Beginner’s Guide to Online Poker

If you’re ready to start playing poker online, here’s a simple guide to get you from where you are now, to a seat at the tables of an online poker room.

First, Choose a Poker Room:

They are not all the same. If you’re in the mood to shop around, here are some Online Poker Room Reviews. If you’re just not in the mood for doing homework, I suggest you make Party Poker your first stop if you eventually want to play for money (not necessarily right away), or Absolute Poker if all you ever want to do is play for fun.

Click the Download Button:

You need to download a program on your computer (the “poker room program”) to play. Every poker room’s website has a download button on it that is easy to find. Click download and follow the instructions.

Set up the Account:

Now that the poker room program is installed on your computer, you’ll need to open an account. That requires you to fill in some information about yourself. Use real information, obviously. After all, if you want to cash out winnings from a poker room and gave a fake name or fake address, you’ll have a hard time getting and cashing your check.
At this point, you won’t need to give them any banking or credit card information, unless you want to play for real money right away. I suggest waiting a moment before hitting the real money tables if you’ve never played online.

Play at the Free Money Tables:

Now, you can take a seat at a “play money” table and begin playing. Get used to things like how quickly the cards are dealt, and where the control buttons are (Fold, Bet, Raise, etc.). Play around with the chat. Test out the features of the poker room like Buddy Lists, Player Notes, Statistics, Different colored decks of cards, sound and chat features, etc.

One thing you will notice is that the play at the “play money” tables is not realistic. And why should it be? If there is nothing to lose (you can always get more fun money) then there is little to risk by calling every bet or raising for the hell of it.
If playing at the fun tables gets to you, you might consider making a small purchase and playing at the micro-limit tables in a room like Superior Poker. There you can play nickel and dime poker, or join a poker tournament for two or three dollars.

Play at the Real Money Tables:

Once you’ve learned how the room works and are comfortable, the last step is to actually buy some poker chips for use at the real money tables. This can be a bit of a bother sometimes.
Credit card companies (not the poker rooms) often refuse to approve “online gambling” based transactions. So, don’t be surprised if you can’t simply use your credit card to buy poker chips.
The poker rooms have many different deposit methods in place, so you may have to try a few before you find the one that’s right for you. For me, and many other online poker players, Neteller is the answer. It’s what they call an electronic wallet. I add a few bucks to my Neteller, and then I can use the money in my Neteller to buy chips from any of the online poker rooms instantly. Neteller does take a few days to set up (because of security checks that must be done).

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