Over the past decade, poker has become one of the most popular games in the world. While poker has been played for more than a century, only in recent years has it become a true social phenomenon, becoming a hot televised sporting event that sees the top players winning millions of dollars each year.
|Best Australian Poker Sites|
|100% up to AUD $400||www.888Poker.com|
Australia has certainly been part of this poker boom, especially in the years since Joe Hachem won the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event, winning a prize of $7.5 million.
Much of the rise in poker’s popularity is due to online poker. Playing poker on the internet has become very serious business, with millions around the world taking part in cash games and tournaments every day. The game is played in almost exactly the same way as it is in a live casino or card room, except we have so many more options online. If you’ve ever played a popular poker game like Texas Hold’em before, you should easily be able to transition into the world of online poker.
If you’re interested in getting started with online poker, there are dozens of different poker rooms you can play in. However, we recommend that Australian poker players try 888Poker.com. Not only does 888 Poker offer great bonuses, an excellent rewards program, and lots of great tournaments, but it also has one of the fastest growing player bases in the industry. It’s even endorsed by prominent Australians like bowler Shane Warne, the long time international cricketer who is now an avid poker player.
How Online Poker Works
Considering how important player and dealer interaction is in poker, it might surprise you to find out that poker translates well to the online world. In reality, online poker plays almost exactly like live poker – with a couple of shortcuts and changes made possible by the internet.
To get starting in online poker, you will need to open an account at an online poker room. This should only take a minute or two, after which you can download the casino software. At some online poker rooms such as 888 Poker, you can also choose to use an “instant play” version of the software that can be accessed directly on their website, which allows you to instantly start playing on any computer.
Once you’ve installed the poker room software and you’ve set up an account, you can log in and take a look at what’s available in the poker room. Most online poker rooms now use a lobby system that will allow you to quickly find the cash games or tournaments you’re looking for. Click on a table, and you can see the action at the table and decide whether or not you want to join in.
As we said, online poker works in much the same way as a live poker game – with a few notable differences. There’s no dealer, so the room itself must deal the cards out using a random number generator. These multi-stage programs ensure a fair and random distribution of cards (and after billions of hands dealt over the years, we feel confident in calling the results as close to truly random and fair as possible). Each player receives their cards, and then can make their actions in turn using buttons that appear on their screen. If you know you will fold no matter what, there is usually a check box that will allow you to make this decision ahead of time. In addition, if you’re playing a game using pot-limit or no-limit betting, there will also be a slider bar or similar function to allow you to change the size of your bets. You’ll also have a time limit as to how long you can take to make your bets, which will vary by table.
As you might imagine, all of these factors combine to make online poker much faster-paced than the games player in a traditional casino. In fact, you can easily play twice as many hands (or more) per hour at an online poker table than at one dealt by a real live dealer. Combine this with the fact that you can play several tables at the same time, and it’s easy to see how many online poker players can play hundreds of hands each hour without breaking a sweat!
Deposit Options for Online Poker
If you want to play online poker for real money, you’re going to need to make a deposit into your poker room account at some point. Australians have access to a wide range of deposit options, and while you usually can’t play at the tables in Australian Dollars (most games are run in American Dollars or Euros, depending on the poker room you’re playing in), the poker room will convert your funds automatically.
Online poker room deposits can be made by a number of different methods. For instance, many players choose to use credit or debit cards in order to fund their online poker accounts. It’s a very easy and straightforward method that is used for all sorts of purchases; the only possible downside is that some banks may restrict the use of their cards in online gambling. However, there’s no trouble with trying: the worst that will happen is that your card will be rejected, and you’ll have to try again using a different card or method.
|Play Online Poker at 888Poker.com|
|100% Bonus up to AUD $400|
Another way to make a deposit is directly from your bank account. Many poker rooms allow you to directly wire funds from your account to the poker site, allowing you to take advantage of your bank’s secure transfer methods. In recent years, it has even become possible to allow players to make online poker deposits directly from online banking interfaces – the same interface you probably already use to pay bills directly from your checking account.
In order to make organizing their online poker (and other online gambling) funds simpler, many players choose to utilize the services of an e-wallet service. These services allow you to store funds in an online account, from which you can either deposit funds into your online poker account, or withdraw them back to your bank account. This serves as a convenient all-in-one solution that can keep things nice and simple, and some players also like having a layer of security separating their banking services from their online poker account. The most popular of these services include Neteller and Skrill.
Recently, prepaid deposit methods have become popular as a way to avoid sharing personal information online. The most popular of these is Ukash, a voucher system in which you can purchase a voucher at local retail outlets using cash or any other payment method. That voucher contains a number that you can use at any online retailer that accepts it, including most online casinos and poker rooms. The value of the voucher is then instantly transferred into your casino account. This allows you to play even without a bank account or a credit card, and lets you deposit cash simply by exchanging that cash for a voucher.
