Online Poker

As we enter the age of high-speed internet and powerful computers, online pokers have taken the gambling market by storm, offering a virtual space to play the game right in the comfort of your own home. Although online poker is meant to simulate the real thing, there are a number of advantages in playing online:

  • The game goes a lot faster: Online poker software could shuffle and deal cards in almost no time at all. Furthermore, everyone has a set amount of time to act and when the time is up, there’s no room for delays.
  • Higher accessibility: Playing from home means you can get some poker action anytime you want. Moreover, you can play your favorite online poker games in many mobile casinos while traveling.
  • Cheaper: Playing poker online can be considerably budget-friendlier than at conventional poker rooms where you might have to incur additional costs for snacks, drinks, and entry fees.

Whether you play poker the traditional way or in a virtual room, the excitement and thrill of the game are very real.

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The rules of poker

The aim of the game is to have the highest-ranked poker hand at the end of the round. There are many variations of poker games with the most famous and popular type being the Texas Hold’em which utilizes a standard 52-card deck that’s shuffled before every hand.

The objective: to be the winner of a Texas Hold’em, you need to make the best 5-card hand possible from 2 hole cards and 5 community cards.

Blinds setting: the game starts by going clockwise from the dealer position which is marked by the dealer button. To the left of the dealer, there are two forced bets called the small and big blind. The player to the left of the dealer wagers half of the minimum bet amount (small blind) while the next player must bet the minimum amount (big blind).

Sitting down: Once both blinds are in, starting from the small blind position, each player gets two cards (called hole cards) and five community cards which are shared by all players.

Pre-flop: this is the first betting round where players decide if they will play their hand. The first action begins with the player to the left of the big blind position, called under the gun, and he/ she can choose to:

  • Call: match the previous bet amount
  • Raise: at least doubling the preceding bet amount
  • All in: betting all your chips
  • Fold: not play the hand

The Flop: once all players have had a chance to decide if they would bet or fold, the dealer will reveal three community cards face up, known as the flop. Players can use the cards in the flop in combination with their hole cards.

Post flop: in this next round of betting, the action begins with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer. This person can choose to:

  • Check: pass the action to the next player.
  • Bet: place a bet with a value that’s at least equivalent to the big blind and up to all of the players’ chips.
  • All in
  • Fold

The turn and post-turn: The dealer reveals the fourth community card known as the turn and the betting round is identical to the previous round.

The river and showdown: The dealer reveals the fifth and final community card, called the river, and the final betting round, called the showdown will begin. Again, the showdown’s procedures are the same as the previous betting rounds. At the end of the showdown, all players will reveal their hole cards, starting with the last aggressor. The winner is the player with the best poker hand that’s a combination of any of the seven cards (two hole cards and five community cards) and takes the pot.

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Variants of online poker

Poker games are multi-faceted and come in distinct types where they differ on numbers of cards dealt, hand rankings, number of hidden and community cards, number of rounds, and betting process. While certain types are very well-known and have players from all over the world, others are a lot less common.

Texas Hold’em: this is easily the world’s favorite form of poker due to its simplicity and ease of learning it. On the other hand, mastering it is a lot more challenging which is part of the attraction too.

Omaha: the second most popular kind of poker, Omaha’s rules are very similar to that of Texas Hold’em in terms of blinds and betting but players get a different number of hole cards. You can further divide this variant into Omaha hi and Omaha hi/lo.

Others: in case you’re looking for something a little different, there are many other forms of poker that might be rather distinctive but still just as exciting. For example, Razz can sometimes be a bit confusing for new players because the aim is to get the lowest hand instead of the highest one. Before Texas Hold’em came along, Seven Card Stud was the most popular and is the choice of professional poker players. For the ultimate challenge, you can even have a game of mixed game formats where players use multiple variants at the same time, rotating the active version every few hands.

Online playing options

The glamorous side of poker lies in the tournaments where you can beat a field of players and win a significant prize money that’s worth many times your buy-in amount. There are two types of poker tournaments you can find online:

  • Tournament or sometimes called Multi-table Tournament (MTT) is an event that involves more than one table. Theoretically, you can have a tournament with just 2 or 3 tables but that’s rarely the case especially in larger online sites. MTTs start at a scheduled time, no matter how many players bought in. It’s usually a slower format with larger starting stacks, and maximum players of up to the thousands.
  • Sit and Go (SNG) is a tournament without any set start time but begins when there are enough players. Some people also call this type of tournament Single Table Tournament but, in fact, these terms aren’t mutually exclusive and you can have an SNG with multiple tables too. SNGs tend to have faster blinds with lower starting stacks and is usually done within an hour.

If you’re new to poker or are a casual player, SNGs would be perfect to get your feet wet with lower buy-ins and higher chances of winning as someone inexperienced. However, an MTT is the ultimate place where the best players compete for the massive prize money, glory, and fame.

Casino poker games

The emergence of online poker has led many casinos online to create both classic casino poker games and video poker games. While many seasoned poker players prefer to play at cash tables and tournaments, there’s a rapidly growing demand for something different but still with a poker format.

In casino poker games, you don’t play with other players but instead, you play against the house in a poker-structured game. Some of the most popular casino-based poker games are:

  • Caribbean stud poker: this is a game where you play a 5-card poker against the dealer (house). The dealer will need to qualify with at least a J, Q, K, or A in his hand or you’ll automatically win 1/3 of your total bet.
  • 3-card poker: this is actually a two-game-in-one deal where you try to beat the dealer’s 3-card hand with your own and you can wager on whether you’ll get a pair or better in your hand.
  • Pai Gow poker: a low variance game where you’ll need to form two hands from a set of cards to win against the dealer’s two poker hands.

Casino poker games are ideal for inexperienced players to hone their skills before being confident enough to venture into cash tables and tournaments. There are free versions online that you can play at zero risks. Playing against the house also means that there’s no time limit to rush you into acting on your hand.

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