Poker should be enjoyed by everyone. And we mean literally everyone.
Whether for fun and kicks with friends at home, as a learning tool for basic math skills, as a job or as a break from long hours in the office, poker is one of the most accessible and enjoyable games in the world.
Online poker is taking this idea and cranking it up a notch. You can play for free or for the smallest bets you can imagine (literally pennies). You can play for satellite entries in the most amazing live poker tournaments around the world. Or you can even play for the highest stakes you can find anywhere.
All this you can do from a desktop computer, laptop, phone or tablet. And no matter if you play your first hand or your millionth, regardless of your level of experience, everyone can find the right place at a poker table.
If you want to learn how to play online poker, you are in the right place.
Below we explain everything you need to know to play poker online. Once you’ve read things through, check out our list of the best sites to play online poker and start in seconds!
Introduction to Online Poker
Online Poker Vs. Live poker?
The rules of poker are identical, whether you play a live poker game in person or against other players online. However, there are some significant differences.
Online poker is usually faster, comes with less risk (you can play for smaller amounts) and more accessible (you can find a game anytime, anywhere in the world).
On the flip side, you will usually be able to play against strangers and not look anyone in the face. It takes a little getting used to, but there are still many ways to find out if someone is bluffing.
A Short History Of Online Poker
For years poker has been around smoky bars or casinos, but it all changed in the early 2000s when the internet and a Tennessee accountant turned poker into primetime.
Before the year 2000, most poker was played on the internet in chat rooms and was understandably just free time.
That changed as the technology launched advanced and secure online poker sites that were able to keep players’ money safe and secure them against others.
Moneymaker eventually took home $ 2.5 million to win the tournament and revolutionized the game single-handedly. It was not long before poker was presented at ESPN and hundreds of thousands of players flocked to play online poker.
Why Is Online Poker So Popular?
It’s a fun, easy-to-play, intellectual game that can be exciting. The game rewards actual ability unlike slots or the lottery.
It’s also something that you can do anytime you want, for all the operations you want from your own home.
Can I Win Real Money To Play Online?
Absolutely. Win real money online poker is one of the main reasons why people are attracted to the game, no matter how small the stakes!
Getting Started With Online Poker
What You Need To Play Online Poker
The requirements for online poker are very minimal and there is a good chance that you can play on the same device that you use to search this site now.
Online poker is not particularly distressing on the memory of your computer and if you have a laptop or desktop from the early 2000s or later you have more than enough computing power.
Nowadays, there are many real money poker apps for smartphones and tablets so you can play on the go. These include Android devices, iPhones and iPads.
How Much Money Do I Need To Play Online Poker?
Not very much. You can actually start by playing free play money games on a number of websites. Having your fun with that most people deposit in the range of $ 50-200 and that’s usually enough to keep them for a very long time.
The key is playing games that will not let your online account slip away. For example, if you have $ 50 online, then you should probably stick to $ 1 tournaments until you accumulate a few dollars more.
It is also possible to play as low as 1/1/02 when it comes to cash games, making $ 50 a massive bankroll where it would be very hard to go bankrupt. There are many ways to make your online poker bankroll last too.
How to Play Online Poker
When you play from your home computer or laptop, the first step is to download the online poker software from the website of your choice. The total demand on your store is quite small and it should not take very long to download even on the most archaic Internet connections.
If you prefer not to download anything, you can also try the no download poker games on any poker site, although they do not offer quite the same features and playability as the full download version.
If you have gone the download route once the installation package has been downloaded, just double click on it to install the software. At this point you need to create a user account (on some websites, it is done before you download the software).
You must be at least 18 years of age or the legal age in your jurisdiction, whichever is greater. There will be age controls, so do not expect to get past them when you are under the age.
The deposit of money on an online poker site usually requires a credit card or some kind of prepaid card, but there are some exceptions. Most websites accept large credit companies such as Visa or MasterCard or one of the most popular online eWallets, including Neteller, Skrill and PayPal.
Secrets of Online Poker
Freerolls or Free Poker Online
Freerolls are free tournaments that run online poker sites for selected clients. Admission is free, so you do not have to worry about losing cash – although you can actually win real cash.
There are tons of freerolls to choose from and even signing up for a poker site through PokerListings allows you access to exclusive free tournaments every week.
However, there are many options, including freerolls for specific regions, clubs or groups.
If you are in freerolls be sure to do some research because you can almost always find many free tournaments.
How To Redeem Your Poker Bonus
There is one thing you need to know about online poker bonuses. Most sign-up bonuses are not just given away right away, but you have to prove that you will actually be playing some hands on this poker site.
Generally, bonuses are released based on the number of frequent player points you have earned. For that reason, it’s really good to try and get as many hands as you can in the first few weeks after signing up for an online poker site. Once these weeks are up and you have earned at least part of your bonus, you can relax a bit.
Navigate The Online Poker Lobby
Online poker lobbies are where you can find which poker games an online poker site offers.
Most online poker sites offer a quick start option that is useful for new players. You simply enter the game you want to play, the bets you want to play, how many players you want to play, and then click Play.
You will immediately sit at the game of your choice.
If you want to investigate the lobby a little more, it is usually categorized according to cash games, tournaments, sit & go and what special format games the website is running.
There will also be an “Instant Play” or “Free Play” tab where you can find the free game money games.
The Tournaments tab is usually loaded with events, so you want to filter it so you can actually see what’s going on.
Only Poker Tables For Beginners
Most online poker sites have “beginner” tables of some sort and these are highly recommended for new players as they only sit with other players who classify themselves as beginners.
This dramatically increases the playing field for new players still getting used to the speed and features of online poker.
If you’re on a beginner’s table, you’ll be limited to playing at just one table, which is ideal if you’re still learning the game. The relatively slow pace of the beginners’ tables keeps the sharks away, as well as capping the number of hands you’ve played on the sides.
Once you’ve passed a certain threshold of hands, you will not be able to access the beginner tables.
Track Your Results!
Even if you are just an occasional poker player, it can really help to track your poker results. This will give you a good idea of where you really win and lose your money and what works and what does not.
Fortunately, most online poker sites offer their own pursuit. Be sure to click on your session statistics after you’ve finished playing to understand how you did it. You should pay close attention to your win rate, the number of flops seen, and the times you went to showdown.