A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Online Poker


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Poker is a game that’s been enjoyed for more than a century, but the internet helped to bring it to the masses. Interest in playing online really took off in the early 2000s during a period known as the “Poker Boom”, after an accountant became the first person to win the World Series of Poker after qualifying in an online tournament. 

Nearly 20 years on, the interest and excitement in the sport haven’t waned, with millions playing in online poker rooms each year. 

If you would like to join them, you may be wondering where to get started. Here’s a simple guide to help you. 

Find a Poker Site

There are plenty of places you can play online poker, especially here in the UK. With so much choice, you may be wondering which one to choose. The answer is, there is no “best” site since each caters to a different segment of the market with different features. 

One important thing to look out for when deciding which one to join is whether the site is licensed by the UK’s regulator. The Gambling Commission is responsible for land-based and remote betting companies that offer their services to customers in Great Britain, so you should check whether the online poker site you’re thinking of joining has a license.  

You can check this near the bottom of the site’s website. It will display its license number which you use to verify on the commission’s website. 

By doing this, you can ensure you’ll be safe while you play.  

Check for Bonuses

Most online poker sites offer bonuses to new customers as part of their marketing. These usually come in a few different forms; the most common ones are deposit bonuses, where the site matches the amount you deposit, and free bets that let you play without making a deposit first. 

 These bonuses are a great way to make your money go further and let you try out the poker site’s software before making a bigger deposit.  

Learn the Basics

Once you’ve found a site to join, you’ll be eager to get stuck into playing. However, if you’re completely new to the game, you’ll need to get up to speed with the rules. Thankfully, most of the bigger sites have compiled guides on how to play poker that cover the basic premise of the game, the different betting rounds, and the difference between hands. These are a great place to start, though you may need to find some other resources if you want to learn more advanced strategies or fine-tune your skills. 

poker gambling 

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It’s also important to realise that it’s not just the case of learning the rules to “poker” since there are dozens of different variants, each with slightly different requirements. For example, variants like Badugi and Razz require you to find the lowest possible hand, while draw games like Five-Card Draw see players dealt an entire hand; alternatively, community variants like Texas Hold’em use a mix of “hole” and “community” cards.  

Take Advantage of Freerolls

Freerolls are a form of online poker tournament that are free to enter and offer some form of prize to the winner. Usually, this prize is a small amount of cash or entry into a larger tournament with a hefty buy-in.  

Some online poker sites offer freerolls to their new members as a way to give them an opportunity to get more experience in playing, while others use them as a way to reward loyal players.  

Watch Professionals

Once you’ve learned the basics and you’ve put the theory into practice for a few games, you’ll want to start developing your skills.  

There are plenty of sources you can turn to, including books, websites, and even private coaches that’ll offer personal advice. 

However, a good place to start today is by watching professionals compete in cash games and tournaments. This will allow you to see the different approaches each player makes, and how their opponents respond. You can then apply this learning to your own game. 

This is really easy to do today since sites like YouTube and Twitch have thousands of hours of recent and historic games you can watch. Most also include commentary which can help give you a better understanding of what’s going on.