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Live Poker & Online Poker – What’s the Difference?

The easiest way to differentiate between live and online poker is to think of one as real and one as virtual. One is played in a casino, where there is an etiquette to abide by, and chips and cards to be handled; the other is played from a computer or smartphone.

The essence of the game is the same across both platforms: you bet, you bluff, and a Royal Flush will beat a Two Pair every time. However, there are some notable differences that are being picked up on by the two communities. These include some of the following:

Bet Sizing – With online players being younger on average, it is harder for them to get together the initial cash needed to take part in a live game. On average, online games consist of players opening for 2 or 3x the big blind. In a live game it could go higher than 6x.

Access to Online Resources – Whether it’s in the form of training and tips or specialist software, this tech savvy generation can find ways to improve their game play that traditional live-poker players may not have considered.

Calling and Folding – With online players not having to physically face the humiliation of a big loss, it is easier to make a difficult call online.

Better Players – With no need to travel to the casino – and with access to games any time, any place – players flock to online games, resulting in the best players and therefore the greatest challenges often residing online. You can read more here about low challenges in live poker games as well as many other differences.

These are just four of the most noticeable differences between live and online poker, but there’s always more – the best way to get a better idea is to experience the game play both online and offline, and then make up your mind as to which suits you the best.

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What’s All the Fuss about Free Spins?

If you’re new to the online gaming world, you might have heard a lot about ‘free spins’ but not know exactly what they are, or how they might benefit you. We’ve decided to break it down for you, so just read below for our list of the most important things to know about the phenomenon of free spins.

1. What is it?

A free spin is a type of bonus or promotion, allowing you one spin of a slot machine reel without having to pay. While you can win a single free spin, free spins are often awarded in multiples of ten.

2. How does it work?

You are entitled to the winnings from your free spin, but you must claim or activate these winnings within the time frame specified by the terms and conditions of the game. Generally there is also a wagering requirement attached, which means that you’ll have to play your winnings a number of times before you can cash out. The ‘free spin’ is generally a stake set at the lowest possible value.

3. Why would a casino give me a free spin?

More than anything, the purpose of a free spin is to improve your gaming experience and to build your loyalty with the casino. If you are pleased with the online casino, and see the potential for development with them, then you will come back.

4. What’s the point of a free spin for me?

Obviously enough, it’s that the casino has given you the chance to win money for free! It’s not often in life that you get offered chances like this, so it’s worth appreciating them when they come along. Furthermore, free spins provide you with the chance to test out your skills, and hone your technique, with little risk.

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The Best Online Poker Varieties

Gone are the days of the simple 5 Card Draw. Online Poker comes in all shapes and sizes.

 Draw Poker

Draw Poker covers all types of poker where a player can replace dealt cards with new ones they can draw from the deck. Evolving from traditional 5 Card Draw, other draw variants of are:

  • 2-7 Triple Draw: this is a lowball game (meaning lowest hand wins) with three draws. Aces are high, meaning the best hand is 7-5-4-3-2.
  • Badugi: in this game, the players are dealt four cards, and the aim is to avoid having any cards of the same suit or hitting a pair. Again, aces are low, so the best hand is A-2-3-4 in different suits.

Texas Hold’em

In Texas Hold’em, each player is dealt two cards, called ‘hole’ cards. The dealer then draws more cards out face up, called ‘community’ cards. Before each draw there are betting rounds. First, the dealer puts three cards down face up (the flop). This is followed by further betting rounds, and the fourth card (the turn) and the fifth card (the river). After the river there is another draw.
The players can use one or both of their original cards, along with any of the five community cards, to make up their winning hand.

Pineapple

An unusual variant, Pineapple Poker has a ‘juicy twist’ at the beginning, which consists of players having to discard one of their original hole cards after the first round of betting.

Omaha

Like Texas Hold’em, the player is dealt hole cards and community cards, but in this variant the player MUST use exactly two of their hole cards (out of four) and three of the community cards. Betting rounds occur at the same times as they would in Texas Hold’em.

Seven Card Stud

Players are dealt two cards face down, and the third through to the sixth cards face up, with the seventh face down again. The aim is to have the best five card hand. Razz is the lowball version of this particular poker game.

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The Progression of the Online Casino

Casinos have long been popular with the masses for their high levels of entertainment. For many years the only way to play and gamble was to actually physically head to one of the casino venues. In recent times, with the advent of online casinos, all this has changed. Online casinos have opened up a whole new world for budding gamblers.

In the early years, these online casinos were relatively basic affairs. Game selection was limited, with slots (as they still are today) making up the majority of the games. Slots were relatively simple, the best that technology would allow. As technology improved, so did the games and the casinos themselves. Soon there were more games available – video poker games, virtual card games, roulette and improved slot games. The latter in particular has seen a lot of continuous improvement with gameplay, graphics, and bonuses all seeing huge leaps forward.

As online casinos pushed the limits of technology, it became apparent that players wanted more. It was then that the live casino was born. An amalgamation of online and real-world casinos, live casinos provide players the chance to play against real people rather than a computer – at this point, all game outcomes were determined by random number generators. The live casinos allowed players at home the chance to experience the atmosphere of a real-life casino. Full interaction via high-quality live video feeds and improved technology made all this possible.

Still improving, there are now some casinos that operate live games with real players in land-based casinos as well. The latest step forward, however, is the use of virtual reality. Already there are some slot games out there with this technology and it remains to be seen just how far this will go.

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Poker – Know Your Chances

Poker is a game which is loved by millions of players all over the world. And whilst it’s a fun game to play, it’s also a game which needs to be properly understood if it is to be mastered. Understanding the probabilities of the different hands in poker is important so that you know if you have a good hand or not. The better the hand, the lower probability it would be to get that hand. Therefore if you do get that hand, you will be able to have a good idea what you should do with it (check, call/raise, call, fold, etc.)

The least likely hand you could get is a royal flush. This is seen as the ‘holy grail’ of poker hands and consists of cards of the same suit ranging from 10 all the way up to ace. The odds of getting this hand is incredibly unlikely – actually 1 in 649,740! Many poker players will go their whole poker playing lives without getting this hand. Therefore if you get this hand, you can rest assured you’re onto a winner.

In contrast, if you get a pair – for example if you get a five of hearts and five of diamonds – this is a very likely combination. The odds for this are quite low, only 1 in 1.28. Therefore, we can see that this really isn’t a great hand to have, and it’s pretty likely that at least somebody you are playing against in your game of poker will have a better hand.

Of course, learning the probabilities of poker hands is not the only thing you need to get good at poker, but it’s a good start. There are other things you need to learn too – such as how to be patient! Intuition is also something you’ll pick up when you play more and more poker. Good luck!