Online Poker is one of the most beloved casino games among Emirati players. It is your classical 52 card set game but played online where you can not only compete against players in the UAE, but around the world as well.
Poker has been played around the world since the 1800s. It has always been a popular betting game and a great source of income, but after the launch of online poker, throughout the years it has become a billion-dollar industry. Of course, many people play it just for fun and not necessarily for the money.
Best Online Poker Sites in the UAE
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Choosing the Best Online Poker UAE Sites
There are so many Online Poker sites out there, but we will give you some criteria on how to choose one suitable for you as a player in the UAE.
Here is the basis on which you should choose a Poker Site:
- License, Security & Fairness: The Game is offered by many sites online, however, if you wish to play it for money, it is much safer to play it in an online casino. Not just any casino, the casino must be licensed by the approved gambling authorities like UK Gambling Commission or Curaçao, and it should be audited by eCOGRA to ensure random number generation, meaning, your cards are dealt fairly and you not somehow getting a bad hand. If you do so, your account information and data will be safe and secure.
- Online Poker Games Catalogue: You are going to want to try out various types of Poker from Texas Hold’em to Omaha to 3-card poker to video poker and so on. You will also want to take on the dealer in the live casino section or compete with other live online players. Therefore, make sure the online casino you are choosing has many options for you.
- Poker Bonuses: Several online casinos offer exclusive welcome bonuses and other promotions specifically for their online poker section. So make sure to take advantage of that.
- UAE Players Accepted: Since gambling is prohibited in the United Arab Emirates, Emirati players resort to online casinos. However, not all online casinos accept players from the Emirates due to these legal issues. Therefore, finding an online casino that accepts you is very important.
- Payment Methods: This is also related to rules and regulations in the UAE regarding gambling online. The online casino must have various payment methods, especially ones that will protect your anonymity, like e-wallets and cryptocurrencies.
Types of Poker Hands
Here at OnlinePoker.ae, we will explain to you all about the poker hands and which is the highest hand and how to play online poker and the types of poker out there. But first, let’s get you familiarized with the cards.
In online poker, there is a pack consisting of 52 cards ranked from high to low they are: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 & 2. There are 4 Suits: Clubs ♣, Diamonds ♦, Hearts ♥, and Spades ♠. There is no ranking among the suits.
Now that you are familiar with the cards, it is time to list the online poker hands ranked from high to low:
Royal Flush: This hand consists of having Ace, King, Queen, Jack & 10 all of the same suit.
Straight Flush: This means you have 5 sequential cards of the same suit. For example: 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 all of hearts.
Four of a Kind: If you have this hand, it means you have the same card in all suits. For example, you have all Jacks (Spade, Club, Diamond & Heart)
Full House: It means having three of a kind with one pair. Meaning you have for example 3 Queens and 2 5’s
Flush: Any 5 cards of the same suit and they don’t necessarily have to be sequential. For example having 3,7,9, Jack and Queen of Diamonds.
Straight: Having 5 sequential cards, but not necessarily of the same suit. For example, 4 of hearts, 5 of spades, 6 of clubs, 7 of diamonds and 8 of hearts.
Three of a Kind: Having the same card in 3 suits. For example having 7 of Spades, 7 of hearts and 7 of diamonds.
Two Pairs: Have 2 different pairs, for example two Queens and two 10’s.
One Pair: Have 1 pair. For example, two Kings.
High Card: If your cards dealt did not have any of the combinations above, you play with the highest ranking card.
How to Play Online Poker
Now that you know the cards and the possible hand combinations it is time to teach you how to play online poker. Poker is easy to learn, but difficult to master.
Place Your Bets
Any type of online poker game requires a forced bet to start. This bet can be a ‘’Blind’’ bet, which is usually a small amount of money bet by the player right next to the dealer. Then another player which is on that player’s left places a ‘’Big Blind’’ bet which is generally the minimum bet required. An ‘’Ante’’, on the other hand, is a small bet that is placed by every player at the table. The amount of bet is generally determined by the table, it could be as low as $5.
2 Cards Are Dealt
Now the dealer will give 2 cards to each player. Keep them to yourself, never show your 2 dealt cards to anyone.
Bet, Check, Call, Raise or Fold
After the 2 cards are dealt, you have one of these 4 options: You can place another bet if no one has yet, you can check, which is basically passing the turn to the next player, you can call which means you are equalling the bet set by a previous player, you can raise, which means adding more money to the betting pool, or you can fold, which means you won’t be playing and you have to give your 2 dealt cards face down to the dealer who puts them aside.
After everyone places their bets or folds, In order to avoid cheating, the dealer burns the card on top of the deck still undealt. By burning, we mean he/she removes it and places it face down aside on the table and not to be played with. Now the next round ‘’The Flop’’ begins, in this round, the dealer will put 3 cards face-up on the table for all the players to see and start to build a hand.
The dealer will once again burn the top card. After that, the Turn Round begins. In this round, the dealer will place 1 card face up next to the Flop. Now, you have a total of 6 cards, 2 in your hand and 4 on the table. The players will have another chance to bet, check, call, raise, or fold.
The River is the last round. Once again the dealer will burn the top card and reveal one last card making it a total of 7 cards for each player to see which hand they will build.
