The Best Guide to Online Poker

Poker is an exciting online casino card game. Discover everything about it, from how to play to the hand rankings in our easy guide.

Poker is an immersive card game available at the best online casinos in the Philippines. The rules of playing poker are pretty simple, making it a favorite game for beginners and professional players. Moreover, there are dozens of poker variants to suit any preference. So regardless of your skills or bankroll – there’s something for everyone. If you would like to learn more about online poker, this guide is for you. We have covered everything about this game, from its origin to popular modern variants. You’ll also learn about the different hands, the rules, and our top winning tips.

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The Evolution of Poker

The first poker game is believed to have been invented in the 1800s in New Orleans. For many decades, the game was played in underground smoky bars. Eventually, its popularity brought it to casino venues where more and more players began enjoying poker. But everything changed with the advent of the Internet in the early 2000s. 

The first internet-based poker games were simply recreational and were usually popular in chat rooms. As technology improved, so did online poker and more and more casinos began offering the highly demanded game. Nowadays there are many variations to choose from and you can enjoy online poker for free. 

Although the game has been through quite an evolution, the basic rules are generally the same. So, if you’ve played one version it’s likely another one won’t be challenging to master. The main objective of all poker games, online or offline, is to get the highest-ranking poker hand. Alternatively, players should make a bet that others cannot call.

How to Play Online Poker

Common Online Poker Terminology

As one of the oldest casino games, poker is rich in unique terms you must learn before playing. Here are the most common terms you will find as you play at top online casinos in the Philippines:

Call – This is a wager equivalent to the previous bet. You call if you want to continue playing.

Bank – The casino, that your poker dealer represents, is the bank.

Blind – It is a forced bet representing the minimum amount required to play a hand. You can be a small blind or a big blind.

All In – It’s a bet where you place all betting chips into the pot in a single move.

Check – When you skip a bet – it’s possibly only if no one else has placed a bet either.

Dealer – The person who shuffles the deck and issues cards in a game.

Draw – This is a hand that is not complete yet, as you have to draw another card.

Fold – When you forfeit any played bets and surrender your cards in hand.

Buy-In – The least amount you need to join a tournament or cash game.

Board – These are community cards combined with pocket cards to form the best hand in a game.

Ante – Obligatory for all players to bet to participate in a round.

Hole Cards – These cards are dealt face down to players, also called pocket cards.

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Poker Hand Rankings

One of the fundamental things to know in this game is poker hand combinations and their rankings. These are they, in hierarchical order:

Royal Flush – This hand has five consecutive cards of the same suit with a respective order from 10 through Ace.

Straight Flush – The hand features any five-card sequence of the same suit. 

Four of a Kind – This hand has four cards of the same kind or simply, four identical cards from each suit.

Full House – The hand is a combination of the three of a kind and a pair.

Flush – These are five cards of the same suit, no need for continuity. When two players have a flush, the one with the highest-valued cards wins.

Straight – This hand has five cards in a sequence but in different suits. An Ace can be ranked as high or low but not combined in the same hand.

Three of a Kind – These are three cards of the same face value. The hand is completed by any two other cards.

Two Pairs – The hand has two cards of matching rank, whereby the remaining highest-ranked card completes the round.

Pair – It comprises a pair of cards of the same rank but different suits. In the case of a tie, the player with the next highest-ranking card wins.

High Card – This is the weakest hand with a single high card like a King or an Ace.

How to Play Poker Online

You can play online poker at virtually all top online casinos in the Philippines. The steps and rules of playing are straightforward, regardless of what variant you choose. If it’s Texas Hold’em for example, each player is dealt two face-down cards. This is followed by a round of betting before the flop is dealt. Basically, the flop is three community cards that everyone in the game can use to complete their hand.

Then there is another betting round before a single turn card is added to the dealt flop. An additional round of bets follows before the final river card is added to the flop. As you play, the main goal is to get the best five-card poker hand from the two-hole cards and the five community cards.

Depending on the poker variant, there can be different special cards to enhance your winnings. For instance, you will come across a kill card which raises the betting limit in hand. There can also be burning cards that are dealt from the top of the deck but discarded by players. Also, some variants have wild cards to stand in for any other card you like.

Online Poker Strategy

Betting Structure and Limits

Betting can come in different structures in online poker games. Here are the main structures in popular poker variants:

Fixed Limit (FL) Poker – This betting structure allows players to wager and raise in fixed amounts. You can choose a small or big bet, depending on the betting round.

No Limit (NL) Poker – This is the most popular structure used in poker games. Although it has a minimum size for bets, there is no upper limit for them.

Pot Limit (PL) Poker – With this structure, the maximum amount you can wager or raise is determined by the pot size.

Spread and Cap Limit Poker – In spread limit poker, the bets and raises are limited by a maximum amount. In cap limit games, the amount you can play during a hand is pre-fixed.

Poker Table Sizes and Number of Players

Online poker tables can come in different sizes and shapes. Of course, you will find some variants with bigger tables than others. Also, poker tables have different shapes, like octagons, ovals, and rounds. Simply put, the size of the table determines the number of players a poker game can accommodate at a time. The most popular games, like Texas Hold’em, can host up to 22 people. But other variants can host between 9 and 10 players. Below are the main table types and the number of players that can join:

A Full Ring Table – This poker table can hold 9 to 10 people. It is common in live casino poker games.

A Shorthanded Table – This poker table can host 6 or less. It is good for beginners. 

A Heads Up Table – This poker table is automatic and can accommodate two players in a Texas Hold’em tournament.

