As one of the most popular card games, poker has been around for over 1000 years, developing from a game of recreation to one that’s now a career for professional players all over the world. In fact, statistics show that today there are more than 60 million online poker players in the US and more than 100 million worldwide. From tables at casinos, to inside up-scale clubs and in online poker rooms, poker is now a hugely accessible game to play by people of all ages and backgrounds and thanks to technology, it’s now possible to get started in the comfort of your own home, where there’s no prying eyes to put you under pressure.
However, get started with poker can be pretty daunting, especially when you’re hard earned cash could be at stake. What’s more, watching professional players play poker can make you feel like you need to be good in order to join a poker room. The good news though is that everyone has to start somewhere.
Always wanted to try your hand but not quite sure where to get started? Check out this handy guide on how to play online poker for beginners.
What is online poker?
Online poker is pretty much the same as the live game and operates in the same way. While poker generally requires a certain amount of skill for players to be successful, there are some advantages to playing online poker. In online poker, tables generally have around 100 hands; where as live games have around 30 hands per hour. The more hands, the better you’re odds of winning are.
One thing about online poker is that while it gives you a slight advantage, as you can’t often see the face of your opponent, tables are generally filled with better players than the one’s you would find in the casino. Why’s that you ask? Beginner players tend to stick to a few weaker tables where as experienced players get their pick of the rooms. However, as tables fill up, there’s usually not many left with just beginners for you to practice against.
Choosing an online poker provider
There are a huge range of online poker providers, which can make finding a provider to go with a little confusing. Not to mention, it can be difficult to know what site is safe to use and whether you should be parting with your cash. First of all choosing a reputable online poker room is incredibly important and this can be done by reading reviews and by doing a bit of research on Google to check whether the site is well used and easy to find in search results. Ensure the sites digital certificate is up to date in the URL by looking for the small padlock symbol, as well as searching for the official payment method logos on the site.
In addition to poker websites, there is also a great range of poker apps that can easily be installed on your smart phone or tablet. These are a great option for when you want to play while on the move.
How much money do you need to get started?
This is one of the most frequent questions for poker beginners and the answer may be surprising. In fact, you don’t actually need a lot of money at all. While some sites may have a minimum deposit amount for you to get started, many sites off a free bonus when you sign up, without the need for you to have to deposit cash first.
After that, most sites require a minimum deposit of around $50-100 dollars. However, the key to making your bankroll last is to play minimum games to begin with – around $1. This will enable you to carefully build up your funds until you are ready to take on bigger games.
How to play online poker
There are just three simple steps to get started when playing online poker:
- Step 1 – Make sure you’ve downloaded the desktop app or software from your chosen site. While you don’t always have to do this, you’re not going to get the same quality experience as playing on your desktop. Be sure to download it from a reputable site and if possible, use a VPN.
- Step 2 – The next step is to create an online account. To do this, you will need to register some basic details and provide proof of your age. The minimum age to play online poker is 18 and the checks are fairly thorough so be sure you meet the requirements.
- Step 3 – The final step is to deposit money into your account. This can be done using most major cards or e-wallets such a PayPal. However, remember that if you’re playing from the UK, you will no longer be able to play with a credit card after the National Gaming Commission changed the rules earlier this year in order to protect vulnerable players.
Now that you know the basic steps for getting started with online poker, from finding a reputable site to play with, creating an account and depositing your first amounts, you’re ready to get started. Don’t forget, playing poker is a strategic game and takes time to learn so be patient and get stuck in.