Online Poker for Real Money

Written by: Sadonna Price, Content Writer, Casino Games and Poker Expert
Last updated:
14 minute read
Online Poker for Real Money

Over the last two decades, online poker for real money has exploded in popularity. There are many poker variations, with most of them using a standard 52-card deck, with the common objective of needing the best hand to win the pot.

The origins of poker in the United States date back to the 1800s. The game is a derivative of Poque, a French parlor game, which began to gain popularity from french sailors visiting New Orleans.

Today, the most popular version of the game, Texas Hold ’em, along with many other variations of poker are available to play across hundreds of online casinos.

This in-depth guide will help you to learn more about the game, its variations, types of bets, the best poker casinos, and more

How To Play Online Poker For Real Money

There are so many different online poker variants or types that diving into online poker for real money can seem daunting. However, in the end, each variation is still the game of poker at its core.

There is an ante or blind (sometimes both), betting rounds, the hand values are the same, and there is always a player vs. player or player vs. dealer element.

Each game will have the same actions available for players, such as bet, check, raise, or fold.

Let’s go over the basics, step by step, of playing poker.

Inicial Poker Bet

1. Place The Initial Bet (Ante and blinds)

There will always be a designated bet to enter a poker game, whether that be an ante or blind, or in some cases both. Essentially, you’re always going to need to “pay a price” to enter a game of real money poker.

Poker Cards Dealt


The cards are dealt in clockwise order. Depending on the game, you may get dealt between 2 and 7 cards. Once you, the dealer, and other players are dealt the cards, the game moves to the next stage.

Poker Bet, Check, Raise and Fold


At this point in the game, you will need to decide what to do next with your hand. You can weigh the strength of your hand, any cards the dealer is showing, and the decisions made by other players when deciding to bet, check, raise, or fold.

Poker Second Betting Round


There is always a second round of betting for each game and sometimes more. For instance, in Texas Hold ’em, there are four rounds of betting (pre-flop, flop, turn, and river). Again, your options are: check, bet, raise, or fold, depending on your hand, the dealer, and the actions of players.

Poker Showdown Final Betting


If you’re still in the hand at this point, then you will either have to fold or have the best hand to win if you go to showdown. Depending on the game, there is usually a final gambling round.

Best Real Money Online Poker Sites for US Players

There are many options when it comes to where to play real money online poker in the US. The following sites are the ones we’ve tested ourselves and can recommend you trust your money with.

Rank Poker Casino Deposit Bonus Get Started
1 Deposit Bonus 300% Up To $3,000 Play Now
2 Deposit Bonus 100% Up To $3,000 Play Now

Taking Advantage of Bonuses & Promotions

Online Poker Bonus and Promos

All of the sites we recommend offer casino bonuses you can claim and take advantage of, and it’s no different than sports online gambling. Players should look to capitalize on bonus opportunities when they sign up.

Poker bonuses can take much longer to clear than sports betting bonuses, but the good news is that they are usually much more lucrative than other types of bonuses.

Another factor to consider is potential offerings. Some sites may have more poker options than others, such as game variety, amount of players, cash games, tournaments, or even specific games or variants.

a top-notch Software is always a must

Online Poker Top Notch Software

Software is essential for real money poker compared to sports betting and casino. Your decisions are timed if you’re playing a game like Hold ’em or Pot Limit Omaha since you are in a game with players.

Bug-free well-designed poker software is a must.

Of course, we can’t forget about cashier options and security. Finding a trusted online poker site is essential because you want to be sure that you will be paid when you win. 

Poker players need to look for sites with a variety of fast payout options and quick payout processing speeds.

Real Money Online Poker Games

The game of poker has a wide variety of variants, including live dealer poker. The good part is that all of these games are available at the best online poker sites we recommend.

Still, if you’re just beginning to play poker and are interested in choosing a game, the choices available can be daunting.

Texas Hold ’em

Texas HoldEm Variation

Texas Hold ’em is easily the most popular game on this list, and it comes in many forms. The most popular being No-Limit Hold ’em.

Players are given two cards in the game, and there are several rounds of gambling, called pre-flop, flop, turn, and river.

The goal of the game is to form the best five-card hand, using your two-hole cards and the five community cards. 

