You’ve probably heard all about the huge success stories that have come from playing online poker. Some lucky players have gone from rags to riches and even swapped out their day job for a seat at the virtual poker table. So does it all come down to luck or is there more to this popular casino game? Our quick introduction to online poker will take you through everything you need to know as a beginner. Let’s get started.
Beginners Guide to Playing Online Poker
When you head to your chosen casino’s poker section, you’ll probably find an endless selection of online poker varieties and formats. This might be a little confusing at first, but it’s simple – there are variations of the game tailored to different player preferences, ability levels and bankrolls. You’ll usually be able to choose from tables with different minimum and maximum stakes, number of players, and prize pools.
There are some other more unique variations that you might only find at poker specialist casinos. If you haven’t got much time on your hands, Speed Poker games go from hand to hand without waiting more than a minute. For players looking to put their poker face to the test, webcam poker is your best bet. It’s real poker, real people and real cash from the comfort of home.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular poker variations available at online casinos:
- Texas Hold’em – The world’s favourite. This version is a community game that usually involves between 2-10 players. It’s often the game of choice for poker tournaments.
- Omaha – Similar to the game of Texas Hold’em. The key difference is the number of face-down cards initially dealt to players.
- Omaha Hi-Lo – Also known as Omaha High-Low, this game is almost identical to Omaha. The main difference is that the winning pot is split between the winning best hand and the best qualifying low hand.
- Draw Poker – There are several ‘draw’ versions of poker, in which each player is dealt a complete hand before the first betting round.
- Stud Poker – There are a number of ‘stud’ variants, including five and six-card stud. Each player receives a mix of face-down and face-up cards dealt in multiple betting rounds.
- Razz – Not as popular as the other more well-known variants, razz, like stud, sees players dealt seven cards each. The lowest possible hand wins.
- Speed Poker – A relatively new format, you can choose between Texas Hold’em and Omaha speed tables and instant-fold a hand at any time to maintain a fast-paced game.
- Caribbean Stud Poker – A variant with similar rules to five-card stud poker. Unlike standard games, Caribbean stud is played against the house, rather than other players.
There are several versions of poker available online, but Texas Hold’Em Poker is by far the most common. If you’ve watched a game of poker on TV, chances are that it was Texas Hold’em.
The aim of the game is to win money by capturing the pot each round or ‘hand’. This pot contains all bets placed by players during the hand. You’ll wager in the hope that your hand is the best. Alternatively, you can bluff your way to a win by giving the impression you have a strong hand, hoping your opponents will fold.
The rules are pretty straightforward – its simplicity makes it a perfect place to start for beginners, but there’s enough excitement to satisfy the most experienced poker players.
To kick things off, you have to place a small bet before you’re dealt any cards. This is called your ‘blind’, as it’s placed before you’ve seen your hand. Placing a blind means that any players who decide to participate have something to play for – you’d be pretty disappointed if your hand won and you got nothing in return, right?
Once you’ve placed your blind, the cards will be dealt. You’ll be given two cards which can’t be seen by other players, and there will be up to five face-up ‘community cards’. Combine these two sets of cards to create the best hand possible – the best hand wins! However, you don’t always need to have the best hand to come out on top. The beauty of poker is that you can bluff your way to a nice win. Betting enough on a hand can often cause other players to fold and thus resulting in a win. As you can imagine, this tactic can easily backfire and should be played with caution.
How to play for real money at an online poker site
- Choose where to play
We’ve put together a list of the best licensed poker brands available online today. You’re spoilt for choice here – our list is jam-packed with poker sites featuring some great bonuses, promotions and of course, the best online poker rooms. Simply have a browse through our list, weigh up your options and find the perfect match for you.
- Sign up
Once you’ve decided where you want to play, follow the link we’ve provided which will direct you to a dedicated poker sign up page. Here, you can register an account in just a few minutes by entering a few personal and contact details.
Your next step requires you to head over to the cashier page. Here, you should follow the on-screen instructions to make your first deposit. The best online poker sites offer a number of options, from debit and credit cards to e-wallet options like Neteller and Paypal
- Play for free
With your account set up and funded, you’re probably ready to start chasing some big money wins. However, if you’re a complete newcomer, you might be better off getting some practice. Fortunately, some of the top online poker brands offer free demo versions of games like Texas Hold’Em so you can learn the ropes without risking your hard-earned cash. Once you’re confident in your ability, you can switch over to the real money tables in seconds.
- Play in a real money poker roomNow you can set off on the road to big poker wins. No risk, no reward, so you’ll have to place some real money stakes here. Fortunately, the very best sites feature a number of rooms based on gameplay style and wagering limits – so you’ll never have to spend beyond your means to enjoy a game.
Time to Play!
Now that your poker knowledge is up to scratch, you’re probably eager to play as soon as possible. Remember, unlike games of chance like roulette, poker is a game where skill is involved – so don’t expect to become a poker pro overnight. Practice makes perfect, and if you’re looking for an additional helping hand we’ve even put together some tips to help you strategize your poker game-play. Look out for demo versions for the game if you’d like to get familiar with certain aspects of the game, and be sure to take advantage of any no deposit bonuses you can find. Don’t forget to choose from one of our top online poker sites, and most importantly, remember to play within your limits and have fun!