Online Poker Guide for Beginners
We wanted to produce a solid online poker guide for beginners given the number of new players taking up the game each day. It is still one of the most popular past times for millions of us around the world, helped by the fact that its so easily accessible. We can be playing for massive amounts of money within minutes, which is a big part of the overall appealing. Even after the withdrawal of the vast chunk of the US market and the initial drop in volumes that resulted as a result of Black Friday, the numbers have continued to bounce back. Since then, regulations have been tightened around the world, which has put numbers at risk however such is the popularity of the game - there are still an estimated 80 million players worldwide.
This is a guide aimed at the beginner, so if you're new to the game, we will talk you through the key things you need to know to get started as well as some things you should know to avoid. As you build your knowledge, you can move to some of our more advanced guides - in short, there is plenty to learn! The primary aim when starting out is to take it small and master the basics of play. This way you will be protecting any investment you make. Something that all players will attest to - it's considerably more enjoyable when you're turning a profit. At the same time, if you are inexperienced and take to the tables playing for real money, you will likely find yourself up against someone that will not find it difficult to take your money. Go slow. Build your understanding and the rewards will come.
The good news is that it is an incredibly exciting time to take the game up - there is a lot going on. Since the withdrawal of US players from most major poker sites, there's fierce competition for business. This translates into greater rewards for you, both in terms if initial welcome bonus and the ongoing rewards that rooms are offering customers that stick with them. Rooms know that it's a lot easier to keep customers once you have them than attract them for the first time.
One of the first decisions you will need to make is which game you want to learn. Believe it or not, there are A LOT of games and different variations you can choose from. See for yourself how many different poker rules and variations exist. As a starter for ten, it's advisable to start with Texas Hold'em, which is arguably the most played game there is. It' also traditionally the game that new players learn first, mainly because it's the most popular. It carries the most traffic online and is the game of choice in almost every major tournament main event out there. When you are ready to get involved, we compare most popular Hold'em variations by a raft of features - we also compare all other major games played online.
How Safe is Online Poker?
Many players that start out have fears, naturally, around the safety element of playing online. Is your money safe? Will they do anything with your personal details? How secure is each site? All very common questions. In short, online poker carries the same risk to your money as doing anything else online that involves entering details. That said, you are probably better protected as poker rooms spend millions to secure their customers transactions. Their business relies on it. Any slip ups and it takes a long time to forget.
That said, there are certainly online poker rooms that are best avoided. There are a number that have a bad reputation - we don't list any sites that fit this bill.
So the risk will be there regardless of what you are doing. Open an email. Log onto Facebook or do online banking. You are expositing yourself to risks the second you do anything online. I have been playing online poker for over 15 years and can honestly say that the bigger risk is you rushing into cash poker without taking time to develop your game.
Building Your Game by Playing & The Online Attraction
For many of us, we want to be the best from the word go. When we throw egos into the mix, it can be a dangerous combination. Unfortunately it is not very common that players are absolute naturals from the word go. Regardless of where you play and how experienced you think you are - the more time you spend playing, the more you will learn and improve. This is no different from learning anything else irrespective of how naturally gifted we are. We get better when we do something for a sustained period of time - fact. We learn new ways to win and what to avoid - sadly that often comes with a price tag, but it is a price tag worth paying if we learn in the process.
For poker enthusiasts, the internet brings new dimensions, mainly as it's available round the clock. You can login at any time and be in the poker playground inside a few minutes of switching on your PC. As great as this concept is, it also has to be respected. It's easy to burn yourself out. This isn't something you would do as easily if you had to make your way down to the local casino every time you wanted to play.
There's another real danger which is worth taking note of. The online game gives players a screen to hide behind, often giving a false sense of security and can promote idiotic play. You can't feel your chips or see any players (physically) however you should respect your virtual environment and the virtual chips in front of you. Your virtual opponents pose a real threat to your money. Online play is considerably wilder as players invariably find it easier to play the big dog when they are not face to face with an opponent. When you have to face the stares of a table, it's a very different ball game making some of the moves that you can enjoy with relative anonymity. It's this infallible sense of grandeur that offers increased opportunities to profit.
Online, the principles of each game do not change. The main differences are that it is infinitely more accessible, you have less time to act in any one hand, you can't get reads off your opponents (as easily) and everything is virtually represented. You can pick up tells using the online chat features. To help you keep track of your opponents, you have features such as the ability to take notes and you can also use HUDs, assuming your room allows this to be run.
On top of that you will have the chance to meet friends and pick your battles. Many sites still allow player tracking so you can pull together your list of donks are search them out. To help you improve and develop, nearly all sites offer a level of statistical information to help you analyze your game, which is a must if you are looking to improve. You can pick up a great deal of information on the leaks that you have. Ultimately, minimise the leaks and maximising the exploits will make a better return.
Selecting an Online Poker Room
By now you will probably appreciate that there are a lot of sites to choose from. We have tried to make it as easy as possible for you by comparing sites by the features we think you will consider important. Every room has it's own look and feel and you wont be attracted by every room, even if the bonus is tempting. It really depends on what you are looking to get out of a poker room. For this reason, we added our poker toplists which compare the top sites by a host of different features. As a new player, you'll have additional rewards that you can claim including a welcome bonus and added extras which we have negotiated on your behalf. Check out all the latest bonus offers on offer.
Each site we list on Top15Poker.com is one that meets our seal of approval. That's not meant as an arrogant statement. Its a fact. Promoting a room that you will condemn in seconds won't do us any favors. Each room we promote has something to offer our playing community, which is a prerequisite before making it into our listings. The picture changes month on month and be sure to check back - we will continually try to negotiate deals that reward you with more and more. In short, the more players we drive, the better our bargaining power! When you are ready to take the leap of faith, use the bonus code on offer (assuming there is one) to ensure that you get full bonus on offer. A number of our bonuses are automatic through our links - our reviews will give you all the detail you need. If you need any advice or help in the sign up process, we would be happy to guide you through the process. And remember, most rooms have practice tables - take advantage of them and don't jump in too deep too quick.
Here are a few of the more popular toplists that we offer:
Best UK poker sites - see which UK sites offer the best package and playing experience.
Best US poker sites - these sites are still accepting US players.
Best European sites - compare the best European sites available online.
Best no deposit bonus offers - new to poker? Here's a great opportunity to kick start your bankroll with some free cash offers that are available without having to make a cash deposit.
Softest (easiest) poker sites - ever wondered which sites have the highest volume of low skilled players? Check out this comparison which compares rooms by the ease of competition.
Important Beginners Guides..
Read this no nonsense guide on how to play poker - covering the basics and game play. Perfect for those starting out.
A no nonsense guide on how to play the game. Ideal for beginners looking to take the first steps on learning the game.
Check out this set of rules. It's as close to universal as you will get! Most card rooms use a variation of these.
We have a range of new player bonuses that will get you a bigger bonus that if you visited the site direct!