Poker & Skill
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When it comes to online betting and casino sites some of the most popular places are the poker rooms. With a reputation for being the ultimate casino game, poker has made the transition to online sites seamless and there is more choice for poker fans on the internet than there ever was in real life casinos.
In this poker skill guide, we will tell you about the most popular types of poker you can play online – and also how to improve your poker playing so you have more chance of winning at the tables.
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Types of Online Poker
Before you hone your poker skills in the hope of making some money you will need to choose which type of poker game you want to play. Online betting sites have a great selection of poker variants and you will find that you are suited to one more than the others.
Whether you are a poker professional or a willing learner you need to first find your game.
Texas Hold ‘Em
This is the most popular style of poker at online sites. The simple rules make it perfect for anyone new to the game or even those who want to play without any complications. This style has action and strategy in spades with two hidden hole cards and five community cards. You will be able to find your level very quickly.
Caribbean Stud Poker
In this version of poker, you are playing against the dealer rather than the other players around the table. It is essentially 5-card stud but the dealer has to show one card throughout the hand. The betting is very simple too so, once again, ideal for newcomers to the game.
Incredibly popular, in the US especially, video poker is the simplest version of the game to play – and perfect for online customers. The speed and ease of play is the attraction and traditional poker skill is not as necessary but will still help!
Pai Gow Poker
A more complex version of the game, this is really for players who have worked on their poker skill and fancy more of a challenge. Players must beat the banker with two hands running at the same time. Once you have mastered this game you may never look back.
How to Improve Your Poker Skill
The main thing anyone can do to improve his or her game is to play more poker. It seems obvious, but by playing more hands you will get a better feel for the game whatever the version. But here are a few more tips on improving your poker skill.
Concentrate on Other Players
This obviously depends on what version you are playing but taking into consideration other players as much as your own hand is vital for success. Follow their trends and you can play your hand accordingly.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fold
Winning poker, in the long run, will mean losing a few hands in the meantime. Don’t chase games when you don’t have a good hand and don’t feel that you have to carry on after the flop in Texas Hold ‘Em just because you’ve put money down. Think long term and your poker skills will improve.
Change Things Up
Everyone has a favourite hand when it comes to poker. But successful players don’t rely on that hand all the time. Change things up at the table and you will find that your skills have improved.
How to play online poker: A comprehensive guide
It seems that the popularity of poker as a game has truly bloomed with the availability of online poker sites. Suddenly, people could play poker online with other players from all over the world in an instant. As online casinos gradually became the main hubs for poker, players got the possibility to make serious bank. If you are interested in online poker but still haven’t tried it out, we will guide you through the process. So let’s jump right in with the basics.
How to sign up at a poker site – a step by step guide
Before you can access poker online, an important step is choosing the right operator. Most online casino operators will offer poker as a separate section on their website. We strongly recommend reading a review of the services before committing.
Once you have made your selection, this is how you sign up:
- Click the ‘Join’, ‘Register’ or ‘Sign up’ button on the operator’s website
- Fill out the form with the required information- name, date of birth, address, user name, password, etc.
- If there are poker bonuses which require a code enter it
- If prompted, set a deposit limit
- Click to accept the terms and conditions
- Complete the registration
- Verify your account
The verification process exists to prevent potential attempts at fraud. It involves sending a photo of a personal document, like an ID, passport or driver’s licence to confirm your identity. Some operators will also ask for an address confirmation, which involves sending a newer utility bill. The whole procedure can take minutes or days depending on the information asked. It is a cumbersome, but a necessary step to deter people from bonus abuse. Once you complete the registration, you will have full access to online poker and your account.
While verification covers safety from the operator’s side, your first line of defence towards protecting your account is your password. Make it strong and difficult to crack.
How to download poker software and start playing?
Although many operators allow users to play poker online directly from the browser, some require you to download separate software. If a download is required, the installation file will be available on the operator’s website. Casino operators usually make sure to make the download link easily accessible and visible.
To install the file, you simply click the download link, which will start the downloading process. Once the downloading is over, you can open the file and run the installation. Poker software usually isn’t demanding, so the installation should be done quickly. In any case, you can check the system requirements before downloading, just to be on the safe side. When the installation is complete, you simply log in with your credentials and you can start playing online poker.
Poker apps are a more common sight on mobile, as operators often choose to release the service as an app. As you are probably aware, the download procedure is much more streamlined on mobile. It’s as easy as accessing either Play Store or App Store, searching for the app and pressing the install button.
How to sign up for a new account on mobile and place a deposit
More and more people choose to play poker through their mobile devices. In fact, the number of people accessing iGaming sites through mobile has surpassed desktop users by a large margin. So, there is a great chance that your phone or tablet will be your primary way of playing online poker.
Gambling operators have long recognized the trend so nearly all of them offer a mobile app or a website. And they, for the most part, offer the same experience as the desktop versions. So, the entire sign up procedure is basically the same.
When it comes to placing a deposit, you will have to check whether the operator supports your preferred payment method. Once you make sure they do, it’s only a matter of finding the ‘Deposit’ option and completing the procedure.
