Play Poker Online
Online poker gambling. How to play online poker? How to bet? Choosing online poker room. Call, rase, fold. Poker touraments.
Browsing: Gamble / How To Play Poker Online
How to play online poker?
If you go online and you are logged in to your choosen online poker room, you choose a table to start playing. If you play in a private tournament (see Menu Link), you meet your friends and ... Start to play.
In order to designate which player is the theoretical dealer in a game, a "Button" is used.
When the first hand is dealt in Omaha, the button is always given to the player that is to the immediate right of the dealer chip rack. In tournaments, however, one card is dealt to each player and the button is given to the player with the highest card. After each hand is completed, the button moves clockwise to the next active player and this player will be considered to be the dealer, and will act on his hand last on each betting round for that game. It is a big advantage to act last in Omaha and by moving the button; each player gets to take a turn at having this advantage.
When it’s your turn for the button, you are said to be "playing the button". Look to your screen and see, if you are "the dealer" or who else has the advantage.
How to bet?
Poker is a gambling game. In most games and variations, you must ANTE something (amount varies by game), just to get dealt cards.
After that the players will begin to bet into the pot in the middle. At the end of the hand, the highest hand (that hasn't folded) wins the pot. Basically, when betting gets around to you (betting is typically done in clockwise order), you have one of three choices:
- Call - When you call, you bet enough to match what has been bet since the last time you bet (for instance, if you bet a dime last time, and someone else bet a quarter, you would owe fifteen cents).
- Raise - When you raise, you first bet enough to match what has been bet since the last time you bet (as in calling), then you "raise" the bet another amount (up to you, but there is typically a limit.) Continuing the above example, if you had bet a dime, the other player raised you fifteen cents (up to a quarter), you might raise a quarter (up to fifty cents). Since you owed the pot 15 cents for calling and 25 for your raise, you would put 40 cents into the pot.
- Fold - When you fold, you drop out of the current hand (losing any possibility of winning the pot), but you don't have to put any money into the pot.
Issues That Should Concern Online Poker Players
There are two somewhat different (and hence somewhat overlapping) sets of concerns for online gamblers. Because I'm the poker writer here, I'll discuss the poker issues first, but even if your only Internet gambling is poker, I strongly encourage you to stay with me for the generic Internet gambling issues, because some of them very definitely apply to poker.
Poker works differently than Player vs. House gambling, both in cyberspace and in real poker rooms. The House doesn't play against the player. The House makes its money by charging the players a fee: sometimes it's an hourly rate, sometimes it's a per-round rate, and sometimes it's a percentage of the pot.
Whichever method the House uses to earn its profit, you can see that the House doesn't really mind if you're good (unlike blackjack or sports betting, where being good means being asked to leave), because you aren't winning the House's money. The House's only interest is having a full table, and the more full tables the better. The best way to have full tables is to provide good service, so the interests of the House and the Player/Customer overlap significantly.
This is also true in online poker, so I wouldn't be worried about getting cheated by the House in a online poker game; it could happen, I think, but the operators would have to be greedy morons, or be employing an underpaid, unscrupulous, and talented hacker.
Realistic Poker Fears
The only realistic fear about poker casino ownership should be whether they are adequately capitalized to pay you when you win. Even though this shouldn't be a problem-for every player who wins, there has to be one who loses, a very different situation than sports betting or Player vs. House games-I could envision it, if the operators were undercapitalized or faced losses from other business operations.
So, my first advice about online poker is, if you're going to play, make sure you play in a casino whose ownership is either quite wealthy, quite well-known (so they have valuable reputations at stake), or both.
By the way, I don't own stock in, or part of, any casino, online or otherwise. Now, did you believe that last statement? Well, it's true. Did you believe THAT last statement? Well, it's true too. Get the point? You should maintain a healthy skepticism about self-serving statements made on the subject of Internet gambling. I know I'm not going to lie to you, but you can't be sure of that, just because I say it. Maintain that skeptical attitude when handing over your cash, and you'll stand a much better chance of getting it back.
Partners Pose Biggest Danger in Online Poker
There is one major concern for online poker players: partnerships. Even in live poker games, players have to be worry about players who pool their resources, in an effort to trap other players. It isn't a question of passing Aces back and forth under the table, but rather partnership play, which works something like this:
Players A and C are partners; Player B is just a regular player. Player A bets, B calls, C raises, A raises, and B folds, because he figures his hand isn't strong enough to play against both a raiser and a re-raiser. A and C later split up B's money.
World-class players aren't too afraid of this sort of thing, because usually they will wait until they have the sort of powerful hand that will bust up A and C. Merely good players worry, but they do have casino personnel on hand to help keep an eye out for this sort of thing, and they also know that the cheating partners have to fear getting the tar beat out of them if the other players discover what's happening.
The risks of partnership cheating in online poker increase, for a few reasons. First, the online players don't have to fear physical reprisal; at worst, they'll lose their money. Second, you don't need two players; one player, with two computers, two telephone lines, and two separate accounts, can do it all by himself, and he has the additional advantage of being able to see his "teammate's" hand.
The Ultimate Partnership Nightmare
Want to really feel a chill? Imagine yourself wandering into a online poker room where ALL FIVE of your opponents are sitting in the same room (or are sharing a conference call or chat room), working together, seeing each other's cards, and the like. Not only would knowledge of each other's cards be a huge advantage, but they would be able to select only the strongest hands to play, making it very difficult to prove cheating even by post-hand review.
How do you protect yourself from this? Like most forms of cheating, a suspicious nature is a good start. If the same two players keep re-raising each other, be wary. They might just be wild players, or something might be happening.
How the Online Poker Room Can Help
But I also think the online casino needs to help. They need some sort of appeal and review process, where a player who thinks he's been the victim of sharp practice can press a button and have some casino employee review the hands and the betting. If Player C has re-raised with a bad hand, we know what's going on. The cheaters should then be permanently barred (tougher in cyberspace than in real casinos), their accounts frozen, and the losing player should be awarded the pot (or pots) that the cheaters took down.
Unfortunately, sophisticated poker cheats know better than to re-raise with a bad hand; they'll wait for a situation that's more defensible. That's why I think we're a long way from high stakes poker being practical on the Internet, with the possible exception of one-on-one poker, and most players don't like to play one-on-one.
If you can find a online poker situation where the ownership is well capitalized and where there is an effective review process, I'd say you're probably as safe playing online poker as the live version. I do not endorse (explicitly or implicitly) any particular online poker room (or Internet casino), so don't write asking for recommendations. I can help identify the issues that should concern you; after that, you need to do your own work. Things can change fast in this business.
Comparing Online Poker to Live Poker
For people who don't live within an easy drive of live legal poker rooms, online poker offers some very real advantages over illegal private games. It's very easy to get cheated in a private game, it's no fun getting arrested, and I assure you, the first time you play in a game that gets hijacked (robbed) by three guys brandishing shotguns (which happened in one of my old Atlanta games), you'll develop a stronger interest in the safety of card room poker.
You also need to consider your own strengths and weaknesses as a poker player. If you're a very good "technical" player but aren't very good at reading other people, or at keeping a poker face, online poker may be a better option than live poker. If technically you're merely adequate, but no one can "read" you and your intuition about other players is good, you need to find a live game.
Me, I prefer the camaraderie of a live game, but that's a personal preference, easy to indulge because I live 15 minutes from a card casino, and also because I don't think poker is as good a game without all the fascinating human factors. If the drive isn't that easy for you, or if you're a math professor type, online poker is a viable option. But like they used to say on Hill Street Blues... be careful out there!