There are many forms of Hold ’em, including cash games and various types of tournament poker.

Omaha Poker

Omaha Poker Variation

Omaha poker works similar to Hold ’em, but there are four hole cards instead of two.

There are the same number of community cards, and the goal is the same for players – create the best five-card hand, using your hole cards and the community cards.

Like Hold ’em, there are various forms, but Pot Limit Omaha is the most popular when it comes to Omaha.

There is also a variation of the game called Omaha Hi/Lo, where there are two pots, a high hand pot, and a low hand pot.

Like Hold ’em, you play against other players, and there are many forms of the game, such as tournaments and cash gameplay.

Seven-Card Stud

Sever-Card Stud Poker Variation

The most popular form of real money poker across the country was seven-card stud until Texas Hold ’em and Omaha exploded in popularity.

The game features antes and a bring-in bet in most casino formats.

Players are dealt seven cards, and several rounds of betting occur. Like other poker games, the goal of players is to form the best five-card hand. 

Ultimate Texas Hold ’em

UTH Poker Variation

UTH or Ultimate Texas Hold ’em is the casino version of Texas Hold ’em poker where players compete against the dealer.

The game functions similarly to Texas Hold ’em. Players are dealt two hole cards, and they use those to make the best five-card hand with the community cards of the flop, turn, and river. 

There are a variety of side bets available, such as a ‘trips’ or three-of-a-kind side bet. Ultimately, however, you will need to best the dealer with a better hand at showdown to win the game and get a return on your money.

Let Em’ Ride

Let It Ride Poker Variation

Unlike Omaha or Hold ’em, Let Em’ Ride is a casino poker game where you play specifically against the dealer.

However, the game does share some similarities with Omaha and Hold ’em in that players use hole cards and community cards to form the best five-card hand.

The game is a variation of five-card stud poker. The game has an extremely high house edge, which is why it has wained in popularity since it was introduced.

Three Card Poker

3 Card Poker Variation

Three Card Poker is a casino game where players face off against the dealer. The goal is to make the best possible hand using the three cards you were dealt. There are no community cards in this format.

An ante and/or a pair plus wager must be played before three cards are dealt. After that, the player can place a wager to pit his hand against the dealers.

There are also various payouts for straights, flushes, three of a kind, and so on. Like Let It Ride, Three Card Poker has a significant house edge.

Five Card Draw

Five Card Draw Poker Variation

Five-card draw is the simplest form of poker and is the basis for video poker games. 

The game is most commonly portrayed in Old West Saloons and isn’t as widely played today as it once was.

The game must be played with other players and is not a casino game, where players face off against the dealer.

The game consists of two betting rounds, including an initial betting round when all five cards are dealt.

There is then a draw phase, where players can draw new cards if they wish and replace them with new cards. 

There is then a final betting round after which anyone still in the hand must go to showdown, where you need the best five-card hand to win the pot. 

Online Poker Rules

Understanding the value of each hand in poker is vital to becoming a successful poker player. 

It is crucial to understand the value of each card and the rankings of hands, so you can know the potential of improving your hand and gauge the strength of your opponents.

Most real money poker games have similar rules and hand rankings, but there are some variations, especially regarding high-low games. 

Card Values

Real Money Poker Card Values

The Ace is almost always going to be the highest valued card. Cards from 2-10 are the value of the number. 

Face cards are ranked higher than any numbered cards. Kings are the highest valued hands behind Aces, then Queens and Jacks. 

In some cases, such as the case of Omaha Hi-Lo or Razz (a low version of Seven-card stud), the Ace is the “nuts” in the low hand.

Poker Hands

#1 Royal Flush

Royal Flush Poker Hand

The best hand in poker. A royal flush is a T, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, all of the same suit.

  • Probability: 1 in 649,737

  • Combinations: 4

Straight Flush Poker Hand

#2 Straight Flush

A Straight Flush is five cards in a row to form a straight, but all the same suit.

  • Probability: 1 in 72,193
  • Combination: 36
Four of a Kind Poker Hand

#3 Four of a Kind

A Four of a Kind would be having the same card in each of the four suits.

  • Probability: 1 in 4,164
  • Combination: 624
Full House Poker Hand

#4 Full House

A Full House is a pair plus three of a kind in the same hand. I.e: 7-7-7-9-9.

