How To Play Poker In a Casino | Poker Rules | LeoVegas

How To Play Poker in a Casino

Summary: To play casino poker, follow these steps: Get on a List:

  • Sign up on the queue or list for a game with the poker host or hostess at the poker room.
  • Wait for your initials to be called for the game you want to play.

Buy Your Chips: While waiting, buy your chips at the casino's cashier or from the dealer at the poker table. Sit Down and Play:

  • When your initials are called, tell the poker host to "lock it up" for you if you want that seat.
  • The dealer will let you know what seat is yours.
  • Observe the action before jumping in if it's your first time playing in a casino.

Remember the Rules and Maintain Good Poker Manners:

  • Follow all the rules of poker etiquette.
  • Avoid talking on your phone at the table.
  • Do not bet more than you have on the table in chips at the time.

Taking Breaks and Calling It a Night:

  • You can get up at any time as long as you're not in a hand.
  • If you need to take a break, stand up and take your time.

Hand Rankings: Familiarize yourself with the hand rankings, from the strongest to the weakest, to understand the value of your hand. Dos and Don'ts:

  • Be comfortable at the table.
  • Avoid string bets and ensure it's obvious when you fold.
  • Tip the dealers and waitresses.

Table of Content:

Introduction - What is Poker?

Played in both online and bricks-and-mortar casinos, poker is a classic card game which exists in a number of different formats. However, these different versions of the game all share one consistent characteristic, which is that the winning hand is determined by an agreed set of ‘hand rankings’, deployed to judge the strength of a player’s card set.

All poker varieties dictate that ‘blind’ or ‘ante’ bets are placed at the beginning of the game, which serve to establish the start of a winnings pot. The individual(s) compelled to offer these opening bets is decided by the position of the dealer in relation to the playing circle. For example, in the Texas Hold’Em version of poker, the two players to the left of the dealer (and therefore in clockwise momentum) are given the role of ‘big’ and ‘little’ blind, and must place bets accordingly.

Participants will then place subsequent bets, or indeed withdraw from the game, based on the quality of their hand, and the perceived strength of the cards held by opposing players. Therefore, a commonly used tactic used whilst playing poker is ‘bluffing’, whereby a player suggests their hand value is different to its genuine worth.

The varying editions of the poker game can be organized under four general classifications:

  1. ‘Community’ card: Here, a set of cards are drawn and placed in a central position, face-up on the game table. Players can use these cards to create combinations with their ‘hole’ cards (their original cards given to them individually by the dealer), in order to enhance the quality of their hands.
  2. ‘Straight’: This is the most straight-forward version of the game, whereby players are issued five cards, with no further subsequent cards involved.
  3. ‘Draw’: As above, players are afforded the opportunity to strengthen their hand by requesting a replacement set of cards.
  4. ‘Stud’: In stud poker, players are dealt cards intermittently, usually through each ‘betting round’ (more on this to follow), in face-up and face-down variations.

This article explores the poker vertical, offering guidance on how to play poker in a casino, the value of each hand, and the different versions of the game available.

How To Play Poker In Casino – Basic Poker Rules

There is a set structure to poker, which must be adhered to in order to protect the integrity of the game in question.

Here, we provide a step-by-step guide to poker games, using the most popular version of the game, Texas Hold’Em.

  1. Dealer issues two ‘hole’ cards to each player.
  2. The ‘big’ and ‘small’ blinds, positioned consecutively to the dealer’s left, place pre-agreed betting sums to commence the pot.
  3. The first round of betting ensues. Here, players are faced with a number of options:
  • Call: Match the previous player’s bet.
  • Raise: Increase the betting stake.
  • Fold: Choose not to bet, given the perceived weakness of their hand versus other players’.

In later rounds, players will be able to ‘check’ if no ‘fresh’ bet is placed during the round. This move allows individuals to decline to make a bet, but still keeps them in the game (the presence of big and little blind bets makes this option unavailable in Round 1).

At any stage, players may decide to go ‘all in’, whereby all remaining chips are staked in order to retain a position in the game. Any further bets which are placed by rival players are siphoned into a ‘side pot’. Should an ‘all in’ player win the game, they will only have access to funds in the main/original pot.

  1. After the first round of betting, the dealer draws the first set of ‘community’ cards, by burning (removing) the top card from the deck, and placing three cards face-up in view of all players (each subsequent community card is drawn this way). This known as the ‘flop’
  2. Second round of betting ensues. Players must now calculate, using the proscribed ‘hand rankings’, the combined strength of ‘hole’ and community cards, whilst considering the potential value of the cards held by rival players.
  3. A fourth community card is added to the table, referred to as the ‘turn’, or, in some circles, ‘the fourth street’.
  4. Third round of betting ensues.
  5. The fifth and final community card is placed. This act is called the ‘river’ or ‘fifth street’.
  6. Fourth and final betting round ensues.
  7. Assuming there are at least two players who havn’t ‘folded’ prior to this stage, each remaining participant reveals their ‘hole’ cards, confirming any combinations they hold. Clearly, the individual with the highest value card sets in context of the ‘hand rankings’ will win the game, and claim the pot.

