We’ve created the ultimate guide to teach you all about online poker and to help you find the best real money poker sites. We’ve included information about different poker variations like Caribbean Stud, Five Card Draw, Pai Gow, Omaha, Live Dealer, and more. Plus, we’ve compiled a list of the top online casinos for poker, complete with reviews and ratings.
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Poker is the general name of a group of games that share similar rules and features. For example, poker hands are virtually the same in every variant. Factors that change include how many cards you’re dealt, how many you can exchange, how many are face up, who you play against, and more.
Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular forms of poker, due in part to the World Series of Poker that’s held annually in Nevada, U.S. However, there are many other popular forms, such as all the stud variations, draw variations, other types of Hold’em, and more.
If you’re itching to play poker, don’t start before reading this page first! Here you can find expert tips, a list of the best sites for real money poker, and much more.
As we mentioned, poker is an umbrella term that includes many variations of the same game. In some variants, you play against other players, and in others, you play against the house.
Games that you play against other players include Texas Hold’em, Omaha, five card draw, seven card stud, deuce to seven triple draw, and seven card razz. These games are often played in tournaments and at both online and land-based poker rooms. Since they are so popular, it’s easy for players of varying-sized bankrolls to find tables that are suitable for them.
Arguably the most famous player vs. player poker tournament is the World Series of Poker, held in Nevada annually and televised around the world. Poker fans in the UK can watch the tournaments as they unfold and get hands-on experience by playing real money poker at the many reputable online casinos.
Games you play against the house include Caribbean stud poker, Oasis poker, Pai Gow, Casino Hold’em, and Stravaganza. These games are usually simpler than the ones in which players compete against each other since there is no bluffing involved. At the same time, when you play against the house, there’s always a house edge, which can be a disadvantage.
Poker games can be found at most reputable online casinos, and the benefits of playing online are many:
We recommend new players take advantage of free poker options before moving on to real-money poker.
Some of the most popular poker games in the UK are Casino Hold’em, Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud, and Seven Card Stud. However, most casinos offer a large selection so you can find more obscure types of poker games as well.
Many online casinos offer the option to play free poker games and real money poker games. If you’re an aspiring poker player, we suggest playing free games first so you can practice before depositing any of your own money. Online poker games, free or for money, play one hand at a time, and you can select the amount of your wager.
Once you memorize the hands and gain experience, you can move on to real money games.
The step after mastering real money poker, should you wish to move forward, is joining a poker tournament, which many online casinos offer. In tournaments, you can compete against other poker players for varying-sized prize pools.
Whether you want to play in free mode, real money mode, or join a poker tournament, it’s crucial to play at a casino that you can trust and that has a great selection of poker options. The first thing to look for is whether the casino is licensed—if not, run the other way.
If the casino is licensed, you can then consider other factors, like its promotions, loyalty program, customer support team, game selection, and more.
To save you time, we’ve reviewed the best online casinos for poker in the UK. Our reviews consider all of the criteria above, and many more. Most importantly, all of the casinos on our list are safe to play at so there is no wrong choice.
Once you’ve chosen an online casino from our list, it’s time to register, claim any relevant bonuses, and start playing.
Poker basics: Once you’re dealt cards (how many cards depends on the variant), it’s time to make your move. But what are the options? Here are the basic poker moves every player should know before playing. These options stay the same regardless of the variant you play.
Check: This option allows you to stay in the game without betting any money—but you can only do this if the player before you did not bet or raise. If the player after you bets or raises, you’ll need to call, raise, or fold.
Bet: The amount of the bet is determined by the player who first puts money into the pot. Once the bet is placed, other players need to determine which action to take: call, raise, or fold.
Call: Once players start betting, you must match the bet to stay in the round. Once you’ve matched the bet in the final round of betting, you can “call” and the other players must show their cards.
Raise: After a player matches a bet, you can choose to match the bet and then add some more. This is known as “raising.” If you do so, other players must match the new, higher amount (call), raise again, or fold.
Fold: When other players bet or raise and you don’t think you can win, you can fold without betting any money (or without betting any more money)
Poker is both a game of chance and skill—you can’t control which cards you receive, but you can exercise a great deal of skill in how you play your hand. Playing online poker is a wonderful way to hone your skills. After all, practice makes perfect. Here we’ve included several tips for honing your poker strategy.
Don’t Play Every Hand
You may be tempted to play every hand—even the bad ones—because you’re relying too much on Lady Luck. Don’t do this! If you get a bad hand, understand that statistics are against you, and fold. You’ll have plenty more chances—you just need to be patient.
Learn One Game at a Time
Online casinos offer many different types of poker variants, and if you’re just starting out, you may be tempted to try them all. We recommend finding one variant and focusing on that until you gain a deep understanding of it and develop the intuition that only comes from experience. Once you master one variant, you can move on to others.
