This article is a guide to help people that are considering playing online poker for the first time. The game of poker has enjoyed a huge rush of popularity since 2003. It was in that year that Chris Moneymaker went from being “average Joe” to winning 2.5 million dollars in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. This single event may have contributed very heavily to poker’s current popularity. Online poker has been around since the late 90’s, but in the past couple of years has exploded in popularity. Millions of people worldwide play poker online, some of the most popular poker sites boast memberships in the hundreds of thousands.
There are a large number of poker rooms available to online players. Unfortunately, many of these poker rooms do not allow US players because of funding regulations imposed by the US government. What this means is, it’s not illegal to play poker online but, government regulations do not allow federally regulated banks to fund online gambling accounts. It can still be done legally, it’s just a little more difficult. The two most popular rooms available to US clients are; Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker. There are many more poker rooms available, including more that allow US players.
Online poker rooms offer a wide variety of games. By far the most popular is No-Limit Texas Holdem. Other popular games include: Omaha, Stud, Draw and newer games like H.O.R.S.E and Razz.
Betting structures in poker are often unique to a specific game. Texas Holdem and Omaha have both limit and no limit betting. Stud is a limit game with it’s own unique betting structure. Players should have a solid understanding of betting structures, especially before attempting to play in real money games. All online poker rooms offer play chip games, play these games as they are a fantastic way of learning the ropes, and it won’t cost a penny.
Since no-limit Texas holdem is the most popular poker game, let’s look at some strategies based on that game. In holdem, each player is dealt two cards face down, these are referred to as “hole cards”. Five community cards are then dealt, three on the flop, and one each on the turn and the river. Players use a combination of their hole cards and the community cards to make their best five card hand. Action is guaranteed because two players must post forced bets or “blinds” before the beginning of every hand. Players must decide whether they will fold, call or raise in order beginning with the player immediately to the left of the big blind, this is where game strategy begins. Players make the decision to fold, call or raise based on the quality of their hole cards. As a rule, the payers in early positions should have very strong cards or they should fold. Players that are in later positions can play a wider range of hole cards. Which cards should be played in each position at the table is something that beginning players should learn very early on. One of the biggest mistakes made by beginning players is playing marginal hole cards. Learning what cards to play and where to play them is very important, and quite frankly, should be analyzed by players at all levels.
Poker, whether played live or online, has become immensely popular. The game of poker is enjoyed by millions of people on a daily basis. But poker is also a sophisticated game with many obvious strategies and many subtle nuances. For people who enjoy games that are mentally challenging, poker fits the bill nicely.