Poker Online

Are you curious about online poker? Then you have come to the right place. We have created a guide that will get a beginner to start winning their poker games. In poker, you place a bet using money and play for the best hand. You will be playing against other players and not against the dealer. Online poker is not exactly the same as regular poker but is really exciting after you understand how to play. 

It is said that it only takes a short time to learn poker. Mastering poker, on the other hand, takes quite some time, so it’s time to start now. Our ultimate guide covers everything you will need to know to get started with online poker. After going through our poker guide, you will have learned how to count your poker hands and some of the most common poker variants. Step by step, you will learn how to play poker.

Great Casinos for Poker Players


How to Play Online Poker

Poker and casinos are two different categories of what we call gambling. They have tension and excitement in common, but they otherwise have big differences. One of the main differences is that poker is played against other players, while casino games are played against the house. 

Poker is actually a bit difficult to define, as it is a collective name for many poker games. If we break down and simplify, poker is, in short, about creating the best possible hand. In most forms of poker, a hand usually consists of five cards (five-card poker). If you succeed in creating the best hand, you will win both the game and the pot. The most popular variation of five-card poker is Texas Hold’Em. There are of course other numerous variations and we will cover some of them in this guide. 

generic poker nz

The Same Rules as at Land-Based Casinos

When it comes to the rules of online poker, they are more identical to the rules you will find at land-based casinos. One of the exciting things that stand out is that online poker has a faster pace as compared to land-based poker. It is also said that the risk of losing huge amounts of cash is slightly less. Why is this? Playing poker in an online casino gives you the opportunity to place smaller stakes. That is an attractive fact to many beginners, and gives you the confidence, taking away the insecure feeling in front of other players. This gives players who are less experienced the chance to learn the ropes at tables with smaller stakes. Best of all, you can play online poker whenever and wherever you want. The only thing you might miss out on is the feeling of a real poker game. You will not have the chance to see the other players’ poker face. 

Play Online Poker at a Slot Machine

At online casinos, you will also find some pokies machines with poker. You will easily find such games under the ‘Table Games’ category. Some online casinos also have a search function that will help you easily locate pokies machines that offer poker games. It should be noted that the selection has some really exciting games, but is not that extensive. It is also quite rare to find experienced poker players playing such games. They tend to play on big poker sites that have poker software.

There are some exciting pokies machines that offer Casino Hold’Em, a casino variant of the poker classic, that is really educational and fun for players who are learning to play poker. The main difference between slot machines with poker and regular poker is that you will be playing against the house on slot machines.

How to Play on a Downloadable Poker Software

Most of the experienced online poker players do not play on pokies machines, they choose to play on sites that focus on poker. Such sites run on poker networks or software. You can download the software on your personal computer and use it to play live poker from a land-based casino, instead of playing alone at the table. In poker software, you will have a view of the whole table and the rest of the players’ poker aliases. The table might also have some empty seats that can be filled afterward. You will create your poker alias – your nickname when playing poker – the first time you join the poker site. The alias you choose is up to you but must meet the rules that are set. 

When playing online poker, swearing and other offensive remarks are highly prohibited. You will also have a large number of tables to choose from. You also have the chance to choose the type of poker you wish to play. A piece of advice to a beginner is to start at Texas Hold’Em with the lowest bet level. Some of the other poker games you will find in poker software include Omaha, Stud, and Five-Card Draw.

generic poker laptop

Play Live Casino Poker

What does playing poker with a live dealer look like? In online casinos, we also have live casino sections that offer a more authentic gaming experience. The most predominant games in the live casino lobby include Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat. If you visit a major online live casino, you will find a host of poker options. One of the most popular live casino games provider, Evolution Gaming, has a wide range of table games options for you. They have an incredible live poker variant called Live Texas Hold’Em Bonus Poker and other options like Live Three-Card Poker. All the tables have live dealers who deal the cards and maintain the game. You can also chat with the live dealer when playing live poker. 

Use the Live Casino Bonus at Poker Tables

Poker is not one of the games that are associated with a welcome bonus, but there are other bonuses you can land while playing live poker and other live casino games. If you are curious about live casino bonuses, please visit our live casino page where you will find tips and everything you need to know about live dealer casinos. 

