OddsUSA’s Online Poker Guide
Poker is an amazingly popular game, both at land-based/online casinos and poker sites. One of the biggest advantages that online poker players have is that it’s much cheaper to play online than at a traditional venue. Furthermore, many brick and mortar casinos prefer to avoid including poker rooms because they aren’t able to make as much money than they would from, say, slots.
Online casinos, however, have less overhead costs, allowing them to offer poker games without digging into the profits generated by their other games. Online casinos also have no space limitations, which gives them a leg up compared to traditional casinos. This means that they don’t have to pick and choose which games to feature in a limited space; instead, online casinos are able to include a wide variety of poker games without issue.
The games that online poker sites and online casinos feature are pretty much the same as traditional games. This is handy, as it means that people who are used to playing traditional poker can play online poker games with minimal fuss or bother. Popular online poker games in the USA include:
- Texas Hold ‘Em
- Pot Limit Omaha
- Caribbean Stud Poker
- Video Poker
- Casino Hold ‘Em
- Pai Gow Poker
- Poker Tournaments
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Legality of Online Poker
Online poker in the USA has been available in some form since the 1990s, with the first real-money online poker game taking place in January of 1998. Online poker is different from other forms of online casino gambling, legally-speaking, but still does have some legal issues you should be aware of. The good news is that in 2012 a federal judge in New York ruled that poker shouldn’t be labeled as gambling because it’s a game of primarily skill and not chance.
The 2012 ruling in New York eventually led to Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey launching online poker sites back in 2013. It’s also worth noting that these three states all have an agreement that allows players in one state to play legal online poker on sites managed by the other two. This agreement doesn’t carry over to any other casino games, although this could end up changing in the future.
Online Poker Risks
Many players are wary of online poker sites because they worry that the odds are stacked against them by the house. Some sites have also been caught cheating by using bots to simulate real players, favoring them over real players. Another issue relates to non-random card dealing that sees poker sites attempting to increase the bets and the rake by dealing exceptional hands to multiple players in order to increase the action.
Insider cheating has also occurred in the past, although collusion between players is more of a concern. Thankfully, most online poker sites regularly monitor games in order to catch colluders in the act. They also monitor accounts to ensure that players can’t set up multiple accounts on the same platform.
These concerns are worth keeping in mind, but aren’t issues that most online poker players have to worry about. Online poker sites are strictly monitored and regulated, making it very difficult for many of them to cheat their players. Being aware of these risks will allow you to choose a site that doesn’t cheat players. Furthermore, choosing online poker sites that have been certified by leading auditing firms is the best way to prevent being taken for a ride.
Online Poker Rules
Many poker sites include house rules that can differ from site to site, but the main rules don’t really change at all. Playing online poker is pretty much the same as playing traditional poker in many ways, despite their obvious differences. Betting rounds are the same and online poker strategy doesn’t change much, which is a relief for most players switching from traditional to online play.
Differences Between Traditional and Online Poker Games
Different Tells & Strategies
When you sit down to play a game of online poker, you’ll immediately notice a few key differences between online games and traditional land-based games. To begin with, you’re unable to visually look for tells based on body language or a player’s physical reactions.
Instead, online poker players have to pay close attention to things like betting patterns and the reaction times of other players. There are also plenty of other potential tells to focus on during online poker games. These include fold/flop percentages and whether or not players are using check boxes or auto plays.
Faster Pace of Play
Online poker games are also more fast-paced, with dealing and shuffling happening instantaneously. While playing in-person poker games, you can expect a play rate of around 30 hands per hour. Online poker sites, on the other hand, allow for an average play rate of around 90 to 100 hands per hour.
Cheaper to Play Online Poker?
Online poker sites are much less taxing on your bank account than traditional games. This is due to a number of different factors. To begin with, you don’t have to worry about transportation costs when you play from home. Most online poker rake fees are also less than those of traditional games played in-person.
Online poker also has minimal barriers to entry, requiring only a basic computer and an internet connection. Additionally, you aren’t expected to tip dealers or other staff when playing online, so all your profits are totally yours. Finally, table limits at online poker sites are much lower than traditional casinos, allowing players to play without breaking the bank to do so.
Play Multiple Tables at Once
Traditional poker games won’t allow players to sit down and play at multiple tables at the same time. This isn’t usually the case when it comes to online poker sites, giving players a distinct advantage over traditional games. With no limits on how many tables you can play at once, you can maintain multiple games and increase your earnings without necessarily increasing your limits or grinding for longer periods of time.
Online Poker Schools
Online poker sites also generally offer tutorials and schools to help teach beginners the ropes. This is extremely useful for newcomers and means that anyone can get caught up in no time at all. Traditional games, however, don’t offer the same help and most players are expected to know what they’re doing well ahead of time. Online games also offer full analysis of previous hands played and also have poker hand converters to help you decide when to hold and when to fold.