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Top 10 things you should know before playing online poker

3 Feb 2020

By Tadas Peckaitis
Tadas suggests that before you jump into action, spend some time learning how the software works.

Tadas suggests that before you jump into action, spend some time learning how the software works.

Millions around the globe play online poker, and for a good reason – the game can be a lot of fun. And for those who put in the time and effort required, it can also quite profitable. What’s even better is that you don’t have to leave your home to play and you can find some cash games or tournaments running online around the clock.

Due to huge popularity and online poker demand, there are hundreds, if not thousands of sites out there you can join.

At first glance, they all seem to be offering a rather similar experience across the board. However, if you want to enjoy the time spent playing and also protect yourself and your funds, here are 10 things you should know before getting dealt in.

10. Make sure online poker is legal in your jurisdiction
The first thing you’ll want to do is check if you’re legally allowed to play poker online. These laws vary greatly from one country to another, and they are subject to frequent changes.

If you are uncertain about the legality of online poker where you live, check reliable sources online or hit the forums where you can quickly get the answer. Not all sites keep up with local laws, so if you want to avoid any potential issues, you’ll need to do a bit of work yourself.

9. Stick to properly regulated and reputable sites
As mentioned, there are many online poker sites out there. If you ask any of them, they’ll tell you they’re the best. However, you’ll want to play only on the rooms that feature relevant gaming licenses from proper international (MGA, UKGC) and local authorities. These sites are held to a higher standard in terms of security, privacy, and protection of your funds.

On top of that, such rooms will have better customer support, so you will be able to access it whenever needed and get your questions answered much faster.

8. Find a site that offers a decent poker school
If you’re completely new to poker in general and have decided to make your first steps online, find a site that features a good poker strategy section for beginners.

This will save you a lot of time as you will have all the basic rules and fundamentals in one place. It will also help you avoid some common mistakes during the early days of your poker career. Likewise, if you’re interested in playing a more niche variation like Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, make sure the site you’re considering offers it as not all of them do.

Take into account that you will need to spend some time learning the game if you want to see positive results.

7. Spend some time getting used to the software
When you download a poker room and create your account, you won’t immediately know where everything is. If you’re planning to play for real money, clicking the wrong buttons at the wrong time can be very costly. So, before you jump into action, spend some time learning how the software works.

The best way to do it is by jumping into some play money games or freeroll tournaments if they’re offered. While these games won’t help you become the best player or help train you for the WSOP schedule, they’ll provide you with a safe environment to learn the user interface without risking any money.

6. Find some external learning resources
To fully enjoy your time spent playing poker online and to also make some profit while at it, you should spend some time learning. Resources found on poker sites will usually give you a decent start, but if you want to progress, you’ll need to look beyond that and find some training materials.

Luckily, in this day and age, you’ll find plenty of free poker materials that will teach you about the meaning and importance of PFR and VPIP stats, how to take advantage of your position at the table, and much more.

5. Make sure you can deposit and withdraw with ease
When you find the site you like in other aspects, you should check if they accept the payment methods you prefer. You want to play on the site where you’ll have no issues refilling your account if and when required.

Equally as important, check their withdrawal times and procedures as some operators will make withdrawing your funds a proper hassle.

4. Look for a site with a good number of freerolls
If you want to make most out of your time playing online poker as a new player, you’ll be doing yourself a service by choosing a site with a nice selection of freerolls.

These are tournaments you can enter for free, but offer some real rewards, such as cash, tickets for other tournaments and other tangible prizes. In addition to boosting your bankroll, these will help you improve your learning curve.

3. Check out the variety of games offered
Tadas says to make sure you do some research and score a nice welcome bonus when you start playing online poker.

Tadas says to make sure you do some research and score a nice welcome bonus when you start playing online poker.

Online poker is a very broad term, and it refers to many game variations (Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Stud games, etc.) as well as game formats (tournaments, cash games, sit and goes).

If you’re just starting, you may or may not have an idea of what you’ll spend most of your time doing. So, before you make a decision to join a particular poker site, check out their game selection.

Some rooms are traditionally a better choice for tournaments (MTTs), for example, as they have good daily schedules with big weekly guarantees. Others may not have much to offer in terms of MTTs but offer a lot of great action at cash tables.

2. Stick with sites that have good player traffic
Finally, you’ll want to play in a room that has good player numbers around the clock. That way, you can rest assured you’ll be able to find action whenever you decide to play.

On top of this, poker sites with big player numbers are usually softer as you’ll find more players willing to pay you off all the way with the third pair or an inside straight draw.

Of course, if you find a smaller site with a great offer, you shouldn’t instantly dismiss it. Even if it does not have action around the clock, the most important thing is that there will be games running at times when you are actually going to play.

1. Get yourself a nice welcome bonus
Most online poker sites will give you a welcome bonus when you first join. Sometimes, you’ll get some free cash or tournament tickets just for signing up; sometimes, you’ll receive a bonus after you make your first deposit. The best-case scenario is you get both.

The way most bonuses work is that you’ll receive a match on your deposit, i.e., you deposit €50 and get a €50 bonus. With poker sites, unlike most casinos, this bonus is usually released as you play and generate rake. So, you won’t get the entire €50 immediately but rather released in smaller chunks of €5 or €10 as you reach certain rake milestones.

You want to get as much as you can from your bonus, so look for the site that offers not only cash but also some tournament tickets to go along. That way, you’ll get a lot of value for your deposit, even if you only start with a small amount of €10 or €20.
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