A Guide to Online Poker

Shane C

May 12, 2024

Guide to Online Poker

In the ever-evolving landscape of online gaming, few pursuits offer the blend of skill, strategy, and excitement quite like online poker. Whether you're a novice looking to dip your toes into the digital felt or a seasoned player seeking to refine your craft, navigating the realm of online poker can be both thrilling and rewarding.

The Basics of Poker

Before we go online, let’s take a quick look at two of the most common poker games: Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker.  

At its core, poker is a game of skill where players wager on the strength of their hand. In Texas Hold'em, players are dealt two private cards ("hole cards") and five community cards, with the objective of making the best possible five-card hand. Texas Hold’em online is almost as popular as its offline counterpart. In fact, if you google "Texas Hold'em online", it’s almost a certainty for you to see it being offered in all online poker platforms.

The second most common poker game variants would be Omaha poker, where players are dealt four hole cards instead of two. Due to the increased possibilities and strategic depth, many long-time Texas Hold’em players find themselves playing Omaha Poker games every now and then. 

While Omaha poker can be played as a fixed limit or no limit game, more often than not, it is played as a pot-limit game. In Pot Limit Omaha, players can bet up to the size of the pot at any given time, adding an extra layer of complexity and excitement. This betting structure requires players to carefully consider their bets and potential outcomes, adding to the strategic depth of the game.

Of course, when it comes to online poker, there are more than Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker games. Over the years, many new variants have been born. 

For example, Short Deck poker, where you play with 36 cards; Rush & Cash, where you will be transported to a brand new table every time you fold; All-in or Fold, where you can only choose to go either “All in” or “Fold”; or the more recently introduced Mystery Bounty, where you will get an “unknown” bounty for every player you knock out in the final phase.  

But First – Why Do People Play Online Poker?

Well, there are many reasons why some people prefer to play online poker. It could be due to a lack of time or lack of places to play live poker. It could also be because of the fact that you could play multiple poker tables at the same time. In fact, it’s not unheard of for people to be playing up to 6 or even 10 tables online. The ability to play multiple tables simultaneously means that you get to train more and improve faster. 

Freerolls & Bonuses

Natural8 Weekly Saturday FreerollIn addition, many online poker platforms offer freerolls. Natural8, for example, in addition to their weekly and hourly freerolls, offers Play Money – a form of free in-game currency that you can use to test out the games. These are the things that you can be hard-pressed to find in live poker.

Cashback

Many online poker platforms offer cashbacks or rakebacks. These are some forms of programmes that reward you as you play. For example, on Natural8, the Fish Buffet Cashback programme starts at an average of 15% and up to a fixed cashback of 60%. 

If you intend to play a lot of online poker, or even casino games, the cashbacks/rakebacks that you can get can be quite significant. Therefore, it’s important that you do your research before committing to an online poker platform. 

Huge Player Pool

When you play online, you have access to a large player pool that goes internationally, which makes it easier to find players who are at the same skill level as you. 

Helpful Tools

Natural8 PokerCraftPerhaps one of the most important advantages of online poker is the availability of certain tools. 

For example, here on Natural8, you get access to tools such as PokerCraft and Smart HUD. The former is designed to help you improve your game by keeping track of your entire poker journey and giving you a detailed insight of your gameplay. Meanwhile, with Smart HUD, you can quickly learn about your opponents’ tendencies and take notes on them. 

Pace & Timing

Live poker tends to be slower-paced than online poker due to factors like physical card dealing, chip shuffling, and player decision-making. This slower pace allows for more time to think through decisions and observe opponents' behavior. Online poker, on the other hand, moves much faster with automated actions and timers for each player. As a result, when you play online, you must make decisions more quickly and may have less time to observe opponents' tendencies.

Multi-Tabling

As mentioned above, one of the benefits of playing online poker is the ability to play multiple tables simultaneously, a practice known as multi-tabling. This allows skilled players to increase their volume of hands played and maximize their potential profit. 

Multi-tabling requires strong multitasking skills and the ability to make quick decisions across multiple tables. In contrast, multi-tabling is not possible in live poker, where players can only focus on one table at a time.

Check out: Winning Strategies for Multi-Table Tournaments

Game Selection & Table Conditions

In online poker, you have access to a wide variety of games, stakes, and formats at any time of day or night. This allows you to choose games that suit their preferences and skill levels. Live poker offerings may be more limited, depending on the location and time of day, and you may have to wait for a seat at your desired table. 

Additionally, live poker games may have different table conditions, such as table talk etiquette and house rules, that can affect gameplay and strategy.

How to Choose An Online Poker Platform

Warning: dangers lurk online. If you simply play on any online poker rooms without any research, you risk losing your money. So, before you embark on your online poker journey, make sure you do your due diligence and choose a reputable platform.

Look for sites with a solid reputation, reliable software, and a diverse player pool. In addition, find out whether these sites are licensed, what their security policy is, and whether they are endorsed by professional poker players. It might seem like a hassle, but remember; this is the site that you will deposit money in, and some of you may end up depositing a large sum, so it's always good to do your due diligence before you even start playing.

Once you are sure that the site that you choose is legit, look at their available deposit & withdrawal methods. You want to make sure that you can deposit and withdraw from the poker platform. There's nothing more annoying than being unable to deposit or withdraw because of some restrictions or that the deposit/withdrawal method you want is not within the list of the platform's available deposit/withdrawal methods.

Responsible Gambling

Responsible GamblingWhile online poker can be immensely enjoyable, it's essential to approach it with responsibility and moderation. Set limits on your playing time and bankroll, and avoid chasing losses. Familiarize yourself with tools offered by online poker sites, such as deposit limits and self-exclusion options, to maintain control over your gaming habits. Remember, poker is meant to be a form of entertainment, not a financial burden.

Check out: How to Practise Safe & Responsible Gambling

Conclusion

Online poker is a captivating blend of skill, strategy, and excitement that continues to captivate players worldwide. By understanding the basics, honing your skills, and embracing responsible gaming practices, you can embark on a rewarding and enjoyable poker journey. So, why wait? Dive into the world of online poker today and experience the thrill for yourself!

Whether you're a newcomer or a seasoned pro, online poker offers endless opportunities for fun, excitement, and skill development. Explore the wide array of games, tournaments, and platforms available, and embark on your journey to becoming a true poker aficionado.

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