Have you always been enticed by the allure of online poker but did not know where to start? Then this is the perfect guide for you! Our team of online poker experts has meticulously crafted a thorough guide encompassing everything from card ranking and betting to matching your playstyle and poker games. All of this, along with a useful list of the top online poker sites with respective reviews and rankings, can make your journey far more enjoyable and productive.
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In This Guide
The best games and concepts are those that are the simplest. You simply cannot reinvent the wheel, and why would you? If something works, then don't fix it, says the infamous proverb. Online poker has edged out a niche thanks to its simple gameplay, solid rules and room for masterful implementations of skill.
The basic components are simple enough, a 52-card deck, typical hand rankings and the eternal union of skill and luck. Lady Luck is the one that deals cards and determines whether or not a player is blessed with good pocket cards. These are then combined with community cards and potentially produce a winning hand. But the foundations do not end there. A player’s ability to trick his opponents into being afraid of his hand is a vital smokescreen and can contribute loads towards a victory.
The story of poker is dotted with glamorous victories that have greatly enlarged the wallets of players all over the world. Winning a significant jackpot by bluffing opponents into submission and making them fold to a weak hand has been done time and time again. Being able to read and manipulate people is an acquired skill that we cannot teach. We can, however, present the ins and outs of the game and become familiar with its rules.
This detailed guide to online poker will introduce you to the most vital aspects of poker that a newbie might otherwise not detect. Everything from rules, betting, and game flow to the pros and cons of online play is up for discussion. This solid basis is expanded upon with the main types of online poker you will discover and the rules that potentially make each variant suited to your playstyle. Towards the end, we will explore the popular poker terms that might come your way when playing online poker. Being knowledgeable about them can improve your game and result in more enjoyable sessions. Our lecture will end with a look at the most frequently asked questions that will help answer any lingering questions or titbits that might not have been covered clearly enough.
Every new venture initially leaves you awestruck and confused. The same goes for online poker and its seemingly complex structure. However, you will be surprised at how simplistic and ordered the game is. Have a look at the following rules and see for yourself:
Know Card Ranks
The Ace is, as per usual, the most valuable card. The values of all cards are directly linked to their ranking, which in turn means that your average deck is ranked as Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.
Know Hand Rankings
Winning the pot takes an exceptional play and, in turn, the highest possible ranked hand. These can be ordered in the following set, from best to worst: Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, and a Pair.
Note that players partake in betting prior to each street’s addition. This betting is focused on forming the best pot whilst being mindful of the potential of your opponents.
Know How Betting Works
When Galileo said 'and yet it moves', he was referring to the orbit of Earth around the Sun, but the same maxim can be applied to poker. In the context of poker, one orbit is the rotation of play pivoted on the dealer.
Dealers tend to be stationary, but the Big and Small Blinds do not stay in one place. Each player will eventually be put on the spot and have to deal with them.
The following array of terms consists of those that you are most likely to find in online poker.
All-In –This is by far the most daring move that causes quite a stir. It sees a player investing all of their chips and hoping for a win.
Bad Beat –This twist of fate sees a player with an initially powerful hand be thwarted by another based purely on cards that appear later on.
Big Blind – The player behind this bet is the second one on the dealer’s left.
Bubble –This unfortunate title is bestowed on those tournament participants that miss out on winning by a single placement.
Call – This has you bet the minimum required for remaining in the game.
Check –This has you avoid raising the current stake whilst staying in the game.
Flop –The three community cards that are initially placed on the table.
Flush –This is a set of five cards that have the same suit.
Fold – This has you opt out of a poker round after seeing your cards.
Freezeout –A particular type of poker tourney that does not allow rebuys.
Full House – A hand consists of three cards of the same suit and one other pair.
Gutshot –This term has a very common synonym, an inside straight draw. It sees you hold four out of the five cards that a straight one requires. The fifth card has to be inside the held cards and cannot be added.
Kicker –This card takes care of a tie.
Limp –This refers to non-proactive moves, such as calling when the possibility of raising appears.
No-Limit –This is a very risky form of poker that allows you to bet everything whenever you feel like it. It should only be explored by veteran poker players.
Nuts – Getting the Nuts is not as bad as you think. It actually refers to snagging the best possible hole cards.
Pocket Cards – Pocket cards, or hole cards as they are known in Hold 'em and Omaha, where you receive two and four, respectively, are the cards that are initially dealt.
Quads –This refers to four of a kind of four matching cards.
Raise – This sees you raise the stakes and backs other players into a corner. They can either match your bet or fold.
Ring Game – In essence just a real money poker game.
River – The fifth and last community card.
Short Stack – This jab is aimed at the player with the smallest chips.
Sit-and-Go –This face-paced game kicks things off as soon as a certain number of players join a table. You will often find it in an online poker environment.
Slow Play –This refers to calculated moves that might be perceived as ‘passive’ or inactive. Their objective is to raise the pot value.
Small Blind – This refers to the bet that the player directly on the dealer’s left has to make in order to remain in the game.
Straight – Five cards in a row, but not of the same suit.
Straight Flush –Five cards in a row and of the same suit.
Trips – Three matching cards.
Turn –The second to last and fourth community card.
An online poker beginner might find the sea of new information that they presented with overwhelming. But fret not. The following five tips will help you find your footing and edge out success.
