Poker: an interesting way of earning some money

casinoA card game that was first played in 1829, Poker has now gone on to become one of the most popular games. Not only in USA, the game of poker is highly enjoyed and loved in UK, Asia, and Australia. The popularity of this game did not just stop there. Poker tournaments are held these days. The game has evolved in a tremendous way since the time it was first played. Beyond the traditional casinos which had card rooms for the players, the game now moved to the online platform too.

Initially the game was mainly enjoyed by the elites in the society, who had enough disposable income to spare. Things changed then. Gradually the larger mass also indulged in the game. Besides, the game is no longer restricted to be played in casinos. Players can play the game at the comfort of their house, by just logging on to any of the game playing sites.

Online card game sites are well protected to avoid any types of conflicts between players and to eradicate any other kind of frauds. It also has some other additional options in the game that players may opt without paying additional cost as they have to do in the casinos. They are allowed to go for deals that are lesser in value and it is less intimidating for people who are trying for the very first time. Thus it is becoming popular day by day all over the world and is being played by many without the complaints of any unfair deal. Going online, a lot of resources could be saved, and maintenance cost also could be avoided.

However, irrespective of the fact that the game is getting highly popular on internet sites, the traditional forms have not vanished. Royal casinos still maintain their blitz and glamour, and attract hundreds of player each day, that includes tourists from different parts of the world too. The extravagant infrastructure, sparkling interiors and hundreds of slots games, add to this posh games of cards. From a situation when the card game was much loved in casinos, initially it was a bit difficult to change the platform. With the internet boom, shifting the game online was not tough. What was tough was getting people to love it equally on the sites. The popular networking sites like Facebook and others played a huge role to make the game popular online too.

The game still continues to spread its charm to the players both online and offline. While there were legality issues raised against this game, the facts were soon established. This game is not a gambling game. In fact, there are certain strategies that are needed than just luck to win this game. As Howard Gardiner points out, people with higher numerical ability excel in calculating probabilities and that is exactly what poker is all about. Beyond just that it takes a player enough practice and experience to win a game. Comprehending the body language of the other players also falls under one of the points to win the game.

 

My first experience playing online poker

I have been playing poker for 10 years now but believe it or not, I was never tempted by playing online poker. But suddenly everything has changed.

I’ve been playing poker in home games, sports bars and sometimes in my local casino. I have not gained head-spinning profits but it doesn’t matter. The game itself is brilliant in so many dimensions. I just can’t get enough of it. So, as advised by a friend, I opened up an online poker account. I never imagined that it can be so much different!

Poker is an amazing game. It doesn’t matter if you play live or online poker, in order to win you have to have a specific set of skills. And contrary to the popular belief, it’s almost never about the cards you are dealt. Don’t get me wrong, they do play a part. After all, luck is a factor. But what I mean is that there is a whole world beyond your hole cards that beginners do not even know about.

You need to understand human psychology and read physical tells. You must keep calm after you have had a bad beat or when a player with lesser poker skills shows you a crazy bluff and claims a chunk of your stack. You need disciple to manage your money.

The cards do play a role but in the end it’s the decisions you make that are main factor. Think about it this way, if a player gets Pocket Aces often but you manage to read how strong he is, you will not lose a lot of money even though he got a best pre-flop hand in Texas Hold’em. On the other hand, if you manage to disguise the strength of your best hands and imitate strength with your weak hands, you will walk away a winner.

So, as I said I registered my first online poker account recently. I chose 888Poker because they are a trusted brand worldwide, they give players $88 free to start and from what I hear, are one of the softest online poker rooms.

Even though you don’t see the players live, the set of skills I have from live poker was pretty useful online as well. Like I said, it’s all about the decisions. So, when somebody bets or checks you must think what does that mean and does it make any sense?

For example, when I was staring out, the first questions I had were concerning ranges. Whenever someone got aggressive on later streets I would get automatically scared they have the stronger hand like a flush or a straight, etc. Remember, the hand starts pre-flop so all you have to do is ask whether the hand your opponent is representing at the moment makes sense that he had it from the very beginning. If you are afraid that your opponent has AK, think about his actions all throughout the streets. Maybe some other hand makes more sense?

Let’s get back to playing online. I prefer playing tournaments to cash games because it’s much more dynamic and one large payout can change your whole life. In live games however, I don’t mind playing cash games. Maybe just because I’m used to bigger games like 1/2 while to play 1/2 on online poker I need much more skill.

So, I started playing $1 and $2 dollar tournaments on 888 Poker. Results-wise I only had a couple of Top 30 cashes. But the thing I love the most is that I can launch myself two, three, any amount of tournaments and play simultaneously. In this way, 4 hour poker session and minimum cash in a tournament would not mean my hourly rate is $0.50/h. If I play 6 tournaments at a time, within the same 4 hours and maybe bust 3 early, reach 2 min cashes and go deep in the last one boosts my hourly rate significantly.

