How to play poker

Poker comes in many varieties, each with subtle variations, but they all use a fairly standard set of rules. So, with a bit of practice, you’ll feel right at home showing what you’ve got at any casino poker table—especially if it’s a full house.

Getting started

The objective of poker is to create a better hand than your competitors. If you’re playing at a table in a B.C. casino, you’re playing against the dealer, not other players. Some casinos across the province also have separate community poker rooms where experienced players go head to head against each other.

Each variation of poker differs slightly in how your cards are dealt and when you can bet, but a common approach often looks something like this:

Step Instructions
1 Make an opening bet, called an “ante.”
2 The dealer deals two or more cards to each player and to herself.
3 Look at your cards, and choose to either fold or place an additional bet.
4 The dealer deals more cards, either to each player directly, or to a group of community cards that everyone gets to use, called the “flop.”
5 There’s another round of betting, when you can fold or bet more, depending on how confident you are in your hand.
6 The dealer deals a final card.
7 Create your best possible hand, usually using five cards, based on the list of possible poker hands below.
8 Compare your hand with the dealer’s, to see who wins.

Poker hands

Here is a list of all possible poker hands, from best to worst:

Hand Description
Royal flush A, K, Q, J, 10, all the same suit.
Straight flush Five cards in a sequence, up to king, all in the same suit.
Four of a kind Four cards of the same rank. For example, four aces.
Full house Three of a kind, plus another pair. For example, three queens and two 4s. Any suits work.
Flush Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence.
Straight Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit.
Three of a kind Three cards of the same rank. Like three jacks.
Two pair Two pairs from any suit. Like two 10s and two 8s.
Pair Two cards of the same rank.
High Card If you haven't made any of the hands above, your highest card is considered your best hand.

Poker variations

There are many different types of poker, but they all generally follow the same basic rules. Here are some of the most common types of poker you will see at casinos in B.C.

Odds of winning

The odds of winning at poker are complicated, depending on the variation you’re playing, how many cards you’re dealt and can discard, and much more. Plus, poker is a skill-based game, so your experience and knowledge of what moves to make play a role in your odds of winning. Of course, randomness and chance determine what cards are dealt.

Generally speaking, the house advantage for poker is higher than blackjack and lower than roulette. This means that a knowledgeable, experienced poker player making optimal decisions can expect to keep more of her money playing poker than roulette.

For more on the odds and ways to play poker, visit

Filter through our casinos to find a location that offers poker

Explore casinos