Online Poker is globally popular and has long been a player’s favourite. It all began in 2003, when Chris Moneymaker, an American online poker rookie, blew the experts away by claiming the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament. This significant victory put online poker on a high popularity trend internationally. If you would like to get started, here you will find how to play the game, some valuable poker tips, different types of poker and our shortlist of the best online poker casinos.
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Online Poker Varieties
- Limit vs. No Limit – With a limit, there is a set amount you can bet per round. With no limit, there’s no cap on what you can bet.
- Omaha – Here players are dealt four hole cards. Then players must use two of their hole cards and three of the five community cards to make their hand.
- Seven Card Stud – After placing an ante bet, players get two hole cards and one facing up. After an initial round of betting, three more cards are dealt face-up. Then more betting occurs. After that a seventh card is dealt, facing down. Final bets are placed, and then a “showdown” occurs. The player with the strongest five-card poker hand is the winner.
- Playing against the House – Here instead of competing against other players, you compete against the house. This may be called Casino Hold’em or Caribbean Hold’em depending on your software provider. Similar to blackjack, the dealer is constricted while you have options. It is good to know that some of these games are progressive. This means you can potentially win a jackpot for particular high hands.
- Cash Game Poker – Here the game moves fast and has immediate payouts which gives players a lot of excitement and engagement. What makes the game fast is that each hand is an independent game. This means you can come and go as you please. You will be sitting on the edge of your seat!
- Tournament Poker – There are multiple tables to play at and the competition is against many players. Patience and perseverance is the key here to enjoy potentially large prizes. It is all about a clear strategy, then the larger prizes are worth any risk and wait.
- Sit ‘n’ Go Tourneys – These are literally sit and go games which take place in a timeframe of usually less than an hour. They are perfect for players who are time poor and just desire a quick round.
- Live online Poker – Live poker is popular due to the human interaction it provides. The beauty of online casinos which feature a Live Casino, is you can enjoy playing with professional live dealers and other poker players. This is achieved by streaming a high definition video from multiple cameras which connect you to a studio casino with a live dealer. This allows you to experience the true feeling of poker in the comfort of your own home. There are options to play for yourself, or “stand behind” other players and place a bet. This is highly recommended to try at least once for the experience.
Valuable Online Poker Tips
- Play Free Poker Games – Go to practice mode and get confident with the game before you risk any Rand. You can also, play with a casino bonus, however these often require a small deposit.
- Start with Low Limits – It is always a good start to play low limit “penny ante” poker until you feel comfortable with the game. Our recommended sites offer low-limit games usually.
- Try a Sit ‘n’ Go – Before jumping into the deep end, a Sit ‘n’ Go is the perfect way to get a feel for the game. Here you will experience about an hour of intense competitive play to see if you enjoy it.
- Adjust to the Need for Speed – Online poker is not a casual stroll in the park. You need to decide on your bets quickly as you are pressured by the clock. We recommend to pace yourself. Work your way up to competitions with dozens of hands per hour by starting with practice mode and low limit games.
- Start with a Single Table – Begin simply and ease yourself into the game with a single table. You can challenge yourself later with multiple tables when you feel confident with the game.
How to Play Online Poker
Texas Hold’em is the poker is the most commonly found variety online. After shuffling a standard fifty-two card deck, the ‘dealer button’ rotates clockwise to each player in turn.
- ‘Posting the blinds’ occurs first where the two players on the left of the dealer button place a set amount of money in the pot.
- Two face-down “hole” cards are dealt to each player.
- The player to the left of the second blind can call, raise or fold. The rest of the players then place their bets in turn.
- Next comes “the flop” which is three face-up “community” cards. Players get another opportunity to place a bet: check, call, raise or fold.
- The ‘turn’ is then dealt which is a fourth community card. A third round of betting begins.
- The ‘river’ is then dealt which is a fifth and final community card. Finally, the last round of betting takes place.
Each player tries to use the five community cards, together with their own hole cards, to make the strongest possible five-card hand. The hand is ranked in the following order, starting with the best on top:
- straight flush (five cards in a row of the same suit)
- four of a kind
- full house of (three of one kind and two of another)
- flush (five of the same suit)
- straight (five cards in a row, not of the same suit)
- two pair (two of one kind and two of another)
- one pair
- if a player has hands of the same type, the higher card rank wins.
It is up to players to determine how strong their hands are. After players have assessed their hand, they call “raise” or ”fold” in this final round of betting. Sometimes more than one player remains in the round after betting. When this occurs, the survivors display their hands and the highest hand wins.
The Bottom Line on Online Poker
Online Poker is a game you can master just by enough practice and following the tips we have provided on this page. After following our valuble poker tips, it is a matter of trial and error to see which variety of the game suits you best. The best way to begin playing online poker is by trying the practice mode, where you can play without risking any Rand. Then find an attractive bonus and boost your playing funds. To give you a kick start, check out our shortlist list of casinos where poker is available to South Africans and put your practice hat on!