Offering millions of players the chance to win huge cash prizes every day, online poker is understandably one of the most popular games or pastimes available. Though professionals seem naturally adept at clearing up on virtual tables, beginners sometimes struggle to turn a profit. Provided below is a short guide to learning the basics of online poker.
Unlike many casino games, online poker is almost always played through special software, which must be downloaded and installed from the provider`s website. Whilst slot games and bingo can be enjoyed via a web browser, poker requires software because the game is more complex, sophisticated and vulnerable to criminality. In order to ensure a safe, secure gaming experience for players, providers must develop sufficiently robust software. The minor hassle of downloading and installing such software should be seen as a necessary step towards achieving fair play.
Many people play online poker to make a little cash. Some believe they are the next Phil Ivey or Daniel Negreanu, whilst others are content to enjoy the game without worrying about the money. Whatever the beginner`s mindset, they should always practise on free-to-play tables before committing real money to the game. Free-to-play tables use play chips to provide players with an experience that is similar, but by no means identical, to the real thing. This enables beginners to gain a feel for the game or a particular site. It also allows them to customise display preferences, currency options, hand histories and so on. Although useful, free-to-play tables can never match the real money experience for one simple reason; players play differently when dollars are at stake.
Texas No Limit Hold`em, the most popular version of online poker, requires players to sit around a table. Two hole cards are dealt to each player who is active in the hand. The player sitting immediately to the left of the person with the dealer button, which passes clockwise around the table after completion of each hand, plays the small blind. The player seated to the left of the small blind plays the big blind. Small and big blinds may be valued at $0.50/$1.00, $2.00/$4.00 and so on. After the hole cards have been dealt, players choose whether to bet, call, check (pass), raise or fold. These options vary according to the actions of other players. For instance, a player cannot check if another has increased the value of the bet. Once this round of betting is complete, three community cards are drawn on the flop, followed by another on the turn and a final card on the river, leaving five community cards for all to see. Players build their hands from the best five cards available, which may or may not include their hole cards, but must include at least three community cards.
People who play on sites such as http://www.pokerstars.co.uk will soon become familiar with good and bad hands, but it is still worth knowing the combinations. The best hand in poker is the Royal Flush, which consists of A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit. Next is the Straight Flush, followed by four of a kind, full house, straight, three of a kind, two pair, one pair and high card.