Learning the Poker rules is not difficult but mastering the game can take some time. If you are a beginner who is looking to learn the rules of the game, we have jotted down the basic poker game rules of the most popular variations.
Here we shall look at the basic poker rules common to all poker games. This shall include rules regarding hand rankings, betting rules, showdown rules and other poker rules specific to different poker variations. Let’s begin.
Basic Poker Game Rules
While there are many variations of poker, these are the most basic rules that deal with the core aspects of the game and are common to almost all poker game.
- Hand Rankings: In all poker games, the objective is to make the best possible five-card hand based on the common poker hand ranking. These hand rankings are the same across all variants of poker.
- Betting: Poker involves multiple rounds of betting, where players bet chips in the pot. The betting usually starts with the player to the left of the dealer and continues clockwise. Each player can either fold, call, or raise during their turn.
- Blinds: In most poker games, there are forced bets called blinds. The player to the left of the dealer posts a small blind, and the player to their left posts a big blind. The big blind is usually equal to the minimum bet for that game.
- Rounds of Play: Poker is usually played over several rounds or hands, with players receiving new cards and betting between each round.
- Showdown: If two or more players are still in the game af ter the final round of betting, a showdown occurs. Players reveal their cards, and the player with the best hand wins the pot.
Do remember that while these Indian poker rules are common to most poker games, there are many variation specific rules, including the number of cards dealt, the order of play, and the betting structure. But more on that later.
For now, since you have a general idea of the basic Indian poker rules, let’s move ahead and learn about the poker hand ranking rules common to all poker games.
Poker Hand Ranking Rules
Here is a list of the common poker hand rankings that all poker games follow. They are listed in an ascending order from the lowest to the highest.
If no player has any of the poker hands listed below, the player with the highest hole card wins. If two or more players have the same highest card, the next highest card will decide the winner.
Here are two high card hands of player A and player B:
Player A- A♣,J♦,2♥,7♥,10♣ and Player B- K♥,10♦,8♠,9♣,2♣. Player A wins the hand since Ace is bigger than King.
One Pair consists of two cards of the same rank and three different cards. Example: K♠,K♦,7♦,3♣,Q♠
Two Pair consists of two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank and one card of a different rank. A two pair in a poker game would look like: J♠,J♣,8♥,8♦,K♣
Three of a Kind
Also called Trips, this poker hand consists of three cards of the same rank and two different cards. Example of Three of a kind: Q♣,Q♥,Q♠,10♣,2♦
Five cards of different suits arranged in a sequence makes a Straight as per poker rules. Example: K♦,Q♣,J♥,10♠,9♦
One of the strongest poker hands, any five cards of the same suit without a sequence make a Flush. Example: A♦,Q♦,6♦,3♦,J♦
Also known as Fullboat, a Full House is made of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank. One of the top ranking hands in poker games, an example of a Full House is K♥,K♠,K♦,4♣,4♦
Four of a Kind
Also known as Quads, four cards of the same rank and one different card makes Four of a Kind. Third highest in strength, here’s an example of this hand: A♦,A♠,A♣,A♥,9♥
Second highest in strength, a Straight Flush is made of five cards of the same suit arranged in a sequence. 10♥,9♥,8♥,7♥,6♥ is an example of a Straight Flush.
Royal Flush is the unbeatable hand in all poker games. It is a straight flush made of the top five cards of the same suit. A♠,K♠,Q♠,J♠,10♠ is an example of a Royal Flush.
These are the poker hand rankings that are universal across all poker variations and are used to determine the winner of a hand in a showdown.
Blinds and Antes Rules
When you play poker games with blinds, the immediate two players sitting to the left of the dealer button need to post a small blind and a big blind before the game begins. The first player immediately to the dealer’s left posts the small blind and the player to their left posts the big blind.
As per poker game rules, the small blind is typically twice the amount of the big blind. As the dealer button moves one place to the left after each hand, so do the blinds. This way, every player on the table will have to post the blinds when their turn comes. Blinds are typically placed in cash games and tournaments alike.
