Online Poker

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What is Poker?

Poker is a popular card game with numerous variations where players compete against one another to have the best hand (assortment of cards), which is based on specific card values and pairings. Players work to build the best hand possible over the course of several rounds utilizing tactics like bluffing to discourage players from continuing on with the round.  

While the origins of poker are up for debate, there's no question that its popularity increased heavily during the 1970s with the introduction of the World Series of Poker. Now one of the largest casino games — both in-person and online — in the world, poker is a strategical card game that comes with ounces of luck as well, depending on what the dealer rolls out with the community cards. Even if you have nothing of value in your hand, half the fun of poker comes in bluffing versus the other players at your table. That's where having the best poker face can turn a losing hand into a winning one.


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How to Play Poker

Poker Basics

There is a lot of skill and practice that goes into becoming a good poker player, but everybody has to start somewhere. Below are some of the basic concepts and winning hands to become familiar with before starting to play poker competitively.


Antes that are used in tournaments differ from small and big blinds because it requires all players (besides the designated small and big blind players) in a match to put in a set amount of chips at the beginning of each round. Typically, antes are much smaller than the actual bets being played in the round, and are kind of like a "warm-up" bet to get things rolling. 

Big & Small Blinds 

In poker, players have to submit chips at the beginning of each round in a rotating fashion. In simpler terms, the two players who are the big and small blinds need to place a certain amount of chips into the winning pot before the round begins.

Casino chips for blinds

For example, if the big blind is $100, the small blind is $50. These numbers fluctuate based on the casino or dealer’s choice.

Winning Card Combinations by Rank

There are 10 winning combinations in poker. Here’s a list of winning combinations that are ranked by value:

Number "1" icon Royal Flush - 10, J, Q, K, A that are all the same suit. 

Royal Flush Image

Number "2" icon Straight Flush Any combination of cards that are in numerical order with the same suit.

Number "3" icon Four of a Kind — When a player has four of the same card in their hand. 

Number "4' icon Full House — A combination of the same card 3x and 2x in a player’s hand.

Number "5" icon Flush — Any combination of cards that have the same suit.

Example of a flush in online poker

Number "6" icon Straight — A hand that contains cards in numerical order. 

Number "7" icon Three of a Kind A hand containing three of the same card.

Number "8" icon Two Pair A hand containing any two pairs of cards.

Number "9" icon Pair A hand containing any pair of cards.

Number "10" icon High Card The most valuable card in a hand that gives the player the lowest chance of winning. 

Types of Poker

It is likely that you have heard people talk about a specific type of poker before. Poker has evolved to exist in three distinct categories of gameplay:

Heart icon for card poker section Community Card Poker

The most common variation in which players are dealt cards and pair them with the cards on the table to form the best hand. 

Spade for Draw poker section Draw Poker

Users are given the option to replace a set amount of cards in their hands without revealing their hand to others. 

Diamond for Stud poker section Stud Poker

Hands are dealt partly revealed or hidden, which adds mystery to this poker variation. 

Popular Poker Games

In addition to the categories listed above, there are also a variety of distinct poker games that fall within each of these categories. The ultimate object of the game remains to have the best hand compared to other players, but the play style for each specific game can vary significantly.

Texas Hold’em 

The most played and popular poker game that follows traditional rules. Players receive two cards to work with before the flop (first three community cards), the turn (the fourth community card) and the river (the fifth and final community card) get dealt.

clover icon Omaha High 

Similar to Texas Hold’em, but players will receive four cards instead of two and will try to get the best hand possible.

clover image Omaha Hi-Lo

Players must form two hands with their four cards and combine it with the community cards (cards dealt by the dealer) to get the highest and lowest hands in order to win.

clover image 5-Card Draw

Each player is dealt five cards and must create the highest hand possible. All other players' hands remain hidden throughout the round, requiring players to guess at how their hand will compare at the end. There is only a single round of drawing in this game, meaning that this is a fast-paced option for players.

These are just a few of the many different poker games that players are likely to encounter when playing poker.

Online Real Money Poker

Online poker has become increasingly popular over the past several years with the rise of video poker sites and online casinos. Many poker sites and online casinos offer players free play and real money options. Free play poker means that users are simply playing for fun without wagering any actual money. The chips used are purely symbolic to keep the flow of the game intact. Real money poker, as the name indicates, is competitive play against other players wagering actual money. It is important to know the distinction to avoid accidentally losing money. 

Where to Play Online Poker

As we have alluded to, users have many options when it comes to playing online poker. The most common places to play online poker can be broken into two categories: online casinos and dedicated poker websites. 

