Poker is a multifaceted game. Think of poker as an onion with many different layers. By the time you're done peeling through the layers, you'll know what it takes to win at poker. But you'll have to peel plenty of onions before you become a winning poker player!

Hello Ontario! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

The most crucial point to remember about poker is that it's a betting game. There is no way to know how good a player you are without bets. Remember that age-old expression: No Risk No Reward? That's why real money poker play matters. It tests your nerve, and that's what you need to be the best at poker.

Let's assume that you're a greenhorn – a novice – at poker. You won't want to pick up bad habits along the way, so stick to this poker guide, and you'll be right as rain. First things first – it's crucial to learn poker rules. The rules are the framework governing the game of poker. In addition, the rules of poker reveal essential information about hand rankings.

The weakest possible hand is a high card. Whatever you’re holding, there’s always a high card. For example, let's assume you have a poker hand with the following cards, including hole cards and the board: 2 of diamonds, 6 of spades, 3 of clubs, Jack of diamonds, and 8 of hearts. The high card in this hand is the Jack of diamonds.

Fast Fact: Suits don't matter when equal-value high cards are compared. The next high card will be assessed to determine the winner!
Now, let's move up the rankings from One Pair, Two Pairs, Three of A Kind, Straight, Flush, Full House, Four of a Kind, Straight Flush, and a Royal Flush.

One Pair: A pair is a hand with one set of matching cards. If two players have one pair, the highest pair wins. If both players are holding the same pair, then the second-highest card in each hand is used to break the tie.

Two Pairs: A hand with two sets of matching cards. If two players have two pairs, the player with the highest-ranking pair wins. If both players are holding the same high pair, the low pair is used to break the tie. If both players have the same pairs, then the highest-ranking card not part of a pair is used to break the tie (the "kicker").

Three of a Kind: A Three of a Kind (Trip) is a hand with three cards of matching rank (e.g., three sevens). If two players are holding a three of a kind, then the highest-ranking card of the three determines who wins.

Straight: A Straight hand contains five cards in sequential order (e.g., 4-5-6-7-8). Straights are ranked by their highest card. So, an Ace-high Straight (A-2-3-4-5) would beat a King-high Straight (K-Q-J-10-9) but lose to an Ace-high Straight (A-K-Q-J-10).

Flush: A Flush hand has five cards of the same suit. Flushes are ranked first by their highest card, then by their second-highest card, and so on. So, an Ace-high Flush (A-K-Q-J-10 of one suit) would beat a King-high Flush (K-Q-J-10-9 of one suit) but lose to an Ace-high Flush (A-K-Q-J of one suit).

Full House: A Full House is a strong poker hand with three cards of matching rank and two cards of another matching rank (e.g., three 7s and two 10s). If two players are holding a Full House, then the player with the highest-ranking three of a kind wins.

Four of a Kind: A Four of a Kind is a hand with four cards of matching rank (e.g., four Aces). If two players each have Four of a Kind, then the player with the higher ranking Four of a Kind wins.

Straight Flush: A Straight Flush is a valuable poker hand with five cards in sequential order, in the same suit (for example, 5-6-7-8-9 of clubs). If two players have a Straight Flush, then the player with the higher ranking Straight Flush wins.

Royal Flush: A Royal Flush is the most valuable poker hand with an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, & 10 of the same suit (e.g., Ace-King-Queen-Jack-10 of clubs). A Royal Flush is a highest-ranking hand in poker. If two players each have a Royal Flush, then the player with the higher ranking royal flush wins.

Positions in Poker: It Matters Where You Play From

Now that you've got an idea of what different poker hands look like, you are better positioned for success. Speaking of position, this is something you've got to know. In poker, position is critical. Is it better to be in an Early Position or a Late Position?  

Position is used to describe a player's seat in relation to the dealer button. For example, the player in the Small Blind is in the Early Position, the player in the Big Blind is in Middle Position, and the players to their immediate left are in the Late Position.

The main reason why position matters is because it dictates when you get to act during a hand. In an Early Position, you have to make your decisions before most of the other players at the table, which can be challenging. But, you get to see how everyone else acts first in the Late Position, which gives you a significant advantage.

Take a Tip: If you're unsure what to do in a hand, it's usually best to check or fold. Please don't make any big moves unless you're confident that they will work out.

Poker is a game of incomplete information. Think about that. That means that you never have all of the information you need to make the best decision. That's why it's considered a gambling game. So, you'll have to make do with the poker hand you are holding, which can be challenging.

The best way to improve decision-making with incomplete information is to practice. The more hands you play, the better you'll get at making quick, accurate decisions. One last thing to remember is that poker is a people's game. It's not just about the cards. Pay attention to the other players at the table, and you'll be able to get an edge on them.

If a player is acting nervous, they might be bluffing. If a player is being aggressive, they might have a big hand. If a player is being quiet, they might be hiding a monster hand. Pay attention to the tells, and you'll be able to read your opponents like a book.

Betting: Size Matters but With Poker Start Small! 

As a new player, you certainly don't want to go out there at online poker rooms or clubs, all guns blazing. The card sharks will spot you a mile away and make a meal out of you. So instead, adopt a low-stakes strategy while you're learning the ropes. Don't burn through your stash of cash; you'll only feel dejected.

Preserve what you've got and make it last. There are many valuable techniques you can employ to stretch your bankroll, including the following:

  • Enter freerolls
  • Set a budget and stick to it
  • Play low stakes poker games
  • Be selective with the hands you play
  • Use poker bonuses and promotional offers

Improve your poker decision-making abilities by practicing. You want to start at one poker table. Don't go multi-tabling as a newbie. It's essential to play poker when you're feeling good about yourself. You never want to play on tilt because that's when things go pear-shaped. Once you become adept at poker, you can learn about poker odds, bluffing, and keeping your cool. Another helpful tip – don't play every hand dealt to you. Fold the majority of hands unless you're holding the nuts.

We'll devote lots of time to all of these topics in our blog posts at 888, so keep on reading. Start by learning the basics of poker play, and then move on to more advanced concepts. And always remember to have fun. That's how you win at poker!

With digital marketing strategies in his blood Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.