In poker there is an element of luck involved, but 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. If you want to know more in-depth details on the game check out our guide How to Play Poker and we can help you with that too.
Here are some of the best places where you can play at online poker UK sites.
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.
Free / no deposit bonuses
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.
VIP / higher roller bonuses
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.
Properly licensed and regulated
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.
Variety of poker games available
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.
We have a full rundown of the full range of Poker games that are available to play in our dedicated Poker Games and Rules Guide.
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.
Poker seems complex when you first start out, but once you have learned some of the terms and strategies it becomes more straightforward and then the ‘poker face’ comes into play. 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:
- Straight flush: A sequence of five consecutive cards of the same suit
- Four of a kind: Four cards of the same value
- Full house: Three cards of the same value, plus a pair
- Flush: Five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence
- Straight: Five cards in sequence, but of different suits
- Three of a kind: Three cards of the same value
- Two pair: Two pairs
- One pair: One pair
- High card: A hand with no value
The main varieties of online poker with real money are as follows:
Texas Hold’em is the most popular form of online poker, and most commonly found at all casino sites.
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 are many forms of stud poker, but the most common form is seven-card stud poker.
See all the rules to all the varieties of poker in our dedicated Poker Rules Guide.
Each variety of poker has its own rules and you will come to know terms such as the deal, the flop, the turn, the river and many more.
Is it possible to win real money playing poker online?
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.
Is it safe to play for real money?
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.
Different online poker real money playing options
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.
Sit and Go
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!
Author And Contributing Editor
Anita is a well-known bingo-lover and has been involved with online bingo since the late 1990’s. She has been along for the ride and seen the industry grow and develop into what it is today. She has worked with the biggest names in the industry and has a reputation for being fair and to the point in her writing.