Poker has exploded in popularity over the past decade thanks to the combination of televised poker coverage and Internet poker sites.
As a game of skill, poker offers players the chance to earn consistent profits by working to improve their game, making it one of the most challenging and most rewarding gambling games around. If you’d like to give poker a try, but you’re not sure where to start, check out the questions below to learn a little more about this great game.
Poker on the Web is a virtual representation of the same poker games popular in Australia and around the world. It allows you to play poker under the same rules as at a live casino or at a home game with your friends — except on your computer or mobile device, at your convenience.
There are only a few minor differences between playing poker over the Net and with a real deck of cards. Perhaps the main one is there’s no dealer and no real cards; instead, a random number generator (RNG) determines the cards dealt during each hand. This not only ensures the results of each hand are fair and random, but also the games play out much faster than at a casino.
Real money play is an important part of the online poker world. While most websites offer players the option of competing in free poker games, real money poker is the most exciting and authentic way to play the game. Much of the strategic depth which makes poker a fun and interesting game can only be realised when players bet real hard-earned (Australian) dollars on the results of each hand.
While playing for real cash might seem scary, it’s also the main way in which you can win big by playing Web poker. In both game play and tournaments, Internet poker sites regularly award real money prizes to their players. On rare occasions – such as freeroll tournaments – it’s even possible to win without risking anything out of your own pocket.
Online gambling law in Australia is mostly dictated by the 2001 Interactive Gambling Act. The established law does not prohibit Australians from playing any form of Internet gambling, including poker. It’s worth noting there are prohibitions against operating poker websites in Australia, which is why Australians can only play on overseas sites.
Cash games and tournaments are the two major forms of poker played around the world. In a cash game, players buy into the game by exchanging money directly for chips. After playing, they may then exchange whatever chips they have for real money again, keeping whatever they have earned. If a player runs out of chips during a cash game, they can then either leave the game or purchase more chips to continue making bets.
In a poker tournament, players instead pay a buy-in and entry fee to receive a set number of chips which do not have any real monetary value. The object of the game is to make those chips last for as long as possible, outlasting the other competitors. When a player runs out of chips, they are eliminated from the tournament and (in most cases) cannot buy back in. Players who survive the longest will earn prizes which come out of the buy-ins paid by the players. Typically, you’ll need to finish somewhere near the top 10% of all players to earn a prize, with the largest prize going to the final player who collects all of the chips.
The rake is the small amount of money taken out of each pot of a cash game by the poker room. It is the way in which the poker room makes money, as they do not compete directly against the players during each hand. At most poker rooms, the rake will represent 5% or less of each pot, and is normally capped at a maximum amount regardless of the size of the pot.
Most poker sites offer players bonuses both when they sign up for an account, and from time to time for existing players as well. First deposit bonuses are normally offered as a fixed percentage of the deposit amount, and can be unlocked by playing in real money games on the site.
In addition, loyal players can often earn even bigger bonuses as a part of a site’s loyalty or VIP program. These bonuses can be more lucrative and/or easier to clear than the standard bonuses offered to all players, which can make it worthwhile to stick with the same poker room for most or all of your play.
A sit-and-go (or SNG) is a special type of poker tournament which will run whenever a certain number of players have signed up to participate. A typical SNG might feature nine or ten players, with prizes going to the top three finishers. However, Internet SNGs can sometimes feature more players, with two or three virtual table SNGs being common, and some hosting hundreds of players at once.
Many different poker games are available over the Net, though the exact mix will depend on the website you choose to play at. The most commonly played poker games are Texas Hold’em and Omaha, with Seven Card Stud being a distant third. Other games often found online include Razz, lowball games, draw poker games, and newly-introduced variants like Badugi.
There are several different methods which can be used to make online gambling deposits. For instance, both credit and debit cards are widely accepted at Internet poker sites. Another popular option is the use of e-wallet programs, like Click2Pay, Neteller, and Skrill (Moneybookers).
In Australia, a particularly good option for some players is POLi Payments. This system works with the online banking interfaces of many of the largest banks in the country to allow you to make payments to online gambling sites in the same way you would pay a bill online.
Other options for making online poker deposits include prepaid vouchers through Ukash, or making a direct payment from your bank account through a wire transfer.
See our page about online poker fairness here.