  • Probability: 1 in 693
  • Combination: 3,744
Flush Poker Hand

#5 Flush

A Flush is five cards in the same suit, not in numerical order.

  • Probability: 1 in 508
  • Combination:
Straight Poker Hand

#6 Straight

A Straight is five cards in numerical order, but not in the same suit.

  • Probability: 1 in 253
  • Combination: 10,200
Three of a Kind Poker Hand

#7 Three of a Kind

Three of a Kind is three of one card and two non-paired cards.

  • Probability: 1 in
  • Combination: 54,912
Two Pair Poker Hand

#8 Two Pair

Two Pair is two different pairings or sets of the same card.

  • Probability: 1 in
  • Combination: 123,552
One Pair Poker Hand

#9 One Pair

One Pair is a pairing of the same card. I.e: 7-7-A-4-2.

  • Probability: 1 in 1.36
  • Combination: 1,098,240
High Card Poker Hand

#10 high card

A High Card refers to a hand with no matching cards.

  • Probability: 1 in 0.99
  • Combination: 1,302,540

Types of Bets in Poker

There are a variety of different bet types in real money poker. Understanding each type of bet is vital to having success when playing poker for money.


The ante wager is the initial bet before the cards are dealt. It is used to build a pot. Antes are common in Seven-Card Stud cash games.

They are almost non-existent in Texas Hold ’em or Pot Limit Omaha cash games. However, antes are a staple in tournament poker, especially in the middle to the late game of tournaments.


Blinds are similar to antes but are used in poker games, like Texas Hold ’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, to signify the dealer position.

There is a big blind and small blind, which moves around the table after each hand is dealt.

It’s essentially an ante, but only two players pay the big and small blind before the cards are dealt. These players are also late to act in the pre-flop betting round. 


Betting means putting chips or money into the pot during a hand. The rest of the players in the game must match your bet or fold.

Betting typically signifies strength, but players can also bet when they are bluffing or holding inferior cards.


A call is matching a player’s previous bet to stay in the hand. You can call a bet and match another player’s wager or raise their bet.

The other option is folding your hand and exiting that round of betting.


Increasing the amount of another player’s bet is considered a raise. Typically, this signifies a strong hand.

You usually need to double the previous bet’s amount when you raise, as are the rules in most No-Limit Hold ’em games.


If a player doesn’t feel his hand is strong enough or doesn’t want to play in that particular hand anymore, he can fold.

You throw your cards into the muck or fold pile when you fold, and any winnings or remaining chips are forfeited.


Checking is the choice to remain in the hand without placing a wager or folding.

However, if a previous player has placed a bet, you cannot check. You must either match their bet, raise, or fold.


A check-raise is when you initially check, but when someone else bets or raise, you always raise, after first checking your hand. 

This is a bold move, but one that shows you believe your hand has a lot of strength. 


Rounds or betting rounds are intervals of wagering or betting as the game or deal progresses. 

For instance, Texas Hold ’em has four betting rounds, pre-flop, flop, turn, and river. 


The showdown is when the remaining players show their cards to see who the winner is. 

The showdown always happens in the final betting round


Bluffing is betting or raising with an inferior hand (or so you believe) to represent a stronger hand to other players in the game.

This is usually done with a weaker hand, but can also be done with draws, which is called a semi-bluff.

Split Pot

A split pot is when there is no definitive winner in the hand using the community cards and players’ hole cards.

The pot is then divided evenly between the remaining players in the hand at showdown.

The Nuts

“The Nuts” is a slang term for the best possible poker hand. If you have “the nuts” then you have the best possible hand based on the community board or your cards.

How To Win at Online Poker

There is no simple formula to becoming a profitable poker player. As the saying goes, “It is an easy game to learn, but takes a lifetime to master.” That’s undoubtedly true for poker.

However, a few essential tips will immediately help you become a better poker than most of your competitors.

  1. Choose Your Real Money Poker Software Wisely

    Software is essential when playing at online casinos, but it is crucial when playing online poker. One-click or mistake can make the difference between losing and winning.

    There are many other considerations, such as bet sliders, if the software is customizable, and so on.

