to play at online casinos. These range from traditional multiplayer games to new solo games with twists and exciting new features.

It’s safe to say that Texas hold’em is the most popular poker game around at the minute. Each player has two of their own cards and can use three of the five community cards to form their five-card poker hand.

The strategy to use depends on the version of poker you’re playing, as each one has different rules. Before playing any game of poker, make sure you know the rules inside-out and take your time to make decisions.

Tournaments, even the ones aimed at less experienced players, can be very competitive. It’s recommended that you only start getting involved in poker tournaments when you’re confident at playing the game and you feel comfortable playing against others.

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