Online poker has become hugely popular with the internet producing players who have gone on to conquer real world poker tournaments and allowing people to learn to play poker in the comfort of their own homes. Obviously there are benefits to playing poker from home, but there are also some downsides that may not obviously become apparent and the differences between real life poker and online poker can often be significant.
Pros of Online Poker
The first big advantage of online poker is it offers unrivalled variety compared to offline options. There are literally thousands of poker games occurring at all times of the day and night and of course every conceivable variety of poker game is available to play if you look in the right place. This is something which few players actually take advantage of, but switching up the game you play each time will improve your playing style and your poker knowledge in general. You could even perform 'multi-tabling', having multiple game windows running simultaneously to instantly boost the hourly winnings you take home from online tables.The second advantage is the lower cost buy-ins and the lower rake rates which internet casinos take from each game. Because there are no croupiers, security or buildings to maintain it's a lot cheaper to play poker online, with some tiny minimum bets and some sites even offering free poker games which can serve as an invaluable learning resource. Finally there's the conveninence that playing online affords over real life poker. You can play in your dressing gown, you can play dressed as a Storm Trooper, you can play first thing in the morning or last thing at night and you don't need to pay for casino drinks or food whilst you're playing, which mount up if you go out and play poker in real life. You can play poker online whilst you're performing other tasks.
Cons of Online Poker
The first negative side of online poker is the speed at which hands are played. Because there's no delay in dealing or sorting out bets you'll get through a game much quicker, so it's a lot easier to lose money quickly, particularly if you're a beginner. The speed also can contribute to a couple of other issues. Firstly it will be a lot harder to follow what's going on in a game, like following the folds and keep a track of the prior actions on the table as you are able to do in real life, as some people fold instantaneously or have their computers do it for them automatically in certain situations. This style of fast play can also lead to a simplified, mechanical and ultimately boring poker lifestyle, which in the end is more likely to lead to a habit forming gambling problem. The second most obvious issue is the lack of physical contact with other players, meaning it's a lot harder to out-bluff an opponent or observe any tells which will let you know when a player is bluffing. This can make high risk bets a lot riskier than they would be in real life. It's very hard to recreate the feel of a poker table online, though some companies do try and do this more than others.
Poker is increasingly moving from (ordinary wooden) tables to the Internet. Statistics tell us that at this moment, there are probably as many people playing poker online as there are playing poker in the traditional way; around tables. It is from such a background, then, that you could find yourself also drawn to play poker online, so as 'not to be left behind.' In such a situation, would find an exploration of the steps you need to take in order to get to play poker online handy. It is such steps that we now proceed to explore with you.
Information is power, and if you want to successfully play poker online, the first step you would need to take is that of learning as much as you can about online poker. Granted, online poker is not different from traditional poker in any fundamental way, but those small differences still need to be learnt. You don't need to go any far for this learning. The Internet is awash with information of all sorts, and there will be plenty of tutorials (including video tutorials, if you hate the very idea of reading) from which you can get to learn the workings of online poker.
Having understood how online poker works, the next step on your road to getting to play poker online would be to select an online poker playing room from which you can get to partake of the game. There are a number of things that would form good criteria for this selection. Here, we are looking at things like fees charged for playing (if any), how winnings are relayed to winners (if it is actual 'monetized' poker that is played there), how friendly the poker playing platform is, how the system on the different poker playing rooms works and so on.
After making a good choice of an online poker playing room, the next step would be for you to sign up with that poker playing room. The others were preparatory steps, it is at this point that you start taking the actual steps that give you the opportunity to play poker online. The signing up is usually not hard - just a few details are required. Take note though, that some poker playing rooms, especially those affiliated to casinos, don't accept members from certain countries for legal reasons. It is because of this that you shouldn't be too surprised when your attempts to sign up don't bear fruit. But this should not put paid to your plans to play poker online. If one casino refuses to accept you on legal grounds, keep on looking and you will soon come across a poker playing room that can accept people from your country.
After having signed up with a poker playing room, you just need to load into the account the money to finance your initial bets in order to get playing. You usually do this using your credit/debit card. Some poker playing rooms will allow you to start playing for free (initially) through the no deposit poker arrangement; so that in this case, all you would need to do is sign up and instantly start to play poker online.