Are you an Indian player looking for the best poker sites and want to know the basics of online poker? If you nodded affirmatively, then we got you. Our complete guide will list the top online poker sites and fill you in on all there is to know about the exciting game of poker.
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What Is Poker?
Poker is a traditional card game where players are dealt cards and play to have the best hand. It’s a popular card game, and chances are you’ve already heard of it. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Poker is actually a complex game that requires deep thinking and a strategy, and maybe that’s why most people like it. Unlike slots, poker isn’t heavily dependent on luck, so skill matters most. By the end of the article, you’ll know which skills you need and the strategies to use, so read on.
Is Online Poker Legal in India?
In states like Goa, Karnataka, Sikkim, Kerala, West Bengal and Nagaland, poker is legal, and you can even join poker rooms to play tournaments. One of the reasons poker is allowed in these states is because it’s considered a skill game and not necessarily gambling.
On the other hand, other states in India such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nandu completely ban poker. Instead of thinking of it as a skill game, it is considered gambling and thus illegal. Before you opt into a poker game, consider whether your state allows it.
Most Popular Online Poker Games
Poker is a popular casino game in India with a rich history. It started many years ago, and it continues to evolve into more exciting versions. Today, there are more than 20 poker variations that you can play online. However, some versions are more popular than others, and we will focus on those.
Texas Hold ’em
Texas Hold ’em is hands down the most popular poker variant around that even legendary poker player Doyle Brunson called it “The Cadillac of Poker.” You’ll find the game in almost all top online Indian casinos because players consider it a first choice.
The dealer will deal two cards to each player and place five community cards that players can use to come up with the best hand. You can either be the last man standing when all other players fold or have the best hand at the showdown to win at Texas Hold ’em.
Omaha Hi is the second most popular poker game because it resembles Texas Hold ’em, and the only difference is that players get four-hole cards instead of getting two at the start. The dealer will then lay down five community cards that players can still use to play the best hand.
Even though most players enjoy playing Omaha Hi, only a few know what “hi” means. It refers to the highest-ranking hand that wins the pot prize at the showdown.
By now, you’ve already picked up that the objective of any poker game is to have the best hand, and the 5-Card Draw isn’t different. However, what’s different is the gameplay. In the previous games, there were community cards that all players could use, but in 5-Card Draw, each player is given five cards. Players can discard any cards they wish and request new ones to build the best hand from the dealer. Any player who will be left in that round proceeds to the showdown and the winner is determined.
The simple twist of 5-Card Draw makes the game more exciting as it’s all up to you to build your hand. But the game becomes even more anxious because as you make your hand, you have no idea what other players hold, and your hand might not be that strong after all.
Before new poker games like Texas Hold ’em took over, Stud Poker was the classic game back in the day. That’s why its style of play is slightly different. There are no hole cards or community cards in 7-Card Stud, and instead, players are dealt individual cards.
Players are first given three cards—2 face-down and 1 face-up. Then, players start betting and receive extra cards, and all of them face up except the seventh card, which faces down. Even though many cards are in play, the player who wins the round is the one with the best five-card hand.
How To Play Poker | An Easy Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners
As you’ve seen, there are many versions of poker, and each one comes with its own set of rules and gameplay. So, there’s no general way of how to play poker that applies to all games because some are different. For the steps highlighted below, the game in consideration is Texas Hold ’em, which is the most popular.
1. Join a poker room
Before anything else, you need to find a trustworthy online casino with the poker game you want to play. Our top online casinos will make an excellent choice. Then, create an account and deposit some funds. After that, check out the games lobby and select poker.
2. Place bets
Once the game starts, all players are required first to place bets. These can be ante bets where players contribute equally to the pot or blinds where the starting player to the left of the dealer puts in a small amount and the other players put in a larger bet.
3. Cards are dealt
The dealer gives each player two cards; all face down. After the cards are dealt, players can check (choose not to start betting), bet or call a bet (match another player’s wager) or fold if their hand doesn’t look promising.
4. The Flop
Once the first betting round is over, the flop follows next. It’s when the dealer deals three face-up cards (community cards) for players to plan their next hand. Players will then have another betting round with the new cards.
5. The Turn
The dealer places a fourth face-up card called the turn for players to wager another round.
6. The River
Now the game is almost ending, and the dealer deals a fifth face-up card called the river. Players still in the game get a last chance to check whether their hands are strong before placing their final bets.
7. A Showdown – Winner Takes the Pot
For the final round, all players reveal their cards for a showdown to see who has the best hand and has won the pot. A kicker (the highest card) becomes the decider if there’s a tie.
Basic Poker Rules
Learning how to play poker only isn’t enough to master the game, and you still need to familiarise yourself with its rules and etiquette. Note that each variant has its rules, so it’s wise to check them out before you start playing.
However, some basic guides apply to most, if not all, poker games.
- The dealer will use one standard deck of cards and shuffle them so that players can’t predict what card will play next.
- Poker tables usually have betting limits, so it’s good to confirm whether your chosen table fits your budget.
- Poker tables also have a maximum number of players, and most of them will allow 10 to 12 players only.
- When it’s your turn to play, you can either bet, call a bet or fold.
- When playing at an online casino with a live dealer, the house usually takes a certain percentage of the pot, which can be anywhere between 3-10%.
- The number of cards dealt to the players and whether they’ll face up or face down depends on the poker version you’re playing.
