Online Poker Games
Poker is a widely popular and highly competitive card game played against one or more opponent(s). There are many variations of poker games you can play online for real money including Texas Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud, & Omaha. There are a lot of online poker sites where you can play against real people and win real money. However, there are only a handful that I consider to have the best online poker games.
What to Look for in the Best Online Poker Sites
When you’re looking for a trustworthy poker site to play for real money at, here are a few key traits to look for:
- The option to play for free (play money) or for real money
- Plenty of players and stakes available (more players = easier games)
- A generous sign up bonus for new players
- A variety of deposit options
- Fast cash outs
- Easy-to-use software
- VIP programs where players earn points that can be used to buy tournament entries or merchandise
Playing Poker Online for Real Money
Playing poker online differs greatly from both home games and casino poker. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of playing real money poker games online.
Advantages of Internet Poker
- It’s more convenient to play online rather than setting up a home game or going to a casino.
- Since many sites have cash games starting at $0.01/$0.02 and tournaments starting at $1.10, it’s much more affordable to play online than at a casino where cash games start at $1/$2 and the lowest tournaments usually start at around $35.
- Online poker sites offer hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars in deposit bonuses to players, something you never see at casinos.
- Poker sites also offer VIP points to real money players to encourage more time at the tables. These points can be used for valuable gift cards, electronics, and even vacations and cars. Casinos poker rooms don’t have the budget for such programs.
- The Internet is the only place where you can play at multiple poker tables simultaneously. This adds extra excitement and profit potential that you won’t find at a casino.
- Since hundreds of thousands of players are playing poker online at any given moment, the variety of games and stakes blows away anything you’ll find at a casino. Besides the most popular poker games, online poker sites have tables for games you won’t find elsewhere such as, Razz, Badugi, Lowball, 5-Card Draw, Triple Draw, and more.
- You can play in huge prize pool tournaments for a fraction of what you’ll pay live. Outside of the WPT and WSOP tournament circuit, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a million dollar prize pool at a casino. And even then, the entries cost $5,000-$10,000. Not online though. You can play for hundreds of thousands of dollars every day for a modest investment. For example, the Sunday Million at Pokerstars has a guaranteed prize pool of $1,000,000 and costs a modest $215 to enter.
- With so many people from around the world signing up to play poker online, there are a lot of bad players (fish) to win money from.
Disadvantages of Internet Poker
- The adrenaline rush isn’t there so much. Once you get used to playing poker for money, you’ll find that online poker doesn’t have the same feeling as live poker in terms of excitement. It’s relatively easy to bluff online by clicking “bet $200”, but it’s another type of feeling to count out a $200 bluff with a guy staring you down on the other side of the table.
- It’s almost impossible to “read” your opponent online. The only poker tells that you can hope to pick up online are betting patterns and the speed someone acts (which isn’t very reliable).
- It’s harder to get away with a bluff online. Just like it’s easier to try a bluff online, opponents are much more likely to call “just to keep you honest” on the Internet.
- It takes longer to cash out online. Unlike a home game or a casino where you can take your money and run, it usually takes a week or two to receive your cash from an online poker site.
Winning Money at Online Poker
So how easy is it to make money at online poker? Not as easy as it once was I’m afraid. Online poker has soared in popularity in 1998. Back then, there were only a handful of good poker strategy books. Now, there are countless books, video training sites, and poker strategy websites. Because of the large amount of (and easy access to) quality poker strategy, players today are overall much better than a decade ago.
There’s still plenty of money to be won at online poker though. Countries around the world are embracing online poker for the first time and that means plenty of fresh fish at the tables. Just be sure to choose a large poker site like Absolute Poker so you can be sure there are plenty of soft games.
History of Online Poker
In 1998 Planet Poker changed the face of poker forever when it launched the first real money poker games on the Internet. Poker has come a long way since. In 2004 online poker revenue exceeded $2.4 billion dollars. This is due in part to the “poker boom” that took place after ESPN began airing the World Series of Poker main even in 2003. Today, there are over roughly 500,000 players around the world playing poker online every day.