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Would You Like to Play 100 Variations of Poker

There are many ways to play poker online.  You can play in poker rooms where you play against real players.  You can play video poker which is usually a form of five-card-draw poker.  You can play many different varieties of poker at a virtual poker table.  And, finally, you can play poker online with a live dealer.  Online casinos call this type of surroundings their Live Casino.   We will discuss the latter three types of online poker here.

It’s a Lot Easier to Get a Pair than a Royal Flush

The basics of poker are quite simple even though you can play many online poker games.  In poker there is a hierarchy of hands.  If you don’t have a pair, your hand is called “high card”.  You may have seen top professional players win big pots with a high-card hand but it is still the poker hand with the lowest value.  In pairless hands, a single ace is the highest card you can have.

The hierarchy of hands, from bottom to top, continues like this:

  • One pair
  • Two pair
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Full house
  • Four of a kind
  • Straight flush
  • Royal flush

One of the difficulties of poker is making reasoned guesses about the strength of the hands your opponents may have.  Are they bluffing?  Should you bluff?  When you play any of the latter three forms of poker as mentioned above, this uncertainty is removed.   It is the ability to play online poker games without the pressure of reading your opponents that has made online poker so extraordinarily popular in the last few years.

Video Poker

Top casinos may have upwards of fifty variations of video poker.  The rules for each variation may differ somewhat from the other forms of video poker.  Nevertheless, there are some elements that all video poker games have in common.

Video poker is usually a form of five card draw.  You place your bet and click “deal”.  You receive five cards.  You have to decide which cards to discard for new cards and which cards to hold.  Now, here you must pay close attention.  If you have ever played in a friendly game of draw poker, you touch the cards you want to discard.  In video poker, you click on the cards you want to hold.

Some basic strategy comes into play here.  Although the payout for a flush is higher than for a pair, it is also much harder to get a flush than a pair.  It is almost never good strategy to draw two cards in hopes of getting a flush.  Drawing to an inside straight poses a similar strategic problem.  Given that in video poker you can discard all five of your cards, you may very well do so even if you think you have a good shot at a high-paying hand.  In the two examples given above, the odds are usually against you.

A more obvious strategic situation arises when you have both a winning hand and the chance to get a much better hand by discarding the winning hand.  For example, if the game you are playing is jacks or better and you have a pair of jacks you have a winning hand with a relatively low payout.  But if one of the jacks is the same suit as the other three cards in your hand, you could consider keeping the four suited cards hoping for a flush.  This is poor strategy.  Hold onto your winning pair and discard the other cards.  On the draw you could get three of a kind, two pair, or, less often, a full house!

Since there are so many variations of video poker but all are based on five-card-draw, it is a good idea to read the rules of any video poker game before you start playing.

Table Poker

The biggest difference in all the variations of table poker is that here you play against the dealer, meaning you have to beat the dealer to win.  Remember that in video poker you win when you have the minimum winning hand and lose when you fail to get the minimum hand.  In table poker you can win with a very low hand if the dealer’s hand is even lower!

In some variations you have to decide whether to draw, stand or fold.  There are so many variations of play in table poker that you absolutely must read the rules carefully before you play.  This is especially true if you are new to the world of online poker.  You may be “dipping your feet” as it were, at online table poker.  As you go from game to game, the rules could change dramatically!

One big difference between table poker and video poker is the number of table poker games in which you play with seven cards.  In most of these games, you choose the five cards out of the seven that give you the best hand.  There are also high-low games where you use one set of five cards to make a high hand and another set of five cards to make a low hand.  In these games, you can win big id you win both the high hand and the low hand.

Live Poker

Many players like a change of pace from video poker or online table poker.  These gamers like to play live dealer poker online.  More and more casinos now offer a Live Casino where the dealers are real people.  Players can interact with the live dealers.  Sometimes, the Live Casino is a closed-circuit feed from a real life casino, usually in Singapore or Thailand.  In those casinos, you can often interact with the players as well.

The games in Live Casino are usually some form of Texas Hold’em.  It certainly pays to bone up on the rules of Texas Hold’em before you play live dealer poker online at a Live Casino.

We are Fortunate to be Living in the Golden Age of Poker

Poker has never been more popular than now.  Many of us grew up playing friendly, low-stakes poker with our pals.  The pressure was low, the atmosphere was always friendly, and if we played all night, the winners paid for breakfast!  With the advent of the online casino, the number of games and the variety of playing options has increased dramatically!