Some of the most popular online poker sites will offer you bonuses in many forms including free game buy-ins. You will find this and more bonuses on a dedicated poker site that has most of their focus on poker. Some examples of such poker sites are Pokerstars, Betsafe, and Unibet. 

Basic Poker Rules

Poker is categorized under betting games. This means that players bet money or chips on getting the best poker hand. In poker, it is important to get a good combination, to enable you to win. No matter what variation of poker you play, the basics are the same, even though the rules might vary. The basics are relatively easy to learn. There are some terms that you will often come along that you need to know. In this guide, when talking about poker in general, we are referring to the standard version of Texas Hold’Em. This is the most common type of poker in most online poker sites and is recommended for beginners. 

Like all other card games, poker is all about winning and it’s important to have the highest possible value on your hand. You probably have heard that the ultimate hand is the Royal Flush! We will learn more about the different poker hands in our guide.

How the Cards are Counted   

In poker, an international standard deck of cards is used. The deck consists of 52 cards and the joker is usually not used. The value of each card is probably the simplest concept in the rules. The ace counts as the card, followed by the king, queen, and jack. The rest of the cards have the same value as indicated on the card. Square 10 is worth 10 points, square 9 is worth 9 points, and so on. The lowest card is 2 with a value of 2.

poker card values

Poker Chips and their Significance

When playing both live and online poker, it would be quite impractical to use real money for the stakes. Instead, poker chips are used. The chips represent different monetary values. The chips are available in different denominations and are often displayed in colors such as red, white, blue, and others. In some cases, these chips are also marked with numbers that represent the value such as 20, 50, or 100. When playing online poker, please note that some tables are displayed in a currency other than the NZ dollar. 

How Does a Poker Table Look Like?

The most common shape of a poker table is an oval, but in some cases, the table can appear in other shapes. If we look at slot machines that offer poker, you will only see the screen and not the shape. The canvas is usually green in color, but can also be in other colors. In most land-based casinos, poker tables are always oval in shape because they are expected to accommodate 6 to 9 players, which is the standard number of players who participate in a game of poker.

poker table

You might have come across the phrase Heads Up. It refers to the case where there are two players up against each other, which is common in a tournament or other cash games. At a live casino, the phrase can also mean a place that is meant for the live dealer. There may also be a place that is meant for the deck of cards and the chip box too. In an online poker game, the chips are usually at the bottom right of the poker table.  

Poker Hands Ranking – Highest to Lowest

If you have played Yahtzee before, then you already have an upper hand by knowing what a full house, foursome, and small ladder are. The same ranking applies to poker hands. In poker hands, the Royal Straight Flush is the highest possible hand. You can also have a good hand with Three of a kind, Full House, or maybe Straight Flush. Are you familiar with such and other hands? If not, we have created a brief guide to help you keep track of your poker hands.

1. Royal Straight Flush

This is the best possible hand you will achieve in poker. The Royal Straight Flush hand consists of the highest cards from Ace, down to the King, and at the same time, in the same suit, e.g hearts. The hand is very rare though and you can count yourself the luckiest person if you land it.

royal straight flush

2. Straight Flush

Straight flush is the second-best hand in poker, and is known as the color ladder. Ladder means that the cards are in a row, and fit in the same suit, ie diamonds. If you get jack, 10, 9, 8, and 7, then you have a ladder. This however does not mean you must win. 

straight flush

3. Four of a Kind

This hand is easy to understand, you should simply have four cards of the same value. You can get the highest value with four aces, but you can also have four eights and have a good hand.

four of a kind

4. Full House 

A full house hand means you can have a combination of a triss (three of a kind) and a pair. You can for example have three Kings, and a pair of nines, and you’ll have a full house. Of course it matters which cards you have a full house on as an opponent can have a higher full house.

full house

5. Flush

An easy to understand hand, a flush is simply five cards of the same suit. An example would be five cards in the suit of clubs as shown above, it does not need to be in any specific order.

