Looking to test your poker skills against the best and the worst online players? You’re in luck. This is the golden age of online poker, and if you know how to play and where to play, this simple game can be your ticket to riches.
The Hold’em Age
In the 70s and 80s, Hold’em was still fairly obscure and Draw was still synonymous with poker. That changed thanks to the World Series of Poker. Now the biggest event in poker, back then it was a small tournament for rich players. It consisted of a Main Event that was supposed to decide the best player in the world, and as they deemed it to be the best test of skill, the organisers chose Texas Hold’em for that event.
In the early years, it was small and insignificant, but by the 1990s it had grown and into the 2000s online poker sites were beginning to surface. In 2003, an amateur player named Chris Moneymaker used one of these sites to buy-in to a WSOP Main Event satellite, and in doing so he paved the way for a massive explosion in popularity.
Moneymaker paid just $30 for that ticket, but he made it to the Main Event, which would have cost him $10,000 if he was buying in normally. The good luck didn’t stop there either, as Moneymaker went on to the win the event, becoming a millionaire overnight and, in the same short time period, inspiring millions of poker players to try and follow in his footsteps.
This may be a simple game to learn, but it’s a little harder to master. So, to help you get started, here are some tips:
- Stick to Your Limits: Do not bet more than you can afford to lose, because it will only lead to frustration, which will make you tilt. And that’s something that no player wants to experience.
- Play the Long Game: It’s better to make small bets and play long tournaments. In cash games and SnGs, you’re limited to how much you can win and your money will go quickly. In MTTs you can turn $1 into over $1,000. What’s more, to break even you only ever need to win 1 of these tournaments for every 1,000 that you play, which is something that most players will be confident of doing.
- Bluff: You don’t have to have the best cards to win a hand, your opponent just has to think that you do. Bluffing is tricky for first-timers, but the simple way of looking at it is just to play like you would if you were holding a winning hand, and not the crap that you are actually holding. If you believe it, then your opponent will as well.
- Play Satellites: Rather than saving up for a big buy-in to a special tournament, spend you money in qualifiers and win yourself a place. After all, this is what Chris Moneymaker did, and it worked out well for him.
The Best Poker Bonuses
Poker sites are not exactly known for their bonuses. There is a trend to offer a welcome bonus, and while this often looks tempting on the surface, there is very little substance to it once you dig underneath. Take the traditional bonuses offered by the likes of Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars as an example. They may claim to offer something along the lines of “$200 free to all new members”, but this is not paid out in a lump sum, as you would get on a casino or a sports book. Instead, it is drip-fed into your account, usually in the form of $10 for every $100 that you gamble.
There is a reason for that, of course, and it’s not because poker sites are out to rip you off. It’s because you are playing against other players, and not the site. On a casino or sports book, you are betting against the house, so by giving you a bonus they are basically giving you a free chance to take their money. With a poker site, however, you are competing against other players, and the site merely takes a cut, known as a “Rake”. So, by giving you free cash and the other players free cash, they receive nothing when you play against each other, and they lose every penny that they give you.
Still, there are poker sites that are a little more generous, and that includes 888 Poker. 888 is one of the biggest gambling brands in the world, and they have recently increased their efforts on the poker side of things, intent on taking over the likes of Pokerstars in order to become the biggest online poker room. As things stand, they are currently behind Pokerstars and Full Tilt, and while they are ahead of networks like iPoker and OnGame, they have their sights on great things and are prepared to do what they can to make up the numbers.
This is therefore the perfect time to join. But if you’re still not convinced, just take a look at the bonuses that they have on offer.
- Matched deposit bonus
- Free tournament tickets
- Loyalty program
- Guaranteed tournaments