Beginner’s Guide to Online Poker

With the game of poker enjoying an explosion in popularity, in part thanks to the success of big-money tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Open, online poker is becoming a bigger draw than ever. Millions of people log on to the Internet each day to participate in online poker, playing for points, casino credits, or real money. If you’re interested in playing online poker, how do you get started?

First, you should understand what online poker is not. If you’ve ever been to a land-based casino, you may have seen stand-alone video poker games that appear similar to slot machines. Though many Internet casinos do have video poker games, this is not what online poker is. Also, online poker is not played by yourself or against the “house,” like many other Internet casino games such as blackjack and roulette.

So, what is online poker? Playing online poker is almost like sitting down to a table game at home or in a land-based casino; only your “virtual” opponents are not in the same physical room with you. When you sign on for a game of online poker, you’re playing against real people who are connecting to the online poker room from all over the world. You are betting your money against their money, and there are no “house odds” involved. Other than taking a small percentage of the winning pot (Internet casinos have to make a profit somehow!), the dealer in a game of online poker has no personal stake in the game. Your poker skills actually come into play when you engage in online poker.

There are several components to online poker that beginners should take into consideration. One is the poker web site itself. There are hundreds of web sites offering live online poker, and you should review the rules, promotions, bonuses and choice of games available when choosing one to play in. Another consideration is the poker software you install on your PC that enables you to participate in the game. Playtech or Microgaming develops the most popular versions of poker software, and each offers different graphics and sound to provide you with your online poker experience. Visit Internet poker review web sites to get a sense of the different poker rooms and gaming software available.

Online poker play is often very simple to figure out. You can see all of your cards, but your opponents can only see the face-up cards; likewise, you can see your opponents’ face-up cards, but not their down cards. Poker software provides buttons for betting, folding, and dealing in draw games. If you’re new to online poker, whether you’re a pro at the game or just starting out, you can have fun playing poker online!