Poker is one of the most popular casino games out there. It has a relatively long history, and with the advent of online gaming, it has only seen an increase in its popularity. Poker will always provide an exciting gambling opportunity to players of all ages as it offers more of a challenge than many other games. A combination of luck and skill is needed to succeed, and this is what brings in players from around the world to, quite literally, try their hand at this game.

Whether players decide to play this game for fun or some serious money and prestige, online poker is a great way to spend an afternoon. Honing one’s mathematical skills is a must and, thanks to the online platform, the game can often be played for free. Nowadays there are also options for virtual and even live dealer games where the action is seriously ramped up a few notches. There are also numerous different versions available that cater to different players. Keep reading to find out more.

A brief history of poker

Poker as we know it has been around for quite some time as it was first developed in the early 1800s. However, there is speculation that the game began long before that, and might be derived from a French game or even a Renaissance game called primero. Whatever its origins, poker still stands apart in that the point of the game is the way the bets are placed, not the card play rules. By this definition, the game does seem to have begun in earnest in 19th Century Mississippi.

In the years that followed, the game evolved, spawning an ever-increasing number of variants that put twists on the game, testing players’ strategy. With the advent of TV and coverage of poker tournaments, the game exploded. However, the game was still relegated to backrooms until 2000 when the internet came along. As technology improved and secure sites could be created, poker suddenly became more popular than ever before. Finally, people could easily access games and test their skills. That this game could also win them some money, was just the icing on the cake.

Getting started with online poker

Online poker is remarkably easy to get access too – part of what makes it so popular. Players only need a device to access the internet, to choose a site to play on and sign up. From that point onwards, players are ready to give it their best shot and have some fun. Depending on the player, there are numerous game options to choose from as well as various sites to play through. However, selecting these can be tricky so we’ll give you some tips on that later.

Different types of poker

While there is a large range of poker options online, it’s undoubtedly Texas Hold’em that is the most commonly offered and also the most popular option. In particular, no-limit Texas Hold’em is hugely popular although players need to be aware of their bankrolls if they are settling in to play for any length of time. This game sees players hold just two cards in their hand whilst they try to make the best possible five card hand using five additional community cards. Other poker variants offer slight differences to this.

These include games such as Caribbean Stud, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, Razz and even Chinese poker. Depending on the casino site, these options will vary. Players should know the specific rules of each variant though before attempting to play, as things can go pear-shaped pretty fast. Each option has differences in how many cards are held on hand, whether or not there are community cards as well as having variations on the way the bets are run. All of these offer a different challenge, enabling players to hone their skills.


Tips on playing

Whilst each specific variant has it’s own rules, here we will focus on some overarching points to think about when playing poker – especially if you are looking to win. One of the most important aspects of poker is being focused on. With this in mind, it is crucial that a player never joins a table in a negative emotional state – drunk, sad or angry. This can severely affect judgement and lead to a poor game – the outcome of which is usually lost money. Focusing on other players is also important.

Despite what many people think, bluffing isn’t the only way to play poker. Top players rarely bluff at all. As a new player, bluffing is usually quite obvious and will make you stand out even more, potentially to your great disadvantage as the tables get turned. Keep an eye on your own hand and don’t be afraid to fold – folding often at the start will make you a better player. Playing within your bankroll is another must, as is learning to walk away when the going gets bad.

Virtual versus Live Poker

As technology has improved, so too has the online gaming platform. What started as simple video poker options and virtual games have now expanded into detailed live dealer games. So what’s the difference? With virtual games, punters are simply playing against the computer. This is an ideal way of getting to grips with the rules of the game, how to place bets and to practice strategies, for instance. But it doesn’t really evoke the thrill of the big poker tournaments or bustling casino atmosphere. This is where the live games come into their own.

Live dealer games feature a table setup with a real dealer in a studio. This dealer communicates directly with the players and will deal the cards in real-time. Players can communicate with each other, and the dealer via live chat and the dealer will perform the necessary folds, bets and more. These live dealer games offer players the chance at a much faster-paced, adrenaline-fuelled look into online poker. Be warned; these games are often rapid, so you will need to be well-versed in the rules and on your toes if you plan to score.

Choosing where to play

Now that the basic rules are out there, it does come down to where to play. As we have mentioned, there’s a lot of choices when it comes to poker, but it’s also important that players can play at a trustworthy site. There are a number of clear indicators players can look out for to ensure that they are playing poker at a reputable online venue. Firstly, the site should be licensed. Various jurisdictions will do this, and their license will be found at the bottom of the homepage.

Players should also check what the payment options are as these will also indicate if the casino is to be trusted. Sites should also have SSL encryption in place to prevent third parties from getting access to private player data. Once the security issues are out of the way, it’s a good idea to see if the casino offers any lucrative bonuses alongside the poker games. Are there any tournaments to join? Are these free to join? Are there rakeback bonuses so that you can cash in a little even if you lose?

Final thoughts

Poker is a fun and strategic game that entices players from all walks of life. Knowing where to play and which game variant are essential things to know before settling in for the long haul. Better yet, find a casino with a decent bonus that can propel the game further ahead in terms of winning. It’s also important to know the rules like the back of your hand if you’re expecting to succeed. Finally, let’s not forget, bluffing isn’t the only way forward, and no, that’s not a bluff either.