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Best Online Poker Variants in the Philippines

Poker has evolved into many variants over the past decades. These are the most popular types of poker in Philippine online casinos:

Texas Hold’em

This is one of the oldest variants you can play at most online casinos in the Philippines. Its simple gameplay starts with each player getting two cards, followed by a number of betting rounds. Texas Hold’em poker is a good game for beginners looking to try their strategy.

Three-Card Poker

This is an incredible poker variant for quick thinkers. The game of 3-Card Poker is between the player and the dealer. The unique thing is that the player bets before the face-up cards are dealt, and the dealer gets three face-down cards.

Caribbean Stud

Another great poker game that is played against a dealer, Caribbean Stud Poker is a fast and fun game to play, It offers fast gameplay, thanks to easy-to-learn rules. Above all these, there is one more thing that makes Caribbean Stud Poker more attractive, it’s the progressive jackpot system, in which each player can participate and get a chance to win big.

7 Card-Stud

Seven-card poker dominated the market before Texas Holdem gained popularity. The challenging nature of this game is what makes it a favorite for professional poker players. The unique thing is that players can see four of the opponent’s 7 cards during a hand. There is a similar variant with just five cards, too.

Five Card Draw

This classic variant has a simple setup and gameplay. Players receive five cards face-down, and they can trade as many cards as they like. The advantage of five-card poker is that you can bluff to increase your winning opportunities. 

Pai Gow

In Pai Gow poker, players use a deck of 52 cards and a single joker. The joker can be used as an Ace to complete a straight or flush hand.

Omaha

Omaha poker is a cousin of Texas Hold’em but forming a hand has limitations. Players must use two out of their own and three of the community cards.

High/Low Chicago

Chicago poker has two options – high and low – both similar to 7-card stud games. The main difference is how the pot is distributed. In High Chicago, the winner gets half of the pot and the other half goes to the player with the highest spade hole card. In Low Chicago games, the lowest spade hole card wins half of the pot and the other half is for the best hand.

Follow the Queen

Follow the Queen is also similar to 7-card Stud but there are wild cards to change things up. Otherwise the rules are exactly the same. The wild cards are either Queens or following cards, hence the name.

Real Money vs. Free Play Poker

Real money and free-play online poker games have significant differences, although they follow the same rules. The key differences are:

Real Money Online Poker

  • Players can win real money and cash out;
  • They qualify for bonuses and promotions;
  • Bluffing is allowed since real money is involved;
  • There is a risk of losing real money.

Free Play Online Poker

  • Players learn rules and gain experience risk-free;
  • You cannot win real money;
  • No bonus offers for players;
  • A great way to test your skills and strategy.
Online Poker Winning Tips

Live vs. Online Poker

When it comes to poker, you can choose RNG-powered or the live dealer variants. Both have advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the live poker variants offer more engaging gameplay because they involve real dealers. Also, they are built with special functions that enable real-time chats between players and dealers. Further, live poker games are fast-paced since multiple players are participating. 

However, the drawback of playing live poker is that it requires high-speed internet to work efficiently. Also, only a few variations of live dealer poker games are available at Philippine casinos. Finally, live casinos don’t usually offer free gaming. Both types are mobile-friendly but RNG games are a better option for beginners as free mode is available.

How to Find the Best Online Poker Sites

Finding the best online poker sites can be challenging if you are new to gambling. Here are the main factors you must consider when selecting a good casino:

  • Check for the seal of the licensing authority;
  • Consider the selection of other casino games;
  • The size and variety of casino bonuses and promotions is important;
  • Supported payment methods and currencies should be convenient for you;
  • Compatibility with mobile and other platforms is key if you love gaming on the go;
  • Quality of customer support and service should be superb.
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Video Poker

Video poker is a game that combines the fun of slot machines with the skill element of poker. The basis of video poker is the classic five-card variant – the rules are largely the same. The numerous online variants, stunning graphics, and bonus features are reasons for the popularity of video poker in Philippine casinos. The most common variations available online are Tens or Better, Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better, and many others.

Play On the Go

Unlike when poker was limited to land-based venues, you can now play poker on the go. Top mobile casinos even offer apps for Android and iOS, and most of them are available for free. Those apps let casino members enjoy all games and of course poker on the go. Also, many casino sites are optimized to enable gaming instantly via standard browsers. Make sure your mobile phone runs on the latest software to enjoy playing poker games.

Tips to Win in Online Poker

Here are a few tips and tricks to maximize your poker-winning opportunities at any online casino:

  • Be very selective with the initial hands;
  • Learn to be aggressive in your gaming;
  • Master the art of bluffing;
  • Know the hand rankings of poker;
  • Learn money management skills;
  • Never be afraid to fold;
  • Understand your table position and the advantages it may bring.

The Bottom Line

Online poker beats many casino games in terms of gameplay thrill and the number of variations. This is an exciting casino game, excellent for testing one’s intelligence besides offering chances to win real money. Poker is more of a game of skill rather than chance. So, before heading to real money rooms, make sure to practice in a demo mode or at low-stake game tables. All top online casinos in the Philippines now allow players to play popular poker variants on mobile and computers. But choosing a reputable one is crucial, so head to our casino reviews.

FAQ

Yes. Online poker casino sites are secure because they use the latest SSL encryption technology to protect data.

Many online poker variations are available, including Three Card, Texas Hold’em, and Seven Card Stud.

Yes, you can play free poker games at top online casinos, but the winnings cannot be cashed out.

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