This article follows on from a previous piece on playing online Poker against the house, so be sure to check it out if you are new to Poker.
What’s the difference between online Poker rooms and online casinos?
One characteristic which online Poker rooms and casinos do share in common is that you are not playing face-to-face, so it can be less intimidating for a beginner. Another plus here is that it helps to cut out any collusion which can happen between players, for instance in Russian Poker where players at a bricks and mortar casino are playing against the house and so can compare cards with each other.
But the key distinction is that whereas in a regular online casino you are playing against the house, even in Poker variants such as Texas Hold ‘Em or 3-Card Brag, in an online Poker room you are playing against other real players. Apart from anything else, this means that your own skill and strategy will make more of a difference as the house doesn’t take an ‘edge’ as it does with most online games (usual practice in Poker is to put in a certain amount of the ‘pot’, called the ‘rake’, which is supposed to cover the cost to the casino of hosting a Poker room).
Why use online Poker rooms?
Apart from the advantages noted above, many online Poker rooms offer player history and statistics which mean you can get an idea of what your opponent is likely to do in a given situation. You may also find tournaments which are more suited to you in terms of stakes (if you can’t find a local bricks and mortar tournament that plays for low enough, or for that matter high enough, stakes for you) or if you are in an out-of-the-way location, maybe an online Poker room is the only viable option.
Should I jump straight into playing in online Poker tournaments?
Not advised. Get a handle on the rules of the different types of Poker, and play plenty of practice games (and we mean a lot) either against the house, for example in Russian Poker, in practice mode, or informally with friends; only then should you take your first tentative steps into the world of online Poker. Some sites also offer a Poker school, explanations and video clips on how to play so definitely take advantage of these.
Which casinos offer online Poker rooms?
As well as Real Time Gaming (RTG) which licenses casino software to a wide range of outifts, other online casinos offer plenty of tournaments against real players, including William Hill, ComeOn!, Betway, Paf and Betfair (the last even offers an anonymous Live Poker Room where you could be playing against anyone, just like in the Wild West movies!).