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Learn how to play online poker

Article By: RuffPoker.com

Online poker has in recent years become more than a game, rather a social phenomenon. Its popularity has grown because millions of people now have the forum and opportunity to play against people from all over the world from the comfort of their own surroundings. Furthermore, as its popularity grows there become more avenues of play available. PartyPoker, PokerStars, PacificPoker, ParadisePoker and many, many more online gaming/betting companies are all competing with each other to get players onto their sites. The more players they get online the more tables they can open up for play. The more tables they have running the more they ‘rake’ (% of each hand).

You can find a game online these days playing at tables with anything from .02/.04 cents to $500/$1000 blinds. With these vastly differing table levels brings vastly differing standards of player. Such is the diversity of the stakes, that you can find every conceivable standard of player. Of course on the lower level tables play is far looser, people can ‘afford’ to lose micro limit pots, on these tables you will find the vast majority playing most hands with a ‘fun’ mindset. When you start to play on tables where big dollars are involved pre-flop, then you will see a far more cagey game, tight and controlled aggression. When you get up to the big stakes where hundreds of dollars are changing hands every hand, then it is all about the bluff.

There are three main types of poker games

  1. No limit holdem, where players can bet anything at any one time
  2. Pot limit holdem, where players can only bet up to the current pot value
  3. Limit holdem, where players are only allowed to bet a certain amount each time.

Now, combine this with the fact that there is a vastly different monetary level on each table and you have far too many complexities to discuss a generic online poker strategy. A few general tips however. For the beginner it is not advisable to play anything other than low limit holdem, where the pot can never get out of hand, so that you can fold at any sign of danger. You can learn about table position and its importance to betting, you can learn what cards are good and bad, when you are drawing dead and how to deal with the psychology of a bad beat. What you must understand however is that at such a level it is never too expensive for a player to stay in the game just to see the next card, hoping to ‘hit’ something on the turn or river. It happens a lot in low limit holdem, the person with the strongest opening hand rarely wins, because somebody always goes to the showdown (river card) and when there are 7 ‘live’ cards you give people plenty of options to beat you. If for example you are sat with trips (3 of a kind) in early position after the flop, but you see the potential for a flush/straight, then in no limit holdem it is possible to bet fast and big to scare people away from paying to see that next card that they need. However in low limit and pot limit holdem you can’t do this. You can only put in a certain amount. As such there is always the likelihood people will hang around in hope more than anything else, and hit you on the river with a bad beat situation. Often you will lose when you were in a winning position after the flop at low limit holdem.

Low limit holdem is a game for those who want to steadily acquaint themselves with online poker. Understand the need for discipline (fold hands when they are drawing dead) and keep their balance manageable. Once you know the strategy of the game, what hands work best in what situations then it is best to move on to pot limit holdem. You still can lose to those bad beats, because people cannot be bluffed out when there is say, only $4 on the board, but they are the cons of limit holdem. On the plus side you can always play safe, control your betting and not get drawn into stone cold bluff situations where you ‘have to’ see somebody’s cards, knowing you have probably lost.

Once you have educated yourself in the game and are confident that somebody’s all in bet won’t make you sweat with nervous energy! you can move up to no limit holdem. Here you will have to understand much more about the psychology of the game, how and when to bluff and steal, how to make marginal hands look good by playing aggressive and fast. Best of all, with no limit holdem you can learn to use the ‘slow play’ tactic, i.e. when you flop a monster hand/the ‘nuts’, and want to squeeze as much out of your opponents without making it obvious you are sat with those 4 aces!