- Lastly, the objective of any poker game is to have the best five-card hand or bluff that you have.
Poker Hand Rankings
The words “best poker hand” have been repeated severally, and maybe you’re wondering what it all means. Well, poker cards have different values, which play a crucial role in how they contribute to having a good hand. You need to have high-value cards arranged in a strong sequence to have the best hand.
Top poker hand rankings are arranged from the strongest sequence to the weakest include:
- Royal Flush: A K Q J 10 (all having the same suit)
- Straight Flush: Q J 10 9 8 (have five cards in sequence, all having the same suit)
- Four-of-a-kind: Q Q Q Q 5 (four cards of the same value/rank)
- Full House: A A A 7 7 (three of a kind and a pair)
- Flush: A J 8 5 7 (any five cards with the same suit but not sequence)
- Straight: 10 9 8 7 6 (have five cards in sequence but not the same suit)
- Three-of-a-kind: Q Q Q 7 6 (have three cards of the same value/rank)
- Two Pair: J J 9 9 2 (two cards with the same rank and two others as well)
- Jacks or Better: Q Q 5 8 2 (pair of either jacks, queens, kings or aces)
- Pair: 7 7 3 5 8 (two cards of the same value/rank)
How To Win Real Money at Poker?
You need to do two things to win real money at online poker. One is to play poker with real cash, and the other is to play to win. It’s not that you have to wager real money to play poker every time. No, you can play for free by opting for demo versions. If you are a beginner, it’s best to start by playing for free to familiarise yourself with the game since it can be a lot to take in. But you won’t be able to win real money. So, once you’re confident with your understanding and skills, you can wager some cash to win real money.
The other thing you’ll need is a good strategy and game plan to have the highest-ranking hand. We’ll talk more about the strategies below, but this is something you’ll need to ease into. With poker, it’s almost impossible to pull off an overnight success, so you’ll have a couple of losses before becoming a pro. If you want to win real money at poker, you better have the best hands.
Poker Tips and Strategies for Indian Players
As mentioned earlier, poker is a complex game, and you bet it has a whole list of strategies that one can use. However, instead of listing all of them, we’ll share a few to get you started on the right track. These are mostly for beginners and are simple to use even when playing your first few games.
- Familiarise yourself with poker rules and positions
It might seem like a lot, but this is a crucial first step. You need to know the rules of the poker you want to play so that the game can go on smoothly. You also need to position yourself somewhere in the middle or close to the end to collect as much info as possible when other players play before you.
- Learn poker hand rankings
It’s best to have the poker hand rankings at the back of your mind to know if your hand is better or not quickly. At a poker game, decisions are made fast, so you’ll need to be quick on your analysis.
- Start by playing low stake games
The pot might not be appealing, but at least you’ll try out your strategy without risking a fortune. To be a great poker player, you need to start playing at low stakes and raise it as you increase your skills.
- Focus on one table first
Even though playing multiple poker tables at once is possible, start by playing only one table. By sticking to one table, you’ll be able to concentrate and take in all the information, and you’ll learn faster and build on your strategy quicker.
- Play when you have the right energy
Poker games, at times, get heated, and emotions such as anger can quickly come out. To avoid this, try and enter the game with a clear and relaxed mind. Even when you are dealt a bad hand or things aren’t going your way, try to maintain your composure.
- Only bluff when it’s appropriate
Most beginners can’t wait to try out their bluffs, but they end up overdoing it. Only bluff after you have a calculated move to always remain unpredictable.
Famous Indian Poker Players
Over the years, there have been extraordinary Indian poker players who have managed to make a killing out of poker. They have mastered the game and made a name for themselves nationally and even internationally.
Here are the top 3 Indian poker players you don’t want to challenge.
- Vivek Rajkumar
Vivek Rajkumar, or ‘The Flog’, is currently the best poker player in India, with over $8 million in live earnings. He has won more money than any other Indian poker player and was the winner of the 2008 World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Poker Open in Nevada.
- Nipun java
Nipun Java has also made a name for himself in the poker world with over $2.8 million in total live earnings. He came in first place at the World Series of Poker Circuit Online Circuit and was third in the Venetian DeepStack Showdown Poker Series in Las Vegas.
- Aditya Agarwal
Aditya Agarwal, better known as ‘The Intervention’, is a top poker player from India. He has ranked well in top tournaments and won the 2019 Match Poker Asian Nations Cup No-Limit Hold’em in Taiwan.
Online Poker in India Final Say
India has had great poker players, and they all started from somewhere. With our guide, you also have the chance to start playing poker with the right tips and strategies. And who knows? You might be the next top player we talk about next. However, it’s not going to be an easy task, and there’s a lot to wrap your head around. The good thing is that our review isn’t going anywhere, and you can always check it out as many times as you want. Once you think you have what it takes, try out our top poker sites like Royal Panda and LeoVegas!
- Can I win at online poker every time?
No, you’ll come across a loss at least once. As much as poker is a game of skill, there’s also an element of luck when the dealer deals you cards, and you can get dealt with bad cards, which puts you at a disadvantage.
- Which is the highest poker hand ranking?
You can get the highest poker hand rank with A K Q J 10 in sequence and the same suit.
- Must I play poker against pros only?
No, you can play at poker tables with beginners, and they’ll provide a good learning experience with no pressure.