Citizen Speak

5 Tips That Will Help You Enjoy Online Poker

Online gaming is becoming more popular than ever. Visual Capitalist reports that in 2022, the market is set to reach almost $200 million in revenue –– more than cinema box offices and recorded music combined.

The reasons are myriad. More and more households have broadband connections as the grid continues to expand. Smartphones have made it such that online gaming is no longer reserved for those with expensive PCs; and console gaming, too, has taken a rather remarkable turn toward live online activity in the last five years or so.

Online poker, a similar beneficiary of the factors just mentioned, has undergone an even more spectacular boom. Incredibly, the U.S. has witnessed an increase in first-time online poker players in excess of 250% since April 2020. This has amounted to what some are already referring to as a second “poker boom” (the first having taken place in the early 2000s), and it’s certainly made the game trendy again. So, in this piece, we want to provide some tips to bear in mind if you –– like so many others –– are thinking of joining in.

1. Pick Your Platform

Whether you live in a state that’s legalized online gambling or you’re using a free to play app for fun, it’s important to find a suitable home for your game. If playing for money, make sure the site is reputable. Relatively few online poker licenses have been issued in the U.S., so if you’re looking at a site that’s not an obvious big player, be very cautious. Similarly, on free-to-play apps, work out which one meets your needs. Does it have a large community, so you can pick up and find a game whenever? Would you rather have a web-based game to play on the PC? Or might you be interested in a poker app that will function offline? All of these are questions worth considering so that you can find the right place to play.

2. Pay Attention

Casinos don’t have couches, bean bags or TV sets on the gaming floor. When you pay online, you should imagine that there are similarly few opportunities for distraction. Set aside some quiet time in a quiet space if you’re planning on playing more than a couple of hands. Tournaments are a big part of both real-money and free-to-play games, and the more distractions you have, the less likely be o advance very far.

Online poker is fast –– you’ll generally see 100 hands in an online game for every 30 in a live game. And while you may not be at a physical table with your opponents there’s still plenty to be gleaned about their playing styles and betting patterns. More than any other card game, poker rewards skillful play. And you can’t exhibit your skill unless you’re paying attention at all times.

3. Keep An Eye On Your Budget

With the faster pace of online poker and the ability to play for minimal stakes on live money sites (sometimes as little as 5 cents to buy in to a hand), it can be easy to lose track of your spending. So, try to treat online poker as you would any other form of entertainment and avoid overspending. Decide on a budget, stick to it, and at least on real-money sites, try to take advantage of any sign-up benefits or deposit bonuses that might stretch your investment.

4. Check Your Ego At The Door

The card room isn’t a great place to let the heart rule the head. Poker is a game of skill, math and probability. This goes doubly so in the online game, where we may not know our opponents and there’s no need to conceal feelings behind a “poker face.” Even so, sticking with a head-over-heart mentality –– and keeping your head cool –– will help you to keep to your strategy and play effectively.

Playing without ego is not only one of the keys to winning at poker, it’s also a crucial aspect of having fun with the game. Vaunted pro Phil Hellmuth can (mostly) get away with his legendary tableside rants, because the so-called “Poker Brat” has 14 World Series Of Poker bracelets to back him up. For the rest of us who aren’t top professional players though, it pays (figuratively, and potentially literally) to be able to roll with the punches. Relax and enjoy the game.

5. Be Sociable

Many poker websites and apps have full webcam and sound support, and for some folks during the pandemic, a private online poker room with these features has temporarily replaced the friendly Friday night home poker game. A bit of social activity surrounding a game will do you good. Plus, if you’re playing against strangers and have the bad luck to run into a very tricky opponent, you can turn that misfortune into something productive by asking for feedback and advice on your game. Everyone likes talking about themselves, even online!

While the game of poker online is exactly the same as the live version –– the rules, the hand rankings, the favor of the poker gods smiling on you (or not) –– the experience is much different. And with so many new participants joining the digital game, it’s best to know what you’re getting into, and have a few plans in mind.