Ever followed the global hype and wondered how you can get started playing poker online? This All In One Online Poker guide is here to help you get to grips with the basics of the world-famous card games of poker.
Here you will find information on the following:
- Different varieties of online Poker games
- Poker rules and how to get started playing online
- Top Poker tips
Best Online Poker Sites
Positively, we have selected the best online poker sites in this table as they offer a great variety of games. Not just that, there’s also plenty of payment options to suit you. We also looked into excellent customer service, should you need a helping hand. All of the below sites are certified as safe and fair, to help you get started playing online poker games.
History of Poker
Did you know Poker has a history spanning over 1000 years? Learn more about the game’s history in the following timeline:
10th Century: Many attribute the origins of the game to the Sung Dynasty.
16th Century: Many attributed Poker to the Persian game called “As Nas”.
17th Century: The game “Poque” emerges in France, the version most closely associated with its modern-day form.
18th Century: The game travelled across the Atlantic with French migrants who eventually founded the city of New Orleans. It then spread further along the banks of the Mississippi river, gaining more and more fame.
19th Century: Poker spread further into Western America, where its wild west roots are frequently attributed.
The 1900s: Versions such as Stud Poker become the most popular, and variants such as 5- and 7-card Stud.
The 1970s: Texas Hold ’em began the rise to global poker fame after it appeared as the featured game in the World Series of Poker. World Series of Poker or the WSOP is the world’s largest poker tournament, to this day played annually in Las Vegas every summer.
2020: Poker remains the most popular card game across the globe, both online and in land-based casinos.
Different Types of Poker
First things first, there are many different versions of Poker, with their own specific rules and strategies. Here are some of the most commonly found.
At the start of every hand, you will get two hole cards (face down). The aim of the game is to form the best 5-card hand. You can use your two hole cards along with five community cards (cards dealt face-up) called the board. The best five card hand win, meaning players can split a pot if the best 5 card combination is on the board.
The five community cards consist of three cards on the Flop, one Turn card, and one River card. If you are wondering what those terms mean, the first three are collectively known as the flop, the fourth card is the turn, and the river refers to the fifth and final card. Players reveal their hand after the last round of betting. In total there are four rounds of betting; pre-flop, at the flop, at the turn and last one after the river card is dealt.
With Omaha Poker games online, each player is dealt four personal cards. Next up are the community cards. These commence with a Flop, Turn and River (like Hold ’em). You must use two hole cards and three community cards to build the best 5-card hand (unlike Texas Hold’em where any 5 cards can be used to combine the best hand).
This Poker game is a variant of the original Omaha. Here the pot is split between the holders of the highest and lowest ranking hands. The lowest hand has to be topped by no less than an eight as this number is the “qualifier” for a ‘low’ hand. If no player is able to make a low hand during the game, then the entire pot goes to the holder of the highest hand. For example, if all board cards are high cards, no player can make a low hand as they need to use three cards from the board.
To begin playing 7-Card Stud, instead of community board cards on the table, players receive their individual board. First two cards are dealt face down, then four cards face up and then the last card face down again. This can comprise up to seven cards if the hand is played to the last betting round. For this reason, only a maximum of eight players can play Stud Poker at once (if there aren’t enough cards left in the 52 card deck for individual cards, players will in these exceptions get one community card to combine with their individual hands). Just like Hold ’em Poker, the best five-card hand wins the pot.
2-7 Triple Draw
Also a Poker game where the lowest card hand wins. You aim to get the absolute lowest hand possible opposite highest like in most poker game versions. All players receive 5 cards in the initial deal, then the players can choose to discard all or none of their cards, to improve the hand. There are three drawing rounds followed by betting rounds if the hand is played through all betting rounds. Once you start playing 2-7 Triple Draw, you’ll notice it is very similar to classic Five Card Draw Poker. The critical difference is that you can draw cards three times as opposed to once. Also, all pairs, straights and flushes are counted against your hand. The Ace is always a high card. In sum, the strongest hand in 2-7 Poker is 23457 off-suit.
Arguably, 5 Card Draw is the most straight-forward Poker game available online. You receive five-hole cards, which is followed by a round of betting. You may choose to discard any of the cards and draw to complete your hand to a total of five. After the final round of betting, you and your opponents compare hands in a showdown and decide who claims the prize winnings.
Same as Omaha above but players are dealt with 5 hole cards instead of 4, this game is also similar to Texas Hold ’em. The critical difference is the fact that all players get 5 hole cards instead of 2 as in Texas Hold’em. Naturally, Omaha Poker Strategies vary from the ones that work in Hold ’em. If you’re new to this variation of Poker, you certainly shouldn’t rely on your Hold ’em experience too much.
Badugi is another form of Draw Poker, where you can discard and replace cards. Like Razz (see below), the main aim is to make the lowest hand possible, however all in different suits. Aces are low in Badugi, and suited cards or paired cards do not count towards your hand.
