Since the turn of the twenty-first century, online poker
has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Millions of people all over the world play poker
each day, whether for fun, profit, or the mere challenge. Everyday new players pour into the numerous online poker rooms, ready to try their hand at the game that has enticed a multitude of the populace.
Though people have been playing poker for centuries, availability of real money poker games
was limited to home games and casinos until the late 1990s. When online poker player, Chris Moneymaker, won $2.5 million dollars in the televised 2003 World Series of Poker Championship after qualifying for the tournament online, new players swarmed the internet poker rooms with an inspired desire to play poker.
Many people who have never played poker do not realize just how easy it is to play poker online. One can often have a poker client downloaded and installed, and an account created with their online poker room within a few minutes. The hardest part of the whole process may be deciding which online poker site to play poker at.
Important factors to keep in mind when selecting an online poker room are reputation, security, and rake. A little research will divulge the complaints of any disgruntled patrons posted on online poker forums. Also read the site's security policy before signing up to play poker - a good online poker site will have a thorough statement about how they protect their players from fraud, collusion, and hacking. Last, be sure to compare the rake system for several online poker sites to ensure that the rake (the small portion of each qualifying pot that is paid to the establishment for the opportunity to play poker there) is fair.
Download the Poker Software
Once an online poker site has been chosen, it is time to download the installation file for the the poker client software. Almost every online poker site has a big "Download Now" link on the first page of their website. Simply click that to start the download process.
For those who are not accustomed to installing software on their computer, each online poker site offers detailed instructions, usually with screen shots included, describing the download, installation and registration process. Once the program has been installed, a desktop icon should be available which, when double-clicked, will open the poker client.
Alternatively, many poker sites offer instant-play games in Flash or Java format that precludes the necessity for a download. While this is very convenient for players who, for whatever reason, are unable to play poker using the native poker client, it is recommended that players go ahead and install the online poker site's software if it is at all possible.
Play Poker for Free
Most online poker sites provide play money poker games in which registered members may play poker for free with other members. This can be a safe and fun way to learn how to play poker online against real players. This is a good starting place for new players who aren't sure they are ready to deposit funds into a real money poker account yet.
The availability of poker variants, game styles, betting limits, and opponents will vary from one online poker room to the next. Choosing to play poker at one of the more heavily trafficked poker sites will ensure a larger selection of active play money tables.
Play Poker for Money
To play poker for money, it is required that a player deposit funds into their online poker account. Sites offer a variety of methods for doing so in order to provide as many options as possible for poker players all over the world. The time and effort required to make a deposit at any online poker site will depend on the method used.
Most online poker sites will accept credit cards, however, not all credit card companies will allow online gambling transactions. If this occurs, an e-wallet option such as Neteller or Click2Pay will be required in order to facilitate the fund transfer. However, once the money is deposited into the player's account, they are ready to play poker at the real money tables.
Play Poker Cash Games
Cash games (also called ring games) are on-going poker games in which players may buy-in at the table any time a seat is available. The stakes in a cash game reflect the amount of the small blind and the big blind - or, in a fixed limit game, the small bet and the big bet. In cash games, the blinds remain the same throughout game play, and anyone may leave the table at any time during the game. If a player runs out of chips at any time during the game, they may buy back in to continue playing poker at that table.
Play Poker Tournaments
There are a variety of poker tournament styles to choose from. Sit and Go tournaments (often abbreviated SNG) are unscheduled, impromptu poker tournaments that begin as soon as the seats are filled. There are a variety of poker forms, variants, and stakes at which one can play Sit and Go tournaments. Availability is generally dependent upon player traffic and interest.
Some online poker enthusiasts prefer to play multi-table poker tournaments (abbreviated MTT). In MTTs, each player starts with a set amount of chips, and players across numerous online poker tables compete to gain the most chips. The amount of the blinds raise at fixed intervals, and players are moved around as needed in order to keep a balanced number of participants at each table. The last players standing play poker against each other at the final table until one of them has won all of the chips.
Many online poker players frequently play the satellite and freeroll tournaments. Satellite tournaments award winners with a seat in a larger tournament, at a fraction of the buy-in. Freeroll tournaments, as the name suggests, are tournaments that do not require an entry fee.