An ante is a forced bet that each player must place before the hand starts, in addition to the blinds. The ante is usually a small percentage of the minimum bet that is used to create a pot for players to compete for.
Antes are typically placed in poker tournaments only and are paid by all players at the table at the start of each hand. This is mostly done to create an urgency of action and finish the tournament within a specified time. Antes are introduced during the game as per the structure of the tournament.
Do understand that the specific amount of the blinds and antes can vary depending on the game or tournament and the stakes being played. The main difference between blinds and antes is that blinds are only paid by two players per hand (the small blind and big blind), while antes are paid by every player at the table.
Poker Betting Rules
Betting in poker refers to the act of placing a certain amount of money in the form of chips into the pot. It is the collective sum of all bets made in a hand. The purpose of betting in poker is to win the pot by having the best hand, or by making other players fold their hands.
In poker, each player is dealt a hand of cards, and they take turns placing bets in the form of chips or money. The amount of the bet can vary depending on the specific game or the player's strategy.
As per the poker game rules, typically, the first player to bet is the one sitting to the left of the dealer, and subsequent players can either call, raise, or fold.
We have already discussed the betting rules of blinds and antes in a poker game. Moving forward, here are the actions that a player can take during the betting rounds after the blinds or antes have been placed.
- Call: When a player matches the amount of the previous bet, it is called a "call." For example, if the previous player bets INR 10, the next player can call by betting a minimum of INR 10 as well.
- Raise: A player can increase the size of the previous bet by making a "raise." For example, if the previous player bet INR 10, the next player can raise by betting INR 20 or more.
- Check: If there has been no bet made in the current round, a player can choose to "check,". This means they do not bet anything and pass the action to the next player.
- Fold: If a player does not want to continue playing their hand, they can "fold," which means they give up their cards and any money they have already bet.
- All-in: If a player bets all of their remaining chips, they are considered going "all-in." If another player wants to continue betting, they must match the amount by putting in the same number of chips as that of the all-in player. Or if he or she has less number of chips than the player who goes All-in, he must bet all the remaining chips nonetheless.
Showdown Rules in Poker
In all poker games, after all bets have been placed, the remaining players reveal their cards in a showdown. A showdown is the final stage of a hand in poker where remaining players show their cards to determine the winner. The rules of a showdown may vary depending on the specific game being played but in general, here are the common poker rules for a showdown.
- The first player to show their hand is typically the last player to bet or raise. If there was no bet on the final round of betting, the player to the left of the dealer shows their hand first.
- If two or more players have the same hand ranking, the pot is split equally among them.
- If a player raises on the final round of betting and all other players fold, that player does not have to show their cards to win the pot.
- If a player calls a bet on the final round of betting and loses, they must show their hand even if it is not required to win the pot.
- Any player who was all-in at any point during the hand must show their cards if there is a showdown, regardless of whether they are still in the hand or not.
- If a player mucks (discards) their hand , they give up any claim to the pot.
Limit vs No Limit Poker Rules
Limit and No Limit are two different types of betting structures in poker games that can impact the poker rules and strategies of the game. Let’s discuss them both quickly.
Limit Poker Rules
Limit Poker games have a fixed betting structure that limits the amount of chips that a player can bet in each betting round. This amount is predetermined before the game begins. For example, in a ₹2/₹4 limit game, the maximum bet or raise is ₹4, and players must bet or raise in increments of ₹2. This means that the amount of money at stake in each hand is limited, which can make the game more strategic and less risky.
No Limit Poker Rules
In No limit poker games, there are no set limits on the amount of money or chips that players can bet or raise. This means that in No Limit games, players have the option to go All-in by betting all of their chips at any point.
There is no limit on the betting amount or to the number of raises in No Limit games. As such, No Limit poker game rules make the game more risky and unpredictable as players can win or lose large amounts of money in a single hand.
These are the key Indian poker rules that you must know to play poker without making any basic errors. The poker game rules that we discussed today are part of the foundation of all poker game variations. Once you learn them, you are ready to hit the tables.