The main skill aspect of poker is tricking others into foolish behaviour with the help of bluffs. Newbies usually invest heavily into a weak hand and make attendance at these tables all the riskier for them. One example of this bait and switch tactic is getting you to bet your entire stack and then hit you with a ‘bad beat’ later on.
One great thing about poker rooms is the added customization that they offer. You can make notes, change the colour of player names on a permanent basis, track aggressive players, track avid bluffers, take note of previously mistaken odds and any other information that you deem vital. All of this can feed into better poker skills.
Poker is a casino game that allows you to become better with practice. This will prevent you from underestimating hands, falling for bluffs or making poor decisions when discarding cards. You will also become better at slow play and gauging both player behaviour and cards. Do all this and more from the stress-free comfort of free tables.
It is always advisable to walk before you run. In the case of online poker, this initial step comes in the form of low-stakes games that are a stop between freerolls or free tables and cash tables. You will never find sharks at these tables, so you can expect to be evenly matched in terms of skill. Also, a spur-of-the-moment decision will not evaporate your entire chip stack.
A very exciting feature exclusive to online poker software is the ability to partake in multiple tables at once. This might seem appealing and dare-devilish, but note that it is also quite demanding and requires you to follow all the cards and stakes that are currently in action. Do not dive into the deep end. Stick to a single table and transition to multiple ones after gathering loads of experience.
Locating a trustworthy poker site and partaking in your very first hand of Texas Hold 'em or Omaha Hi-Lo is not as difficult as it may seem. Use these handy tips and play poker like a pro.
It is very important that you know exactly what is going on. A vital aspect of this is knowing hand rankings for Texas Hold 'em and Omaha. It might not make sense to focus on these two at first glance, but know that their hands are usually used for the majority of payouts. One great way to prove to yourself that your knowledge is sufficient is by testing it at practice sites and free play tables.
It is crucial that you choose a poker site that provides you with the best bonuses, tools, resources and customer support. All of these will make your session more enjoyable even after your initial bonus is used up.
The sites that we recommend usually offer tables that are exclusive to beginners. These allow them to hone their skills and compete against equally skilled and experienced players. In essence, they save you from swimming with sharks. They are a great way to become one with real money plays.
It is always wise to be mindful of your results, no matter your experience level. An analysis of your results can point out areas that are lacking and in need of improvement and development.
The fact that poker rooms tend to award points for real money bets is often overlooked. This is natural since the aura of chip stacks grabs most of the attention. Said points can be used for poker chips and can boost your bankroll without further investments.
Every popular casino game eventually produces offshoots. The same goes for card games such as poker. There is a real sea of possibilities out there, and the following descriptions of the most common types of online poker might help you choose the one that is perfect for you.
While online poker is the basis, Texas Hold 'em Poker is the platform that most other variants are built on. The goal is for the player to form the highest possible ranked 5-card hand while only making use of hole and community cards. The player who manages to snag the best hand wins the whole pot.
We mentioned that Hold 'em is a common platform, and we are already seeing the first offshoot. Omaha poker uses the same rankings as Hold 'em, with the main difference being four-hole cards and a rule that allows players to use two of these along with three community cards to build their respective hands. This variant has its own subtypes, such as Omaha Hi, which gives the entire pot to the best hands and Omaha Hi-Lo, which splits the pot between the weakest and the strongest hand.
This version gets completely rid of secret hole cards and focuses on face-up and face-down ones. The basis for bets is an observation of enemy face-up cards. As turns are completed, the players end up with three more face-up cards and the final face-down one. Hands are revealed once betting ends and the strongest one, based on Hold 'em, wins.
The main unique aspect of draw poker games is the option of improving hole cards by switching them out for face-down ones from the deck. Representatives of this type of poker game are Card Draw, 7-Card Draw, and 2-7 Triple Draw. They do not utilize community cards because of the strategy involved in holding and placing cards.
Short deck poker shrinks Hold 'em down and get rid of twos, threes, fours, and fives. The game ends up sporting a 26-card deck and the rules and nuances of Texas Hold 'em.
This variant is a complete mashup of multiple types of poker. A HORSE game entails a round of Hold 'em, Omaha, Razz, Stud Hi and Stud Hi-Lo. Note that the order of games is crucial here.
The baseline of Razz is Stud Poker, but it has an interesting twist. The lowest ranking hand is considered the winning hand, and the objective is, a bit oxymoronically, to form the lowest possible hand.
The answer to that question depends on your chosen venue. Renowned online poker rooms with licenses and regulations are legal, especially if they receive them from multiple regulators.
No, they do not. There are dedicated institutions that pay close attention to the results of poker games, especially in terms of their accuracy and fairness.
Yes, it is. Actually, free play is very important to a casino's engagement and is, therefore, often taken good care of. Numerous sites offer free-to-play tables and tourneys that give newbies an amazing way to learn the game.
Yes, it does. One surefire way to find sites offering real-money poker game wins is by looking at our list of recommendations.
This is essentially a tariff imposed on each pot and a site’s only option for making money. This limitation in terms of house income is due to the fact that player losses get transferred to other players and not the casino.
Yes, they do. You can play various mobile poker games at our recommended poker rooms.
Our recommended sites are perfect for the iPhone. However, your final choice should include personal preferences.
Not necessarily. The majority of poker sites have made depositing very flexible and will not limit it to credit cards alone. You can make use of other banking solutions, such as e-wallets, bank transfers and even Bitcoin.
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