poker flush

6. Straight

This hand forms when you have received five cards in a row, but not necessarily the same suit. An example of a ladder is a jack of clubs, a 10 of diamonds, a 9 of hearts, an eight of spades, and a 7 of clubs.

poker straight

7. Three of a kind

This hand is sometimes also known as triss, and to get it you must have three identical cards. This could be three queens or maybe three nines.

three of a kind

8. Two Pairs

This hand is exactly what it sounds like. You must have two pairs on hand to get the right combination. It does not matter which cards exactly, could be two kings and two sevens – that makes it two pairs on hand. Remember that your two pairs hand can lose to an opponent’s two pairs of higher value.

two pairs

9. Pair  

To get a pair on hand, its compulsory to get two cards of the same type, which do not matter the suits. The highest possible pair is two aces.

one pair

10. Highest Card

Should it now occur that no one on the table has a better poker hand according to the ones we have discussed above, then the player with the highest card on hand wins the game. So the Highest Card hand is exactly what it means. It does not need a combination, only one card with the highest value to win. This of course means that in such a case, the player with an ace automatically wins.

highest card

The Most Common Poker Terms

For sure, you have heard some phrases like flop and call at a poker table, but do you know what they mean? For you to continue learning poker, you need to know some of the most common terms used. You will also learn more about these and further terms as you continue using our step-by-step guide. We will go through each of the common phrases so that you can learn and keep their track. Even if you play online poker, it will be a great advantage to you to be more knowledgeable before going further.

Flop, Turn, and River 

These three terms most commonly appear in Texas Hold’Em, alongside other poker games. You will undoubtedly come across them when playing online poker. In a nutshell, the three terms are the names of the cards that the dealer deals after the various betting rounds.

  • Flop – are the first three cards dealt after the first round of betting.
  • Turn – when the fourth visible card is dealt after another betting round.
  • River – the last of the five visible cards that the dealer deals.
  • Showdown – if there are several players at the table when the last round of betting completes, then the last player must show their cards. If, on the other hand, there was no bet on the previous round – river, then it is the player after the dealer who starts showing their cards. 
poker flop


3 cards are shown in the Flop

poker turn


A 4th card is shown in the Turn

poker river


A 5th and final card is shown in the River

poker showdown


The players reveal their hands

Small Blind and Big Blind

These English times are used very often in the casino context. Also known as small and big blinds, these are mandatory bets when you sit at a poker table. At a live poker table, there are markers to show which players should put big and small blinds.

  • Small Blind – the player to the left side of the dealer places the first bet, which is always predetermined before you start playing.
  • Big Blind – the next player then to the left will have to place the next bet, called the big blind. 

The Terms that Determine How You Play your Hand

Here is a quick introduction to the options you have in poker, which you will need to use. We have gone through them in detail in the game guide, but this brief is only so you may know what the words mean. 

  • Fold – If you do not want to continue playing, you fold your poker hand by selecting the Fold option.
  • Call – when you want to participate and make the same bet as the big blind.
  • Raise – when you want to continue playing, and bet more – at least double the value of the big blind.

Other Terms in Poker

Buy-in paying for the cost of playing at the table.

Ante a bet that all players at a table must make before the cards are dealt.

Bettor – when you place your bet.

Community Cards – when community cards are on the table.

Check – also called knock, when you want to join the table but not bet.

Add on – a phrase for buy-in during a tournament

All In – when you are betting all the chips on your hand.

Bluff – when you try to fool other players that you have a right hand by, e.g. raise.

Burned Card – the dealer removes the card from the deck before dealing the rest of the cards.

Cap – a predetermined maximum bet amount.

Bad Beat – when you have a good hand but lose to a lucky player.

Rake also known as Rakeback, this is a fee that the house retains from the pot.

Here’s How to Get Started with Online Poker

You have so far gained some knowledge and insight on poker. You can recognize a poker table and are familiar with some of the most common words and phrases around the table. You have also learned how the cards are counted and how the poker hands rank from the highest to the lowest. Through our small poker dictionary, you can keep track of the standard terms at the table. Now that there is nothing else to consider, we let’s get you up to speed and start playing poker. As always, please remember that different casinos and poker tables may have different rules.