Start with Minimum Stakes
Just as there are many variants of poker at online casinos, there are also many poker tables with different minimum stakes. We recommend starting at a poker table with small stakes so that you can build your poker strategy without risking too much.
Don’t Go Over Your Budget
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the game and continue playing way past your budget. This is a big mistake that can have very serious ramifications. That’s why it’s important to set a budget (no more than you’re willing to lose) and stick with it. If the temptation is too great, you can see if the casino you’re playing at has responsible gambling controls that allow you to limit your betting.
While there are many poker variants to choose from, the hands are the same. Whether you play three-card, five-card, or seven-card poker, the goal is to have a better hand than the house or other players.
Hand rankings, from highest to lowest, are:
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Four of a Kind
- Full House
- Three of a Kind
- Two Pair
- One Pair
- High Card
The easiest way to win a poker round is by getting the best hand. When you play poker in land-based casinos or online with a live dealer, you can try to win by bluffing, even if you don’t have a good hand. Bluffing is risky business and should only be attempted by experienced players.
Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular types of poker variants, so much so that poker aficionados don’t only play it, but they watch poker masters compete in the World Series of Poker, just as they watch professional sports.
While the game is easy to learn, it’s not easy to master. As you’ll see below, there are many steps in Texas Hold’em, more so than in many other types of poker variants. There are four betting rounds, giving players plenty of time to bluff. By the last round, tensions are high.
If you want to start playing Texas Hold’em, it’s important to learn the game sequence and rules first. We’ve broken down the game into steps so you can be prepared when you play for real money.
1. Blinds: One player is named the dealer and given the “dealer button.” The two players to the left of the dealer post the small blind and big blind—these are mandatory bets that the player needs to place (in addition to the buy-in cost).
2. Hole Cards: After the blinds are placed, the dealer deals the hole cards—two cards that are dealt to each player face-down. The hole cards are what create most of the suspense, since only you know what you have and that keeps other players guessing.
3. First betting round: Once the hole cards have been dealt, the player to the left of the big blind needs to make the first move. Options include calling the big blind, raising, or folding. Every player around the table gets the chance to make their move. Once they’re all finished, the dealer moves to the next step.
4. The flop: The flop is when the dealer puts down three face-up cards, known as community cards, in the middle of the table. The players need to use the community cards and their face-down cards to create the best hand.
5. Second betting round: After the flop, players have another turn to place their wagers. They have the same options as before, including checking. If someone bets or raises, players who checked need to match the action in order to stay in the game. If they don’t want to match, they can fold.
6. The turn: The dealer puts a fourth community card next to the others.
7. Third betting round: The same as the first two, players now have more information to decide what their next move should be.
8. The river: The most exciting moment of Texas Hold’em is when the fifth community card, known as the river, is placed. The river helps players determine their final hand.
9. Fourth and final betting round: After the river card is dealt, players have one final time to call, bet, raise, or fold.
10. Showdown: Players who didn’t fold show their cards and the winner is announced.
Poker is a wildly popular game at both land-based and online casinos, but we believe that playing online has many advantages over playing in-person.
Convenience: There’s no need to travel or get dressed up to visit an online casino. You can play from wherever you are, on desktop, laptop, or mobile device, as long as you have a stable internet connection.
Huge variety: Online casinos have a much greater variety of poker games than brick-and-mortar ones. You can find popular games along with obscure ones, all accessible with a tap of your finger.
Low bets: Due to the large variety of games that online casinos have, you can find poker tables that offer low bets.
Play different hands simultaneously: Online casinos allow you to play multiple poker games at once and bet on different hands simultaneously.
Fast-paced: Online poker moves at a much quicker pace than land-based poker.
No waiting: You don’t need to wait for a table when you play online poker. There are always available tables.
Promotions and bonuses: Online casinos offer poker bonuses that can give you free money to play with, match your deposit, or more. Brick-and-mortar casinos offer no such thing.
Developing the right poker strategy can help you make the most of the hands you’re dealt. Here we’ve shared some expert tips to help players who want to build the best strategy.
Before playing, make sure you know the rules, especially the hand rankings. In virtually all types of online poker, a Royal Flush sits at the top, outperforming everything else. Then there's the straight, flush, full house, and others. The only way to stand a chance of winning is to first familiarise yourself with the hand rankings.
You should play with lower stakes when first embarking on your online poker journey. By playing with low stakes, you can learn the rules, positions, and hand rankings without feeling under pressure. You also won't go broke when you're just getting started because your bank account won't be depleted!
In order to be successful at poker, new players need to understand their odds of winning. Betting with logic instead of emotion is possible only when you fully understand the odds.
