Have you decided to take up poker? Whether it’s just for fun or to make a small income, you need to know the principles of poker rules. On the one hand to optimise your chances of winning, but also to be able to build and follow a long-term strategy.

In this article we will introduce you to the rules of Texas Hold’Em poker, which is the most well known and most played poker variant.

The basic rules of the poker game

The game of poker is a system of betting on a starting stake based on luck according to the cards in the player’s hand and the cards revealed on the table. It is played with a 52-card deck and chips that represent the amount of money bet. 

Games can be played with 2 to 10 players, although in some variants and tournaments it is possible to have more participants. At the beginning of the game, each player receives 2 cards which they must look at secretly and not reveal to the other players. Then the dealer adds 5 cards face down on the table which are revealed as the game progresses. 

The objective is to make the best possible combination with your hand to win the pot made up of all the players’ bets. They must make combinations with their 2 cards and the 5 cards on the table.

poker rules

How a poker game works ?

Now that we have seen the basic poker rules, let’s see how a game is played in practice.

Setting up the game 

Before starting the game and dealing the cards to the players, the blinds must be paid. These are the first two mandatory bets paid by the two players to the left of the dealer. They must pay what is called : 

  • The small blind: this is a sum defined at the beginning of the game
  • The big blind – twice the amount of the small blind

To familiarise yourself with the terms, we advise you to read our article on poker vocabulary.

Next comes the shuffling and cutting of the cards. The Dealer, the player with the dealer chip, shuffles the cards and the player to his right cuts the cards. He then deals the 2 cards per player face down from left to right starting from the small blind.  

Pre-flop, Flop and River

These stages include all the actions that make up the game. Once the players’ cards are dealt, the dealer places 5 cards face down in the centre of the table, called the “community cards”. 

The Pre-flop 

The first round of betting is called the pre-flop, where the players get to know their cards and start the pre-flop betting. This is the first step before the first 3 community cards are turned over. 

The player to the left of the big blind must start betting, with 3 options available to him: 

  • Fold: He withdraws from the game permanently and throws away his hand. 
  • Call the big blind – bet the same amount as the big blind.
  • Raise: Bet more than the big blind. 

Then the game continues with all players from left to right. 

The Flop

Next comes the Flop stage, where the first 3 community cards are turned over. After the pre-flop, the dealer will “burn” a card, i.e. remove it from the deck and reveal the flop. 

The players must then create combinations with their 2 cards and the 3 revealed cards. Then a new round of betting starts from the player to the left of the dealer. The following players will then have the choice between : 

  • Check: The player does not add a bet to the pot. Checking is only possible if the previous players have checked before.
  • Bet: Bet the desired amount in the pot.
  • Raise: Bet a higher amount than the previous player.
  • Call: Bet the same amount as the previous player.
  • Fold: The player withdraws from the game and discards their cards. 

The Turn

Once the Flop round is over, the next step in the Turn is to turn over the 4th card on the board. The dealer burns a card and reveals the Turn.

Just like the previous stage, players must make a choice between checking, betting, raising, calling or folding.

The River

Finally the River is the last stage, as the Dealer will burn another card and turn over the fifth and final community card. Here all the cards are revealed and the players can form the most powerful combination possible. 

The River ends with a final round of betting by the players as in the previous stages. 

The Showdown

The game ends with the showdown. The players show their hand and the combinations they can form with their two private cards and the community cards on the board. 

The player who wins the game and the pot is the one who has made the strongest combination(s). If there is a tie between 2 or more players then the pot is split.

Poker Rules : the different combinations

As you can see, the objective of poker is to make the best combination to win the hand. Here are the different possible combinations that a player can make with his cards and those in the middle of the table. They are ranked from lowest to highest. 

Single or high card

This is the case when the player cannot make any combination with the cards. In this situation the cards are determined in order from highest (Ace) to lowest. If none of the other players have any combinations, then the hand with the highest cards wins the bet. 

poker rules


A pair is a combination of two identical cards, e.g. a pair of 2’s or 4’s. In the event that two players have a pair of the same value, then the winner of the hand is determined by comparing the players’ other three cards.


Double Pair 

Here the player has 2 pairs in their hand, i.e. 2 times 2 cards of the same rank.

double pairs

Three of a kind

The three of a kind combination consists of three cards of the same rank. As with the other combinations, the three of a kind with the highest value wins the pot.

three of a kind


This is a sequence of 5 cards with consecutive values, e.g. 2,3,4,5,6 with different suits (diamonds, hearts, aces, spades). The value of a Straight is given by its highest card. The highest Straight is made up of A-K-Q-J-10 and is called Broadway. 


J-Q-K-A-2 straights are not valid because they are not circular.

The colour or flush

The Flush combination is made up of 5 cards of the same suit (aces, spades, diamonds, clubs).

When two suits face each other at the showdown, the suit with the highest card wins.  

color flush

The Full House

The full house is the combination of three of a kind and a pair. Its strength is given by the strength of the three of a kind. 


This combination is called a “Full House to Eight” or “Full House to Eight by Kings”.

Four of a Kind

A combination of four cards of the same rank is called a Four of a Kind, which also consists of a single card. 

In a face-off, the strongest Four of a Kind is the one with the highest single card. 

four of a kind

The Straight Flush

The Straight Flush is a combination of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. 

straight flush

The Royal Flush

This is the strongest combination of all. The Royal Flush is a Straight Flush with the Ace coming first. It goes like this: As-K-Q-J-10.

Flush royal

How to win at poker ?

Now that you know the principles and cards of the poker rules, all you have to do is practice with friends or online. We advise you to start with free games to test your approach and skills. 

If you want to make money at poker or become a professional player, we recommend that you take up poker coaching with a poker pro who will monitor your sessions and give you all the tips you need to succeed. 

With your coach you will be able to set up a long term strategy that will bring you the most profit. You will play with one of the poker playing styles that best suits your style of play and your strategy.