1. Sit at the Table and Choose your Bet

Now it’s time for you to join a table and place a bet. You have to make a bet regardless of whether you are playing a demo game or playing for real money. You will usually see poker chips of different values at the bottom of the table. You can use the arrow to scroll down for lower or up for higher stakes. Click on the bet amount you want and place it by clicking on the round button labeled ‘Bet’ on the table. To start the game, click on ‘Deal’ or ‘Share’. Deal is often symbolized by a card hand, and a tick – you click here.

table choose bet

2. Pre-Flop and What it Means

After the bets have been placed and you have seen your two hole cards – also known as the starting hand or pre-flop and are private cards which are only meant to be seen by you, then you have the chance to decide before the dealer deals the first community cards on the table. 

 You are given the opportunity to decide whether you are going to fold, bet the same amount as the big blind, or raise. If there are several players at the table, the game always goes to the left. For example, if the big blind player bets NZ$20, if you want to continue playing without raising, you place NZ$20.

pre flop

3. The Dealer Deals the Flop

Now it’s time for the dealer to deal the first three cards on the table. These are the standard cards that all the players around the table use to create a good hand. You may also remember that this is called a flop. Now it’s up to you to look at the cards to see if they can form the beginning of a good hand along with the flop. 

dealer deals flop

4. Make a Decision on Your Hand

It’s now upon you to decide how to play based on your hand. Do not forget that you can create a hand using the three flop cards on the table. If you feel that your hand is terrible and not worth playing, you can choose to fold. You also have an extra option to continue playing by increasing your bet. You can also decide to check and be part of the game but without paying more in stakes.

flop decide your poker hand

5. Fourth Card, Turn – Dealt on the Table

Then it’s time for the dealer to deal the turn – the fourth card. If you have made a decision to play on, the croupier will now deal the turn. It is the fourth of the community cards on the table. Here, the same thing applies again; if you have a good hand, you may want to raise clean off. You may also decide to fold, which is not a very good decision because you will lose your bets.

turn decide your poker hand

6. Time for River and Showdown

Now it’s decided who has taken the pot home having had the best poker hand at the table. Keep in mind that on some occasions, we can have two players who have the same value. When it comes to slot machines that offer poker, they are somehow simplified, and I’m most cases, you play against the house and not other players. At multiplayer poker tables, the last man to bet shows his cards first. If, on the other hand, no bet was made on the River, then it is the player to the left of the dealer who puts up and shows his cards first.

winner is determined

High Cards can be Crucial 

There is another common scenario if your opponent and you have the same cards in hand. Who wins when it comes to, for example, a ladder or suit is decided by a high card. The player with the highest card in his hand wins. For example, if the highest card in your hand is Queen, but your opponent has an Ace in his hand, then you will lose and the opponent will win on a high card. The high card win also applies to threes, fours, one pair, and two pairs. Do not worry that there will be a lot of things to keep track of. You will eventually master all these when playing online poker. 

Hands that are not Playable

There are a lot of strategies when it comes to starting hands in poker. A lot of hands are not worth continuing to play. Instead of playing on, you can choose to fold directly. There are a number of different strategies you can consider and use as a cheat sheet when playing online poker. 

unplayable hands

Some examples of unplayable hands that are unplayable when you have cards of different types are:

  • King – Three
  • Ten –  Four
  • Eight – Two
  • Four – Two
  • Three – Two

Hands that you should always continue playing regardless of position:

  • A pair of Aces
  • A pair of Kings
  • A pair of Queens
  • Ace and King
  • Ace and Queens
  • Queen and Jack
  • Jack and Ten

The above hands are just a few examples of hands that you should avoid playing with, and hands that you should always consider playing on with.

poker strategy nz

A Simple Strategy for a Beginner

Has your urge of learning to play poker started growing already? We have some handy tips for you to keep in mind when getting started with online poker. 

