Once you’ve found a Poker site to your liking, try out it’s free play offering before reaching for your credit card. This won’t give you much insight into the level of play on the real money side of things, but, it will introduce you to the nuances of the interface. Losing money because you’re struggling with the interface is maddening, especially as it’s so easily avoided.
MAKING A DEPOSIT
For this article you should find that any site you select offers the same table breakdowns and similar options.
Most idn poker sites keep the real and free tables at arms length, which means that you’ll have to submit some more information before committing yourself to real money play. This does make sense, as there is a fundamental difference between the two. Signing up for an account and transferring money into your virtual bankroll should be a straight forward affair, requiring you to enter details about yourself coupled with the necessary information about your credit card. Most sites have a tendency to send lots of newsletters to you once you’ve joined, but these can generally be turned off. It’s important that you give a valid email address, just in case there are any problems with your account.
Spend time checking how you can get money out of the account before you pay in your cash. Many sites that have some form of bonus for joining and try to protect themselves against abuse of such bonuses by limiting how much you can take out of the original stake – read the financial information carefully before signing up for anything. Once you’ve transferred cash to the account, you can look forward to playing your first cash Poker game.
There are two distinct ways of joining a poker game – regular tables and tournament play.
For your first real money game, we recommend that you try out your skills on the cheapest limit game available. You’ll find a full selection of tables by clicking the Hold’em tab to the left of the table groupings. You can list the tables by their stakes, which means your view isn’t clouded by the $200 games. No Limit games have the stake proceeded by the letter NL.
The next column lists the amount of players at that table, so select one that has enough players to make it interesting, but has a space for your virtual persona too. As this is your first game, then a limit game is a wise choice. Here, the betting can only rise in set increments – which means you won’t find yourself asked to risk your entire stack of chips just to stay in a hand. Once you’ve found a table that has room and is set at a level that you are comfortable with, it’s worth taking up position in the chair, but sitting back and watching the action a little first. (Most poker sites let you do this.)
The former lets you get in on the action instantly and means you can leave at any time, while the latter runs for a set length of time but can lead to bigger rewards. To start with we’d recommend the regular tables (also known as ring games), simply because it gets you in the action quicker.
Not only will you be able to see how people are playing out their hands, it will also give you some indication of how much money is involved in a standard hand. If things look a little scary, then you can always leave the table without having thrown any money down. It’s also a good idea to look in on a table without occupying a virtual seat. You can spy on the action to see how play is progressing, see how fast the game is and what sort of players dominate the table.
One thing we would suggest for your first game is to start off at the table with a small amount of your overall payroll (so if you have $50, then stumping up $5 for a 5/10c game is about right). You can bring more of your payroll to the table if you really need to by clicking the buy-in button. This way you won’t lose too much money if all goes horribly wrong. This system also sets up a reasonable goal of leaving the table when you’ve doubled your original stake. Alternatively you may want to put a time limit on your time at the table, either way it is a good idea to have some goal for the table – otherwise you may just find yourself sat at the table until your entire payroll has vaporised.
When you do start playing on a ring table, you’ll have to pay the big blind on your first hand. You have two options here, you can either wait until the big blind comes round to you, or you can just pitch in the money and start playing. Which one you decide to go for is generally defined by your eagerness and on a low stakes table there’s no particular advantage either way.
Once you’ve either blown your initial stake, doubled up or lost interest with the table, it’s worth trying a few different tables and styles to see how the game changes even on the same site. Some players find that they play better when they’re new to a table and so make a point of hopping between table every fifteen to twenty minutes. This gives you the advantage of not having others catch on to your style of play, but obviously means that you’re unable to watch others long enough to get a good tell on the sort of hands they like to play with. Even though it’s your first hour of play, don’t be afraid to hop tables when your feet start to itch!