These are some commonly supported payment methods with average withdrawal processing times. The information has been aggregated from several different online Casino websites and the actual processing time may differ.
|Types of payment methods||Services||Average processing time|
|Credit cards||MasterCard, Visa||6 to 8 days|
|E-wallets||Apple Pay, Google Pay||2 to 3 days|
|Online Payment Services||Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, Entropay||2 to 3 days|
|Banks||Bank transfer, Cheque||10-15 days|
One more thing to pay attention to when it comes to payment methods is which ones qualify for bonuses. Operators will often exclude some online payment services from certain promotions to prevent possible bonus abuse. So, make sure you are using the supported payment method before participating in a deposit bonus promotion.
How to navigate and find a poker game on desktop and mobile
With the number of operators out there and the fact that there are new ones constantly looming on the horizon, finding the perfect place to play isn’t easy. There can be a lot of variables that factor into your selection of online poker sites.
Luckily, there is a way to make your decision easier. First, you will have to decide what are the things you look for when playing online poker. Is the community aspect important to you? Do you prefer playing live online poker? Are you looking for generous poker bonuses? Are you interested in classic online poker, or in variations?
Once you know what you are looking for, finding it should be much easier. And you don’t have to do it alone. There are reputable websites which offer detailed comparisons of different operators’ services. Go through several reviews and pick the operator that most suits your needs. Finally, one of the main benefits of poker online is being able to play at as many operators as you want. So, if you are not satisfied, try a different one. This applies to both desktop and mobile.
What kind of online poker games can you play?
In its long history and massive worldwide popularity, poker has branched out into a multitude of variations. So much so, that the very term ‘poker’ is often used as an umbrella term for its many variations.
Online poker sites will often list dozens of different poker-based games, some of which seem very distant from the original. We have selected 3 of the most popular online poker variants today, so let’s see what makes them stand out.
Texas Hold’Em: what is it and how to play
Out of all the variations inspired by the original, Texas Hold’Em is by far the most popular one. It is popular both on online poker sites and in brick and mortar casinos, with tournaments being organized constantly. Its quick and dynamic format makes easy to get into, both as a player and as a viewer. That’s certainly what made it skyrocket in popularity in recent years and both offline and online poker game.
The basic poker ruleset applies in Texas Hold’Em, with a slight change in mechanics. At the beginning of the turn, each player is dealt two face-down cards called ‘hole cards’. Next, there’s a round of betting where players can check, bet or fold. At this point, your decision is based on the two hole cards.
Once the round has finished, the dealer reveals three shared cards, which is called the flop. Then there’s another round of betting, and then the fourth shared card is revealed- the turn. After another round of betting, the fifth and final card is revealed, which is called the river.
After the final round of betting has finished, remaining players reveal their two hole cards. The strength of the hand is determined by combining the two hole cards with the face-up shared ones into the best five-card hand. The other way of winning is out-betting other players until everyone but one has folded.
Video Poker: what is it and how to play
Video poker is one of the simplest poker variations. That’s exactly what makes it hugely popular as an online poker game. It is sometimes referred to as ‘poker slots’, but as opposed to slots, there is an element of skill involved.
Video poker requires no interaction with the dealer or other players. Cards are dealt from one 52 card deck, and all the card combinations are governed by a random number generator. Since there are no other players to beat, payment is determined according to a predetermined chart. The lowest winning hand in video poker is a pair of jacks, kings, queens or aces.
The game of video online poker usually goes like this. The player presses the ‘play’ button, and the game deducts the pre-determined betting credit amount and deals five cards. The player can then choose to hold or discard any of the cards. This is done by pressing the Hold/Cancel button. After they’ve made their decision, players press the deal button, which discards the selected cards and deals new ones. Finally, the game compares the new hand with the pay chart. If there is a winning hand, it adds the designated number of credits to the player’s account.
The winnings are usually shown as credits and can be withdrawn as real money at any time. The payoff amount is left to casino owners and can be changed.
Pai Gow Poker: what is it and how to play
If video poker is the simplest form of online poker, Pai Gow might be one of the most challenging ones. This game is really for players who have mastered their poker skill and fancy more of a challenge.
Pai Gow Poker has been created in the 1980s, by an American casino owner Sam Torosian. And it caught on quickly, captivating the attention of poker players for over 30 years. The name stems from the Chinese dominoes game of the same name.
Although the object of the game is simple- beat the banker, the game can be quite difficult to grasp. At least in the beginning. Pai Gow uses the standard 52 card deck plus one joker. It can be played with up to 6 other players. At the beginning of the game, players are dealt 7 cards. Players then have to make two hands: a five-card “high” one, and a two-card “low” one. The high hand has to beat the low hand.
Once the hands are set, the dealer reveals them, together with the banker’s hands. There are three possible outcomes. The player wins both hands and wins the bets. The banker wins both hands and the player loses. And the player wins one hand and the banker wins the other, which no one wins and no money changes hands. If there is a tie, meaning the player and the dealer have equal hands, the bet goes to the dealer.
Online poker bonuses: where to find them and how to get them?
