Poker is the most popular card game in the world and is unique when it comes to gambling games as when you play online poker with real money, there’s a real chance of you upping your bankroll if you have the skills to know what you are doing, and how to play.
While there is an element of luck involved, a decent poker shark will always have the edge over a fumbling fish. This page will introduce you to the basic concepts of poker, and what types of game are available.
Here are some of the best places where you can play at online poker UK sites.
18+. New players only. 1 bonus offer per player. Min. deposit £20. Max. bonus bet is £5. Bonus spins on selected games only and must be used within 72 hours. Bonus funds expire in 30 days, unused bonus funds will be removed. Bonus funds are 100% match up to £500 on your 1st deposit, 25% match up to £1000 on your 2nd deposit, and 50% match up to £500 on your 3rd deposit. Bonus funds are separate to Cash funds, and are subject to 35x wagering the total bonus, cash & bonus spins. Only bonus funds count towards wagering contribution. Full T&C’s Apply. Please gamble responsibly. Begambleaware.org.
*18+. New Players only. Min deposit £10, £8 max win per 10 spins, max bonus conversion £250, 65x wagering requirements & Full T&C’s Apply. Please gamble responsibly. Begambleaware.org.
New customers only, 18+. First deposit only. Min deposit £10. Max 50 bonus spins on selected slots only. 2x conversion. 20x wagering. 20% Cashback on losses up to £200 for 48 hours from first deposit. Full T&Cs apply. Please play responsibly. Begambleaware.org
Terms and Conditions apply. New players only. 18+. Min deposit £10. Wagering requirement apply 35x. Offer valid for 72hr. 100 spins includes 3 deposit. See full terms here.
*18+. New players only. Max bet £5, 11 Fun Spins for registration (max withdrawal is £100), 50% up to £499 bonus + 100 Fun Spins on 1st deosit, 50% up to £499 bonus on 2nd deposit, No max cashout on deposit offers. Full T&Cs Apply. Please gamble responsibly. Begambleaware.org.
* Cashback available to all registered players at No Bonus Casino and calculated on all deposits in any 24-hour period any day, given that all deposited money has been lost. Depositing players' balances will be checked next morning between 10:00 - 12:00 CET and need to have a balance of not more than £10 to qualify for cashback. Cashback refunds are rounded to the nearest Pound. Cashback can be activated if your balance is below £10. Cashback cannot be claimed if there is a pending withdrawal. T&Cs Apply. Be Gambling Aware.
Welcome bonuses are bonuses you receive when you sign up for a specific online poker site. If a poker site is part of an online casino, then it is likely that you will not be able to use your online casino welcome bonus to play in the site’s poker room.
When it comes to welcome bonuses at dedicated online poker real money sites, it usually means free poker tokens or free poker chips. If you make a minimum deposit into your poker account then you may receive a set amount of free poker chips that you can use to play poker, or you will receive a selection of free poker tokens that will allow you to play in tournaments without having to pay any of your own cash.
Poker sites generally are not as keen to offer bonuses as online casinos as they make their money differently. They take a small percentage of chips of every hand that’s played at their site, which is called a ‘rake’. Online casinos rely solely on players playing casino games and losing. Poker sites have a steady streamed income that’s guaranteed, so don’t feel the need to ‘risk’ players taking a hefty bonus and actually winning from it.
A reload bonus is simply a bonus that’s paid when you reload your poker account with your own money. Again, at sites that offer online poker with real money, the trend is to offer poker tokens or free chips, just like a welcome bonus.
Dedicated poker rooms very rarely offer free or no deposit bonuses, however, they do offer players entry into free-roll tournaments. These are tournaments where you are given virtual chips to play with, as opposed to buying chips using your own cash. Only the winners (or runners up) of free-roll tournaments win cash, or they may win free entries into tournaments with bigger cash prizes.
Online poker sites do not generally offer VIP or high roller bonuses.
You need to be secure in the knowledge that when you sign up with a site that offers online poker with real money games, you are in for a decent experience. Here are some of the factors that will contribute to that.
An online poker site that offers gaming with real money to UK customers must have a license issued to it by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC). If a site you are thinking about joining does not have a UKGC licence, then you should avoid it.
Only using sites that have a UKGC licence will make sure you, your money and your important personal details are kept safe. It also makes sure that the site is properly regulated.
Texas Hold’em is the most popular casino game in the online realm, but that does not mean that is everyone’s cup of tea. Some people enjoy ‘old-fashioned’ games such as stud poker, while offers enjoy more complex ones like Omaha. You should always favour a site that offers more games than just Texas Hold’em.
Bonuses are not as common in the online poker world than they are in the online casino and sports betting realms, but it always pays to find a site that offers bonuses such as free entry to paying tournaments, poker chip boosts and free-roll games with large winning pots.
