When it comes to home entertainment, digital technology has made it possible to play a wide variety of different gaming genres. Gamers today can access everything from multiplayer online battle arena games to sandbox games and even games in virtual reality.
Advanced tech has also made a certain genre of games a lot more accessible to players across the world. Several casino classics have soared in popularity in their digital incarnations, but none more so than the centuries-old card game of poker.
Digital poker is now one of iGaming’s key verticals, and is enjoyed by everyone from seasoned pros to complete novices alike. If you’ve been wondering how to get started playing poker online, keep reading for our handy guide that will tell you everything you need to know.
Finding Digital Poker Rooms
Unlike other digital gaming genres, online poker isn’t necessarily available in every country or state. In the US, for instance, legislation of the genre differs from state to state and this means that some platforms are only accessible to gamers in certain territories. As an example, if you’re looking to play poker in Ontario, you’ll need to do some research into the platforms and games that are available to you there.
Things are generally easier for gamers in Europe and certain regions in Asia, where online poker gaming is widely available. However, even in saturated markets for digital gaming such as the UK, it’s still important to only play in licensed and legislated poker rooms.
Setting up an Account
Digital poker is strictly for adult gamers only, so you will need to be at least 18 years old or the required legal age in your particular location to set up an account. Each platform will set its own process for signing up, but it’s generally something that you can do fairly quickly by visiting the operator’s website. Reputable platforms will need to verify your identity and your age, so be prepared to provide ID and other documentation when asked.
If you’re just looking to play simulation poker or play money games, once your account has been approved, you can start to play straight away. If you’re planning to get involved with real money digital poker, you will need to deposit funds into your account using an accepted payment method. Most platforms accept debit and credit cards, bank wire transfers, and even eWallets like Skrill and Neteller.
What Can I Play?
In stark contrast to some land-based gaming venues, in the digital realm, you can access a huge selection of different poker variants and ways in which to play them. Some games are completely free to play – these are typically called play money tournaments – and even real money games start with very low stakes and are beginner friendly.
Texas Hold’em is undoubtedly the world’s most popular poker variant and it’s just as ubiquitous in the digital realm as it is in brick-and-mortar venues. No-Limit Hold’em games make up the bulk of most online platform’s offerings, but you’ll also find the following online:
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- Pot-Limit Omaha
- 5-Card Draw
- 7-Card Stud
- Chinese Poker
As well as being able to access several different variants, when you play poker online you can also engage with different gaming formats, including tournaments, cash games and sit & gos.
Poker tournaments are famous all over the world thanks to high-profile events like the WSOP and European Poker Tour and are featured heavily in televised poker games. They’re not just for pro players, however; even beginners can get involved with tournament poker. Some platforms also offer play money tournament poker, in which you can compete to be top of the leaderboard while honing your skills at the same time.
Cash games are as just as straightforward online as they are in real life. Each player “buys-in” to the game and receives a stack of virtual chips equal to the value of their stake. From the start of a digital cash game, each player can cash out at any time and leave the game.
Sit & Gos are an efficient way to play online poker tournaments that have been created specifically for digital gaming. They’re fast-paced and typically involve competing against just a handful of opponents. You can choose which virtual table you’d like to “sit” on during the game and the action starts as soon as enough players have joined.