Poker isn't something you rush through—there’s no clock, so take your time deciding your next move. Don't risk making hasty decisions that could cost you a win.
It is just as important to fold as it is to bet, call, or raise. Initially, you may be tempted to bet on everything, but you know in the back of your mind that you can't win every round. Avoid playing bad hands so you can save your bankroll for when you get really good hands.
While it may seem daunting, online poker is relatively easy to learn. The basic premise in all variants is the same: get the best hand. To get things going, here's a 5-step process of how to play online poker. Among the most popular real money online poker variants, we'll be using Texas Hold 'em rules.
Before any cards are dealt, the two players to the left of the dealer place blind bets, i.e. a small bet and a big bet. It is also possible to place ante bets, where each player puts in the same amount. After the players bet, they get two face-down cards. Then another round of betting takes place, and you can decide whether to fold, check, call, or raise.
After the second round of betting comes the flop. This is when the dealer deals the first three community cards face-up and places them in the middle of the table. Here's your chance to see how strong your hand is. There'll be another round of betting.
After the third betting round comes the turn. This is when the dealer places a fourth community card next to the others on the table. Once again, you'll be able to determine whether your hand is worth playing and prepare for the next betting round.
Following the betting round, the dealer deals the fifth and final community card—known as the river—face-up next to the other cards. This is your last chance to assess whether you have what it takes to win or whether all your previous bets were wasted. Following the river, the final round of betting begins.
After the river has been dealt and you've called, raised, or folded, it's time for the showdown: players who stayed in show their cards and the winner is determined.
When it comes to playing real money online poker and playing free online poker, there are a few differences. Here are some of the most important ones.
|Free Poker||Real Money Poker|
|Try different variants with no risk||Win real cash|
|Gain experience with no risk||Hone your skills for when it really counts|
|No stress because there's no risk of losing real money||Bonuses available|
Real money online poker can be a bit intimidating at first, especially with so many terms and phrases. Fortunately, we've got you covered. Our glossary of poker terms explains some of the jargon you'll hear in the online poker world. You'll soon be able to play poker like a pro after you read through these glossary terms and take advantage of them as needed.Learn more
One of the benefits of online poker is that you can access many different types of poker variants. Texas Hold 'em is the most popular variant, but there are plenty of other options available to suit everyone.
Starting with the most well-known poker type makes sense. In Texas Hold 'em, each player gets two hole cards. Then, five community cards are dealt—three together, and then one, and then another one. The game is all about building the best hand you can with your two hole cards and the community cards—but bluffing plays a significant role.
Seven-card stud is another popular variant of online poker that can be played for real money. You get seven cards altogether—two facing down, four facing up, and one more facing down. The goal is to get the best five-card hand from the seven cards you have.
In this riveting poker variant, you are dealt four hole cards, while five community cards are dealt and placed in the middle of the table, available for all players to use. Then you have to create two separate five-card hands: one high, one low.
In this poker variant, you receive five cards but have the option to exchange one or more. Exchanging cards can help you build the best hand.
Razz is one of the only poker variants in which the lowest hand wins! Otherwise, it's similar to seven card stud, as you are dealt seven cards and need to create the lowest hand with five cards.
Pai Gow poker is an Asian-inspired variant of poker that uses cards instead of Chinese dominoes. Each player is dealt seven cards and tries to build a high hand of five cards and a low hand of two cards.
Caribbean stud is similar to five-card draw in that in both games players receive five cards. The main difference is that in Caribbean stud, you play against the house, and in five-card draw, you compete against other players.
Real money cyber stud poker has become increasingly popular over the years. Before any cards are dealt, you place a bet. As soon as this is done, you get five cards and the dealer gets one. You can then decide whether to bet or fold. In case of a bet, the dealer gets four more cards. You win if your poker value is higher than that of the dealer.
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The great thing about online poker is that you can find every version of poker under the sun. Make sure to choose a casino with a large poker selection, and you’ll find games in which you play against other players, against the house, and many variations of both.
Poker is offered at online poker sites and online casinos in various forms. It is up to you to choose which format you prefer.
There are many poker variants, but the premise is always the same: to get the best hand. The way to do that depends on the variant you play.
Yes, almost all online casinos offer a mobile option, either through a dedicated app or an optimised site that can be accessed via mobile browser.
Yes, many online casinos in the UK offer live dealer poker, which allows you to interact with live dealers in a land-based casino.
You can play online poker on as many sites as you want. The only thing to watch out for is how much you’re spending at each site. Playing at one or two online casinos makes it easier to keep track of your budget.
Online casinos offer many types of poker, and if you choose one with a large selection, you’ll have access to many more types than you would at a land-based casino. At online casinos, you can find the popular variants like Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud, and five card draw, along with much more obscure variants like Lazy Pineapple, Anaconda, and Cincinnati.
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