There are many theories as to the origins of poker, but the modern school of thought is that too many of them focus on the card play, which could have been derived from any number of games. Instead many believe the unique features of poker are its betting, which doesn’t appear in any of the known older games.
This theory supports the idea that poker originated in the 1800s, where it spread through Mississippi. English actor Chelsea Poker reported that poker was played in New Orleans in 1829, using a deck of 20 cards, with four players betting on which of them had the best hand.
Of course poker has spread throughout the world, creating many variations of the game. Technology has played a significant part in its popularity too, in the 1970s we saw the introduction of video poker machines. These were the first computerised casino games that had a skill aspect to them and are enjoyed to this day by all poker players, especially those who prefer to play without the ‘head games’ of land casino poker.
Today poker is played competitively and professionally both in land casinos and online tournaments.
What types of poker I can play?
Typically the term ‘poker’ is associated with its most popular variation Texas Hold’em, but visit any casino or online casino and you’ll find quite a few variations of the game. In fact, poker has over a hundred different variations and each of their rules is unique, though some are more similar than others. This sheer number of variations is one of the main reasons it is so popular.
When it comes to poker online casinos it is important to understand that the majority of the poker games you encounter will be based on the traditional five-card draw. Below we have created a list of the most popular poker variations that you will find online and how they differ.
Texas Hold’em – easily the most well-known and popular variation, it is played at all the major poker tournaments. Each player is dealt 2 ‘pocket’ cards and then waits for 5 community cards to be revealed. Players must make their best hands with any combination of 5 cards.
Omaha – a variation of Hold’em that can have anywhere between 2 to 10 players. Omaha has Texas Hold’em’s four rounds of betting, but differs in that each player is dealt four pocket cards and the 5 community cards are revealed straight away. The aim is for players to make their best 5-card hand from two of their pocket cards and three community cards.
7-Card Draw – each player is dealt seven cards, three of these are face down and four face up. The aim is to make the best possible 5-card hand from their seven cards.
5-Card Draw – in this variation each player is dealt five cards, but the player is able to trade up to three of them on the initial round.
Live dealer Poker
It is possible to play online poker with both software and a live dealer. There are many providers offering fantastic poker software and versions for you to enjoy. Playing with a live dealer uses streaming to bring a live poker game to the comfort of your home. Players are able to see the table and watch the dealer whilst interacting with a control panel.
Online poker is available to play on all device platforms provided you have an Internet connection and the particular games provider features touch screen gaming.
How to play Poker
Online poker is one of the best ways to learn how to play because players are only given a few options per hand. Obviously the rules of online poker vary depending on the variation you are playing, but the basic principle of the best hand winning remains the same.
These are the basics of the popular Texas Hold’em, by knowing these you’ll be able to develop a better understanding of the other variations.
Every player is given two cards at the beginning of each game; only the player can see their own hand. The dealer then places five cards in the middle of the table that are revealed one at a time for each of the rounds.
These cards can be used in conjunction with your own hand to make the best possible five-card hand. Whether you use both cards from your hand, one of them or only cards from the community. The player with the best combination of cards at the end round wins the pot.
Poker hand rankings from weakest to strongest are:
- Two Pair
- Three of a Kind
- Full House
- Four of a Kind
- Royal Flush
Players are able to increase the bet each round when it is their turn and the other player must match or raise it to remain in. Bluffing from other players is only a factor you must take into account when playing live against other players. Playing solely against the casino software is a great way to practice and learn the ins and outs of the game, especially as many casino providers allow free play.