Complete Guide to Poker

ABOUT THIS GUIDE
  • Online Poker Rooms Ranked
  • Basics for Poker Beginners
  • Rules of Several Forms of Poker
  • Advice for Playing Online
  • Comprehensive Strategy Guide
  • Detailed Poker Site Reviews

Poker is one of the best known card games in existence. Early versions of poker were first played in the 19th century, and the game has certainly evolved over the years. Playing poker is now a very popular pastime among people all over the world. It can be played simply for fun, like most card games, but the real appeal is in playing for real money stakes.

There are many variations of poker, each one having its own set of rules and strategies. Learning how to play the games is relatively easy, but mastering them and learning how to win is much harder. It takes time and effort to become a successful poker player, and not everyone is cut out for the job.

However, it’s a lot easier to test your skills at the game than it used to be, thanks to the advent of online poker. These days it’s possible to play over the internet, for real money, and against real players. You can play any time of the night or day without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

We’ve produced this poker guide to teach players everything they could possibly ever want to know about the game of poker, including playing online. We’ll help you get started if you’ve never played before and we can help you win too. We explain all the important aspects to how online poker works and also make recommendations for the best places to play.

This page details everything our guide has to offer, and we would suggest reading through it all. If you’re looking for something in particular, though, you can head straight to the relevant section.


Understanding the Risks of Playing Poker

The very fact that you are reading this page suggests that you are thinking about starting to play poker, or are possibly even playing the game already. Either way, it’s very important to understand that there are risks involved when it comes to playing poker. There’s always a chance that you’ll lose money during a game and it’s important to be fully prepared for that reality.

A lot of people choose to play poker because it’s gambling against other players rather than against a casino or bookmaker. Casinos always have the advantage in casino games due to the house edge and bookmakers always have the advantage because they get to set the odds for the wagers they take. Poker is more of a level playing field, with all players essentially having the same chance to win. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to win though, and in fact, it can be quite the opposite.

Most Poker Players Are Overall Losers

That’s right, most people that play poker lose money. You’re sadly mistaken if you think that it’s possible to just learn the rules of the game and then sit down and take money from all the other players. It’s far more likely that they’ll be taking money from you, particularly when you first start playing. You might win money some of the time, but the likelihood is that you’ll lose more often than not.

Some people accept that they’ll lose money and choose to play poker purely as a form of entertainment. These players tend to view poker in much the same way as they do casino games; a fun activity which offers a chance to win some money. They try to win if they can, but they don’t mind losing as long as they enjoy themselves. They basically just want to gamble and hope they get lucky every now and then.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with approaching poker in this way. Plenty of people enjoy playing in the casino even when they know they’re probably going to lose, so there’s no reason why people can’t do the same with poker. If you just want to have some fun, then you should go for it but please make sure that you set a budget and gamble responsibly.

You Don’t Have To Be A Loser

The key difference between poker and casino games is that you don’t have to accept the fact that you’re going to lose money. It’s up to you how you approach the game. You can just play for the fun of it if you want, knowing that it’ll probably cost you money, or you can try to do something to increase your chances of winning.

Whether you win or lose is, to some extent at least, within your control. There’s nothing you can do to guarantee that you’ll win every time, but you can certainly put the odds in your favor. If you’re prepared to spend the necessary time and effort to learn everything there is to know about the game and all the strategy involved, then there’s nothing stopping you from making money from poker.

Please note, though, that even the best poker players in the world have losing streaks. It doesn’t matter how good you become, the element of luck in the game means that there’s always a chance of losing to players who aren’t as good. Setting a budget and gambling responsibly is still important, even as a skilled player.

How you choose to approach poker is entirely up to you. That’s part of the beauty of the game. It appeals to those just wanting to have some fun and it also gives those who want to play for a profit an opportunity to do so. No matter what approach you take, you’ll be sure to find the rest of this poker guide very useful.

Poker Basics For Beginners

If you’re completely new to poker, then our section on the basics of poker is the best place to start. It explains a number of things that you should really understand before playing, and it can help you decide whether poker is the game for you. We look at the pros and cons of this form of gambling, plus we have included a list of do’s and don’ts that are very helpful if you do choose to play.

There are articles on each of the following topics too. Although these articles are all written with the beginner in mind, an experienced player may even find them interesting.

  • Is Poker Luck or Skill?
  • Why Poker is So Popular
  • Advice for Getting Started
  • Poker Etiquette
  • Common Poker Terms & Phrases
  • Nicknames for Poker Hands

Poker Variants, Formats & Structures

Poker is fundamentally a simple game. The different variants, formats, and structures do make things a little more complicated though. You don’t need to learn how to play each and every variant there is, as you can choose to stick to just one if you want. However, there are some things that are essential to learn before you start playing.

Initially, you’ll need to understand the two main formats of the game. These formats are cash games and tournaments, and we’ve explained each one of them in detail in the following two articles.


You also need to understand all of the different betting structures and limits, such as no limit and fixed limit. We’ve explain all of these in the following article.

Somewhat obviously, you also need to learn the rules for any variant that you choose to play. You can find the rules for a number of variants in our poker game guides. We’ve listed the most popular of our guides below and these also contain a range of other related information. We recommend starting with Texas Hold’em, as this is the most widely played game, but it’s ultimately up to you.

Introduction to Online Poker

If you’re interested in playing poker online, then you should definitely take a look at our introduction to online poker. All of the information in this introduction has been compiled to help you fully understand everything that’s important to know when playing online and to make sure that you have the best possible experience. It features a step by step guide to getting started at your first poker site and answers to a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions about online poker.

There’s plenty of other useful information too. The following topics, and more, are all covered.

  • How Online Poker Works
  • Why Play Poker Online?
  • Choosing Where to Play
  • Online Poker Tips
  • Bonuses, Rewards & Loyalty Schemes
  • Common Online Poker Concerns

Our Recommended Poker Sites

Due to online poker’s increasing popularity, there are a myriad of websites available that offer poker. Some of these are excellent places to play, while some of them don’t quite hit the same standards. You obviously want to play at the better sites, but it’s not that easy to determine which ones are good and which ones are not. You don’t need to worry about this though, as we are here to help.

We are constantly testing and assessing what’s available for online poker players and this enables us to recommend the best places to play. The following sites are currently our top ranked options.


It’s important to note that the right poker site for one player may not necessarily be the right site for someone else. This is why we also rank the top sites in several specific categories.

Popular Poker Site Categories
  • Best for Players from the United States
  • Best for Players from the United Kingdom
  • Best for Players from Canada
  • Best for Beginners
  • Best for High Stakes
  • Best for Bonuses & Rewards

Poker Strategy

The strategy section of this poker guide is an incredibly useful resource for anyone that’s interested in becoming a winning player or someone who just wants to improve their overall game. It has been compiled by experts and contains information and advice for players of all standards. Regardless of whether you are a complete beginner, a very experienced player, or somewhere in between, it’ll help you take your game to the next level.

  • The Fundamentals
  • Basic Poker Math
  • Psychology & Behavior
  • Improving as a Player
  • Specific Moves & Plays
  • Tournament Strategy

Major Live Poker Events

Our poker guide also features information on a range of the biggest live poker events that take place around the world on a regular basis. You can explore the history of these events, including past winners and full details of when and where they take place. Where relevant, we’ve also provided some advice on how you can qualify for them by playing online.

World Series of PokerWorld Poker TourEuropean Poker TourAussie MillionsUK & Ireland Poker Tour