Real Money Online Poker

How to Play Online Casino Poker

Casino Header Corner Image
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.

Playing Online Poker for Real Money

Your training for the World Series of Poker no longer has to take place inside a casino. With poker being offered online, both for real money or free play, gamblers can get their practice in whether they're on the go or sitting on their couch. Play different variations of one of the most popular card games out there right from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Poker Offers

Online Casino Poker 101

To win a poker round or match, a player must have the most valuable combination of cards. Here are relevant terms and processes to know when playing online casino poker:

Poker Term Significance in Poker
All-in When a player decides to bet all of their chips based off of their confidence or hand.
Buy-in To participate in an online poker game, a buy-in is required. For example, the buy-in can vary from $1-$10 for beginners who don’t want that much skin in the game.
Call A bet a player places either to begin a round or to match another player’s bet.
Raise A bet a player makes that exceeds a previous bet already made in the round.
Check Another name for when a player decides to not bet during a round. Note that this only works when the player goes first or the player before them decides to check.

When a player withdraws from the round.

How to Play Online Poker


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. 

Texas Hold'Em:

  • The most common game of poker out there starts with an ante/buy-in bet for the round. All players must provide an ante if they want to play the round — meaning they don't get to see their cards before putting up some money. The big blind/small blind players will have to provide a bit more than the others around the table.
  • The dealer then slides over two cards faced down to each player at the table. You have to keep these cards out of sight of the other players at the table and just see them yourself. Once you see your own cards, you can choose to fold right away, "check" (which means moving on to the next person) or raise a bet in, depending on if it's your turn to make a move. If a player is unwilling to call someone's raise, then they need to fold.
  • Once all the initial bets or checks have been made, the dealer reveals three faced up cards (known as "the flop") on the table. You'll be able to see what type of hands are possible for you from here, based on the two cards you personally have and the three cards on the table. Players go around the table again and are given the chance to make bets, check or fold.
  • The fourth card (or "the turn") is revealed by the dealer before another round of decisions by the live players, and then the fifth and final card (or "the river") is placed on the table. If you're still playing, there are seven cards to work with, but the two in your hand will be the main drivers of your potential win. Players can bet again after the final card is out before the remaining players have to reveal their hand to the table.
  • Whoever came out with the highest hand possible wins the pot and the glory...until another round begins.

Omaha Poker:

  • Each player is provided with four private/faced down cards (of "whole" cards) before five community cards are dealt faced up on the table.
  • Players must use three of the community cards together with two of their private cards to create the best five-card hand. No more and no less.
  • The remaining rules, including the card rankings, betting options and flow of the game are the same as in Texas Hold'Em. However, there are different variations of Omaha Poker that can change some of the pot bets and how your hand is formed — in Omaha Hi/Low, a player must create two separate hands out of the four cards they receive and the five that are on the table.

Three Types of Poker 

As a user decides which casino poker game to play, these games will fall under one of three categories: 

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. 

Real Money vs. Free Play Online Poker 

In comparison to the other online casino games, poker is offered in a real money or a free play version. Players can get a feel for poker and the other game types for free before switching over to the real money version where they will bet their own money. 

All game types mentioned will be accessible through both versions so all players gain experience in them so they also know which type they like to play the most.

No Deposit & Deposit Bonuses

As online casino poker continues to be legalized, here are some sites offering no deposit and deposit bonuses for new players:

888poker: $20 &100% on up to $1,500 (NJ only)

BetMGM Poker: $25 &100% match on up to $1,000 (NJ), 100% up to $600 (PA)

BorgataPoker: $20 free, 100% match on up to $600 (NJ & PA)

Partypoker: $25 & 100% match on up to $1,000 (NJ only)

PokerStars: $50 & play 1 hand for $50 free play or 100% match on $600 (NJ & PA)

WSOP: $10 & 100% match on up to $1,000 (NJ & NV)

Keep in mind that each online casino will have different wagering requirements before cashing out on any potential earnings from the no deposit bonus. 

Different logos of poker sites

Popular Poker Games

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/Low — 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.

Registration & Withdrawing Funds in Online Poker

The sign-up process for online casino play is always quick and secure as players are required to enter basic information along with their social security numbers. Furthermore, online casinos allow players to withdraw their earnings through Bitcoin, credit cards and checks. 

Players can expect to receive their earnings between one and seven days depending on the process that the online casino goes through. Please note that online casinos have a wagering, withdrawal and fee requirements set in place that players must abide by in order to receive their earnings. 

For more information about online casinos, visit our legal online casinos and online gambling page

Picture of online poker on a mobile phone
Online poker can be played on a smartphone or laptop

Steve Petrella is a senior editor for The Action Network covering college football, among other things like casinos. He’s a Penn State grad now based in Atlanta who enjoys great punting, clock-killing drives and turnovers in the red zone.

More from Steve Petrella

Poker News

Online Poker FAQ
Is it legal to play online poker for money in the U.S.?
Right Arrow
What is online casino poker?
Right Arrow
Is there a minimum buy-in for online poker?
Right Arrow
If I end up with the second strongest hand, will I still win a portion of the pot?
Right Arrow
Are poker winnings taxed?
Right Arrow