The growth of online poker over the last decade has been truly phenomenal. What started out as an obscure hobby with a shady reputation is now being enjoyed by people from all walks of life and from all over the world.
The turning point came in 2003 when an online poker player, Chris Moneymaker, won the World Series of Poker after qualifying for the event in an online tournament and went home with $2.5 million. Following this, interest in the game skyrocketed and millions of people went online to play poker and try to emulate Moneymaker’s remarkable achievement.
Pokerstars is easily the biggest and best known poker site in the business, but it’s far from being the only place to play. Other popular poker sites include Full Tilt Poker(which is owned by Pokerstars), Party Poker, 888 Poker, Titan Poker and Paddy Power Poker.
There are several different variants of poker available to play online. The game of choice for most players is Texas Hold’em, but other popular games include Omaha, 7 Card Stud, 5 Card Draw, Razz, Pineapple, Badugi and many more. Trying out a few of the different games is a great way of developing your poker knowledge and improving your standard of play.
Each poker site has its own unique tournament schedule and there may be slight variations in some of the games, but the basics stay the same wherever you play; raise when you have the best of it and fold when you’re behind.
Zoom or rush poker is one variation of poker that is offered by some of the sites, including Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker. In this game, as soon as you fold your hand you’re moved to another table and receive a new hand instantly, so there is no waiting for action. It’s ideal for the impatient poker player!
Most online poker players fall into two broad categories; tournament players and cash game players. While there are many players who will play both forms of poker, most people have a preference for either tournaments or cash games.
The main difference between poker tournaments and cash games is you can cash out and take your money home at any stage of a cash game. In a tournament you must continue playing until you’re the last player with chips or get knocked out by losing your stack.
In cash games it’s possible to buy back back in to the game when you lose all of your money on the table, however, this is not allowed in tournament play, unless it’s a rebuy tournament where you can buy back in to the game for a limited period of time, if you lose all of your chips.
If you’re interested in learning how to play online poker but don’t want to part with any of your hard earned cash, the great news is you can play for free on almost every poker site. All of the major sites offer a play money feature, where you can get to grips with raising, checking and folding without losing a cent. It’s where many of today’s multi-millionaire poker players learned how to play!