Online Poker Basics

Online poker is not only fun, it can win you a load of cash as you bluff your way through the competition. Playing poker online differs a lot from playing at a local casino. For one, no worries about having to put on your best poker face! Instead, you choose the stakes and game rules and compete in the comfort of your own home. The more you play, the more you can focus on improving your game through the use of poker strategies.

Signing Up

The first thing you need to do is find a website where you wish to participate in online poker games. Use poker sites with top of the line encryption and antivirus software protection in place. Also, the site should make a pledge to abide by all fair gaming practices. Read reviews of online poker website to find ones that offer a safe and competitive gambling experience. Preview the site before completing your registration and giving the casino any personal information. When you do select a poker site, you may have to download the required software onto your computer to launch the virtual casino. After the software is downloaded, choose your login details including a username and password. A virtual cashier will be on hand to manage all transactions. Deposit money into your casino account via credit card, money order, wire transfer and online teller services. Similar withdrawal methods will be available if you win during poker games. After you have funded your bankroll, you can browse different poker areas to find open rooms for instant game play. You may also sign up for entry into any upcoming tournaments sponsored through the website.

Play for Free

Before you start betting buckets of cash on games, try out the free or practice sections of the online poker website. This gives you time to get accustomed to game play online. Online play is separated into different rooms where players each take an open seat at a virtual table. Each player in the room gets a turn as the dealer although cards are shuffled and distributed automatically. After the cards are dealt, moves are played in a clockwise direction with the gamer marked as the dealer placing bets last in each round. Bet amounts are also usually based on where you sit at the table in relation to the dealer. The first player clockwise to the dealer places a small blind while the next players must put down a big blind as their minimum bet. The big blind is twice the amount of the small blind and the required bet for game play at that point. Multiple rounds of betting occur until the player with the best combination of cards claims the pot. If all other players fold, you also win the pot.

Player Actions

While sitting at an online poker table, you’ll have a set of options in front of you to choose from when it’s your turn. Options include check, call, bet, raise and fold. When you check a hand, you are passing the action to the next player in the clockwise position without placing an additional wager. For a call, you are matching the bet made by a previous player. Calling is required to stay in the hand if a player raises the pot. A bet option will be the first wager placed on the table. When you raise, you are increasing the amount of the current bet on the poker table. If you decide to fold, you forfeit your cards and you choose not to match the bet currently placed on the table. With a fold, you are ineligible to win the pot.

Know When to Hold ‘Em and Fold ‘Em

An essential part of online poker is you must know when to stay in the game and when to walk away. Top online poker players are said to fold as much as two-thirds of the time-even before the flop in Hold ‘Em games. If you don’t have the cards going into the match, you should save your money for a better hand. When you do bet, place your wagers aggressively. Raise in place of calling to show other players you mean business and aren’t afraid to take their money. Calling too often may keep too many players in the pot and decrease your chances at a win. Pay attention to the actions of all players in the online poker room to determine the best strategy for each hand.

Winning Hands

Poker hands are ranked in order to determine the winner for each game. As you play online, your goal is to get the highest possible ranked hand to beat your opponents. Poker hand rankings from best to worst are a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair and High Card. Suits and ranks of cards from a 52 card deck are used to make the winning hands of cards. The thirteen ranks range from two through ten, then jack, queen and king. The four suits are clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.


In most online poker games, the best combination of cards wins the pot for that hand. However, variations of poker games available online could affect whether or not you make money from the game even if you don’t have the best hand. For instance, a lowball or split-pot games may award a portion of the money to the player with the lowest hand at the poker table. Another variation is to use a wild card such as a joker or deuces. The wild card can be used to help make the best hand possible from your cards.


If you have ever played poker before, betting online will not be overly difficult. Start in a room for newbies to gain confidence and wager at a slower pace. Bet minimums in new player rooms are likely to be the lowest required as well. When you have played successfully and master the basic rules, consider entering a tournament or wagering at a higher minimum table for an added challenge.

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