Why Playing Poker Online is Easier than in Real Life

During my gambling “career” I have dabbled both at online and live poker games. While I can’t say that one is better than the other, there is certainly a huge difference between the two. I started playing poker with my friends and sometimes going in casinos to sit at one of the poker tables but eventually, the appeal of online poker got to me. It certainly has its advantage of traditional poker rooms that appeal to a large number of players. Here are the top reasons why I prefer online poker over traditional poker.

Online vs. Traditional Poker

Since the game’s inception, there was really no other way to play poker but face-to-face. It started as a fun game played during a gathering of groups before casinos adopted them into their doors and established it as a casino card game. It is only in recent years that the game experienced another surge in popularity because of the rise of the internet. But how do the two really compare?

Players

One key difference between a live poker game and a poker game played online is in the players. It is usually the older generation that prefers to play poker in land-based casinos. Younger players prefer online because they are more adept at using the computer. The fact that online players are generally younger makes for a more exciting game. Younger players tend to take more risks than the older generation, although older players tend to bet higher.

Betting

How players bet between online and traditional poker games also differ. As mentioned above, a lot of younger players prefer to play online poker. This is because a lot of online casinos require very little, or none at all, in order for players to sit at one of their tables. Traditional poker games played at poker rooms often have the higher bankroll for players to join in the game. This also means the money involved in online poker has a lot more value than in traditional poker games.

The Available Resources Online

Live poker room players tend to undervalue the resources that the internet have. Most online poker players understand the immense use this can have when they’re playing poker. There are many training sites for players to practice their skills at poker. There are numerous articles on helpful tips on increasing your chances of winning a game. These are all certainly available to anyone willing to look it up but this is hardly ever used during a live poker match held in poker rooms.

The Best Poker Players

Because of the convenience that online poker offers, players can play in the comfort of their own home. This means that they don’t need to travel to casinos to play or compete. They can spend that time honing their skills playing more, expanding their knowledge about the game, or formulating their strategies to increase their chances of winning. Generally, online poker players have a better understanding of the game than those that only play at brick and mortar casinos.

Stud Poker Guide

Before Texas and Omaha Hold’em became popular, people were all about Stud poker. The seven-card game was a popular type of poker that’s getting less and less attention with the rise of other types of games like Texas hold’em and Omaha hold’em. Nowadays, it seems to me that only the older generation continue to play Stud in casinos and very rarely online. But for a long time Stud was the number one poker game. The few times I’ve played it with friends I found the game wonderful and highly entertaining. I play it now and then when I get tired of the usual two-card games I usually play.

A Simple Guide to Stud Poker

Stud poker involves dealing players with several cards that are either facing up or facing down, also called hole cards. Betting also has no order and can change from round to round, but usually the player with the best hand with their face up card bets first. It began to gain public attention even during the American Civil War when players were playing five-card games.

Basics

Compared to hold’em, Stud poker is an easier variant of the game and is usually perfect for novice players. The stud was he ever first poker game I played all those years ago. Players are dealt with two cards facing down and a card face up. Players are allowed to look at their face down cards before betting ensues. Betting goes clockwise and players can call, fold, or raise. Then another round of cards is dealt with each player, all facing up. This continues until the sixth card is dealt then each player is dealt with a face-down seventh card. Players bet one final time before revealing their hands. The best five-card hand wins. It’s pretty simple and straightforward.

Folding

My strategy when playing Stud has always been to fold when I have a bad hand. When I’m not dealt with a sequence of cards or a three-card suit(that’s my sign that I should fold); unless if most of the players have stayed playing. Unlike two-card games, bluffing is not a core tenet of Stud poker since players see some of the cards you’re holding. You can bluff with your remaining face-down cards but it doesn’t carry that much weight as when no one sees all your cards. When I receive quite a good set of 3 cards in the beginning but dealt with a bad fourth card, I wait for the fifth card to see if I should fold or not.

Raising

In Stud poker, I become an aggressive player when I have an ace or king with the first three cards I’m dealt with. The same goes when I receive the first three cards with the same suit or if they form a sequence, and especially if I am dealt with a fourth card that fits the suit or sequence. This tells me that I have a very good hand and a great chance of winning the game.

