Poker For Beginners
Understand the basics of online poker and build up your knowledge enough to get started in real money games
Starting Out In Online Poker Games – The Basics
I’ve written this guide to poker for beginners with the intention of making a simple, easy to follow introduction. As a poker beginner, I figured you want to start with the basics – so we’re going to cover the what, why, how, and where of poker on this page. You’ve made the decision to learn about a game which has no rival, and this is the first step in building up a knowledge base which you can build upon and grow into a successful player.
Once you’ve read through this page, you’ll be ready to move on to a deeper study of the many additional elements of online poker that have helped explode the game’s popularity. From there you can start to understand some of the powerful secrets of poker strategy you’ll need to set you on a strong foundation for success.
By gaining a good understanding of basic poker strategy secrets, you’ll be in the best position to play poker calmly, consistently, and above all successfully against a wide range of opponents.
As a poker beginner, your aim is to develop into a skillful layer. How you play and what you know will determine your level of success. So we’ll start by asking the question ”what is poker”?….And to put it quite simply, poker is a stunning card game that’s known the world over with literally millions of active players – one of the internet’s greatest success stories, hugely popular, and with a popularity that is still exploding as access to the internet grows throughout the world.
Now it starts to get interesting as we head into the how, where, and when of online poker games.
8 Key Points To Note
We cover everything you need to know about online poker on the hub page, but here are some selected areas of the game that are focused on the game from a ‘poker for beginners’ perspective.
1. What do I need?
From an equipment perspective, this is straightforward. You will need a reliable internet connection (preferably broadband to ensure stability and give you some speed) and a laptop/PC – or of course a suitable mobile for playing mobile poker.
So that part is easy, it’s when you get to the knowledge requirements that poker starts to get more interesting. As a poker beginner you’ll need to cover a lot of ground before you’re ready to play in cash games, but learning the basics is easy and will quickly get you to a stage where you can practice free poker or play in freeroll (free to enter) poker tournaments.
2. Poker Rules
As in all types of skill games, understanding the rules is critical. Poker rules are easily understood, and there are many resources outside of our site which will help you with understanding them. Once you begin to appreciate the basics, you’ll soon see that these are shared by all the poker game variations – Texas Holdem, Omaha, Stud, Casino Poker, Horse…and others.
3. Poker Hand Rankings
Of course, you’ll need to have a good understanding of poker hands and rankings – which hands are better than others. Knowing whether your hand is a strong or weak one is essential. It will also be good to take a look at a poker glossary and get to know the different terms used in online poker.
4. Poker Games
Choosing the right game for your style can mean the difference between great success and a constant struggle to win. Focusing on a specific game type is good advice at this stage. It’s worth reading more on poker game types, and getting a good understanding before you begin playing for real.
Online poker offers you a massive choice in types of poker games, with Texas Holdem the most popular. All of the leading rooms offer Texas Holdem games, but most also cater for players wishing to play Omaha, Razz, 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Stud, and other Stud varieties. There are also many types of casino card games where you’re playing one on one against a dealer.
There are also lesser known Lowball poker games where the aim is to get the lowest hands possible, while Blackjack Poker is gradually becoming more popular.
Add to this the choice between poker tournaments and cash ring games, and the different types of staking such as fixed limit, no limit, and pot limit, and you can see that the combinations of game types open to you are exhaustive.
In recent years there’s been significant development of fast-fold poker games which are designed to speed up play and avoid waiting to play a new hand if your current one is no good. Rush is one to remember and gives fast hands where folding gets you moved to a new table and a new hand instantly. Zoom is another to note – different, fast, and a lot of fun.
5. Practice, Poker Tutorials and Poker Schools
There are thousands of poker review websites, online poker rooms, books, and magazines all focused on online poker. The advice is to spend as much time as you can studying. Many of the online poker rooms have tutorial and poker school sections for poker beginners, and there are a number of independent dedicated online poker schools.
Studying and practice is the only way you can get the edge that will bring long term success, and tutorials can give you a great start. Practicing poker strategy should be the first thought on your mind once you’ve decided to move deeper into learning the game.
Practice is extremely important and there is no substitute for experience. One of the ways to gain experience is by playing free poker until you’re ready to progress to cash games and tournaments. Almost all of the online poker rooms offer free poker play at the practice tables. You can register with these and download the software free too, and play for free for as long as you like.
6. Basic Poker Strategy and Tips
Once you have the basics of poker for beginners covered, you can start to work on understanding poker strategy. Poker strategy is the term given to how you play during games – playing appropriately on the strength of your starting hand, the potential hand you might be able to achieve, the position you’re in at the table, the amount of chips you or your opponents have, the playing style of your opponents, and how many chips are either in or likely to be in the pot. Poker strategy also covers what to do and when – the well known arts of bluffing, betting, and folding…..read more about basic poker strategy…..
7. How do I deposit money to play?
Once you’ve registered an account with an online poker room, you’ll find there are many different deposit options, from debit and credit cards through to money transfer options such as Neteller and Moneybookers. Depositing is easy, but before you sign up anywhere make sure you’re getting the chance to take advantage of the best poker bonus offers.
8. How do I know there’s no cheating, is online poker safe and secure?
Remember that in an online poker room, you’re not actually playing against the poker room (except for casino poker of course) but against other players. The poker room makes a profit by taking a small percentage of each pot, called the rake. So there’s no worry that the poker room will try to cheat you because it has nothing to gain. Strict security measures are in place to ensure no players try to cheat, and most poker rooms have their software and games audited on a regular basis by independent auditors.
