Guide To Playing Real Money Online Poker ♠️ Best Poker Sites 2023
Playing poker online is very similar to what goes down in physical casinos, as the rules are the same. The only difference is that the online version is easily accessible. Also, it allows you to place smaller bets to reduce the risk.
With these advantages, online poker has surged in popularity in the recent past. Players get to enjoy the intellectual game in the comfort of their homes. If you want to get in on the fun, this guide has everything you need to know before getting started. But first, here is a brief story so far.
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Online Poker – The Story So Far
Poker has its origins in the early 19th century in the US. Back in the day, players met in casinos or the back of smoky bars. In 1970, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) began, and it popularized modern tournament playing.
However, it was not until the age of the internet that the game became popular globally. Before the year 2000, though, most poker players met in chat rooms for recreational gaming. This situation changed in the 21st century after multiple poker sites launched as technology advanced.
At the time, players did not trust the online real money poker games due to everything being virtual. This perception changed in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker, one of the poker players in the WSOP main event, won. He walked away with $2.5 million by starting on a $40 tournament online.
Chris revolutionized the game as many players trusted and saw the potential of playing real money online poker.
Poker is a one-deck game (uses the standard 52-card pack), and in most poker games hands contain five cards. The aim is to have the hand with the highest value. That said, the cards rank from low to high in numerical order, however, picture cards rank in ascending orderJack, Queen, King with an Ace being the top ranked card.
In Poker an Ace can be low or high but is usually ranked high. Some games use wild cards like jokers and one-eyed jacks.
Poker Hand Rankings
These are the possible poker hand combinations in order of value (highest to lowest).
- Five of a Kind – This combination is only possible in poker games with wild cards. It is the highest hand a player can get, and if more than one hand has this, the one with the best cards wins. For example, five queens beat five jacks.
- Straight Flush – A straight flush is the highest hand in a regular poker game with no wild cards. It consists of five cards in a sequence (order of value) and the same suit. The highest straight flush is A-K-Q-J-10, which forms a royal flush. There are also low flushes like 5-4-3-2-1.
- Four of a Kind – Similar to five of a kind, but checks only four cards. It does not matter what the fifth card is.
- Full House – This hand consists of three cards of one rank and two cards of another value. If there is a tie, a ranking of the first three, then the pair is done. For instance, K-K-K-10-10 beats K-K-K-8-8, but A-A-A-K-K defeats all.
- Flush – A flush hand has all five cards in the same suit, but not in sequence.
- Straight – This hand has all five cards in a sequence but not in the same suit.
- Three of a Kind – Similar to four of a kind, but with only three cards of the same rank.
- Two Pairs – As the name suggests, this hand contains a pair of cards in one rank, another pair of a different value and the fifth card. An example is A-A-8-8-4.
- Pair – A pair only contains two cards of the same kind. Q-Q-4-6-2 is a pair.
- No Pair/High Card – With this, all five cards are different (not of the same kind, suit or rank in a sequence). If the two hands tie, the highest card among the second, third, fourth and fifth cards determine the winner.
Poker Table Betting limits
Betting limits in real money poker games refer to the rules and structures to follow when betting and raising. There are different sets, that are available st online poker sites which include:
- No-limit – You have probably watched actors playing poker on TV, and they say they are all in. This game is no-limit poker, where you can bet whatever amount so long as you meet the minimum raise. It is the most popular type of betting limit as it encourages a popular strategy called brute force.
- Limit – This type caps the amount you can bet or raise, as well as the number of bets/raises per round.
- Pot-limit – Pot-limit also caps the amount you can bet. However, the pot size is the determinant. Once the pot becomes big enough (after players bet and raise), you can go all in. The game is like a blend between no-limit and limit poker.
Popular Variations of Online Poker Games
Most people know of or have only played Texas Hold’em. More specifically, no-limit Texas Hold’em is king in both physical casinos and poker sites. However, there are other variations to try out.
That said, these variants have some slightly different rules, and we begin by looking at the most popular one.
Texas Hold’em Poker
Texas Hold’em variant requires two players on the left of the button to place blinds before the dealer issues the cards. After this, the dealer gives two hole-cards to each player. The game begins with the player left of the big blind going clockwise. Players can call, raise or fold during this round. Once this round is over, the dealer deals the flop (three community cards) for players to try to make the best hand. Next is another betting round, then the turn (one community card), a third betting round and finally, the river community card. After this card, players place their last bets, and any remaining one must show their cards (showdown). Whoever has the highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot.
There are two variants of Omaha poker: Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi-Lo. The former is more popular and is usually a pot-limit type. It is very similar to Texas Hold’em, only that four hole-cards are dealt instead of two. However, with Omaha Hi-Lo, the pot is divided between the lowest and highest hands at showdown.