Online Casino Poker Options

Golden Nugget Casino logo

Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget Online Casino is one of the best known brand names in the country. This is a top destination for player who want a quality online casino experience. 

Poker Game Offerings: 7

Live Games Available: Yes

Bonus Offer: Deposit match up to $1,000 and 200 free spins. No promo code required.

BetMGM logo


BetMGM is a premier online casino destination. Widely known by its reputation as a top Las Vegas casino, BetMGM Online Casino has successfully ported its casino experience to the digital medium. 

Poker Game Offerings: 11 video poker offerings in addition to a separate dedicated poker part of the online casino

Live Games Available: Yes 

Bonus Offer: New users will also get 100% deposit match up to $1,000 in addition to $25 free using promo code ACTIONCASINO.

FanDuel logo


FanDuel Online Casino is perhaps better known for its daily fantasy sports and sportsbook offerings, but they also have an established a solid casino offering for players to enjoy as well.

Poker Game Offerings: 11

Live Games Available: Yes

Bonus Offer: Up to $1,000 in no-sweat bets for the first day of gambling. No bonus code required.

Borgata logo


Borgata Online Casino is one of the most trusted brands in the online casino space. With a variety of game offerings and live dealers, Borgata enjoys a high-level of popularity.

Poker Game Offerings: 23

Live Games Available: Yes

Bonus Offer: $20 no deposit bonus plus 100% first deposit match up to $1,000 using promo code ACTIONBCASINO

SugarHouse logo


With one of the most generous sign-up bonuses, SugarHouse Online Casino is a great online casino option for new and seasoned online casino players alike.

Poker Game Offerings: 15

Live Games Available: Yes

Bonus Offer: 100% deposit match up to $250 plus $25 on the house using 250MATCH.

DraftKings logo


Another daily fantasy and sportsbook powerhouse that has made its way into the casino space. DraftKings Online Casino is a trusted brand name that offers users a quality online casino experience.

Poker Game Offerings: 7

Live Games Available: Yes

Bonus Offer: 100% deposit match up to $2,000 and a maximum $50 free credit. No bonus code required.

Caesars logo


Caesars Online Casino is perhaps most well known as primetime Vegas strip location. So, it's natural to expect them to be active in the online casino space.

Poker Game Offerings: 1

Bonus Offer: Get up to a $2,000 Deposit Match plus a $100 Gas Card with promo code ACTIONCAS.

Unibet logo


Known as one of Europe's most successful sportsbooks and casinos operators, Unibet Online Casino expanded their business into North America in 2019. Users can trust that Unibet will continue to bring an exceptional gaming experience to the West.

Poker Game Offerings: 6

Live Games Available: Yes

Bonus Offer: Get 100% first deposit match of up to $500, plus a $10 free play bonus.

PointsBet logo


PointsBet Online Casino has successfully navigated the waters of online casinos, utilizing the success of its sportsbook feature as a jumping-off point. PointsBet is still find its way in the casino world, though, compared to other major industry players. 

Poker Game Offerings: 10

Live Games Available: Yes

Bonus Offer: New users in Michigan earn 800 free spins and up to an $800 risk-free bet. No promo code is required during registration.

Best Poker Websites


PokerStars is the biggest online poker website in the world in terms of player traffic. The selection of cash games offered including No Limit Hold’em and PLO is beyond compare. The World Championship of Online Poker series, (WCOOP), is PokerStars’ version of the World Series of Poker. Last years’ tourney had players competing for a $100M GTD prize pool. If you enjoy playing an assortment of poker variants, the igaming leader has it all. 


The fastest growing online poker operator in the world, GGPoker is scheduled to launch its first US site in Pennsylvania as early as this year. Presently, US players can compete on ClubGG, a membership site similar to ClubWPT.  

GGPoker comes with all the bells and whistles you never knew you needed. Make moves you thought were only possible at a live poker table. Try straddling, or running it three times and you’ll be wondering where GGPoker’s been all your life.


The fourth highest poker site in terms of traffic, partypoker was launched in New Jersey 15 years ago. With tournaments running round the clock, be sure to carve out some time for cash games, sit & gos, spin & gos and fastforward, a high-speed No-Limit Hold'em cash game.

Unibet Poker

Unibet may not be the first name that comes to mind when it comes to online poker, but maybe it should be. The site attracts an abundance of inexperienced players, and that’s no accident. Unibet Poker prides itself in being beginner friendly, and has gone out of its way to make the experience favorable for new players.

Online Poker Resources

Confidence is key to be a successful poker player. Take advantage of the following poker guides to help boost your play:

Online poker is currently legal in MichiganNew JerseyPennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware. For more legal information regarding your state, take a look at our online casino legalization tracker.