Now that all cards have been dealt, it is time for every player to reveal their hand. If you had folded in the River round, you don’t have to reveal your hand. Make the best possible combination of the 5 cards on the table and the 2 in your hand, you can even choose only 5 of the cards, not all 7.Remember the hands from high to low:Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair or High Card if you have no combination. If 2 players are tied, they share the wins.
Most Popular Poker Games Played in the UAE
There are three main online poker game categories, and every poker game falls into one of them. These are
- Stud Games: In stud poker, players are dealt a certain number of cards (generally either 5 or 7 in total), and based on these cards they must build the strongest hand to win.
- Draw Games: One difference in draw poker games is that the players can trade up to 3 of their cards in an attempt to create a better hand.
- Community Games: In community poker games the players can make the best hand based on the cards they are dealt and the cards revealed face up on the table for all the other players as well. That’s why they are called community cards, because, all other players can use them to make a combination as well.
Now let’s see the most famous poker games in UAE:
- Texas Hold’em: This is by far the most famous poker game ever played, it is played in the World Series of Poker. It falls under the category community game, since the players are dealt 2 cards face down and the dealer reveals a total of 5 cards on the table. It is played in 4 rounds, the betting round, the flop, the turn and the river. Players must make the best hand out of at least 5 cards, from their hand and the table.
- Omaha: Omaha Poker is also a community poker game and it is very similar to Texas Hold’em. The difference is that each player is dealt 4 cards instead of 2 and the five cards on the table are immediately revealed. To win, players must make the best hand from 2 of their own cards and 3 of the cards on the table.
- 7-Card Stud: Like the name suggests, it is a stud game. In 7-Card Stud, each player is dealt 7 cards, three of which are face down and 4 of which are face up. Again, the goal is to make the best possible hand of at least 5 of these cards.
- 5-Card Draw: Each of the players is dealt 5 cards, but they can exchange up to three of them.
- High / Low Chicago: It is a stud poker game. You can opt for the highest spade card face down and win half the pot (High Chicago). Or, you can opt for the lowest spade card face down and win half the pot. As for the other half of the pot, the player with the highest hand wins it. If this same player has the highest spade or lowest spade, depending on whether you are playing high Chicago or low Chicago then that player takes all the winnings.
- Follow The Queen: Follow the Queen is the same as a 7-Card Stud the only difference is that the Queen dealt face up is considered a wild card. It can act as any other card.
Poker Laws in the UAE
Poker or any form of gambling is considered to be an illegal activity in the United Arab Emirates. If you are caught gambling, you might be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison and/or pay a fine that can be 20,000 AED! However, that has not stopped Emiratis from playing their favorite game: Poker. Some Emiratis gather friends or family members and make poker lounges where they play poker for money and have fun.
Even though there are no official land-based casinos in the UAE, many luxurious hotels offer casino lounges, but they are aimed at tourists visiting, but we are sure you can make something work.
Some of these Poker UAE hotels are:
- The H Dubai
- W Dubai-The Palm
- Four Seasons Resort Dubai
- Radisson Blue Hotel
- Dorus Hotel
- Nihal Hotel
- Atlantis, The Palm.
- FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai
- FIVE Jumeirah Village Dubai
- Shangri-La Dubai.
- Rove City Walk.
- Riu Dubai
However, since as a general rule, gambling is prohibited in UAE and not everyone can get away with going to a hotel or gathering friends for Poker nights, the best alternative solution most Emiratis opt for is online casinos. We will show you how you can play safely Online Poker in the section below.
Play Poker Safely Online in the UAE
As we have mentioned before, online gambling too is illegal in the UAE whether it’s Online Poker UAE or any other casino game, therefore follow the tips below on how you can gamble safely online without the authorities finding out.
- Choose A Reputable VPN Network: VPN is a virtual private network that hides your device’s IP address and generates a new one from anywhere around the world. Nord VPN is highly recommended.
- Set Your VPN To ‘’Kill Switch’’ Mode: Kill Switch automatically disconnects your device from any internet connection in case the VPN connection was interrupted thus protecting your anonymity.
- Anonymous Payment Methods: Bank Cards are off limits! Never use a payment method that the Central Bank of UAE can trace. Instead, use Cryptocurrency or E-wallets like Skrill or PayPal for maximum security.
- Don’t Play in Public: If you are thinking ‘’Oh let me just grab my phone and sit at a café in Dubai and play some poker online’’ Don’t do it! You never know if any snitches are watching you and might report you. Play from the safety of your home. It is also important not to go around announcing to your friends that you are gambling online.
Online Poker UAE FAQ
Is online poker illegal in UAE?
No, online poker and any form of poker is considered gambling, which is prohibited by Emirati law.
Can I play online poker in UAE?
Yes, you can play online poker in the UAE, just be careful and choose a trusted online casino and use VPN to protect your anonymity.
What are the rules for online poker?
The basic rule of online poker is to create the best possible hand from the cards dealt to you and/or on the table.
Is online poker skill or luck?
Online poker depends on both skill and luck. It is luck because it depends on the cards dealt to you and on the table. It requires skill because, you must make the right decision and choose whether you want to fold, check, raise, or call. Not to mention that you must combine the best possible hand you have to win.
What are the 3 types of online poker?
The 3 types of online poker are Stud, where the players are dealt cards and no cards are shown face-up on the table. Community poker, where there are also cards face up on the table and draw poke where the players can exchange up to 3 of their cards in an attempt to create a better hand.
Is it easy to play online poker?
Online poker is very easy to play but very difficult to master!