If you are completely new to poker or are returning to the game after a number of years, there are some basic steps you need to take before playing with real money at an online casino. Naturally you should first acquaint, or re-acquaint yourself with the rules and before you play for real, you can trial a few games, either via an app on your mobile phone or with a free game version via the operator in question.
Once you’re confident and ready to play for real, you have a choice between poker variants. There are more than ten different versions of the game, each with its subtle take on the basic rules but here are three of the more popular options that you’ll find around the web.
Texas Hold ‘Em
Texas Hold ‘Em is by far the most popular version of the game online and while it’s a good place for newbies to start, it’s also a game favoured by the more advanced players, and even the most successful professionals around the world. In Texas Hold’Em you are dealt two cards initially; these are dealt face down while a further five cards are dealt face up and are available for all players to see. Betting rounds then start and the person with the best hand wins the relevant pot.
So, when you look for sets of rules, Texas Hold ‘Em is the first variant to consider and when you want to take things further, you can look at strategies. According to an article on 888Poker, it is actually easier to spot tells in home games than in tournaments or online so start trying to read your friends and family first. Develop your understanding and focus on this version to begin with as it is by far the most accessible and it’s the one where rules and strategies will be more familiar if you are coming back to the game, or taking it in for the first time.
In Omaha, the only essential difference from Texas Hold ‘Em is that the dealer provides you with four cards and then there are a further three face up, ‘community cards’ for all to see.
The betting works in exactly the same way for Omaha as it does for Texas Hold ‘Em and the rule alteration is very subtle but online casinos offer this game extensively and there are some potentially lucrative tournaments so it’s worth understanding the changes.
Seven Card Stud
Prior to the internet boom in online poker play, history shows that this was the variant widely regarded as the most popular among the playing community. Unlike the first two options mentioned here where the rules are almost similar, Seven Card Stud is quite idiosyncratic in its style of play.
Each player is dealt two cards face down and one face up and the player with the lowest ‘face up’ card starts the betting round. Following this round, the fourth, fifth and sixth cards are dealt face up and the final card is face down but from here, the rules are universal and the best overall hand wins the pot.
Away from the three most common versions, you may come across Razz, Triple Draw, Omaha Hi-Lo and possibly others but as far as online play is concerned, these are the most popular variants. Start with the option that you feel most comfortable with, define your strategy and then it’s time to get involved.