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Popular Poker Networks
What Should You Know About Canadian Online Poker?
The online poker scene has exploded in the last two decades. Now it offers an altogether different experience from live poker games in brick-and-mortar casinos, while retaining the high level of skill required to master the deck. The most impactful advent of online poker? Players no longer need to physically sit next to their opponents.
Gone are the days where part of the game’s focus is on the intimidation and poker face of those battling for the cash pot. Now online poker amateurs and pros alike can log into one of thousands of poker rooms around the world where reading body language is replaced with analysing betting patterns, requiring an altogether different set of skills.
Thanks to the popularity and continued growth of online poker, players now build up a reputation as well as a profitable career if they can cut their teeth on the digital cards. It's not just the poker tables in Vegas producing the top poker players anymore, now players from anywhere in the world can jump on a digital table and showoff their skills.
Is Playing Poker Online Safe?
Playing poker online is considered by the many the most safe form of online gambling. The idea that players are playing each other points to the safety of online poker vs games needing automated odds. Thanks to a ton of technological advances over the years, online gambling in general is extremely safe with online poker being no exception, using encrypted technology to protect all financial transactions.
Is Online Poker Legal and Regulated?
Canadian online poker is fully legal under law and regulated by the government's individual gambling divisions. Of all the forms of online gambling, online poker seems to have the most positive association as it is seen by most governments as a game of skill vs a game of chance. Even the notoriously strict US has states that have legalized online poker with more potentially joining.
What are the Differences Between Online Poker vs Live Poker?
Apart from the convenience of playing wherever you have an internet connection, online poker games offer a significant number of advantages over playing in real life. The ease and simplicity with which one can set up an account and start playing means that playing poker online is much less intimidating than sidling up to a table, as well as being an overall cheaper experience.
This also means that a brand new audience can try the game – a whole new generation of players who may never play a game in real life, raised solely on the online experience. Another distinct advantage online poker has is that it takes place in the ether of the internet and its virtually limitless space – albeit dependent on the size of the online poker room’s server.
Players in physical poker rooms may have to wait patiently for a seat to become available, but online players are free to join one or more poker rooms; if these are all full, another can be loaded. There is also the opportunity to try a wide array of off-shoot games and variations that may not be available or popular in the player’s country of origin.
Can You Play Free Online Poker?
Some online poker hubs offer players the option to try poker online without having to deposit funds into an account. This allows new players a chance to get to grips with the game in all its varieties, as well as learning all the rules. Online poker games can run simulations and tutorials to further help a player’s progress.
Once players wish to add some extra excitement to the fun of free play poker, they can sign into an account and start playing for real money. Many online poker sites offer a joining incentive for new players, usually in the form of matched deposits, which often rise to double or triple the initial amount paid into a player's account.
How Do They Determine Online Poker Competition Levels?
A player’s skill often determines which rooms they play in. New and inexperienced players tend to congregate in the micro-stake rooms, where the risks are small and they can play competitively without the worry of losing too much money. As a player’s skill and confidence increases, they may wish to work up to higher stake games or no-limit tables.
Another aspect of online poker is that different players around the world play at different times, and sometimes players online opt for very long stretches of playing. This is especially true for professional online poker players, and playing against these pros can very well be a learning experience in itself as most online poker players find.
What are the Differences Between Online Poker Tournaments vs Live Poker Tournaments?
Yet another plus for online poker players is that tournaments can be organised, joined and played quickly and with relative ease, compared to a mass of poker stars descending on one room for several days. As with their real-life counterparts, online tournaments often require an entry fee and minimum buy-in.
Although they perhaps lack the panache or press coverage of real-life tournaments, many poker organisations create online satellite tournaments, where one of the prizes is an invitation to a real poker tournament. Online access to poker tournaments has not only improved the chances of quality players gaining notoriety, it helps boost the overall competition of tournaments.
Do You Pay a Fee to Play Poker Online?
There is no fee to play poker online per se but there is the 'rake'. The ' rake ' is a device carried over from live poker, and is the only method of income for the poker site hosting a poker game, skimming a percentage from the cash pot. Whereas most games are played against the house itself, poker is unique in that regard as players compete against each other.
Are More Tables Available with Online Poker?
Yes! The huge advantage online poker has is that it doesn't compromise space to add more poker tables to cater for more players, whereas in real-life they are stuck with a certain number of tables that they can fit in their floor space. This means that online poker websites do not require as big a rake, meaning online poker players can win a higher percentage of the cash pile than they would in real life.