Where To Play Poker
There are dozens of poker rooms where you can sign up, play free poker games, or start playing for low stakes until you’ve gained confidence. Either as a beginner or an experienced player, you want to use a room which uses effective poker software, has a wide choice of games, tournaments, and incentives, along with effective Customer support.
The best poker sites cover all of these requirements, but you’ll also find poker rooms which focus on one or more specific elements – clearly some of these can claim to be the best in their particular area.
For poker beginners we recommend 888 Pacific Poker or Party Poker – both of these well regarded sites provide excellent support and software which is easy to use.
Let’s take a look at a more extensive list:
Their anonymous play feature is the best advantage that any poker room currently provides to new poker players. By offering this feature, Bovada.lv has taken the most noticeable step in leveling the playing field shared by seasoned and beginner players because it strips away the advantage that somebody can gain by tracking players’ stats. There are no user names at the site that anybody can see. In lieu of user names, a player gets a random ID number for each playing session. This renders any tracking software virtually useless as, in order to make use of somebody’s playing history, it has to be tied to a permanent, recognizable player ID.
This anonymous feature coupled with Bovada’s arsenal of generous and innovative promotions makes this U.S. – friendly site our top choice for beginners.
Although this is biggest online poker room in the world and the room serves as the home of thousands of players who make their living by playing poker, the sheer number and size of the room’s offerings leaves a window of opportunity open for anyone to win some money.
With freerolls, promotions and a poker school where you get tickets to real money tournaments just for participating in some lessons, PokerStars offers competitions and instructions which can lead to new players making a huge score with some persistence and a little bit of luck. With their annual Micromillions series, for example, you can literally win $1M with just a $1.00USD investment.
Of course, there could be thousands of players competing in any given Pokerstars’ event, but the fact that you can win so much by risking so little makes this poker room impossible to overlook.
This room’s beginner tables definitely make it stand out to someone looking to avoid falling prey to experienced players while they are becoming familiar with the game. For the first few months after signing up, you will be able to play at the beginner cash tables which are only accessible to other new “recruits.” During this time, of course, you will also have all the privileges of a more experienced player and access to tables and tournaments outside of the room’s beginner area.
So, if you want to mix it up with the big boys – go right ahead. But, if you ever feel like getting away from the challenges and tension of the comparatively advanced competition, the room’s beginner tables are a great option for you.
PartyPoker gets the nod for their extremely user-friendly software and volume of freerolls. With their software, Party Poker has managed to strike the appropriate balance between having a full-featured client that’s on par with best-of-the-best in the industry and providing a lobby which is easy to navigate and has an inviting look and feel.
Their daily and weekly freeroll tournaments are free for anyone to enter and offer a combined $22,000 in prizes every month. In addition to that, each new real-money account holder gets special freeroll tickets when they make a deposit.
Having launched an Internet poker room in New Jersey in November 2013, that state’s residents and visitors can enjoy playing poker at PartyPoker legally from the comfort of their homes and/or hotel rooms.
Increasing Your Bankroll – Poker Bonus Offers
You’ll need to understand fully how poker bonuses work, and where to get the best offers. Taking advantage of a bonus offer is a great way to get you extra cash for free, and extend your playing time while you sharpen up your skills.
Poker sites want to attract extra players, mainly to increase their profits but also to ensure a great experience for their existing players. The more players they gain, the better the competition, and the more successful the operation in general.
The poker sites offer incentives to play, and these come mainly in the form of a bonus which can either be given on your first deposit, or as a reload on subsequent deposits. There really is no reason why you wouldn’t want to take advantage of poker bonus offers, this is free money and can only work in your favour by extending playing time and giving you a bigger starting bankroll.
There are always rules surrounding how much and when you can withdraw once you’ve taken advantage of a bonus, but they’re definitely valuable.
Another incentive for players is known as rakeback, and this is where you’ll get a percentage back from how much you’ve contributed to the rake – the amount the poker room keeps from each pot.
We’re at the end of the poker for beginners section. To summarise, let’s look at some of the main points you need to remember.
1. Practice is all important before you risk losing cash in real money games or tournaments, and it’s best to concentrate on one variety of poker game as a beginner. We’ve seen that there is a huge variety of games on offer, and that free poker gives you a great chance to practice, along with the option to use poker tutorials and visit poker schools.
2. Bonuses and promotions give you a little extra to play with, and tournaments are everywhere.
As a final note for poker beginners, you should remember that online gambling of any type is illegal in a number of countries, and you should check if local laws and regulations affect you before you play. Certainly all countries make under age gambling illegal. Make sure you do not play unless you’re certain that it is legal.
Also, gambling can be a big problem if you are unable to control it, and gambling online makes it easy to lose money, although you can also have a lot of fun if you play carefully. Only play with money you can afford. If you become upset at losing, then it means you are probably losing too much. Don’t let gambling affect you and other people around you.
The golden rule is, if you can lose and smile, and it doesn’t have a bad impact on anyone else, then you are probably OK.
Have fun, enjoy yourself…but be careful! You should be prepared to lose, and able to do this without any worry. Remember, you are responsible for any losses incurred, and only you. Do not gamble with more than you can afford. It’s easy to play, and it’s easy to pay…be careful!