Texas Hold’em Guide

Texas Hold’em, the reason why poker has experienced a boom in popularity at the beginning of the 21st century, is another variant of poker. The first time I played Hold’em was online. A friend of mine from college got really into it and he started joining tournaments earning him a lot of money. I got sucked into it but I never took playing it professionally. Now, I play it as a way to relieve stress from work and I still enjoy it as much as I enjoy playing regular poker with my friends or playing at a casino. It has its own set of rules and the gameplay is quite different than what I’m used to playing but not less exciting and enjoyable.

Texas Hold’em, a Concise Guide

Hold’em is a simple variant to poker that is quite easy to learn, only taking a few minutes. But mastering it is a whole other story. It takes guts, logic, and a lot of bluffing.

A Short History

Little is known of the actual history of how Texas Hold’em poker came about, the town of Robstown, Texas is deemed to be its official birthplace back in the early 1900s. It spread throughout the state before being introduced into Las Vegas and all its major casinos. It experienced a recent boom in popularity thanks in part to the rise of the internet and all the online casinos.

Gameplay

Players are dealt with two cards, called hole cards, all facing down. And then a set of five cards, called community cards, are dealt facing up. This is dealt in three stages for three chances of players to bet. First, three cards are dealt, known as the flop. Later a single card is added, called Fourth Street or the turn. A final card, fifth street or river, is finally dealt. Each player aims to create the best five-card hand using a combination of the two cards they have and the community cards. Players place their bets before dealing with the flops, and after each deal thereafter. The player with the highest ranking hand and those that did not fold after all the betting rounds gets to keep the pot, money bet.

Blinds

A game of poker is not complete with blinds, a type of bet. It has two kinds, small blinds, and big blinds. Big blinds typically are double the amount of the small blinds. The player to the left of the dealer places the small blind and the player to the left of that player places the big blind. Players thereafter can decide if they want to join the betting or not.

Actions of the Game

In a game of poker, the action moves to the left. After the blinds are placed, players will have to decide if they want to join the action or not. They have three actions to choose from: fold, call and raise. A player folds when they don’t want to join in the hand. Calling means matching the big blind; therefore continuing to play. Raise involves raising the bet to double that of the big blind. This usually indicates that a player has a strong hand.

List of Poker Hands

There are two main goals in a game of poker. First, players aim to form sets of five cards, called hands. Each hand has its own corresponding rank which is used to compare to other players to determine who wins the pot. This is the second and, in my opinion, the most important goal in poker. Variations in poker have their own sets of conditions for winning. High games like Texas hold’em and Stud determine their winner with the highest ranking hand. For low games like razz, the player with the lowest ranking hand wins.

Different Poker Hands

I’ve listed down all poker hands and, depending on the variant of the game, could either be high-ranking or low-ranking.

Five of a Kind

This is a poker hand with five cards all with the same rank. This is hand ranks higher than a straight flush but could only be possible by using wildcards as there are only four cards of the same rank. Usually, to get five of a kind, a joker is used. An example would be four Aces and a joker.

Straight Flush

This hand is formed when there are five cards in the correct order with the same suit. If included in a straight flush, an ace can be ranked higher than the king or lower than a two depending on the rules set.

Four of a Kind

Also called a quad, is a hand that contains four cards that is of the same rank, and one that is ranked differently, commonly called the kicker. The kicker could be any card and is used to break ties in the event of a tie. It’s considered higher than a full house but below a straight flush.

Full House

This hand is also known as a boat or a full hand. It’s a hand that contains three cards of the same rank and two cards of the same rank. This hand ranks above a flush but below four of a kind.

Flush

This poker hand contains five cards all with the same suit but not necessarily in order. This ranks above a straight but below a full house. It’s important to remember that some poker games don’t recognize flushes.

Straight

A straight is a hand with five cards that are in order, all with the same suit. If an ace is included, it could rank higher than a king or lower than a two, depending on the rules of the game.

Three of a Kind

Also called trips or a set, three of a kind is a poker hand with three cards with the same rank, and two other cards with both different ranks, the kickers.

Two Pair

A two pair is a hand with two cards with the same rank, another pair of cards of another rank, and one card of another rank, the kicker.

One Pair

Sometimes called pair, is a hand with two cards with the same rank and the remaining three cards, the kickers, all with different ranks.

High Card

A high card is a hand in poker with no pair. The five cards are not in order or having the same suit, all with different ranks.