One of the biggest incentives for choosing where to register for poker online might be bonuses. Online poker sites often offer generous bonuses as a way to attract new customers. And bonuses can be a great way for new players to get to know the website’s services and play a few risk-free games. There are different kinds of poker bonuses which come with different terms and conditions. In this part, we’ll cover some of the more common types.
What is a playthrough bonus? Is it different from a wagering requirement?
One of the most important points with any bonus you might get for playing poker online is the wagering requirement. Sometimes called the playthrough bonus, it represents the amount of money needed to be spent before claiming any winnings. Playthrough bonus is usually presented as ‘x the bonus amount’. You will commonly find that the requirements are 30 or 40x the bonus amount. This means that if you get a £100 bonus, the amount you will have to spend before claiming any winnings made with can be £3000.
You need to be aware, that Casino operators often set a chart about how much each game contributes to the requirements. So, certain games, with a low house edge can only contribute 10%. To make matters even more difficult, there will usually be a limited time frame by which the wagering requirements need to be met. They are usually around 30 days, but can sometimes be as low as 15 or 7. If the requirements aren’t met, the bonus funds will expire.
As you can see a playthrough bonus is essential in determining whether the bonus can be claimed. This is why it is essential to study the terms and conditions and get to know exactly what is required of you. When participating in a deposit bonus decide if you are better off claiming a smaller bonus. This way the requirements will be more reasonable, and there are better chances to claim it.
What is a poker promo code and how can I use it?
Poker promo codes are the main way of unlocking poker bonuses. When you register for poker online, during the process of registration, you will sometimes be asked for a promo code. If prompted, there will be a box in the sign-up form where you will need to type it out before you complete the registration. Codes can usually be found in the promotion’s details or third-party websites which are authorised to distribute them.
It is important to emphasise that poker promo codes are only the first step towards claiming a bonus. This means that without them, you won’t be eligible to participate in the promotion. On the other hand, there will almost certainly be other conditions you will have to fulfil. For example, with deposit bonuses, you will need to place a real money deposit in order to get the bonus.
You can find the details of each promotional offer clearly stated in the offer’s terms and conditions. So, make sure to always read them carefully before participating. As we have said, pay special attention to the wagering requirements, as well as any other potential limitations.
What other kinds of poker welcome offer exist? How are they different?
By far the most common types of welcome offers are the first deposit bonuses. Operators will match your first deposit with a certain percentage, up to a certain amount of money. The percentages offered can range significantly but in general, rarely go below 50% and above 200%. The same cannot be said for the amount of bonus money offered, which can range from £100 up to more than £1000.
Other common type of bonuses are no-deposit bonuses. As you might have guessed, these bonuses don’t require an initial deposit. They are usually applied to a user’s account immediately after registration. Another difference is the fact that they are, as a rule, much smaller. They usually range between £10 and £30. They also have much stricter wagering requirements, since you are technically getting a bonus without making a deposit.
How to improve your poker skill: useful advice for beginners
With a game as complex as poker, there aren’t that many shortcuts. The most tried and true way of improving your skill is through experience. Playing games and analysing your wins and losses can help you advance further than you would by reading a tutorial. This is where the advantages of poker online shine, as you are able to play a lot of games one after the other. There are poker sites which offer free games you can use as practice until you feel confident playing for money.
Tips on which are the strongest hands to play
If you are just starting out playing poker, learning the poker hand rankings is somewhat equal to learning how to read. The strongest hand you can have in poker is called a Royal Flush. It means that you have an ace, king, queen, jack and a 10 all in the same suit. The second best is the Straight Flush. It is five cards in a row which are all in the same suit. Four of a kind is the third strongest hand, which is the same card in four different suits.
The fifth strongest is called a flush where you have five cards in the same suit, without a numerical order. The rest of the hands are a Straight – five cards in numerical order, but not in the same suit. Three of a kind – three of one card, Two pairs – two different pairs of the same card, One pair- one pair of the same card and finally High Card – no matching cards, without order in at least two colours.
When to raise, call and fold? What are the common strategies?
Winning poker, in the long run, will mean losing a few hands in the meantime. Don’t chase games when you don’t have a good hand and don’t feel that you have to carry on after the flop in Texas hold‘em just because you’ve put money down. Think long term and your poker skills will improve.
You should also concentrate and pay attention to other players. This obviously depends on what version you are playing but taking into consideration other players as much as your own hand is vital for success. Follow their trends and you can play your hand accordingly.
Bluffing in poker: what is it and when should you do it?
Bluffing has been a major strategy in poker. It involves raising bets with a hand that is believed not to be the best one. The main purpose of a bluff is to make other players with potentially better hands fold. In regular poker, where you are sitting face to face with other players, you can rely on some physical signs to try to guess if a person is bluffing. This is, of course, for the most part, impossible when playing poker online.
In either case, relying on your intuition is key. Pay close attention to the style of play each player has. This will help you notice any sudden change in behaviour. Bluffing is one of the most difficult strategies to master, especially because it carries the greatest risk. It is very difficult to pick up on cues when playing poker online, especially if you are playing with random people. That is why the best advice is to limit bluffing to a minimum if you don’t have enough experience. As you get more confident with the game, you will learn how to do it with finesse.