Beginner’s Guide to Online Poker
Online Poker gets more popular by the day. From highly popular Poker tournaments on T.V. to high-grossing movies like ‘Rounders’ Poker is a casino game with a mass appeal. Not only is it intellectually challenging, players get to challenge other players. Many Online Poker players are not just playing for fun, but actually earn a living from playing.
Most Poker stars started off with a keen interest to learn enough to start making cash. This beginner’s guide to online Poker will give you everything you need to get yourself on the road to being an authentic Poker player. From the breakdown of the rules to different playing options available out there, you’ll get everything you need to start your own Poker adventure.
Basic Rules of Texas Hold’em
When we’re talking about online Poker and Poker in general these days, we’re usually referring to its most popular variation, Texas Hold’em. This is the one most players start with, so this is a quick breakdown of the rule for ‘No Limit Hold’em’ games.
The game begins with two players seated to the left of the dealer posting small and big blind, respectively. Blinds are forced bets used to drive the action and force people to play, instead of just sitting around and waiting to get the best hands. Blinds move around clockwise, so everyone gets to be in the blinds an equal number of times.
After the blinds are posted, everybody’s dealt two cards, face down, referred to as hole cards. The first betting round starts with the player seated left to the small blind. They have an option to fold, call, or raise. Once the first round of betting is over, those players who didn’t fold, proceed to see the flop.
The flop contains three community cards dealt face up in the middle of the table. All players can use these cards in any combination with their hole cards to make the best hand. Another betting round begins, starting with the player seated in the small blind or the first next active player closest to the small blind position.
After this, another community card is dealt, called the turn, followed by another round of betting. Finally, the fifth and the last community card, called the river, is dealt. The final round of betting follows, after which the players proceed to the showdown.
There are two ways to win in Texas Hold’em. If one player manages to force other players out of the pot by betting, i.e. bluffing, he will win the pot. If not, all active players after the river betting round will go to a showdown where the strongest hand will win the pot.
Hands in Texas Hold’em are ranked using standard hand ranking rules, with the high card being the weakest possible hand, followed by one pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind (quads), straight flush and the ultimate Poker hand – royal flush.
Different Varieties of Online Poker
As we’ve mentioned, Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular online Poker variation. The game owes a lot of its popularity to the fact it is the game played during the WSOP Main Event, which means it gets the most TV coverage. It is also the variation that’s had hundreds of books written about, such as ‘The Book of Tells’ by Mike Caro or ‘Super/System, A course in Poker Power’ by Doyle Brunson.
However, Hold’em isn’t the only Poker variety out there. These days, Omaha Poker is in a firm second place. Omaha is quite similar to Hold’em in many aspects (hole cards, community cards, betting rules), but players start with four instead of two cards. They have to use exactly two of their hole cards combined with three community cards to make best hands. This variation is very action-packed, which helped it become popular.
Other than these two variations, there are many others as well. There is the good old Five Card Draw, different stud games like Seven Card Stud and Five Card Stud, as well as lowball games such as Razz and Deuce to Seven Draw. Almost all of these variations have been very popular at one point or another, just like Texas Hold’em is today. Many of them are still played and enjoyed by certain groups of players, so there are numerous online Poker rooms offering all or at least some of these variations.
Keep in mind that not all game variations use the same hand ranking system. Lowball games use a different system, where the goal is getting the lowest possible hand, while hands like full houses and flushes have no value.
Mobile Online Poker
First, there are mobile Poker apps, which can be installed on the device. One downside of these is the fact same apps aren’t compatible for Androids and iPhones, so operators have to develop two distinct applications.
The second option are Poker rooms offering players a chance to play from their mobile browsers. These aren’t as common as instant play mobile casinos for example, but they do exist. Overall, however, mobile Poker apps usually provide somewhat better experience.
Different Online Playing Options
Apart from different games, online Poker players have a number of options available to them when it comes to game formats. Generally speaking, there are three main formats, regardless of the game variation:
- Cash games – played for real money, with players able to rebuy at all times
- Tournaments – players pay a fixed amount to register for the tournament, which starts at a certain time. All the money from the buy-ins creates the total prize pool, which is distributed to players lasting longest, with the winner getting the biggest share
- Sit & Go – played similar to tournaments, with the difference being they start when a certain limited number of people have registered
Casino Poker Games
Some of the most popular casino Poker variations include games such as Caribbean Stud Poker, Casino Hold’em, Three Card Poker, Texas Hold’em Bonus, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Let It Ride, Four Card Poker, etc. Of course, there are also the always-popular video Poker machines.
These games combine the best of the both worlds, so to speak. They bring the familiar feeling of Poker games, using similar rules and hand rankings players are already familiar with. At the same time, they also feature casino elements as they are played against the house, feature various bonuses for certain combinations, as well as big jackpots for making hands like straight and royal flushes.
Casino Poker games are popular with Poker players and casual gamblers alike. For the first, it is the change of pace while still enjoying certain elements of the game they love. For the others, these are interesting table games different from the likes of blackjack and baccarat.
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