So, you have tried out poker at a home game and probably won some cash or at the very least have a grasp of the rules of the game, you enjoy and have seen how the pros do it on TV but playing your weekly home game doesn’t fill the gap anymore and you are looking to expand your horizons.
Well then, this Ultimate newbie guide to playing poker online is dedicated to you in the hopes that you will choose the venue that best suits your needs.
When it comes to poker online for a novice the concept itself seems overwhelming particularly for unsavvy occasional internet users, this guide hopes to steer you in the right direction.
The plethora of poker rooms, different protocols and software variations available on the internet seems daunting for a newbie player to say the least we have compiled a listing of what you should be looking for when choosing your new internet poker venue.
Choosing an Internet Poker Room
One of the first choices you will be confronting in your quest is that of finding a suitable internet poker room that meets and hopefully exceeds your expectations while avoiding the many rouge sites that unfortunately do exist.
If you are an American you have an additional choice to factor in, i.e. many rooms no longer offer their online poker games to USA citizens since Bush passed into law the UEGIA, so your options have been narrowed down, yet there are still some excellent choices for you to choose from, simply use our right hand navigation menu under “Poker Bonuses”, poker sites that still allow USA players real money play have a small American flag adjacent the room’s these are the internet poker rooms that continue to allow poker players from America including two of the most popular internet poker rooms in PokerStars and FullTIltPoker.
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The big bad web can be a dangerous place for the uninformed, so the first thing to investigate in choosing the right Internet Poker Room would be its reputation, security measures and trustworthiness. Seeing that you will more than likely spend many an hour at your chosen internet poker venue surely you want that added piece of mind knowing that you as a player are protected. Most Internet poker sites have excellent security and anti-collusion measures in place to protect you as a player.
In general, the safest online poker rooms are those that have either been established a long time or have the largest volumes of traffic, you should be looking for sites that have a least 5000 real-money players online at any given time as both the above points speak volumes in terms of the site’s credibility.
One last objective in determining a poker site’s trustworthiness would be to see who the site is monitored by externally the following are among the safest and perform audits, check software security and mediate in disputes:
- Kahnawake Gaming Commission
- GPWA (Gambling Portal Webmasters Assoc.)
- IGASA (Internet Gambling Advertising Authority)
- eCogra (eCommerce and Online Gaming regulation and Assurance)
- IGC (Interactive Gaming Commission)
We highly recommend the top internet poker sites for newbie’s to begin with, for the very best user experience. Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars stand out as leaders in the field in terms of game security and popularity while still permitting USA poker players access for real money.
Once you are happy that the site you have chosen meets all the security requirements it’s time to move on.
For the real newbie player or even the more advanced player the best advice when joining a new room is to try out the free play game mode, solely to get a feel for the game while getting used to how the various options are presented as these vary between the many internet poker rooms online. Always bear in mind that the free poker games are far different to their real money counterparts.
Once you have become familiar with the software and acquainted to all the features, feel comfortable and can navigate your way around then it’s time to move on.
Many sites offer lessons to improve your game with videos, tutorials and interactive lessons which all aim to make you a better poker player and give you that extra advantage over your opponents.
Full Tilt Poker provide a great poker learning tool in their FullTIlt Academy which is well worth checking out as it covers all levels of players and has some great tips and advice from some of the most well known names in the pro circuit.
Withdraw and Deposit Options
Being able to deposit money and then withdraw your winnings is pretty important especially if you intend on winning, have a look through your pokerroom’s cashier section to see what options exist.
Most internet pokerrooms support many payment processors and credit cards, just find the one you will use to deposit funds and then prior to actually making a deposit check the room’s cash out / withdraw options.
Deposit Bonus Codes and Reload Bonuses
Most internet poker sites offer potential real money players a dangling carrot by allowing first time depositing players a reward for signing up with the room and making a first deposit.
If you are just starting out at a new poker room online, always be on the lookout for deposit bonuses and poker bonus codes as these poker bonuses are essentially free money and are a definite advantage for those intending on playing for some time at a particular room.
