How To Play Poker: A Guide to Playing Like a Pro in 2024

Do you want to know how to play poker like a pro? We’ll teach you the basics of the game, plus some advanced techniques that will give you a competitive edge. 

So whether you’re looking to win big at the casino or just want to impress your friends, read on for all the info you need to up your poker game!

Let’s go!

How Does Poker Work?

Naturally, the first step to playing poker like a pro is understanding the basics of the game. The most common type of poker is the five-card draw, played with a standard deck of 52 cards. There are four suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades) and 13 cards in each suit. 

The poker cards order is as follows: Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, and Two. The suits have no value in poker; they simply help identify the cards. For example, if you have two “sevens” from different suits, then these are called a pair.

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Poker Rankings

In poker, the rank of a hand is determined by the value of the cards. The highest-ranking hand is called a royal flush and consists of five consecutively ranked cards from ace to ten, all of the same suits. 

Other high-ranking poker cards hands include four of a kind (four cards of the same rank), full house (three matching cards plus two matching cards), straight (five consecutively ranked cards), three of a kind (three matching cards), and two pairs. The lowest-ranking hand is called a high card because it has nothing to match or rank higher than another player’s hand.

What is Straight Poker?

Straight poker is a game in which all five cards are of different suits. The rank of the hand is determined by the highest-ranking card, so for example, if you have an ace and a two, then your hand would rank as an ace-high straight. If two or more players have identical hands, then it becomes important to know who has the highest-ranking card within that suit, as this will determine which player wins.

What is a Three-of-a-Kind in Poker?

A three-of-a-kind is any combination of cards that have the same value. If two players have identical hands, then it becomes important to know who has the highest-ranking card within that suit, as this will determine which player wins.

Poker Positions

According to the rules of poker, there are six positions around the table: dealer (the player who deals the cards), small blind, big blind, first to act (UTG – Under the Gun), second to act (MP – Middle Position), and last to act (LP – Late Position). 

The dealer is always in position one, while the small blind and big blind are in positions two and three, respectively. The first to act is position four, the second to act is position five, and the last to act is position six.

dealer spreading cards on a poker table

What are the Basic Poker Rules?

The aim of poker is to create the best five-card hand possible using any combination of your two-hole cards and the five community cards on the table. The player with the highest-ranking hand at showdown (the end of betting) is declared the winner and takes all chips from other players who have folded or lost their stack during play.

The first thing that all players need to understand is that in order for a hand to be considered “live”, there must be at least two cards on the table for each player and no more than five community cards face down. 

If a  player has fewer than two cards, then all other players can bet (even if they don’t have a hand yet). The dealer begins the poker card game by dealing one card face up to each player and then one card face down, followed by a second card face up. This is called the flop. 

The third community card (the turn) is then dealt face up, followed by the fourth community card (the river), which is also dealt face down. At this point, each player has four cards and must decide whether to bet or fold.

To get an even better understanding of the game, check out our selection of the best poker books and poker movies!

How Much Should You Bet?

In high-stakes poker, a player can bet up to the number of chips they have in front of them (known as their stack). In a low-stakes poker card game, it is more common for players to only bet a small percentage of their stack. For example, if you have $100 in chips and want to bet $30, you would say, “I’m all in for $30” instead of “I’m all in on this hand.”

When Should You Raise?

Many poker players will raise with a strong starting hand, such as A-A, K-K, or Q-Q. However, poker instructions also allow raising preflop with hands that are not the nuts (the best possible hand) but have a good chance of winning.

What is the Best Way to Bluff?

There are many ways to bluff in poker, including raising with nothing and betting out on the river when your opponent has missed their draw; however, most experts agree that one of the best ways to bluff is by making large bets after seeing the flop. 

This is known as a continuation bet, and it’s usually more effective than betting out on the turn or river because your opponent will be less likely to call if they don’t have a good hand.

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How to Win at Poker?

In poker, there are two types of odds in poker: pot odds and implied odds. Pot odds are the ratio of chips in the pot to the amount required for a call. For example, if there is $100 in the pot and it costs you $20 to call, your pot odds would be 100:20 or five-to-one (the equivalent of 20%).

Implied odds refer to how much more money you can win if your opponent folds and you take their bet. For example, if you have a flush draw (five cards of the same suit) and there is $200 in the pot, your implied odds would be 200:30 or six-to-one. 

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What is a Flush in Poker?

A flush is a hand in which all five cards are of the same suit. If two or more players have identical flushes, it becomes vital to know who has the highest-ranking card within that suit, as this will determine which player wins.

Royal Flush Odds 

A royal flush is the best possible hand in poker, consisting of an ace through ten, all being suited. The odds of getting a royal flush are approximately one-in-six thousand.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to types of poker.

Types of Poker

To find out which one suits you best, take a look at the three most popular poker types:

 a poker game setting with players in place

Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold’em is a poker game that involves five community cards dealt face-up on the table and two hole cards (cards dealt face down to each player). Each player has three options: fold, call, or raise with any given hand. Basic Texas Hold’em strategy is to create the best possible hand using your two-hole cards and the five community cards.

Omaha Hi Poker

Omaha Hi is a poker card game where five community and four hole cards are dealt face-up on the table. Like Texas Hold’em, players can either fold, call or raise. 

Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

As with regular Omaha poker, the pot is split between a given round’s best high hand and low hand.  However, since it’s possible to have multiple winners in this poker type (i.e., both players might end up getting similar winning hands), no draws or ties are allowed.


Going All In

Now that you know the basics of how to play poker, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Remember: Always try to make the best possible hand, bluff with caution, and use pot odds and implied odds to your advantage. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the competition!


Does a flush beat a straight in poker?

A flush beats a straight in poker when both players have the same rank. The highest-ranking card within the suits is used to determine who wins. If two or more players have identical flushes, it becomes crucial to know who has the highest-ranking card within that suit as this will determine which player wins.

What is a full house in poker?

A full house is a hand in which three cards of the same rank are matched with two cards of a different rank, such as three queens and two fours. If two or more players have identical hands, it’s critical to determine who has the highest-ranking card in that suit because it will determine who wins.

How to play poker online?

To play poker online, all you need is a computer with internet access and an account at any of the many popular poker sites. Check out our list with the best online casinos in Canada to start playing today!


Toni always had an appetite for learning new things and random facts about almost everything, which is why when he got offered the job to work as a content writer he took it without hesitation. Writing daily took his love for words and research to a whole new level, and made him realize that this is a career he would love to pursue. Although he spends most of his time researching his next piece, you can also find him on the football court, in the gym, or at home with a book in his hand.

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