  • Practice makes perfect – Play as many games as possible, train regularly and maintain a good level of patience. In poker, both experience and skill level matter and pay off. Train yourself to count cards and play at the right position. 
  • Read the game and get to know other poker players – This is a bit difficult when it comes to online poker and slot machines. But you can learn a lot by visiting various poker forums and contacting the popular, good players for some sizzling-hot tips.
  • You must have a reasonable bankroll – If you really want to bet on learning poker, a bankroll is very important. By that, we mean that it is prudent to have a set-aside amount of cash that you use for poker. Of course, it’s important that you have to start playing at your own level and begin with small, less-costly mistakes. By having a bankroll, you will keep a good track of your gains and losses. 

Does the Position at theTable Matter?

If you play online poker via a downloadable application, you should know the positions at the table. As you have already learned in our guide, the cards are always dealt clockwise by the croupier. When you play poker this way, then you have no fixed place. The seats change as the dealer button moves. Please note that the dealer does not move and it’s only the button that rotates around the seat. You also have learned that the first player after the dealer must always place the first bet and make the first decision. Of course, this gives an advantage to the players in the last positions. If you sit at the last position at the table, you first see what the other players are doing and have ample time to think about how to play.

Learn to Play Free Poker

There is another smart way to learn online poker – for free. At online casinos that offer a poker application, you will always find free games. These could be free poker tournaments where participants have the opportunity to win poker tickets. The casinos that specialize in poker often have information about their free tournaments in their applications. It is quite common for tournaments to run during weekends – Weekend Free Games. 

Let’s take a look at Different Poker Variations

Texas Hold’Em 

In our guide above, we have step by step gone through how to start playing poker. We have had the game Texas Hold’Em in mind, as it is definitely the most common online poker variations. This is the most classic poker game and is about winning money or the chips in the pot. In the game, you only have two cards that are hole cards. The cards are also dealt in a special order, from three cards to four, and five cards. You form your hand with a combination of your hole cards and the community cards on the table. 

Omaha Poker

Another popular variation of online poker is Omaha. The way this poker game works is almost identical to Texas Hold’Em. However, there is a significant difference that you will need to keep in mind. You are used to getting two cards of your own when playing Hold’Em but in Omaha, you get four cards in your hand. Five community cards are still dealt on the table. To form a good poker hand, you are only allowed to use two of your private cards and three from the community cards on the table. Of course, you get to decide which cards to use to get a chance at making the best winning hand. It’s just a matter of thinking slightly differently when you are playing Omaha. 

Courchevel Poker

Courchevel Poker is a poker variation that in many ways can be compared to Omaha. The number of hole cards that players receive is five. These cards are therefore private, and only you can form a hand with them. Something that distinguishes Courchevel Poker is that before the first betting round on the pre-flop, the first card is dealt face up. The rules for forming a hand in Courchevel Poker are the same as in Omaha. You pick two cards from your private cards and pick three from the community cards on the table. The rankings of the cards and hands are the same as in other poker games. Courchevel Poker can be played with three different types of bets: 

  • Limit Courchevel – played with a pre-determined pot.
  • Pot Limit Courchevel – the bet is limited to the number of chips in the pot.
  • No Limit Courchevel – players can place unlimited bets, up to as many chips as the player has. 

Casino Hold’Em

The question now is whether this variation is exactly the same as the popular Texas Hold’Em. No, they are not really the same. This poker variation is aimed at players who play poker on slot machines. Casino Hold’Em differs in that you do not play against other players, but against the house. It is a simplified variant that is an almost real online poker experience. All poker terms, card values, and card rankings are exactly the same as the original Texas Hold’Em. So in other words, you can calmly follow the rules you have learned for the Texas variants and bet on beating the house.

Three Card Poker 

Another common poker variant that you can find both on slot machines and in live casinos. In Three Card Poker you do not play against other players but only against the dealer. In this variant, you will only be dealt three cards and there are no common cards to form a hand with. This is a slightly different poker game that is both fun and exciting. The best hand in this poker game is a color ladder on your hand. You will learn Three Card Poker fast.

Let It Ride

The game can be compared to regular five-card poker. Let it Ride is what we call casino poker, where you play and compete only against the dealer. So we can almost call this variant a poker-style table game adapted for online casinos. In Let it Ride too, you get three private cards and you get to form the best hand with these, in combination with the two cards on the table. A little fun in this game is that you will always get paid out if you get pairs of tens or higher. One thing that stands out when it comes to the rules here is that you get a whole two chances to take back a third of your initial bet in the game round.

