If you're looking for simple and straight forward poker rules to get you started playing Texas Hold'em and Omaha poker, you're in the right place. The following information will help you learn the basics for both games, along with some specific rules that will stand you in good stead for tournament action.
Firstly, let's take a look at Texas Hold'em poker. The most popular version of poker played on the internet today, Texas Hold'em requires a standard 52 deck of cards and can cater for a maximum of 11 players in one game. Regular hand rankings apply so it is worthwhile familiarizing yourself with this information before you start a game.
Generally a typical game of Texas Hold'em consists of five stages. The first stage is referred to as the pre-flop. After two players have posted the blinds, which are two blind bets used to furnish the pot at the start of the game, the dealer will give each player two cards dealt face down. Once each player has checked his cards - taking care to shield them from their opponents at the table - the first round of betting takes place.
The second stage of the game is known as the flop. This introduces the use of community cards or cards that can be used by any player to make up his winning hand. The dealer places three cards in the center of the table and after their identities are revealed, the second round of betting takes place.
The third stage is called the turn and involves the dealer turning over a fourth community card. Another name for this is "fourth street." A third betting round takes place after this card is dealt.
The fifth and final community card dealt is known as the river or fifth street. The last round of betting follows.
Finally it's time for showdown. All players left in the game must reveal their cards to determine who the winner is.The winning hand is made up of any combination of two hand cards the player holds and five community cards. The highest five card hand wins.
The rules of Omaha poker are almost identical to those used in Texas Hold'em with the exception of two major differences. Firstly, each player receives four hole or hand cards from the dealer instead of two. Secondly, the winning hand must be made up of two hole cards and three community cards. No deviations from this combination are permitted in Omaha.
Omaha poker lends itself well to several variations, in particular high/low games. This means that the two hands judged the highest and the lowest split the contents of the pot. A low hand is usually an 8-low, determined by its largest card being 8 or lower.
If you're new to poker tournaments, the rules you agree to adhere to upon entering will depend on which version of the game you are playing. In general, all online poker tournament rules are the same as those used for live games. The seating arrangement (or your position in the game if you're playing online) is usually determined randomly. Each player must purchase his chips and indicate he is ready to commence the game and usually the lowest denomination of chip is removed from the table when it is no longer in use in either the blind or ante bet structure.
Cards are dealt clockwise in poker tournaments. If a game involves multiple players at different tables, the position of players left in the game can be rearranged when other players fold. In live tournaments, players must leave their seats immediately after being eliminated.
Poker tournaments take the subject of game etiquette seriously. As a result, inappropriate behaviour such as intentionally revealing cards to other players or throwing cards usually incurs penalties in live tournaments. At online gaming sites, excessive use of the chat facility or the posting of critical or defamatory remarks about other players constitutes unacceptable behaviour.