Poker is the first thing that crosses many people’s minds when someone mentions gambling, and this tells us a lot about the popularity of this card game. For decades, players have visited various gambling facilities to play Poker for real money. With the help of the Internet, we can all play online Poker whenever (and wherever) we want.
Online Poker is not the same as traditional Poker played in land-based casinos or with your friends. Most participants agree that it has many advantages over its conventional counterpart, and we are not talking only about convenience. Thanks to this thorough guide, players will learn how to play Poker online.
The two basic categories of online Poker
Even though there are dozens of poker variants, we can categorize all online poker games into two categories. The first one is online poker tournaments. Many networks allow players to play against each other in large tournaments. You will find many experienced players there, so you should probably stay away from these virtual places if you are a beginner. Of course, these tournaments are often separated into different levels for beginner, intermediate, or professional players. Still, in most cases, the value of the ticket makes a difference. This makes sense because no one can determine whether someone is a pro or not over the Internet. So, if you really want to join these sites, look for tournaments with small prize pools.
The other category includes poker games where you are trying to beat the house. These are virtual online poker games where you must get better hands than the software regardless of the variant (you still may be playing against virtual players or a dealer). This may sound difficult, but every online poker game like this comes with a specific theoretical RTP (Return to Player) percentage and volatility. These titles use RNG (Random Number Generators) to vouch for the randomness of the outcomes. So, you should get a fair chance for success with a good strategy.
We’ve already pointed out that online Poker has dozens of variations. So, talking about poker rules may be difficult, but some basic rules still work in almost all these games.
First of all, there is a dealer. Depending on the variant, this dealer appointed by the online casino can participate in the game with their own hand of cards or not. They constantly shuffle the cards and deal the appropriate number of cards to the players.
Then we have the cards. A standard deck of 52 playing cards is used in most online poker versions, but there are exceptions. For example, some use one or two jokers, while others use two decks of cards.
Another essential element of the poker game that you should understand is the card values. We are talking about the value of poker hands that will determine the game’s outcome. Some basic rules work in almost all versions which we will discuss in a separate section below. The scoring is essential here. This is why virtually all online poker games have game rules and info windows that allow players to read them before playing. Take some time to read these rules and make sure you understand them before placing a bet.
Furthermore, we have betting activities. You can’t expect to win anything in an online casino without wagering some money. The same goes for playing online Poker. Placing bets is straightforward because software developers release games with an intuitive design. It’s easy to find the poker chips and analyze their values. They are present on the main screen, and putting them in the designated areas to place a bet requires dragging the chips to that area or clicking them twice.
The betting process in Poker begins before the cards are dealt with the so-called “ante” bet. This is the minimum wager that every participant must place to join the round. After that, you can “call” (put the same number of chips as the other players in cases they’ve raised the “ante” bet or keep the initial bet if possible). Next, you have an option to “raise” – to put more chips than the others or “fold” (“drop”), abandon the game, and lose what you have invested to that point.
Remember that these are just the basic rules of the popular game, and you’ll need much more to learn how to play Poker successfully.
Since poker hands are crucial for the outcome of any round of this game, we should analyze their values. Once again, we must note that not all variants value these hands equally, and some of them may have specific combinations. Yet, by analyzing the most popular forms of online Poker, you will realize that a few of them appear almost everywhere. We will start the list of poker hands with the lowest valued and go to the highest valued hand.
High Card – Sometimes, a single card can bring you success against other players or the dealer when there are no different combinations at the table.
Pair – This hand includes two cards of identical value
Two Pairs – Two pairs of two cards of equal value
Three of a Kind – Three cards of an exact value
Straight – Five subsequent cards that don’t belong to the identical playing card suits
Flush – Any five cards that belong to the same suit
Full House – A combination of three cards of identical value and two cards of equal value
Four of a Kind – Four cards of identical value
Straight Flush – A straight of five subsequent cards of the same suit
Royal Flush – A straight that starts with 10 and ends with Ace of the same suit
The most popular poker games
We’ve already divided the poker games played online into two categories, but that’s one way to describe the variants of this game. Some experts like to talk about the three basic types of Poker.
The first one is known as stud poker. Here, players get 5 or 7 cards (it could be less or more) and must stick to these cards to come up with the best poker hand. Next, we have the draw games where players can trade in some of the cards (typically no more than three) to strengthen their position. Finally, the community card poker games provide hole cards (face-down) cards to the players and community cards visible to all players. These community cards can be used by all players. Now let’s analyze the most popular variants of Poker today.
Texas Hold ’em
There’s no doubt that this is the most popular variant of Poker in the United States. Still, it seems that this popularity has also reached Europe in the past decade. Every Texas Hold ’em game provides two hole cards to the participants and a total of five community cards. Not all of these cards are revealed at once – there are four rounds. This gives players many opportunities to analyze the current situation and make sound decisions. Texas Hold ’em requires skills and strategy for success. Unlike many casino games, this is not purely a game of chance.
This is an excellent example of a draw poker game where each player receives five cards at the beginning of the round. However, every participant can trade in one, two, or even three of these cards before the game’s final stage.
We will cover one of the most famous stud poker variants too. Each player gets seven cards at the beginning of the round, and three of these are face-down cards while the others are face-up. Not all cards contribute to the final poker hand, and it’s up to the player to get the most from their 7-card hand because only five of them contribute to the final result.
We don’t have to talk much about the origin of this poker variant which is now played across the globe. Every game requires two to ten active players. This is a version of Texas Hold ’em with four rounds of betting. In this case, players get four face-down cards and five community cards visible from the first round. Each player can use two face-down cards and three community cards to develop the best poker hand.
Now that we have analyzed the most popular poker games in online casinos and their rules, it might be good to share a few tips that can help you strengthen your overall poker strategy.
First, we advise players to choose the best game for their skill level and bankroll. Anyone can get lucky and win some money at the casino, but this doesn’t mean you are ready to play with the high-rollers. It takes some time to master this game, so be patient. Also, you should be able to recognize the times when it’s better to fold. Nothing is embarrassing about this, and you should never forget that it’s best to lose a small amount of money than to bluff and lose everything. Lastly, read the rules of every game you are interested in before playing with real money.