Now I actually see poker as a potential means of earning an income. So, I guess I’ll continue learning different strategies and playing online. As I build my bankroll I think I’ll move up to $5 tournaments and maybe satellites to bigger events. Who knows? Maybe on day I’ll win a life-changing sum of money I could not have dreamed of if I would continue playing live in home games and casinos.

The Many Faces of Poker

There are a lot of variations of the poker game which tells something about its origin or maybe of its flexibility, or it can be both. In any case, there are variations that you might find more fun than the others. It is probably a good idea to start with them if you want to become an experienced, or even a professional, player.

The Major Categories

Literally speaking, you may find hundreds of variants of the game in existence today. However, they can mostly be categorized in three popular groups.

  • Draw. These are games where complete hands are dealt to players. The players then decided whether they want to replace cards in order to improve their hand. Perhaps, the most commonly played is the Five-card-draw.
  • Stud. In this kind, players are dealt with a mixture of face-up and face-down cards across multiple betting rounds. Some common variants that belong to this group are the Seven-card-stud and the Five-card-stud.
  • Community card. This might be the type most commonly seen and played in TV or online. Players would be dealt with an incomplete face-down card set. They can combine this with a set of face-up cards shared by all players. Texas hold’em and Omaha hold’em.

Rule Variations

Even with the same type of poker games, the house may have rule variations as well. Here are some examples:

  • Lowball. While the usual game counts the highest hand as the winner, this is reversed in lowball games. The hand with the lowest rank wins the pot. Games may differ in the considerations like whether the Ace counts low and how straights and flushes are treated. Examples of lowball games are 2-7 Triple Draw and Razz.
  • High-Low Split. In such games, the hands with the highest and lowest rank split the pot. There are set rules for the qualification of the lowest hand. For example, the hand is counted for lowest only if it makes a kind of combination.
  • In the standard rule, players can’t pass cards to each other. Some variants, like Anaconda, allows such.
  • Kill games are those that when a player wins two pots in a row for a fixed limit game, the stakes get doubled.
  • Some games make use of wild cards. Usually, the joker is assigned as a wild card. When a player gets a wild card, he or she decides the card’s value. Sometimes, it is limited (e.g. wild cards can only represent Aces) or not (e.g. you can use the wild card as the last card to complete a Straight or Flush).
  • Twist rounds are rounds where each player has the opportunity to buy one more card from the deck. They have to add money to the pot.
  • Some games use stripped decks, i.e. only 20 cards from the deck are used instead of the full 52. This is to honor poker history since the early games are played as such.
  • Some games use royal decks – two decks but only involve the cards from 9 to Ace. Standard rules apply but suit ranking may be used since players are more probable to have the same value of hands.

poker variantsCommonly Played Variants

In this part, we take a look at some of the most common variants.

Five-Card-Draw

The five-card-draw is considered the standard variant by many people; although, it is not played as much anymore. It still deserves mention.

The game commences by dealing five cards to each player face-down. A betting round flows. Then, starting with the player to the immediate left of the dealer, each player is allowed to discard cards as many as her or she likes. The dealer will then deal as many cards to that player. After the draws are done, another betting round commences and finally, the showdown.

Texas Hold’em

When people in the United States say poker, they probably refer to the variant Texas hold’em, since this is the most popular one in the nation.

In a Texas hold’em game, instead of antes, there are two blinds: the small and huge blind. The immediate player to the dealer’s left is the small blind and the player next to him/her is the huge blind. The small blind generally posts half of the lower betting limit agreed on the table, while the huge blind posts half the higher betting limit.

The players are dealt two cards each face-down – called hole cards. Then, a betting round occurs.

The flop, composed of three cards, is then dealt face up on the table. These three cards make up the board and are community cards, i.e. all players are allowed to use them for the showdown. After this deal is another betting round.

The turn, which is the fourth card, is dealt face up on the board followed by another betting round.

The river, the fifth card, is dealt face up completing the board. There would be another betting round and then comes the showdown.

In this game, the objective is to create the best possible combination using your two hole cards and the five on the board.

Seven-Card-Stud

Another popular variant in tournaments is the Seven-card Stud. It starts with an ante and then, each player is dealt with two face-down cards, the hole cards, plus one face-up card. This initial deal is called “third street”.

After this “third street” is a betting round. Each player are handed with three more face-up cards (fourth, fifth, and sixth streets) one at a time – a betting round occurs in between each. The seventh card for each player adds to their hole cards (i.e. face-down) and is called the river. After another betting round, the showdown commences.

The goal is to make the best possible five-card combination from their seven cards. There are no community cards or board for this variant.

Other stud games involve only five or six cards, but they’re not that common.

Lots More…

If we list any and all variants of poker games, even combination games, we would have enough to create a book. Each has its own set of rules and game flow. However, learning the ones discussed above can enable a player to play most of the variations.