Many gamblers love playing online poker because unlike many casino games, poker can be just as much about testing your skills as it is about testing your luck. There’s also no house edge in a poker game. With a few strategies and skills under your belt, you can increase your odds of winning and taking home some real money.
At Casino Guru, we won’t just lead you to the best legal online poker rooms in the USA, we’ll also load you up with plenty of tips, tricks, and strategy to up your poker game. If you’re already itching to start playing, check out the best real money poker sites in the USA below. If you’d like a little more guidance, keep scrolling for our top tips and strategies.
Best Real Money Online Poker Sites in the USA
The Rules of Online Poker
If you’ve already played poker with friends or in land-based casinos, you already have a pretty good idea of the rules for online poker. When you play poker online, your screen will show a digital version of a poker table including the cards and chips. Some online poker is played with live video streaming. In this case, you’ll see live video of a dealer at an actual table.
Poker comes in many variations, and rules and strategy can be different between each. Let’s first move through the play of Texas Hold’Em – one of the most popular versions of online poker.
In Texas Hold’Em, players compete to make the best 5-card hand possible, with seven cards available to use. There are two cards in front of each player. These two cards are known as the player’s pocket cards. The pocket cards are dealt facedown and only the player can see his or her own pocket cards. There are five cards face up in the middle of the table. These five cards are community cards. Every player can use these cards along with their two pocket cards to make the best 5-card hand.
Before any cards are dealt, the two players to the left of the dealer must place blinds (or antes). The player to the immediate left of the dealer places the small blind – the small blind is equal to half of the minimum bet required at the table. The player to the left of the small blind must ante in with the big blind. The big blind is equal to the minimum bet.
Once the dealer deals the pocket cards to the players at the table, the players have the opportunity to call the minimum bet, raise, or fold their cards. After this first round of betting, the dealer will lay three cards on the table face-up. These three cards are called the flop.
After the flop is dealt, another round of betting is held. Then, a fourth community card is dealt face up. This card is known as the turn or fourth street. Another round of betting is held, and then the fifth community card, the river or fifth street is dealt. The final round of betting is held, and if need be, the pocket cards are shown to determine the player with the best hand. The winner receives the pot, minus a small tax taken by the casino.
Winning Poker Hands Ranked in Order
Once you become familiar with the best poker hands, you’ll be able to make decisions at the table faster and play more confidently. Here you’ll see poker hands from lowest ranking, to the highest ranking.
- One Pair – a hand that contains two cards of the same rank; If two players have one pair each, the higher ranking pair wins. E.g., a hand with a pair of Kings would beat a hand with a pair of Jacks.
- Two Pair – a hand with two sets of pairs; e.g. J,J,Q,Q,7
- Three of a Kind – a hand with three cards of the same rank; e.g. 7,7,7,2,3
- Straight – a hand that has cards with sequential rank in different suits; e.g. 7,8,9,10,J
- Flush – a hand with all cards of the same suit, that are non-sequential in rank; e.g. five diamonds
- Full House – a hand with three of a kind and a pair; e.g. J,J,5,5,5
- Four of a Kind – a hand that contains four cards of the same rank; e.g. Q,Q,Q,Q,2
- Straight Flush – a hand that has all cards in sequential rank of the same suit; e.g. 2,3,4,5,6 of diamonds
- Royal Flush – a straight of the ranks 10,J,Q,K,A all of the same suit
Online Poker Game Varieties
As we discussed earlier, Texas Hold’Em is the most popular online poker game played for real money. There are a number of other variations available, if that’s not your style.
- Five-card Stud – Players are dealt five cards and must create the best hand from those cards. The first card dealt is facedown, with the following four cards dealt face up. This is considered the first version of stud poker and originated during the American Civil War.
- Seven-card Stud – Similar to Five-card Stud, Seven-card Stud begins with each player dealt two cards face down and one face up. A round of betting ensues. Players are then dealt a totalt of 7 cards, with rounds of betting between, and players must make their best possible 5-card hand.
- Razz – Similar to Seven-card Stud, but the best 5-card low (Ace to 5) hand wins.
- Omaha Hold’Em – This game is similar to Texas Hold’Em, but players are dealt four pockets cards and must choose two of the four to combine with three community cards to make the best five-card hand possible.
- And more!
Important Online Poker Terms
Once you master a few poker terms, you’ll have no problem mastering the game. Check our list below for some of the most used terms. Once you get to know them, you’ll be able to step up to the table feeling like a pro.
Ante – a mandatory stake put in by every participating player before the deal
Big Blind – an ante, used in Texas Hold’Em, that is a mandatory stake placed by the person seated second left to the dealer
Check – deferring betting by not raising the bet and passing the bet to the next person at the table
Chips – small tokens used for betting that represent designated amounts of cash
The Flop – in Texas Hold’Em, the first three community cards dealt face up
Muck – the discarded cards from players who have folded
Position – the order that players sit at the poker table and their strategy associated with their order
Raise – a player’s action when he or she increases the opening bet
River – the final community card dealt in community poker games
Small Blind – an ante that is usually half the minimum bet, placed by the player sitting to the immediate left of the dealer
The Turn – the fourth community card dealt in Texas Hold’Em
The Best Bonuses for Online Poker in The USA
Most online poker rooms will offer players no deposit bonuses just for signing up and registering for an account. Many online poker rooms also give welcome bonus packages that include incentives such as tournament entries. There are also plenty of incentive programs for players to earn loyalty points and rewards.
Check back here for the latest online poker bonuses. New deposit bonus offers, chances to win prizes, and seats at tournaments are always popping up.
What is the Difference Between Online Poker Tournaments and Sit and Go Poker?
When you play poker online, you have two basic choices: tournaments and sit and go. In poker tournaments, every player starts the tournament with the same amount of chips. All players compete against one another until one player is in possession of all of the chips. The size of online poker tournaments can vary from a smaller seven or nine person table or include thousands of players.
Sit and go online poker can be played more casually. With the sit and go style, players can choose how much money they want to gamble and can leave the table and walk away with their stack of chips whenever they want.
Whatever style of game you like, poker is a classic game that will never get old. Online poker allows players to access the excitement of being dealt in to a table anytime, anywhere. As a game that perfectly balances luck and skill, online poker will keep you enthralled. Make sure you check back here at Casino Guru for any new bonuses and announcements.