The object of poker is to obtain a better hand than your opponents. At the end of each round of poker, the player who remains in the game (i.e. who has not folded) with the best hand is the winner and takes the pot. Poker is also a betting game. To stay in the hand you must bet chips up to the current pot level. If you don’t want to (or can’t) bet the required number of chips, then you must fold.
A poker hand is made up of five cards. The possible poker hands, in order of value, are as follows:
All equal hands are ranked in terms of their highest card. For example, a straight flush of AKQJT (known as a ‘royal flush’) beats a straight flush of KQJT9.
The following is a basic guide of how to play Texas Hold’em, which is the most popular form of online poker.
When playing online, a croupier acts as a dealer, but one player will be given a dealer button. This indicates where play starts and is passed clockwise around the table one player along at the end of a hand. The player to the right of the dealer starts the pot with an agreed amount, known as the small blind. The next player then adds to the pot double the value of the small blind, known as the big blind.
The dealer then deals two cards face down to each player.
To play, a player must add to the pot the value at least of the big blind. If they don’t want to, they can fold and throw in their cards. They can also bid more than the big blind (raise). Betting continues until all players have either folded or matched the current biggest bet. At any stage, if only one player remains in the deal, then they win the pot without having to show their cards.
The dealer deals three cards face up into the middle of the table. These cards are known as community cards and eventually, there will be five. The aim of the game is for players to make the best five-card poker hand possible from all seven cards – the five community cards and their own two ‘hole’ cards.
After the flop has been dealt, there’s another round of betting.
The dealer then deals a fourth community card and there’s another round of betting.
The dealer deals the fifth and final community card and there’s a final round of betting.
After all players have bet one round without raising, the cards are shown starting with the player who made the final raise. The whole pot is awarded to the player who has the highest ranking hand.
Once all chips have been collected by the winning player the dealer button is passed along, and another hand is begun.
The main varieties of online poker with real money are as follows:
Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of online poker, the rules of which have been explained above.
Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em except that players are dealt four hole cards instead of two, and must make the best poker hand using exactly two of their four hole cards, and exactly three of the five community cards. Betting works in the same way as Texas Hold’em.
Draw poker is a more traditional poker game where community cards are not used. Instead, each player is dealt a whole poker hand of five cards. There is a round of betting before the ‘draw’ takes place. The draw allows each player the option of exchanging as many cards from their hand as they want to, from zero to all five. Once the draw is complete a final round of betting takes place.
There are many forms of stud poker, but the most common form is seven-card stud poker. Each player is dealt two cards face down, and one card face up. A round of betting then takes place. There are another three betting rounds during which each player receives another face-up card. The final betting round involves a player being dealt a face-down card. After the final betting round players make their best hand from five of the seven cards they have been dealt – three face down and four face up.
Indeed it is! Plenty of players have become millionaires by playing poker online, and many have moved on to professional poker tours such as the World Series of Poker and become even richer.
Poker is a game of skill with an element of luck. If you want to win money that you really need to know what you are doing, else skilful players will gobble you up. It’s always best to start your online poker real money career by playing at tables with very low blinds, even as low as $0.01/$0.02. Once you are comfortable you can move up to richer tables.
At a properly licensed online poker room, your money is perfectly safe, however, it is only safe if you play responsibly. Never play online poker after a couple of drinks or when you are tired, and never ’tilt’ I.e make rash decisions based on emotion, rather than logic.
NOTE: RTP is no relevant for online poker as players play against each other, not the casino. The RTP also depends upon how skilful a player is. Table limits are not relevant either, as a player is only limited by the number of chips he has.
There are other ways of playing online poker than buying chips and using them to play.
A poker tournament is where a player pays a set fee to enter and receives a specified number of chips. All players receive exactly the same number of chips, so everyone starts with on level playing field.
Tournaments usually take place over several tables, and players drop out once they have lost all their chips. If a table runs short of players then players from other tables are called to make up the numbers.
Play continues until only one player remains having won all the other players’ chips. They win a set fee, and there are usually prizes too for other players who remained in the tournament the longest.
A ‘Sit and Go’ works the same way as a tournament, in that you pay a fee to receive a specific amount of chips. You then sit at the table and wait for other players to join you. When the specified number of people have entered, then commences.
If you are a wizard with the cards and can doing complicated sums in your head at speed, then a successful online poker career awaits you! Even if you just enjoy the game and the thrill of winning real cash, then you should get yourself down to an online poker real money table pronto!
Why not take a look at some of the online poker sites that we have reviewed and recommended for you? You might soon be going ‘all in’ with the best of them, and swimming in virtual poker chips!