Online Poker

Poker is a card game in which two or more players, whose cards are concealed from the opponent, place wagers and the winner of the pot is the player with the best hand, i.e. combination of cards. Online poker is the Internet version of the game of poker.

In This Game Overview

  • Poker History 
  • Poker Games Variations 
  • Keep you eyes open for... 
  • Poker Rules and Terms 
  • The basics of Online Poker 
  • Poker Trivia 

Online poker has been one of the most popular games in the age of online gambling. It has many versions and variations, all abiding by the core principle of poker. If you have played any such game before or if you haven't, the following information is sure to be of interest and value. 

The Basics

Online poker has been a revolution not only in bringing poker to the players around the world, but with lowering the overhead costs as well. This in turn has made the game more profitable to the (online) casino as well as for the players, who enjoy a competitive and appealing house edge. Games with low stakes were also made available, hence the immense popularity - online poker claims millions of millions of players. 
There are substantial differences between online poker gaming and the conventional game in which the player is seated by the table in-person. The differences, listed in the following, help explain the nature of online poker as opposed to the traditional game. 

The most important difference, which affects the way the game itself is played, is that the player does not sit around a table, among other players. This removes the element of bluffing. The focus in online poker needs to be on the betting patterns, reaction time, the speed of play, use of auto plays, chats and other behaviors. 

Since one does not sit by a table when playing online poker, the player can "sit" around several tables. The Internet version of poker allows you to play more than one table at a time. It may support as many as ten contemporary games, all presented on the screen at the same time.

Rules and Terms

Hand values in online poker are like those in the regular version. They are as follows:

Straight flush: five cards of the same suit in numerical sequence. In case two players have a straight flush (though certainly a rare hand), its value is determined by the highest card in the hand. A royal flush is a hand with ace through 10 of the same suit cards.

Four of a kind: four cards in the hand are of the same rank. This hand too ranks by the value of the four cards.

Full house: a hand that involves all five cards, with a pair of one rank and a three of a kind. The three cards determine the hand's rank.

Flush: all five cards are of the same suit, ranked by the highest value card in the hand.

Straight: all five cards in order, regardless of suit, with the ace serving as either top or low card.

Three of a kind: three of the hand's cards of the same rank.

Two pair: a hand that includes two pairs. The higher pair determines the hand's overall value.

Pair: two of the hand's cards of the same rank.

High card: the lowest possible hand, at some games not even a qualifier, which is simply the highest value card in the hand.

Besides forming the hands (there are over 2.5 million possible poker hands in a 52 card deck), online poker is mostly about betting. Following are the four options the player faces in each round of betting: 

  • Check: a bet of zero, which keeps the player in the game.
  • Bet or Raise: betting a sum higher than the previous bet that requires all players to match or raise it even more, or else forfeit the pot.
  • Call: a nonzero bet equal to the preceding bet that keeps the player in the race for the pot.
  • Fold: surrender the hand and any claim for the pot in the game.

Other terms in online poker include: 

Ante: Stud and Draw Poker versions require a player places some chips in the pot before the cards are dealt. This is not the case in Hold'em or Omaha Poke, however. 

Buy-In: poker tables start from certain sums, called Buy-ins, that are minimum amount for the game's bets. 

Community Cards: Hold'em and Omaha Poker versions have shared community cards in the middle of the table. The cards, placed face up in the middle of the Table, are visible to and shared by all players in. 

Keep you eyes open for...

This is the right place to note that in online poker, no downtime passes in which the dealer shuffles the cards or sets the table. Keep count of the hands you play and the time that passes. This might be a fast-pace evening. 
Poker is a popular casino game that features tournaments, multi-player settings, in which only one player walks away with the entire pot, though other top finishers may receive prizes as well. Players may not cash out in the middle of the game and the chips are good only for the tournament, not for any other casino game. 

Some such tournaments, called satellite tournaments, may gain the winners entry to real-life poker tournaments. 

Variations

The most popular variations of Poker are three: 

  • Draw Poker: a classic version of poker, with five cards dealt face down to players who have placed ante bets. After one round of bets, players may hold all original cards in the hand or discard 1 to 4 cards and have them replaced by cards from the deck. Then another round of bets takes place until the remaining players compare their hands for the highest ranking combination.
  • Stud Poker: in this variation of poker, each player is dealt a face up card and a face down card, which only the player may look at. The one with the highest value face up card starts the betting round. Then another card is dealt face up, with a betting round following, and again until each player has four cards showing and one face down. The highest five card hand wins in the end.
  • Community Card Poker: this game includes a combination of personally dealt cards and shared cards, dealt face up, for all participating players to use in forming their hand. Famous variants of this game include Texas Hold'em and Omaha Hold'em.

History

Several games compete for being considered as the origin of poker, though it is unclear where its history lies. The Persians had a game called as nas, which was possibly taught to French settlers in New Orleans by Persian merchant sailors. Primero, played in the Renaissance, and the French brelan are also likely poker ancestors. Brelan became the English game of brag, which already incorporated bluffing. 
The name of the game may have originated from games wholly unrelated to poker, including the French poque and the German pochen, from which poque has evolved. 

An early version of poker, close to the familiar version of today, was played in 1829 in New Orleans. The game included 20 cards and 4 players, who bet over whose hand was the highest in value. Like other games, poker then spread along the Mississippi and to the West with the gold rush and the frontier expansion. 

The 52-card English deck was used later on, and by the time the American Civil War broke, the game had already received several new variations. Now draw poker and stud poker were played, the wild card was introduced, the split-pot poker and community card poker games later on in the 20th century. The global spread of poker beyond the United States is attributed to the US military. 

The introduction of online poker has given the game an unprecedented spike in popularity. At the same time, technology allowed for cameras to show the hole card in poker games, leading the way for televised events including the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour. 

Trivia

  • In 2003, a winner of an online poker tournament, Chris Moneymaker, won an entry to the 2003 World Series of Poker and went on to win the entire event.
  • Poker has infiltrated American and English culture through such phrases as ace up one's sleeve, beats me, call one's bluff, cash in, high roller, pass the buck, poker face, up the ante, wild card and others.
  • The World Series of Poker began in 1970. WSOP champions are well-known among the poker community and are treated as experts, role models and even gurus. They include Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, Bobby Baldwin and Doyle Brunson.

See also

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