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As sports betting continues to expand it’s footprint across the United States with legal, online sports betting opportunities, as does the world of legal, online casino and iGaming. Here, we’ll look at a rather rudimentary guide on how to play online poker and win.
How to play iGaming online poker: Starting out
If you’re just getting your feet wet playing poker online, you’re not alone. Many are dabbling in electronic casino games for the first time.
Texas holdem is widely available online, as well as games like Omaha. The latter doesn’t have nearly the mass appeal or availability, however, so we’ll focus mostly on online Texas holdem.
How to play online poker: Winning
Before we proceed, let’s just clear up a few basics. There are four suits and two colors in a standard 52-card deck. We have two red suits – diamonds and hearts – and two black suits – clubs and spades. Face cards are jacks (J), queens (Q) and kings (K). Aces (A) can be used either as a high or low card, similarly to blackjack.
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Unlike blackjack, you’re not only playing against the dealer, but also the others at the table. In Texas holdem, you will get five ‘community’ cards dealt, and two ‘hole’ cards. Your two hole cards are not shown to anyone else. You must use at least one of your hole cards to make the best possible hand against everyone else at the table.
There will be a round of betting based upon everyone’s hole cards. The order is determined by the ‘button’, which is a round marker rotating around the table each hand. This signifies who is the ‘dealer’. The next two positions are the ‘small blind’ and ‘big blind’ spots. There is a pre-determined amount required to play the hand.
The big blind pays the entire amount, the small blind plays half, and has the option of matching the big blind to remain in the hand. After the big blind, each player around the table has the option of either ‘calling’, or betting the amount of the big blind, raising or folding. The betting goes all around the table until every player matches the highest bet made in a particular round.
After the hole cards are bet upon, the ‘flop’ is dealt. These are the first three community cards. Another round of betting ensues. Then, a fourth card, or ‘Fourth Street’ or ‘The Turn’, is dealt, and another round of betting, etc. Lastly, a fifth card, or ‘Fifth Street’ or ‘The River’, is dealt, and the final bets are made before a winning hand is determined.
How to play online blackjack: Strategies
There are plenty of different strategies for winning at online poker, but the best advice is to be patient. It might seem rather boring to continually fold hands, and Texas holdem can be a grind at times, but impatience is rarely rewarded, and it’s a good idea to wait for ‘Top 10’ hands. Eventually, you’ll learn about suited connectors (cards of the same suit in numerical succession), or just suited cards in general, which can be good starting hole cards.
In addition, sometimes you will hit a set – or three of a kind – on the flop with cards which aren’t necessarily great hole cards initially. You’ll learn the nuances of the game as you gain more experience. For intermediate or advanced players, this is all common knowledge, but for beginners just learning the game, patience is a virtue.
While various tables can have players of very different skill levels, and you do not want to play ‘tight’, or too close to the vest, using less risky play initially will mitigate big losses early on and keep your interest as you continue to learn. Eventually, you’ll also learn how to bluff, which by a series of strong wagers, can trick other players into believing your hand is stronger than it might really be.
This is certainly for more advanced players, but down the road you’ll learn you can win a hand even if you have lesser hole cards than your opponent simply by wagering strategy.
As you start out, you’ll need to know the order of winning hands, and memorize this list:Royal flush (AKQJ10 of the same suit)Straight flush (Five cards in sequence, same suit)Four of a kind (Same card in all four suits)Full house (Three of a kind and a pair)Flush (Five cards of the same suit, sequence not required)Straight (Five cards in sequence, suit doesn’t matter)Three of a kind (Same card in three different suits)Two pairs (two different matching numbers or face cards)One pair (two matching numbers or face cards)High card (If you do not have any matching cards, it’s simply your highest card)
How to play online poker: Play responsibly
Again, please be careful initially when setting out. Do not play for more than you can afford to lose, try and limit your alcohol intake and other outside distractions, and simply focus on the game.
In fact, some players like to engage in chatter at the table in person, or via ‘chat’ in a room. Block all of that out and just focus on the cards, especially early on. Remember your basic rules and don’t try and get too cute. If so, you’re going to really enjoy playing poker in the comfort of your own home.
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