    If you’re going to be playing a lot of online poker for money, it’s essential to choose software that you enjoy using that is bug-free and user-friendly.

    It would be best if you also considered how it performs on mobile platforms. If you’re going to play real money poker on the go, this is a vital factor to consider.

    How fast is the software? Does it allow you to use custom decks and backgrounds? How easy is it to size your bets and place raises? How does the time bank work? These are all questions you need to ask yourself.

    Top-level software is vital when you play real money poker online. Choose wisely.
  2. Avoid Games With Large House Edges or Rake

    There are a lot of options when it comes to playing poker online. Nearly a dozen different games and variations are available.

    The worst thing someone interested in poker can do is play real money games with high house edges or pay too much rake.

    I mentioned Let It Ride and Three Card Poker as games with larges house edges. Games like that should be avoided.

    The same goes for how much rake you pay when playing online poker cash games or tournaments. You should pay much higher than 5% rake up to $3.00.

    There are also tremendous amounts of deals and poker bonuses you can take advantage of when depositing on a casino and playing real money poker online.

    It is hard enough to learn how to play poker and beat others – don’t give more to the casino through rake or playing in games that are near impossible to win.
  3. Specialize In One Game At The Beginning

    There are so many games and variations in online poker that you can be overwhelmed with the game you want to play and the format. You can play full ring, 6-max, or heads-up cash games.

    For tournaments, there are multi-table tournaments, rebuys, sit n’ goes, heads-up tournaments, and so on. Basically, there are a lot of options. 

    Poker in 2021 is a challenging game. Players have gotten much better over the last decade.

    The best way to become a winning player in today’s poker climate is to specialize in one area. This means choosing to focus on Pot Limit Omaha cash games or No-Limit Hold ’em sit’n go tournaments or something to that effect.

    It’s OK to try out each game as a beginner to see what you like, but choose one game and one form of play and focus on learning that. 

    You’re not going to become an expert at every game and format. And, to win in today’s game, you need to be a high-level player to profit in any form of poker.

Free Poker vs. Real Money Poker

Nearly every online poker site offers free money games and contests. These can be great to learn the game, but they don’t provide the same level of entertainment or rewards that real money online poker does. 

Real Money Online Poker

  • Ability to win real money, even at small stakes.
  • More bonus offers, such as reloads and welcome bonuses.
  • VIP programs with real-life rewards to take full advantage.
  • More excitement when playing for real money.
  • More variety with games and tournaments with the chance of winning a large pot.

Free Play Money Online Poker

  • No need to worry about depositing money.
  • Try out the software with zero risk.
  • You can practice and learn the rules.
  • There is no prospect to win real money.
  • No real money bonus offers.
  • Limited number of games and options.

Playing Mobile Poker For Real Money

Real Money Online Poker on Mobile

Playing poker on your mobile phone has never been easier. There is more mobile poker being played right now than at any other time in history. Every online site has mobile poker options.

Mobile gambling platforms for poker may even get more attention than desktop versions regarding maintenance and upgrades.

They are state-of-the-art and are fully customizable with plenty of options for players.

Real Money Poker Apps

There are many poker apps, such as PokerStars or 888 Poker, which you can download from the App Store or Google Play Store, but this isn’t necessary in most cases.

Most online poker room(s) and casinos have mobile websites and software designed to work perfectly from your browser.

You will have no issues playing poker from your mobile phone or tablet, regardless of the device.

Other Real Money Casino Games To Try

See below for other money games to play directly on your phone.

Play Online Poker For Real Money

Online poker is one of the most exciting and easiest ways to gamble online. Real money poker sites offer players an excellent assortment of games, bonuses, and fast and reliable deposit and withdrawal methods.

Even if you begin your poker career with play money – online poker is a worthwhile gamble.

With many games and variants, there is undoubtedly something that you will enjoy. And, heck, maybe you can win some money along the way, as well.

Check Our Complete Guide To The Best Real Money Casinos

About the Author

Sadonna Price

Sadonna Price

Content Writer, Casino Games and Poker Expert

Sadonna is a former poker pro player who's all about infusing her writing with creativity to shed light on the exciting world of gambling. She writes or fact-checks most of our online poker content at SBS, but she's not stranger to other popular casino games.

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