Trey Poker

In Trey Poker you have another variant that is adapted to online casinos. Like all the above poker variants, you also play Trey Poker only against the dealer. The name of this poker variant hints at you to play with three cards – that is, from Trey. You get three cards from the dealer. The dealer also gets the same number of cards. After looking at your three cards, you can either decide to continue playing or if you want to, fold. If you continue, you will have to make another bet. If you think it sounds exciting, visit our page where you can read more about Trey Poker and its rules.

Caribbean Stud Poker

This is another poker variant that can be said to be based on the standard five-card poker. Just like the other slot machines that go by the name casino poker, you play against the dealer. What attracts many players to Caribbean Stud Poker is that the variant is often loaded with a progressive jackpot. In order to have the opportunity to win the jackpot, you must take part in a special side bet during the game. This Stud Poker is played with five cards, so both you and the dealer get five cards each. To learn more about this exciting poker game, visit our Caribbean Stud Poker online page.

Facts: Poker History

It is hotly disputed where poker came from. Some experts believe that poker grew out of a number of different games and that the Chinese were the first with poker 900. Most likely, however, it is the French who came up with poker. They had a game called “Poque” that is very similar to today’s poker and when they went to New Orleans in the 1480s it is said that the game took off. However, there are plenty of additional examples of countries and people who have different theories about how it actually originated. What you probably know, however, is that it broke through in the United States in the late 1840s in the form we see today, when the game was played in the “Wild West” at bars around the country. In Las Vegas, Nevada, poker made a huge impact in 1931 when the only state-approved gambling and casino was established. Even before, however, many had played poker illegally and the “dark number” is said to have been enormous in the number of players.

Poker became a very popular card game and is still so today, but in somewhat different forms. The first online site that offered online poker was Planet Poker, which premiered back in 1998, after which we all know how it went.

online poker tournament nz

Take Part in an Exciting Poker Tournament

For most poker players, the highlight is often participating in tournaments. Today, tournaments are arranged for all levels and in both online and at land-based casinos. The most famous of them all is the WSOP (World Series of Poker) which takes place annually in Las Vegas. It is primarily Texas Hold’Em that has the prestige and is usually counted as the World Cup in poker. Most online gaming companies also arrange various tournaments for their members. In a poker tournament, there is often a minimum bet to participate and it varies depending on the level. Pokerstars online casino is one of the most popular online poker sites. If you want to read more about them, you will find the site in our top list at the top of the poker page. Pokerstars offers a wide range of different online poker tournaments. There you will find some regular tournaments that run on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a cool tournament that is exclusive for ladies on Sundays and is called Women’s Sunday.


What is hand ranking in poker?
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Which sites do you recommend for online poker?

Online Poker in Summary

You have now gone through our guide to poker. It is mainly based on poker that is played online but does not differ much from live poker. You may have never played poker before, but became a little interested in trying. We hope we’ve got you a little curious about this legendary card game. Through our simple guide, you have learned which hands rank highest and how the value of the cards is calculated. We also initially wrote a bit about what is offered online in the form of slot machines with poker, live casino poker and poker clients. A smart move is to try out a slot machine for free first, to see how it works. If you think it’s exciting, then download a poker app from a good New Zealand casino. Create a poker alias and you are ready to try free free games in poker.

In the poker app, there are also a lot of beginner tables with small stakes, and also tables for those of you who have been playing for a while. Keep in mind that the stakes on the tables might often be an indicator of who is playing there, but that is not always the case. Our site and guide have followed the most popular variant Texas Hold´em. There are also a lot of other poker games and we have touched on the surface of some of the most popular. There is also a special vocabulary at the poker tables. We have listed some of the most common, so that you can feel at home at the table. Even if you now know the basic rules, it’s important to get started and practice. By playing a lot and practicing poker, you can learn a lot and feel more secure. You will understand how other players think when they bet and why you sometimes need to bluff. Through our guide, we want to arouse new players’ interest in poker and also list good casinos with poker for you who are more experienced. Online poker is once again in the call to the great delight of many players.

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