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Beginners Guide to Poker

Online poker is arguably the most popular form of card game played on the internet. Novice and professional players regularly play poker online for pleasure and profit. Unfortunately, the mix of new and experienced players online can cause many beginners to be swallowed by sharks - provided below is a guide to success for novice online poker players.

The rules of online poker are identical to those of `real-world` poker, but the way the game is played can be somewhat different. Beginners to online poker should always practise the game on free-to-play tables; however, this form of the game is only ever capable of teaching the basics. Free-to-play tables involve no risk, so players tend to bet with abandon - this is not representative of cash games and tournaments, at least not in all cases, so caution should be exercised when learning the game on such tables.

The most popular type of online poker, Texas No-Limit Hold`em, is usually played on 6, 7, 8 or 9-seater tables. The tables are normally grouped in order of the size of the blinds, of which more will be discussed below. Beginners should look for the lowest value tables - those with blinds of $0.01/$0.02 up to $0.05/$0.10 - before even considering playing for larger pots.

Upon taking a seat at a table, the beginner poker player will be asked to either wait for the big blind (before taking part in any hands) or pay the equivalent upfront (at which point he can start placing bets). The big blind is the player seated two places from the button (the player with the dealer chip). The small blind sits immediately to the left of the button, which passes to the left after each hand is complete. The small blind is half the cost of the big blind, which is the minimum bet that players must make to take part in a hand (if they do not wish to participate, they can fold).

Online poker players are able to fold, check, bet, raise or re-raise depending on the circumstances. If a player bets $0.20, for example, other players must bet at least this amount to stay in the hand. In some cases, a player might choose to raise to, say, $0.40, at which point the player who originally bet $0.20 could either fold, call the raise or re-raise (e.g., to $0.60). Online players are often keen to go all-in, which simply means that they bet their entire stack on a hand. Checking means no bet or call is necessary to proceed with the hand.

Beginner players often make the mistake of playing too aggressively. Bluffing is an art form in the real-world game, but online it tends to be less successful. Beginners should learn to understand the value of their hands before growing in confidence with betting. It is also useful to observe other players to note any weaknesses or habits that could be used to catch them out. At all times, it is better to play tight than risk everything.

Reading news about the online casino sites industry is a great way to stay informed about new game releases, exciting bonuses being offered and which casino sites to stay away from. For the more serious reader, news about legislation and mergers of software companies is also interesting.

Finally, online poker players should look out for Groupon deals on poker equipment. Practising at home with chips and cards can help players gain a greater understanding of the game.

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