This is very different from the two poker variants above. All poker players place an ante, after which the dealer serves two hole cards and one face-up card. The player with the lowest face-up card goes first by either placing the game bet or a bring-in bet. After that, the remaining players get three more face-up cards in the fourth, fifth and sixth streets. All have betting rounds, and the player with the highest cards plays first after each street. In the last one, every active player receives a hole card. All players turn their hole cards and pick the best five cards for a winning hand in the showdown.
Three Card Poker
In three-card poker, players play against the dealer as opposed to each other. The game begins with players placing an ante (forced real money bet), after which three hole-cards are given, including to the dealer. Each player determines whether to place a play wager or fold. If the player folds, the ante and pair plus wager go to the dealer. Otherwise, cards are turned and compared for the highest value. If the player has the winning hand, the ante and play wager is paid 1 to 1. If the dealer has the winning hand, the ante and play wager go to the house.
Variety of Poker Games You Will Find Online
Aside from the most popular poker games, there are different varieties you will find on various online poker sites. Some of them include the following:
Poker Playing Tips – An Aide to Winning
There is an element of luck when playing online poker, especially in the short term. However, professional players employ some tips to make superior decisions, which enable them to win in the long run.
With that in mind, these tips will not guarantee a win every time. They will help you improve your chances of taking the pot, whether in real money cash games, live gaming or tournaments. Here are some of them.
Study Your Opponents
Professionals will agree that poker is about studying and playing people, not cards. If your opponent shows weakness, such as checking the flop and turn, you can implement an aggressive bluffing strategy.
Play Multi-table Games
Consider playing multiple online poker games at once. This action will increase your play volume, and if you are skilled enough, your winning might increase exponentially.
Participate with micro-stakes
This strategy helps to minimize losses and is only available in online poker casino games. Even though it reduces the winnings, it is a solid tip for beginners to manage their bankroll. Luckily, nearly all online poker sites begin with no-limit Texas Hold’em micro-stakes of $0.01/$0.02.
Use freerolls to boost your bankroll at no risk
A freeroll guarantees a pot split at the very least if you remain with one opponent before the dealer gives the last card. If such an opportunity arises, take it, especially if you do not have a good hand.
Check Site Traffic
It is vital to check how popular poker sites and the more popular they are, the better. Ideally, this indicates that players prefer such sites, However, the downside is there may be better players and more competition, so for beginners, the high chances of winning are lower. Also, you will get more players at the table.
Poker Bankroll Management
For any online poker gambling game, you must manage your funds to avoid running out if you lose multiple bets. Experts recommend buying in at most 5% of your bankroll. If you lose more than 10% of your funds, quit the game.
That said, there are a few things you should factor in as you manage your bankroll. For instance, you can bet more than 5% if you are extremely good at poker. Betting limits will also determine how much you place on the table.
Consider Table Position
Since online poker is a game of incomplete information, it is vital to understand your opponents before deciding the next step. However, this is only possible if they play before you. Therefore, your position on the table matters. With that in mind, apart from the middle section, there are two table positions.
Online Poker Bonuses
There are plenty of real money poker bonuses that you can find at online poker rooms, with the most common ones found below:
Sign Up Bonus
Perhaps the most crucial bonus in online poker is the one given after making the first deposit. This sign-up bonus is real money, but you cannot withdraw it. However, it increases your bankroll and is a great way to start playing poker at the site.
Some poker sites offer instant cash bonuses immediately after you sign up (without making any deposit). However, this is usually a small amount, say $10 or less. If you are lucky, some online casinos will give you free tournament tickets.
Occasionally, poker sites give bonuses to customers who deposit large sums into their poker room accounts. Furthermore, a reload bonus can be calculated as cashback where a percentage of net losses during a week or even a month at the poker room.
Online casino poker rooms usually offer Refer-a-Friend bonuses to players who bring in others to register and start gambling on their site.
Online Poker Tournaments
The best online poker sites will host many poker tournaments that bring together as few as two players in a single table (heads-up tournament) to as many as thousands playing in multiple tables. Such regulated online poker casino games allow you to showcase your gaming skills and win some cash. Some of the popular tournament types include:
In Freeroll tournaments, you play online for free as it costs nothing to enter. However, the poker casino game variants you play require cash bets. The contest is usually available on an hourly basis, with daily cash prizes.
Freezeout tournaments require a cash (real money) buy-in to get your chips to play online. If you run out of your chips, you are out. You cannot rebuy.
This type is different from Freezeout tournaments because it allows you to register with multiple stacks for the same competition. However, you must register for these stacks at the start of the competition.
