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How to Play Poker

Online casinos have been popular across Europe for well over a decade, and now, they’ve finally arrived in North America. Proving to be just as entertaining and convenient, online casinos have opened Canadians up to a whole new way to play. Of course, the staple game that a huge number of players gravitate to is online poker. In this poker guide, we deliver step-by-step instructions on how to play poker online in Canada.

Poker rules for beginners

While there are a few different popular variants of poker, the basic rules and objectives of the game remain mostly the same throughout. For the most part, you need to make a hand that’s the highest scoring at the table. Depending on the type of poker, you’ll need to do this with just the cards in your hand or with the community cards. Each game is also comprised of rounds. In these, you can place bets in an attempt to force others out of the game and win the pot.


As far as poker rules for beginners go, that’s mostly what you need to know. Of course, the type of game has a big impact on the poker rules. For example, in Texas Hold’em, you use your hand combined with the community cards to make the strongest five-card hand. In the five-card draw, you can discard and replace hand cards to improve.


The gameplay is relatively straightforward: the key to learning poker as a beginner is to have an understanding of the poker hand rankings. These determine the winners and losers, so it’s essential to understand what to aim for and what you could get.

Poker hands ranking

In most poker rules, the hand rankings remain the same. At the base of the rankings is usually a high card. This wins between players when there aren’t any poker hands made. At the top is the most statistically difficult hand to get. The royal flush requires you to get a sequence of the game’s high cards all in the same suit.

Poker betting options

When you play real poker online or at a table, you’ll be able to bet during each round if you’re still in the game. After receiving your first hand, you can bet. From there, if you still have a hand and haven’t folded, you can bet in each subsequent round. You also have a few other options to exercise as well if you don’t want to bet yet.

Here are your betting options in each round of poker:


  • Call: Saying that you call means that you’re going to match the bet value that the table is presently at. So, you put in enough chips to match the total value of what the player before you have pushed to the middle.
  • Raise: A raise indicates that you’re going to increase the bet of the table. When you raise, you put in more chips than the player before you. This forces all others who want to keep playing to meet your bet.
  • Fold: If you don’t want to meet the bet of the table or raise it yourself, you can fold. Your cards leave your hand, go to the discarded pile, and you’re out for the rest of this game. You can’t win with a fold but you also don’t have to bet any more chips.
  • Check: A check allows you to pass to the next player without folding or taking an action – such as raising the bet. This can only happen if the value of bets is all equal on the table, such as at the start of a round. If everyone at the table checks, the round concludes.
  • All In: Going all in means that you’re going to put all of the chips in your pot into the table as your bet. Others have to meet the bet or go all in themselves to stay in the game. If you go all in but can’t meet the value of the open bet, you can only return your all-in amount and anything bet prior from the other player bet pools. In multi-player situations, side pots need to be arranged to accommodate a potential all-in win.

Poker betting rounds

Before the cards are dealt, there’s technically a round of betting. This is where the blinds and ante bets come into play. Blinds are mandatory in almost all poker rules. Usually, they see the player to the left of the dealer put down a big blind and the player to the left of them put down a small blind of half the size.


Antes aren’t an obligatory part of most poker online or in-person games. If they’re a part of the game online, you’ll be informed before entering the game itself. The ante bet sees players wager outside of the blinds before the cards are dealt. Both the blind and ante betting amounts often increase as a game advances to make larger pots.


Beyond the blinds and ante, there are several rounds of betting that take place. As the most common type of poker to play online is Texas Hold’em Poker, our example will be based on this variation. Here’s a look at the poker betting rounds to expect:


  • First Round Betting: After the deal, and in order of the player to the left of the big blind, players can bet to match or raise from the value of the big blind.
  • The Flop Betting: After the dealer has burned one card and dealt three community cards, the betting opens up again from the first player still active to the left of the big blind.
  • The Turn Betting: The dealer burns another and adds one more to the community cards, opening the third round of betting.
  • The River Betting: As the final play in the game, the dealer burns one and adds the fifth card to the community setting. One more window of betting opens as a last chance to get other players to put more in the pot or fold.
  • The Showdown: Cards are revealed and combinations are made to determine the winner of the game before shuffling the cards and starting again.

Online poker limits

Poker online doesn’t only feature several different types of games, but it also has different types of limits. The most common forms of these betting limits are the Pot Limit, Fixed Limit, and No Limit. Knowing what each of these means is essential to you having fun when you play online poker. So, here’s what each limit term means:


  • Pot Limit (PL): In this type of poker online, you can raise or bet to any value up to the pot’s total size.
  • Fixed Limit (FL): The poker game has set limits on how much you can raise or bet on any given turn.
  • No Limit (NL): Betting in these rooms is as it sounds, anyone can raise or bet as much as they want.

Poker betting tips

Poker is a very situational game. The situation in each game and round can vary greatly. This isn’t just based on the strength of your hand, either. Other players at the table can have a huge influence on your poker betting strategy. Still, there are a few types of bets that seasoned players have in their arsenal to deploy when necessary.


One such bet type is the Probe Bet. Let’s say that before the Flop – the first release of community cards – another player seemed happy to bet and perhaps even raised the bet. After the Flop, if they check, you become unsure if their hand remains as strong as it seemed. So, put in a bet one-third of the size of the pot to push them into action.


If you’ve got a strong hand and want to lure in the rest, you can systematically Value Bet. The aim is to continue up the pot to maximise your win while not scaring off others. A good place to start with this is to add on half of the pot’s value in a raise. If there’s already been a lot of raising or you see some nerves, perhaps raise by a single chip.


On a more straightforward basis for beginners, there are a couple of poker tips to always abide by. First, never fold if you can check. Second, in the opening round, never allow it to finish without a raise. Simply calling without a raise in the first round of betting gives the blind bettors an easy pass and is known as “limping.” Try to avoid this.

Playing Poker with theScore Bet

At theScore Bet Sportsbook and Casino, you’ll find a diverse range of online poker games, other table games, plus all of the different betting limit types and rooms for the most popular types of poker online. There’s ​Ultimate Texas Hold’em​, ​Three-card Poker​, and much more. Having read our useful guide on how to play poker, you can now exercise your new skills in our world-class suite.

Popular poker terms

Before you jump into a game of online poker for real money, you’ll want to have an understanding of the poker glossary. Here are the most essential poker terms to know before you play:


  • All In: Putting all of your remaining chips in as your bet.
  • Backing: Lending chips to a player to get a percentage of their profits if they win.
  • Bankroll: The amount of money that you have to play poker online.
  • Blind: Mandatory action of putting down chips before the deal, or playing without looking at your cards.
  • Boat: Another way of saying “full house.”
  • Buy-in: How much you need to pay to get into the game of poker.
  • Call: You match the standing bet of the table.
  • Cash Games: Money paid in is directly equivalent to the chips.
  • Cowboys: Pocket Kings or two Kings in your hand.
  • Heads Up: In reference to there only being two players left or involved.
  • Limp: Just call or check without a raise in the first round of betting.
  • Omaha: A popular type of poker online in which you’re dealt four cards and use community cards.
  • Raise: You add a bet greater than the last sum wagered in the round.
  • Re-Raise: Place a raise bet after a raise has already been placed during the same loop around the table.
  • Sit and Go: An online poker tournament that starts as soon as the designated seat count is filled.
  • WSOP: Refers to the World Series of Poker – the most famous tournament in the game.


Though you arrived as a beginner, you should now have a much better idea of how to play poker online and with your friends. All variations of poker can be picked up with time and patience, but it’s essential to know the poker hands chart above all else.

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