The Best Poker Apps for iPhone

As a self-proclaimed poker aficionado, I always make it a point to play every now and then, usually during the week or when I was having a particularly rough day at work. Other people meditate, exercise, or go hiking to relieve their stress. I play poker. But there are times when I’m unable to go online with my computer to play. Sometimes I’m on a long drive with just my phone or on a flight bored out of mind because I have nothing to do. This is exactly the scenario I had in mind to justify myself downloading a couple of poker apps unto my iPhone. The verdict is in; here are the top poker apps for iPhone users.

Best Poker Apps

There’s no question that the App store is filled to the brim with all kinds of poker apps. They all range from simply playing poker, getting better at the game, or live streaming tournaments. The choice is seemingly endless.

Politaire

To those people like myself who enjoys that motion of playing poker without the excitement of betting, you will enjoy Politaire and its approach to the game. As the portmanteau implies, it is a combination of both poker and solitaire with the main objective simply to form a five-card hand by discarding three of your cards. Anyone who enjoys playing poker and solitaire will fall in love with Politaire.

World Poker Club

There’s really nothing too special poker game as it compares to its competition, save for one outstanding feature: it incorporates an innovative gesture system. It still has the standard buttons for checking, betting, and folding, but with the gestures, players can simply double tap to check, flick up to fold and hold and drag up to bring out a slider for raising. This is perfect for iPhone users whose phones are regarded as having the best touchscreens.

SnapShove

This is one of my favorite poker apps for practicing. I’ve been able to improve my skills as a poker player with the help of this app. What I particularly like about this app is its simple design and interface, it’s uncluttered and bare which really helps my concentration. The free version of the app also allows players access to training mode that is a huge help to all beginners and anyone looking to improve their game strategy.

Appeak Poker

Hands down, this is the best poker app I’ve tried my hands on and it is my frequently used app when it comes to playing poker. Its interface is simple yet it shows enough information for you to quickly formulate a game plan. One great feature it has is being able to duel with another player from a different part of the world, both of you representing your country. It makes the game all the more exciting. But Appeak Poker’s great selling point boils down to two words: pure poker; the kind that without all the glitz and glamour that most poker apps espouse.

The History of Poker

Ever since I started playing poker I was never really inclined to know how it came to be. To me, it was just another game that I enjoyed playing, like all the other card games that I usually play, and its history isn’t all that important in winning the game. It wasn’t until a few months ago when I read an article that poker is roughly a thousand years old that I got curious enough to look it up. And what I found was rather interesting. I never knew poker would have such an interesting past. Knowing its history doesn’t tip the favor over to me whenever I play but I certainly have a new appreciation of this game I am such a fan of.

A Brief History of Poker

The game poker, as we’ve come to know it today, came about in the early 19th century in the United States. But its roots reach as far back as a thousand years prior, spanning different areas and cultures of the world.

Pre-Modern Times

Many historians believe that the game of poker has origins in the 10th-century China when people that time played a somewhat similar game but using domino-cards. Poker has also a close resemblance to a Persian card game called “As Nas” dating back to the 16th century. In Europe, poker traces its roots through a card game called Poque popularly played in France and in Germany in the 17th century. A similar game is also played in Spain a hundred years prior called Primero where three cards are dealt with each player and a key part of the game is bluffing.

Crossing the Atlantic

French colonist brought with them many things across the Atlantic to settlements in America, including the game Poque. After the Louisiana Purchase, when French colonies in North America was ceded to the newly formed United States, Poque was Anglicized into poker and it is here that we start to see the game taking form into what we know it to be. Each player now receives 5 cards from a 52 deck card. The game spread up the Mississippi River through riverboat transports. It was wildly played by soldiers during the American Civil War and it became a staple in saloons during the Wild West era. Ironically, the game crossed back to Europe when Queen Victoria heard of it from the U.S. minister to Great Britain and asked him for the rules of the game. It received a wide acceptance among the general public during World War I when American soldiers introduced it to the rest of Europe.

20th Century and Onwards

Poker experienced a surged in popularity during the 70s when more and more casinos started featuring poker rooms and holding tournaments. The 80s saw to it that poker was engraved into popular culture through numerous TV shows and movies featuring scenes where casts are playing the game. When California legalized Hold’em and Omaha, it draws more crowds into the game, opening more doors to poker rooms. The next step in poker popularity happened in the early part of the 21st century when online poker was introduced. It became a spectator sport, receiving massive audience number during tournaments.

