Video poker game

How to Play Video Poker

More even than playing the real-life version of poker where a solid understanding of both the different versions of poker and how to read other players is essential, playing online poker is very friendly to newbies. All it really takes is to know how to play the most basic version of poker (variants do exist but five card draw is the most common form of online poker by a mile), which hands beat which and you’re pretty much off to the races.

Still, if you’ve never played online poker before and especially if you haven’t played any sort of online casino game, here’s a simple step by step guide to get you started.


Step 1: Finding the Right Site

Obviously, to play online poker you need to actually find a site that allows you to do so. This is, in fact, very easy as all it takes is a quick google of “best online poker sites” or the like and you should have a whole list to choose from. You may find a site dedicated purely to online poker or more expansive online casinos. Either way, read a few reviews to make sure you’re picking the best site for your needs and double check the security of the site by making sure that its security certificate is up to date and starts with HTTPS, and also that it uses encryption for all transactions.


laptop computer

Step 2: Opening an Account and Making a Deposit

Now that you’ve found the site and game you’re looking for, you’ll need to register an account with the casino/ poker site and deposit some money into it. You will need to supply basic information like your address, phone number, and name to register, as well as an email address to confirm your account. 


Making the deposit is no more complicated. Just click on the “cashier” section (or similar headings) and if the site you’re on is at all worth using, you should be presented with often dozens of payment options, including the likes of PayPal or Zapper, as well as simply providing your credit card details. You will be using these deposited funds to play the game and winnings will be deposited into whichever payment option you select. Many sites also offer welcome bonuses and bonuses for when you deposit over a certain amount that normally comes in the form of free plays (or spins on other casino games) and cash bonuses to use on your favorite game.


Step 3: Playing the Game

person playing video poker

Now it’s just a matter of selecting the poker “machine” you want to play and playing according to the poker rules that that virtual machine uses. As mentioned above, most online poker games follow basic, five-card-draw rules and you will be playing against an AI rather than another player. The games will also specify the smallest bet you can make and often also the maximum bet for a single hand.

Here is a quick refresher on how five-card-draw works, but if you choose another version like Texas Hold ‘Em, you might want to quickly check out the relevant sections on this site or through a quick Google search.


  • The player and dealer both receive five cards and a minimum bet is deposited in the pot. The dealer’s hand is hidden, the player’s hand is seen – only by the player, of course. 
  • The player then chooses which cards to keep and which to exchange and their opening bet is placed. 
  • The player then receives their new cards and they call or raise based on the quality of their hand.
  • Call results in the dealer showing their hand to the player and whoever has the better hand wins what is in the pot. Raising means that each player adds more and more to the pot until either the player or dealer folds, in which case they lose the money they have bet to date, or calls.


Like other online casino games, cards are dealt according to a random number generator that lightly favors the dealer so always bet with that in mind.          


Step 4: Cashing Out

100 dollar bills

Cashing out is no harder than making a deposit. Once again you go to the cashier section and select “cash out” or “withdraw”. You will then be taken to a page to enter the amount of your total funds you wish to withdraw and whether to withdraw to the same payment method as you used to deposit or, usually, you can choose another option.

And that’s really all there is to playing poker online.


To recap:


Step Action What to Look Out For
1 Find a site Make sure it’s secure, read some reviews first
2 Open an account, make a deposit Make sure you pick the payment option that you’re most comfortable with
3 Play the game Confirm the style of poker you’re playing, read up on the rules if need be
4 Cash out Remember withdrawal times for each payment option you choose

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