HORSE is a mixed poker game, consisting of several variants of Poker in one. Its name is an acronym for the variants played. Each variant is played for the number of hands it would take to go around if the table were fully seated, for Horse this is usually a maximum of 7 players, meaning each poker version will be played for seven hands before switching.
The games are always played in order as follows:
- H = Hold’em
- O = Omaha
- R = Razz
- S = Stud
- E = Eight or Better (Stud Hi/Lo Split)
Have you ever wished you could win on your “bad” hands? If so, Razz may be the Poker game for you. From the seven cards you are dealt, the aim is to make the best five-card low hand. You can play with anywhere from 2 to 8 players.
As the name would imply, Short Deck commences with fewer cards in the deck. All deuces, threes, fours, and fives are removed from the pack, leaving 36 cards to play. For many poker lovers, this often results in a more action-packed game.
As you have seen, online poker comes in many forms!
In a game of Hold ’em, the two players to the left of the button (dealer) are required to place compulsory bets before the cards are dealt. These are known as blind bets because they are placed ‘blind’, i.e. before the players have seen their cards. These bets serve to start the action as there is something in the pot for players to win.
At the start of a Hold ’em hand, after the two blinds have been posted, all players are dealt two cards facedown. These are known as the hole or pocket cards. Players then make a decision to call the blinds (match the big blind), raise the blinds (up the bet) or fold (cease playing and throw their cards facedown to the middle of the table).
Other Poker games have higher numbers of cards deal in the initial deal, or you can draw and discard cards. Some game rules require you to obtain your lowest hand. HORSE, for example, is a mixture of many Poker games.
How to Play Poker Online?
Getting started with Poker online really couldn’t be easier. Simply read this thorough guide and sign up at one of our recommended casinos that also offer online poker. Next, choose your preferred game and select your bankroll. That’s all you need to embrace your online poker experience!
Online Poker vs Video Poker – What are the differences?
Once you’ve learnt about the varieties of Poker available, you may wonder the difference between Online and Video Poker.
Online poker refers to Poker that is played virtually, with other real players also joining your poker table. These online poker games are so called “player to player” games and in the long term skill based. Whereas, video poker refers to the casino game that is a luck based RNG (random number generator) game. Video Poker gameplay is stripped back to resemble slots and except the five-card hand ranking used for winning combinations, and has nothing to do with the player to player poker. You’ll notice you don’t have any opponents in this game, and a Random Number Generator generates the output.
Rest assured both options are safe and secure. Independent third party test laboratory entities such as eCogra test RNG’s for fairness. Why not try with a small bankroll before you decide which version suits you best? The online poker games are also safe as online poker rooms have solid security settings that monitor game patterns, restrict players from using the same IP to be seated at the same tables and much more.
Most Popular Poker Strategies
Understand, online poker strategy is situational. For this reason, you must always be alert to what other players on the table are doing. That might seem complicated when you’re new to the game.
Try to start by following the player to your right, and the two players to your left. These are the players you will likely be involved with most often. Playing Poker requires a sharp mind, so If you are tired, it may be best not to play.
Specific vs Range
One of the easiest ways to stand above the average online Poker player is by thinking about what your opponent has. Novice Poker players try and pin a player on a specific hand. As you progress, think in terms of ranges.
Essentially, a range is the entire spectrum of hands a player can have in a given situation. For example, player X may have a flush, top pair, middle pair, bottom pair, a draw, ace-high or a complete bluff.
Favourite Hand Theory
If you currently have a preferred hand that’s fine, many players do. But don’t give it preferential treatment and make bad gameplays with it. Winning Poker online is ultimately about maths and cold hard logic, not superstition but solid skills.
Know When to Fold Your Aces
Another clear difference between beginner online Poker players and experienced players is the ability to fold an overpair. Folding means you lay your cards and then you remain out for that hand. An overpair is a pair higher than any other pair on the board. Although it is tricky, good players can readily let go of emotional attachment to a decent set of cards early on in the game.
When playing online poker, it is possible to play free for play money before you play online for real money. This is an excellent way to try out games and see what variety you prefer. You can play free online poker games here:
Our Best Poker Tips
Psychology, maths, strategy, and good old-fashioned luck all come into good online Poker games. Brush up on the different approaches that will improve your gameplay. Check through our list of recommended casinos, some offering online poker and all offering video poker slot games. Play a few games for free and you are ready to go!
The game is safe to play online at regulated Online Poker sites. Browse our list of recommended websites, and you can be sure they have been vetted and certified by independent bodies.
In the table shown above at the start of this guide, we have listed all our top recommended casinos where you can sign up and play online poker.
To conclude: Video Poker comes down to luck of the game whereas player to player Online Poker has many elements of skill in it. Skilling yourself up on popular strategies can support your gameplay. Most importantly, learn about bankroll management.
Absolutely yes, you can play for free. We recommend giving it a go, so you get a feel for the varieties of Poker available, both Video Poker slots as well as Online Poker.