Types of Online Poker Games
In online poker, you can find any sort of poker game you like, including many that are hard (or impossible) to find in live casinos. Here’s a quick rundown of the kinds of games you can play in online poker.
Texas Hold’em: The so-called “Cadillac of Poker,” Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game in the world, including in Australia. You’ll find this game – in which players each receive two cards, and then can use five community cards to complete their hands – at every online poker room. (See our article about Texas holdem myths.)
Omaha: Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em, except that players receive four cards and must use exactly two of them in making their final hand. This game is popular (especially in pot-limit format) due to the fact that it usually generates a lot of action, and is commonly found at almost all online poker rooms.
Seven Card Stud: Once the gold standard of poker, Seven Card Stud has fallen out of fashion somewhat since the poker boom. However, there are still plenty who play this game, in which each player receives seven cards of their own (some hidden, some shown to all players) from which to make their hand. This game is the third game found at most online poker rooms.
Razz: This fun game is Seven Card Stud “in reverse,” where the goal is to come up with the lowest hand possible. The game has a reputation as being frustrating, but you can still find it at some online poker room.
Draw Poker: In draw games, players receive hands that are completely hidden from the rest of the table, and then have at least one chance to exchange – or draw – more cards. There are several variations on this theme based on what kind of hand players are trying to make, as well as the number of draws allowed. These games are occasionally available online.
Mixed Games: A true test of any poker player’s skills, a mixed game is one in which several forms of poker are played. The most common of these is HORSE, which features Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo. These games are available at some (but not most) online poker rooms.
Games can roughly be divided into three types of betting:
Fixed Limit: Also known simply as “limit,” these games allow only a specific size of bet on each round.
No-Limit: These games allow bets of any size on a given round, as long as they are at least the size of the minimum bet and/or the last bet made on the current betting round.
Pot-Limit: In pot-limit games, players may make bets or raises equal to the size of the pot. This allows for big bet play, but does not allow players to simply move all-in at the beginning of a hand.
- Poker Stakes and Bankroll Requirements
- Is Online Poker Safe?
- The 888 Poker Rewards Program
- General Poker Strategy
- How to Play Poker
Tournaments vs. Cash Games
There are several different ways to play poker, and you’ll find them all online. The three main styles are as follows:
Cash Games: In these games, you’ll be betting real money on every hand. You can join or leave at any time, as can any of your opponents.
Scheduled Tournaments: Often referred to as MTTs (or multi-table tournaments), these are the equivalent of the major tournaments you see on television or the smaller tournaments held at your favourite casino. They are scheduled ahead of time, with the prize pools determined by the number of players who enter. Players receive chips with no cash value, and are eliminated if they run out of chips. The last player remaining wins, though others who survive late in the tournament will usually also win prizes.
Sit-and-Go Tournaments: These tournaments, known as SNGs, can start whenever there are enough interested players available to fill one. SNGs usually feature one table worth of players, though multi-table SNGs are also offered.
Understanding Rake, Bonuses, and Loyalty Programs
One of the more confusing aspects of poker for new players has to do with the rake. In all poker cash games – either online or live – players compete against other players, rather than the house. However, the casino or card room makes its money by taking a small amount of money out of most pots. This amount is known as the rake. Incidentally, while there is no rake in tournament play, the tournament host will make money off of the event by charging an entry fee along with the buy-in. This is why tournament entries are often expressed as two numbers, such as $10 + $1, which indicates that $10 will go into the prize pool, while $1 goes to the poker room.
In most cases, rate will only be taken out of a pot if at least one round of betting is completed. Generally, rake is calculated by taking a certain amount out each time the pot reaches a certain level, up to a maximum amount of rake. This ensures that the rake never rises above a set percentage of the pot, and that it never grows too large, even if the pot becomes huge.
As an example, let’s see how the rake works at a typical no-limit hold’em table at 888 Poker. At a $1/$2 table, the pot will be raked one cent for every $0.20 that goes into the pot – or in other words, at a 5% rate. The maximum rake amount, however, is $4. If there’s a $20 pot, that means a rake of $1 will be taken out. In a $500 pot, 5% would be $25; however, that’s more than the maximum, so only $4 would be raked.
The rake you pay is also an important part of most bonus and reward programs. When you sit at a table and rake is taken from a pot, some of that rake will be attributed to you (how much and how often will depend on the rake allocation method used by that poker room). The rake you generate will help you clear bonus offers and earn points in your poker room’s loyalty programme.
- Is Online Poker Legal in Australia? Frequently Asked Questions about Internet Poker Legality
- How to Play Video Poker – A Tutorial
- Omaha Poker Strategy Tips