What Are Winning Poker Hands?

As referenced previously, the main component which galvanizes any game of poker is the ‘hand rankings’, which serve as the single influencer of player moves, betting volumes, and ultimately, deciding who wins the game.

In ascending order of strength, card combinations available to players are:

  1. ‘High card’: This is the weakest hand outcome. The player simply offers the card they hold with the highest numerical value. This is referred to as ‘best hand’
  2. Pair: Same type of card, different suits e.g., a 3 of clubs and 3 of diamonds.
  3. Two Pairs: As above, but player holds two sets of these combinations.
  4. Three of a kind: Same type of card, across three different suits e.g., a 3 of clubs, 3 of diamonds, and 3 of spades.
  5. Straight: Five cards in consecutive numerical order across more than one suit e.g., a 3 of hearts, 4 of diamonds, 5 of clubs, 6 of hearts, 7 of spades.
  6. Flush: Five cards belonging to the same suit e.g., All cards are hearts
  7. Full House: Same type of card across three different suits (i.e., 3 of a kind), and same type of card in two different suits (i.e., a Pair), within a five-card hand.
  8. Four of a kind: Same type of card, across four different suits.
  9. Straight Flush: Five cards in consecutive numerical order of same suit, not deploying any ‘Royal’ cards.
  10. Royal Flush: This is the strongest hand outcome and therefore cannot be beaten by any alternative combination. Here, the ‘highest’ five cards, within any one particular suit, are revealed i.e. 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace (hearts/spades/clubs/diamonds).

How is Casino Poker Different from Online Poker?

All poker variants offered in land-based casinos, are replicated online. However, the main difference between poker on iGaming platforms compared to those provided in a casino poker room is the process for accessing a ‘table’. In an online environment, players are usually automatically connected to a game, whereas bricks-and-mortar venues have a set protocol for how players join an ongoing poker session, whereby individuals will register on arrival before patiently waiting to be summoned to a table when a space is available.

There is also a hugely important variation in player interactivity. On online casino websites, where participants are based at differing remote locations, there can be no awareness of opposing player reactions. Therefore, the critical dynamics of body language, communication, and atmosphere, which are vital in developing a sense of assumed player actions or bluffing strategies, are significantly reduced. However, you can still enjoy the casino atmosphere while playing live poker at LeoVegas Canada!

How To Play Three-Card Poker

This variant of poker pits the player against the dealer as opposed to rival participants. The ‘hand rankings’ referenced earlier are also applied here, but only positioned in the context of maximum three-card hands, compared to the possible five available in Texas Hold’Em.

Game guide:

  1. An ‘ante’ bet is placed by the player. The amount wagered is completely dependent on the whim of the player (within any limit parameters implemented by the casino), but is staked prior to the issuing of any cards.
  2. Dealer issues three cards face up to the player, and three cards face down to themselves.
  3. Based on the strength of their hand, the player opts to either make a second bet, which must be of equal value to the initial ‘ante’ bet, or fold, withdrawing their presence from the game.
  4. Dealer reveals cards and a winner is determined. All winnings are paid at 1/1 (evens).

N.B. If the dealer’s hand has less value than ‘queen-high’ (i.e., none of outcomes referenced from point 2 to 10 in the rankings section above, and Jack is highest card), the game is immediately halted, with the player receiving an evens return on their ‘ante’ bet. However, if the game does proceed, and the player’s hand is stronger than the dealer’s, they will receive a fund worth double their ‘ante’ bet and second stake.

How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

This is a five-card version of the game, whereby the player and dealer vie directly against one another.

Game guide:

  1. In the same spirit as 3-card poker, the player places an ‘ante’ bet, before any cards are issued.
  2. The dealer gives the player five cards, positioning them face down so as not to be aware of their contents.
  3. The dealer allocates themselves five cards. Four are face down, one is face up.
  4. Player decides whether to ‘fold’ or place another bet, which must be double the value of the ‘ante’ bet.
  5. Dealer reveals cards and a winner is determined. All winnings are paid at 1/1 (evens).

N.B. If the dealer’s hand does not contain at least a King and an Ace, the game is immediately halted. Pay-outs then follow the same principles referenced in the 3-card poker section.

How To Play Video Poker

This is a digitally-produced version of the game played exclusively online or on fixed-odds betting terminals. The game operates in exactly the same fashion as Caribbean Stud poker, and harbours the same pay-out structure. However, players are offered the opportunity to fully replace their dealt card sets at the beginning of the game. This option can only be exploited on one occasion.

Read more about poker in our guides: