Poker has taken over the casino gaming world, at least from the perspective of what is hot among players. Whether in online casinos and poker rooms, or in the resort casinos of Las Vegas, Atlantic City and the like, Texas Hold ’em and other poker games are all the rage, creating buzz among players from beginners to professionals. Everybody seemingly wants in on the action. This article offers tips and suggestions for learning, improving and perfecting your poker game, using online poker rooms and casinos as a virtual poker class.
Internet poker is at least partially responsible for the surge in popularity that the game has experienced, and one key reason is that online poker tables eliminate the need for expensive gambling junkets that eat into the average player’s winnings. In many cases, players would have to win quite a few chips just to offset expenses like airfare, hotel, and meals. Even if the casino were to comp some of the expenses, the time it takes to get to and from a regular poker table could be prohibitive for many amateur players. Internet poker, however, makes it possible for almost anyone to have access to top-flight dealers, tournaments and action.
The first decision you will need to make is whether your poker skills are good enough to deposit and play for real cash, or whether you need to learn the basics for free at any of the dozens of play money games available. Free poker does come with a bit of a price though. Typically, free games are excessively loose and may not accurately mirror a real money poker game. Play money poker is great for getting comfortable with the game and learning the basics. However, you will want to graduate to real money poker once you have those first few lessons under your belt.
Just because you are playing for real money, however, does not mean that you have to take uncomfortable risks. Poker is, after all, a skill. It is not gambling, or at least it should not be approached as a gamble. The large, well-known online poker sites, and many of the smaller ones as well, offer micro stakes games. You will want to evaluate the stakes you are playing for against the looseness of the action and the skill of the other players at the table. However, online tournaments can be found easily with stakes starting at a quarter or less. Ring games start with stakes as low as two cents.
Speaking of tournaments and ring games, that is the next decision you will need to make. Which is a better learning environment, the low-stakes ring game or tournaments with low entry fees? The answer is probably closely tied to the style of play you prefer, and to what type of game you are interested in playing when you move up to higher stakes.
Many players, especially poker professionals, are equally good at cash games and tournaments. Many amateurs, however, are probably better suited to playing one or the other. Although both games are poker, the nuances of the game can be quite different. You may find that you prefer cash games to tournaments or tournaments to cash games. If so, you should feel free to play in the type of game where you feel comfortable. You may also be the type of player who likes both the action of ring games and the lower risk of tournaments. If that is the case, by all means, enjoy both.
You will probably want to play some cash games and some tournaments to get the feel for which type of poker appeals most to you. Many players use those early days at the free money tables to decide between ring games and tournaments.
The same is true of the different games and the different limit types. While poker to many people means Texas Hold ’em, there are other games, like Omaha and Stud, that are popular with some players. And in all of the poker games, there are variations of limit, pot limit and no limit. By far, the most popular poker game in casinos and online is no limit hold ’em; but there are plenty of online training grounds for Omaha, Stud, and just about any other game you can imagine.
The bottom line is that online poker offers players access to tables and action that were not previously available to them. And whether you are a pro looking to ply your craft against the online fish, or an amateur looking to improve, there is a game online that is suited to your needs. Those amateur players in particular will find that playing poker online offers a world of learning opportunities for little or no risk. From free play money games to low-stakes cash games and tournaments, it only takes a few clicks to start learning the great game of poker.