Rebuy tournaments give you windows of opportunity to cash in for more chips. Usually, there is a limited buying period at the start of the contest. You also get a rebuy period in the middle of the tournament. There is a last chance to buy more chips at the end of the rebuy period.
A guaranteed tournament has a minimum fixed pool prize, no matter how many players participate. It can help to increase your bankroll, especially if there are few people in the competition.
As the name suggests, this tournament is about capturing (in this case, knocking out) competitors from the online poker game. You get cash prizes for every player to knock out, which can range between 20 – 50% of their buy-in.
Selecting the Best Online Poker Sites
There are very many online casinos competing to have you play real money poker on their sites. Not all of them are genuine, and most have different gaming terms. You should check what each online poker site offers depending on your skill level. Here are some pointers to guide you.
Online Poker Sites for Beginners
As a beginner in gambling, you should be extremely careful and thorough about where to begin your online poker exploits. The goal is to have an easy time learning to play online, so check for the following:
- An easy sign-up process
- Attractive bonuses
- Free play options (for learning)
Additionally, ensure the online poker casino accepts low stakes to minimize cash losses and has low playthrough requirements for bonuses. It should have a trusted and secure platform with fast cash payments.
Best Poker Sites For Advanced Players
As an advanced real money online poker gambler, chances are you will place high-value cash bets early on. Therefore, check for the following:
- Juicy welcome bonuses to double or triple your bankroll
- Safe and secure banking options
- Wide variety of poker games
On top of this, the site should have a lot of traffic, tournaments and easy-to-use software.
Our Online Poker Inspection Process – How We Review, Rate And Rank Poker Sites
In addition to the above pointers, you should use our online poker inspection process to rank the best online casinos.
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Using the above inspection process, you should narrow it down to the best online poker rooms and casinos. Consider reading user reviews for the shortlisted gambling sites. This research will give you first-hand information from those playing online.
Blacklisted Real Money Casinos
It is not only from our review and testing team that these bad boys are added but also from fully investigated player grievances.
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Discover The Best Online Poker Site For You!
Now try our interactive poker site finder to discover the best place for you to play online poker:
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How do Poker Sites Differ?
Online poker sites might look similar, but there are some underlying differences. While shortlisting your options, you will notice their differences:
- Poker variations
- User numbers (traffic)
- Software providers
- Betting limits
- Online playing experiences
The list goes on and on as two online poker sites are very unlikely to be exactly the same.
The Importance of Poker Software
Since the games are online, the software is crucial in the entire process. It supports payments, accounts, wallets, gaming experiences, and many others. Additionally, the software determines how many online poker variants are available.
Thus, consider checking the software provider for every gambling site on your list. Some of the best ones include:
Why Play @ Online Poker Sites?
As compared to physical casinos, online poker players get a better playing experience, whether you are a beginner or an expert.
For instance, beginners get bonuses and micro-stakes for easier bankroll management. On the other hand, experts can try out multi-table playing, which multiplies winnings faster.
ll in all, after reading our real money online poker guide, you should be ready to dip your toe in the water and get into the game.
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Online Poker FAQ
If you have questions or doubts about online poker, these answers should clarify them and hopefully assist you in attaining the best online poker experience.
UIGEA stands for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The US law prevents online gambling sites from accepting payments (wagers) via the internet.
The more the traffic, the more opponents at the tables. Therefore, getting tables to play in will be easier, translating to more gameplay and competition.
Yes, some poker sites offer free games for you to play poker, which is ideal for training purposes. Alternatively, poker sites with massive bonuses will top up your deposit so that you play more hands with real money.
Bonus offers depend on the online poker site. Some provide sign up extras on deposits, while others have no-deposit bonuses. Make sure you follow the procedures to claim them.
Yes, poker mobile apps are usually extensions of desktop browser sites. They function the same way, where you can bet and win real money like on a desktop/laptop.
Yes, there differences between poker rooms in European and The United States, however, the main difference is the number of players. US poker rooms can be large, but their European counterparts restrict the number of gamers.
The best way to see if Poker Site is secure is to Check for data encryption protocols like SSL. This technology scrambles login details, credit card information, addresses, names and other data sent between the user and the site.
Yes, most online casinos and poker sites have apps for mobile phones or tablets allowing you to play poker on the go. Others have optimized their sites for mobile browsers to facilitate smartphones and tablets.
Poker requires a single 52-card standard deck, however, some variants require two jokers as additional cards (wild cards).
Cash games are on one table, and you can quit at any time, exchanging your chips for real money. On the other hand, tournaments can either be on one or multiple tables. Also, they end with one winner who takes all the chips.