Most Poker bonuses are released gradually meaning that as you accumulate points so you earn some free cash on the side via your deposit bonus which can make a huge difference in your bankroll especially when you start out the bonus may keep your bankroll afloat or keep you in positive territory.
When it comes to poker deposit bonuses and bonus codes each room offers its own incentive but in general most offer a 100% deposit match bonus code that will match your first deposit at the room by 100% up to a certain amount. Always be sure to check out the requirements needed to clear your bonus as they should be made clear to you from within the poker room’s software console usually under the cashier or on the internet poker room’s homepage under deposit bonus code or something similar. Sometimes even the smaller bonuses are better than the larger ones due to the fact that they are easily redeemed.
Another great thing about playing online poker is at times players are offered a redeposit bonus code also known as a reload bonus code, these bonuses are usually sent out via email from the internet poker room you signed up at. Reload / Redeposit bonus codes are simply a bonus for existing players to recharge their accounts with funds while getting a bonus in return from the room. Once again make sure you read all that the room requires for you to clear your poker redeposit bonus which usually only counts for one deposit only and further deposits are not included you may also be required to enter an actual poker bonus code when you make a deposit in order to initiate the deposit bonus incentive.
Internet poker traffic is important in your decision making process as perhaps you would like to play with the same players each day and become acquainted with them and their style of play in which case a smaller poker rooms would be a preferable choice.
The larger sites offer far more in terms of anonymity where you are merely 1 in 100,000 players online with the added advantage of finding any game you want at anytime with shorter waiting periods and bigger events are usually the norm.
Many internet poker rooms offer loyalty programs which give players some great rewards for points earned, most reward programs are based on a combination of the limits you play at over the number of hands you play and points accrue the more you play the more you earn and the greater the rewards.
Usually points can be spent on a variety of products like Poker room branded clothing items, Poker Books, Poker DVD’s, and Electronics all the way up to Sports cars and Harleys. Some rooms offer you cash back for your points a redeposit bonus or free entry to a tournament.
Reward programs are great if you like poker related paraphernalia, in little to no time you can amass a wardrobe full of your favourite rooms branded clothing and small poker household items which will make your home game friends envy your online poker rewards when you sport that latest poker cap and T-shirt combo.
Tournaments and Cash Tables
Despite the fact that most poker played online is done so at the cash tables, tournaments have become increasing more popular over the years where as a player you can risk a relatively small buy-in into events that can win large sums of money.
Most of the bigger internet poker tournaments hosted allow players to enter into them via smaller events called satellites; satellites are smaller buy in tournaments that the winner or winners get entry into either the main event or another satellite event.
There are many a player out there who have never deposited at a pokerroom yet have built up substantial bankrolls from playing in freeroll tournaments, yet these are very unique scenarios that take hours of play and may prove to be fruitless.
Variety of Games
Another key point to check is that your preferred poker game is actually on offer by the room check the number of players that play at your limits and the popularity of your preferred game at the site as all the rooms will offer Texas Hold’em yet some sites may not offer other variations of poker like Razz, Omaha, Seven card stud or may offer them but perhaps they are not played as often.
When something goes wrong you should have as many options available to you as possible your room should offer support via live chat, Email and telephone. 24/7 support is the obvious preference.
Look and Feel
Find a site that you like, everyone has their own preference when it comes to design and layout. Some things to check are how the options are presented, is the software user friendly, can the table resize, is multi table play supported, can themes be changed, can sounds be altered.
The look and feel of a room really is a personal preference so compare a few rooms and choose the one you like.
Internet Poker has expanded over the last few years to include millions of players worldwide choosing the right online poker room has become increasingly difficult yet when you weigh up the options each room has to offer you should find a secure clear cut winner or perhaps two.
Many players opt to have multiple accounts at several rooms which does have some benefits like access to more promotions and tournaments or even simply playing tournaments at one internet poker site and cash games at another.
One thing to be aware of is not to open multiple accounts from the same room as some can be awkward about this as it violates their terms and conditions and may see the closing of your account or in rare scenarios forfeiture of your funds if you ever won big. If ever you need another account you can always change rooms and access that new poker room’s promotions and first deposit bonus code.
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