Beginners Guide to Online Poker Article

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Beginners Guide to Online Poker

Playing poker online requires little more than a connection to the internet and a PC, laptop or other computing device (some poker sites provide apps for smartphones and tablets). After registering with a reputable poker site and installing the necessary software, beginners to the game ought to practise for a while on free-to-play tables.

Free-to-play poker games are markedly different from cash games, which is why they are not always representative of how the game is played in a competitive environment. The free games are useful, however, for providing the beginner with an understanding of how poker software works. Obtaining a feel for the layout, structure and processes of a particular software client is important before graduating to cash games.

Real Cash Poker

Beginners ought to be wary of some first-deposit bonuses, which are always non-redeemable. It is sometimes the case that winnings accrued from these bonuses also cannot be withdrawn as cash, so beginners ought to check the terms and conditions of whichever site they choose to play on very carefully.

Once a real cash deposit has been made, that money can be used on real cash tables. Normally set in US Dollars or Euros, these tables ought to specify stakes, which vary from table to table; for example, a low-cash table might have a stake of $0.01/$0.02 and a high-cash table might have a stake of $25/$50. The difference between the two stakes is that the smaller figure represents the small blind and the larger figure the big blind.


The small blind is the stake wagered by the person seated immediately to the left of the player holding the dealer chip, which passes clockwise with the completion of each hand or game. The big blind is the stake paid by the person seated to the left of the small blind. The blinds contribute to the pot (a small percentage of which is reserved for the poker site) are sometimes complemented by an ante, which is paid by all active players at the start of each hand.

Understanding the blinds is important for knowing when and how to bet. Players who are neither the small nor big blind have the freedom to fold their hands without losing any money or chips (unless there is an ante). The small blind must call at least the difference between the small and big blind to participate further in a hand, while the big blind can check if nobody has raised (which is common in Texas No Limit Hold`em). Players might also have the option of re-raising or going all-in depending on the type of game and stage of betting.


Hands in poker are obviously very important because they determine the chance of a player winning the pot. Players are dealt two hole cards (face down) at the start of each game or hand. If these cards are strong (A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, A-K, K-10 suited, etc.) the player ought to proceed with betting based on a reasonable assessment of his chance of success. The best hand in poker (including the community cards) is the Royal Flush, which consists of A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suite. The worst winning hand is a high card (e.g., A-6 against K-8 where neither player has a pair or better).

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