Can You Play Multiple Online Poker Games?
Certainly, playing more than one online poker game at a time can become the norm. Once a player has mastered online poker, more dexterous poker aficionados will be able to partake in feeds from multiple games, either within the same online poker hub or while logged into different sites. However, this is not something for new players to try and master.
The technique, sometimes referred to as 'multi-tabling', follows the theory that, while players have to split their concentration over however many tables they choose, if they are competing at a lower level, they may find that the number of wins is greater for the same period of time than if they put all their focus and energy into one game.
Types of Online Poker
If you join an online gaming site today, you'll find more poker variants than ever before, as well as the option to play either video poker - with animations and computer graphics - or live dealer, which will feature a video stream of a real, remote professional 'live' dealer and table.
The majority of traditional poker games all follow the same basic premise:
"All forms of poker involve a single deck of 52 cards, and the aim of the game is to win the pot by virtue of having the best five-card hand or by betting enough to force your opponent to fold before a showdown."
Basic Betting Structures
Poker games come in a whole range of variants, which tend to follow one of three basic betting structures: fixed limit, pot limit or no limit.
Fixed Limit Games | player can only choose whether to bet or not – but the amount is fixed
No-Limit Games | the minimum bet is the size of the big blind, while there's no limit on the maximum bet – it's simply the total amount of all your chips
Pot Limit Games | the size of the maximum bet is determined by the size of the pot
Most Popular Poker Variants
When it comes to popularity, Texas Hold'em sits atop the list but Omaha and Stud certainly have their own massive followings. It seems when it comes to poker games, popularity and fandom come with regional and gameplay preference with a majority of people finding Texas Hold'em satisfying those desires.
Texas Hold'em | At the start of a game of Texas Hold'em, each player is dealt two cards face-down. A round of betting takes place, before three community cards (cards face-up in the middle of the table) are dealt. Another round of betting then takes place before a fourth (turn) and five (river) card are dealt. At each stage of the game, the action only proceeds if there is more than one player in the pot. Any time a player forces everyone else out, they win the pot. However, if at least two players make it to the river, they must expose their two 'hole cards' and the player with the best five-card hand (using either one or two of their cards) scoops the pot.
Omaha | The only difference between Omaha and Texas Hold'em poker is that you're dealt four hole cards instead of two. The game is otherwise more or less the same – there are betting rounds before the flop, on the flop, turn and river, apart from one key difference – you have to use two of your hole cards to complete a ranked five-card hand. For example, if there were four Diamonds on the board and you had only one Diamond in your hand, you wouldn't have a flush in Omaha (but you would in Hold'em).
Stud | In Stud Poker (either five or seven card), you're dealt three starting cards, two of which will be face-down while the other is face-up. Instead of having forced antes (blinds) that move round the table in a clockwise fashion, a round of stud is initiated by the 'bring-in'. This bet is a fraction of the main bet and is required of the player with the lowest-value face-up card. As an alternative to community cards, stud players are dealt individual cards face-up (the final card is dealt face-down). If more than one person survives to the river, a showdown takes place and the best five card hand wins.
Draw | Unlike Texas Hold'em or Omaha, draw poker doesn't involve any community cards and the action takes place before and after the draw. Each player starts off with five hole cards and if they like their hand, they must either call (match the size of the big blind i.e. $2 in a $1/$2 game) or raise. If they don't like their hand they can fold (unless they are in the blind). After this round, the game moves onto the draw, where players can replace any of the cards in their hand by drawing new cards from the deck. At this point everyone left in the hand has the option of folding, calling or raising before a showdown takes place.
Once you've familiarised yourself with the various forms of poker available online, it's helpful to get to grips with the nuances of the medium. Online poker is a much faster way to play the game, and you'll find the following user-friendly features when you ante-up at our recommended online poker sites:
Auto Buy-In and Top-Ups | If you don't want to manually top up your stack in a cash game, a poker site's software will do it for you.
Hand Replayers | To recap the last few hands you've played, you can use the hand replayer to build up a better image of your opponents.
Hot Keys and Quick Bets | Instead of clicking your mouse, you can use your keyboard to adjust and place bets.
Run It Twice | In games with a lot of variation, such as Omaha, you can choose to deal the turn and river twice and play for half the pot each time if you're all-in and heads-up.
Auto Muck | If you don't want to reveal your hand at a showdown (unless necessary) you can choose to automatically muck it.