ONLINE POKER REVIEWS
PLAYING POKER ONLINE
Does anybody remember the days when poker was not trendy? When it was it played by old men in smoky backrooms and was devoid of all glamour and glitz? Those days are well and truly gone and now poker, thanks to the internet is available any time of day or night and always at the touch of your fingertips.
So what was the turning point for poker? The answer is simple – when it went online! Suddenly everybody was an expert. You could play for pennies and win. There were books, online guides, youtube tutorials, and they all promised to turn you from a fish to a shark.
Of course, the rise of Poker superstars also helped the game. Live tournaments and tv footage of WSOP tournaments turned players into household names. Huge wins, amazing bluffs, and tense final tables had us glued to the tv. It was all so exciting. And even better, we could join in!!
We could signup and play in minutes. With a bit of practice, a smidge of skill, and a dash of luck we were on our way to being great. Then suddenly the shine of poker diminished slightly. As every player was in the same boat, winning wasn’t as easy.
Often online small players were being picked off, rather unfairly by the bigger players. It seemed that no matter how well you played the game, others were just continually bluffing their way to pots. If they had more money than you then they could push you to the brink and steal the prize. Suddenly it wasn’t as much fun.
But all that said, online poker is still incredibly popular. It may not be played by masses of amateurs anymore but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and play a few hands if you’re feeling lucky.
HOW TO PLAY ONLINE POKER
Unlike other gaming sections such as bingo, sports betting, and slots, online Poker is played a little differently. On UK bookmaker sites, you have to actually download and install the poker software on your device. You can’t stream it.
The next issue is the device you use. Some bookmakers do not offer Apple-compatible poker software. So if you’re on a Mac or iPad you are out of luck. So check your bookmaker or casino first. You can always download the poker software at another bookmaker.
So now you have downloaded the software you need to log in. If you are already signed up with the casino just use your usual username and password. If not, you will have to register an account.
Once you opened your account and have deposited some cash you are ready to play. The poker lobby should open automatically. Here you can see all the games available to play. They will also include the cost of the buy-in and blinds. Tip: if you’re new to online poker go with the lowest cost possible. That way you won’t spend too much money getting to grips with the system.
Once you’ve picked your game a virtual poker table will pop up. Here you can see where you are sitting as well as the other players in the room. You will be dealt into the next new hand.
Your two cards appear and no other player can see them. Play starts with the dealer and moves clockwise around the table. Each player is given a limited amount of time to fold, check, or raise. As the game moves around the table your name is highlighted when it’s your turn.
And that’s it. You are playing online poker. You keep playing until you decide to leave the table or run out of money. The choice is yours.
HOW TO WIN AT POKER ONLINE
There are lots of advantages of playing poker online. It’s easy, it’s quick and quite often it’s cheap. The problem with it is that you can’t see your opponents. They are random players from all over the world and you have no idea how they play or if they are bluffing.
The only real way to combat that is to really study and learn the game. Don’t punt on every pair of cards you get dealt with. Make some strategic moves and vary your style of play.
If you only play when you have a good hand you’ll soon get found out. Likewise with your opponents. If they frequently fold and then suddenly make large bets it’s because they think they have a good hand. If you know yours isn’t great then fold.
When you’re playing for pennies it won’t make much difference but it will give some insight into the others at the poker table.
Make sure you know when you have a good starting hand and when you are holding rubbish. Playing with a five and an eight hoping to get a straight is not a good idea. Give yourself a fighting a chance at winning and play smart.
Once you’ve got the basics down and have practised a lot, try moving up the tables to those with higher buy-ins. The players there will have more experience but by then so will you. The potential winnings are higher but so are the stakes.
The only way to really win at poker is to be very good at it. Read the books and guides, watch the tutorials and tips, take the advice and practise a lot.
WHAT IS THE BEST ONLINE POKER SITE?
This is a tough question to answer. Like everything else, where you like playing poker online will completely depend on you. Do you like a huge variety of games? Or maybe you prefer playing online poker tournaments. Are you very experienced, in which case you’ll aready know where you like to play? Or are you brand new to playing online poker and need help picking a good place to start?
On the basis that you just want to dabble and haven’t decided where you want to play, you need to think about a few things.
How well do know the game? Thankfully, nearly every single online UK casino offers poker and most will have a special designated poker room for new players. These rooms have very low buy-ins and everybody playing is at the same level of experience. You may not win a huge amount of money but you can definitely get to grips with how the game is played online.
Most online poker games are download only. Due to the nature of the game and the systems needed to power it, even the most advanced online casinos, such as Paddy Power, Betfair and Ladbrokes, require you to actually download their online poker games.
You only have to do this once but it also means that you cannot stream it in the same way that you play slots, or online scratch cards. That said, Paddy Power have a very fast download system which means you can register and be playing in minutes.
Do you want to play with strangers or friends? Most of the time when you start playing online poker, you will be up against strangers. Once you venture out of the newbie rooms, depending on the game, you could be up against a few sharks who will happily take your cash.
Betfair offers a great alternative. They will help facilitate ‘private home games’ on your behalf. So if you want to invite family or friends for a friendly game, they will tailor the game, including buy-ins and blind configuration, however you want. All you have to do is invite the rest of the players and Betfair Poker will take care of managing the funds and the pot and all in your own private online poker room.
Are welcome bonuses important to you? Nobody is going to turn down free money or free credits and certainly not when they are just starting out playing online poker. And while every single casino has an offer for you there are a few things to remember.
Firstly, there will be terms and conditions so you may have to spend through your bonus money and then some, before you can withdraw any winnings. Others place time limits on the bonus so if you don’t use it and play, you lose it. It’s alway very important to properly read the t&cs!
Ultimately, there is no one single ‘best online poker site’. The best poker site is the one that is regulated in the UK, has great customer service, offers you a decent welcome offer, has a great range of games, friendly players, great graphics and is a place you feel comfortable playing a few hands.
Have a look around, go to all the big sites, check what they have on offer and pick the one you like the most.