Best Online Poker Casinos

For the past five years that I’ve been playing online poker as a hobby, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks on the trade. Getting into poker is much like getting into any sport; it involves a lot of practice, commitment, and dedication. You’re going to do badly in the beginning but with each game, you play you learn more and get better. It also helps that the places you play at have the right equipment and services to help you on your way to being a great poker player. So here are my top online casinos that I regularly frequent when I play online poker.

 

Best Places to Play Online Poker

When I first started playing online poker, joined the first website shown when I typed “online poker” on the search bar. In hindsight, I should have been more a little selective back then. Online casinos should have a pristine reputation when it comes to handling transactions. They should have a wide variety of poker variants for players to choose from. And for beginners, these casinos should not have too high of a bankroll to join in a table.

888 Poker

With a stellar reputation for the years that it has been in operation, 888 Poker is at the top of my list of the best places to play poker online. The site is famous for their cash games and tournaments for their players in Hold’em, Stud, and Omaha action. 888 Poker also offers the best no-deposit bonus online. This means, even beginners have an equal chance of winning this bonus. It also has a large online poker room to support fast-fold games, increasing the excitement in each play.

PokerStars

Considered to be the largest poker network in the world, PokerStars has been hosting cash games and tournaments for online poker since its inception back in 2001. With all the other online poker rooms cropping up left and right, PokerStars remains to be the top site when it comes to delivering a complete online poker experience. I have played a few hands at this site and I absolutely enjoyed their welcome bonuses and promotions for recurring players. It also has a strong online poker community, making it possible for people to connect and exchange tips and ideas.

Pacific Poker

I saved the best for last. I’ve been playing online poker at Pacific Poker for the better part of a year now. It’s not that I think the other sites are bad. It’s just that Pacific Poker has so much to offer in terms of service, rakes, and the players that play. They have a dedicated helpline that’s always ready to assist players. They have a better rake than other sites, only taking a small percentage for higher limits. And in my opinion, the best poker players are on their table playing and they come from all over the world. I’ve met a few people that I talk to regularly through the site. I’ve also won a few games, enough to keep me going back for more.

When to Raise and When to Fold

Poker might be an easy game to learn but mastering it is a whole different matter. Numerous players across the world have been playing poker professionally for many years yet they still admit they haven’t mastered it completely. One reason behind this is, unlike other card games, poker does not rely solely on luck. Yes, you don’t know the card you will be dealt with and getting a good hand will surely increase your chances of winning. But more than that, it’s all about playing the cards you have, utilizing different strategy to outwit your opponent, knowing when to raise the stakes and minimizing your losses when you know you’re about to lose. Simply put, poker is all about mind games and the best one at it have more chances of winning.

To Fold or to Raise

Everyone knows this aspect of the game. To raise is when you think you might have a hand that will defeat your opponent thereby raising the stakes. To fold means to show your card knowing that you are taking yourself out of the game. The key is when to use both these strategies to your advantage.

Opening Bet

A lot of professional players would recommend that you can fold during the opening bet and you don’t feel too good about the cards you’re dealt with. This means you are out of the game and any bet you’ve placed is lost. Your card will be discarded on the side known as the muck. Once you fold, your cards cannot be retrieved again. To continue to play, you’ll have to wait for the next hand. However, a lot of players, despite the hand that they are dealt with, continue to play. There are several strategies to outwit other players with better cards, sometimes involving outright lying.

When to Call and Raise

Obviously, if you receive a very good hand you would want to call and raise. A call means matching the amount that has already been bet to see the next card. If you think that you have a particularly unbeatable card, or the bettor is bluffing, you can raise the bet to more than what it originally was. This will force your opponent to match what you’ve risen in order to continue playing. This also means that your opponent has the option to also raise the stakes, volleying the onus back to you. This goes on and on until someone folds.

When to Fold

I personally think knowing when to fold is a skill that’s under-appreciated in poker. It’s very easy to be aggressive about your gameplay and continue calling it even with a bad hand. But accepting that the hand that you’re dealt with is not going to cut it and folding takes a lot of guts. Most people fold with this in mind. Others, however, fold earlier upon seeing their cards the first time. Others fold when their opponents are getting too aggressive about raising the stakes which could mean they have an unbeatable hand.

