Getting Started with Online Poker

Online poker is an extremely popular option as it allows players to get involved at the touch of a button rather than heading off to the nearest cardroom for a scheduled cash game or tournament. Online, there are games available around the clock and it is possible to take part without leaving home, or play to help pass the time during your lunch hour or a long train journey.

Getting started is quick and easy, so you should not have any problems playing poker on smartphones, tablets or on your desktop. As long as you are the minimum age in your jurisdiction, which is 18 years old in the UK, you will be able to sign up and create a user account. There will be verification systems in place to prevent anyone too young from playing, so be ready to upload some documents that act as proof of your age.

Many sites have a limited selection of instant poker games that can be played straight away, but for the full experience you will usually be required to download specific software. This is quicker and easier than you might think, as there is plenty of competition out there and anyone whose service is not up to speed runs the risk of losing valuable traffic.

The software provides more sophisticated features and added security for players, without taking up much room on a computer or tablet. There are a number of trusted software manufacturers on the market, including the popular iPoker network and the Microgaming Poker Network. These are favoured by many of the top sites and provide fast, stable and reliable software, as well as large player bases and stable traffic.

At this point, you’ll want to thoroughly explore the site to check what games can be played, what bonuses are offered and any other aspects you might want to consider. It’s also a good idea to play a few free games if the option is available, because the next step is to put down some money. Visit the deposit and withdrawals section for more information.

Common Payment Methods

  • Debit Card
  • Credit card
  • eWallet (e.g. PayPal, Neteller, Skrill)
  • Paysafecard
  • Bank transfer

When making your first deposit and planning how you will play poker online, it is vital to think about how much you can spend. The bankroll management page will cover in more depth how to look after your finances over a period of time, but you must consider at the start the best strategy for making your money last and keeping poker fun.

You won’t need much money to get started, and at the beginning it is sensible to move slowly and spend less, because otherwise funds can drain away quickly. A deposit of just £20 to £50 can keep you going for a long time if you stick to low-level tournaments and cash games with smaller blinds and buy-ins. As you learn your craft, you can hopefully boost your account balance! The beginner tables are also worth a go because you will be competing against players of similar experience instead of being thrown into the deep end with the sharks.

Tracking your results in the early days of your poker career will allow you to work out what is successful and what isn’t. Even though you’re playing poker in a virtual environment, the money you spend is very real. Keep track of your hand histories so you can work out how well you did over a specific period of time - this will help you identify your strengths and weakness as you start forming a general poker strategy that works for you.

Whether you have experience of offline poker or have not played the game at all, one new aspect for online players will be the lobby, which displays all the games you can play. Just click on a game, sit down at the virtual felt and get going! Here is an example of what a poker lobby looks like:

Navigating a poker lobby can be tricky for beginners, but they are not as confusing as they first appear and it is just a case of picking out the information which is relevant to you before choosing which game to play. Multi-tabling is a great option for online players who have more experience, but if you’re relatively green, it’s best to start at a single table and expand from there. Find out more about how to play poker online at the dedicated page.


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