Tips on How to Play Online Poker

Throughout my many years of playing card games, I have never enjoyed one as much as I enjoy playing poker. I got introduced to the game pretty early in my life and I’ve been playing ever since. A group of my friends gets together once a week to play poker regularly. I myself make it a point to go play poker at a casino every once in a while. But lately, I have enjoyed playing the game online, especially when I’m feeling particularly anxious about my job. At this point, playing poker has become a stress-reliever of some sort for me and online poker particularly helps. It helps that I get to play it in the comfort of my home and some online casinos don’t require any fee to play at one of their poker room. So for any novice poker player curious enough about playing online, here are my tips.

Online Poker Basics

Playing online poker doesn’t require too many equipment. In fact, you can start playing with just a computer with internet connection, and some online casinos even offer mobile poker. But winning at online poker is an altogether different matter.

Practice

Learning how the play poker is not all that hard. In fact, you can learn the basics by observing a few hands. Where it really counts is the skill level at playing the game and you achieve that through practice. Because poker has so many variations, it’s important to familiarize yourself with a few of them. Extensive research is necessary to know the most common variations and this includes the variations commonly played at your preferred online poker room. Reading articles about poker also helps. It will prepare you for when you’re playing the game allowing you to formulate strategies beforehand.

Starting Low

I didn’t become proficient at poker by reading a few articles online and playing a few games. And when I was starting, I played it safe. I didn’t jump into playing high-stakes poker immediately, I started low. I might be familiar with playing poker but playing online poker is a bit different. I had to familiarize myself with the nuances of playing online before I can start betting higher. Starting low also allowed me to minimize my losses that are common when you first start playing online poker.

Creating Your Zone

Poker is a game of strategy. This means a great deal of concentration is needed so a distraction-free environment is necessary. I achieve this simply by staying in my room when I play. I mostly play during the weekend or at night so it is fairly easy for me to draw the curtains, slip on my noise-canceling headphones and get lost in the game. Sometimes, I play background noise such as raindrops or the beach to help me concentrate in the game.

Hardware

Although playing online poker only requires a computer with a good internet connection, you can opt to update your hardware to make playing more comfortable. Since I play at my desk most times, I invested in an ergonomic chair to ease any discomfort. I also bought a new high-resolution monitor to help reduce eye strain.

What is Online Poker?

It might be shocking to know that I started my gambling “career” when I was quite young, around 10 years old as a matter of fact. We were at a family reunion and my uncle who is a big gambler pulled out his trusty deck of card and declared that we were going to play blackjack. Since then, I’ve had an affinity to card games especially when there’s money involved. From blackjack, I branched out and tried a few other games but eventually, I settled on poker as my go-to card game. I don’t consider myself addicted but I am a habitual player. I regularly organize poker nights with friends and I visit casinos every now and then when I miss the action of a real poker game. Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of poker online and I am very intrigued. In some ways, the game is a lot more enjoyable to play online, not to mention profitable, at least on my part.

Online Poker: A Short Run Down

While traditional poker was either played at small gatherings or in traditional casinos, it never received the same attention as other card games. Not until the rise of online poker did the game experienced a surge in public interest.

Traditional Poker

Poker originally started in the United States in the early 19th century. Since then, it has become a staple at house parties and land-based casinos. This card game involves gambling, skill, and strategy. A core tenet to the game is betting and the proclaimed winner usually receives the pool of bets as the prize. Poker has many variants based on the number of cards that are dealt with each player, the shared cards, the number of hidden cards, and the manner of betting.

Online Poker

The first game of online poker was played in the late 1990s. Since then it has gained traction and remains to be popular to this day, generating revenue upwards of a billion. Most land-based casinos find it difficult to profit off of their poker rooms and would prefer allotting the space to slot machines which are more profitable. Locations of these casinos are also disparate making it hard for beginners to enhance their skills. However, online pokers are cheaper to maintain because the overhead cost is lesser than that of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. Online poker also allows players to play for low stakes and even offer zero entry fees in their tournaments, something very appealing to a lot of players.

The Problem of Cheating

One major problem that online pokers had to face was cheating and the possibility of fraud. This is something that traditional casinos view as an insignificant concern to their overall operation. Collusion was a major issue in online poker, something that land-based casinos never had to deal with. They combat this using collision detection computer programs that analyze the hand history of a player, checking for patterns of behavior that indicate they are colluding with other players. Online casinos also check the IP address of players in order to prevent players from the same house playing at the same table. And many online poker rooms also employ the use of digital device fingerprint to prevent banned players from creating another account and entering the room once again.