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Poker tournaments

There are many different poker tournaments in play at any one time. Each tournament will have fixed format with specific rules on things such as blinds, buy-ins, antes and more. It is therefore important to know exactly what the rules for that specific tournament are before leaping right in and joining it.

Free roll tournaments

One of the most commonly found online tournaments are the free roll tournaments. These are a perfect way to get some poker playing practice without necessarily spending too much money in the process. Many sites offer these on a regular basis, but usually only members of that particular site can join. To join players simply need to make a deposit or, in some cases, the entry is free if that is what the promotion entails.

For beginners, free roll tournaments are an excellent way to improve one’s game as it gives ample opportunities to watch how other players play. Beware though, as these types of tournaments will bring in all level of players. If a beginner overestimates their ability, they may find themselves leaving the tournament prematurely.

Some tournaments will be very specific to the type of poker being played. For example, some will focus on Texas Hold’em, others on Razz, Stud, Omaha or even HORSE. The really high-level tournaments such as the WSOP will feature all options, allowing a wide range of poker players to participate.

The final part of choosing a tournament is in the stakes. These will vary wildly between tournaments, with some starting at just 0.5 and others instantly at 500. The type of tournament you choose to partake in will therefore strongly depend on your skill level and also your bankroll. It is important that you never play to exceed either if you wish to do well in a tournament environment.

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Top tips for picking the perfect online casino

It can be daunting finding a new online casino. There are so many options to be had, and there is always the worry that the casino might not be as trustworthy as one would hope. With these elements in mind, here are the top things to look for in a new casino, which will help you rest at ease that your money is safe.

The main thing to check when looking at an online casino is whether it is licensed. Licensing and registration means that there is a governing body who is monitoring the way that casino is running. This is very important as it means the casino in question has to abide by a number of specific rules, many of which help players not lose money. When under a license the casino is required to undertake regular third-party audits, showing that all the games abide by gaming fairness rules. This can put the player’s mind at ease when they are playing.

Bonuses can also have an effect on what casino to pick. Most casinos offer welcome bonuses, which essentially give the new player some free money with which to try out the different games. However, these usually have a wagering requirement attached to them and these can vary greatly. Some will have very high requirements, meaning that it is unlikely the player will ever gain any of the winnings they have made from the bonus, whilst others will have very low ones.

It is also important to check out which companies the casino uses for monetary transactions. If the companies used are well-known, then it can be safe to assume that likewise, your money will be safe. In fact, almost everything to do with checking a new casino is to do with security and safety and, let’s face it, at the end of the day this is the most important aspect.

Poker’s Holy Grail – The Final Round

The dream of anyone who has played poker is to reach the final round. It does not matter whether you are a professional player pitting your skills at a World Series event, or an amateur who just plays a round with their buddies, reaching that round where you can go head to head in a final showdown is simply irresistible.

The question, then, is how does one attain the holy grail of poker, and better yet, how does one remain the last player standing, having beaten every other hand at the table? If you have come looking for answers, then read on…

Risk Is Your Best Bet

It is human nature to avoid risk and secure yourself in the comfortable warmth of caution. We are not saying to throw all caution out of the window, but you simply cannot win a poker tournament without a few bold moves. The strategy may seem counter-intuitive at first, but give it a good go and you are bound to see results.

The other reason why we encourage risk-taking, especially in the final round, is because the other players are most probably going to play it safe. That is the opportunity you need to seize on. Make it count. Think more about suited connectors and a little less about blinds and antes that will chip away at your stack. Remember: You do not need a high hand to win. But you will need a good strategy.

Make Strategy Your Style

One thing you definitely need to keep in mind is that the final round will have players with good hands or high-ranking hands. So, do not get into confrontations. Plan your strategy to maximize your chances of winning. At the least, you could even finish second or third, but still with a sizeable bankroll as winnings.

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Poker Variants and How to Play Them

Poker may be the overarching name of the game, but within it there are a number of different variants available. Each type of poker showcases different skills, and requires players to learn slightly different rules, though the fundamentals – such as which hand is higher and the way the betting takes place – remain the same.

The most common form of poker is Texas Hold’em. This game achieved huge popularity through live showings of poker tournaments in the early 90s, and has remained the most popular option ever since. Its popularity is due in part to its relatively simple set-up and the more basic rules. However, there are a number of other variants that are just as much fun, many of which do not see such comprehensive coverage.

One such example is pineapple poker. This version is not often found, even at online casinos. It is very similar to Texas Hold’em in its dealing structure and the betting and blinds, but it is in the number of cards dealt that it deviates from the former. Each player is dealt three cards at the start instead of just two. The player then has to get rid of one of these cards before betting begins and the flop can be done. Even within this game there are slight variants, such as Lazy Pineapple and Tahoe Pineapple.

There are a number of other versions of poker, such as seven-card stud, razz, Omaha and more. In some tournaments these are combined to make the game HORSE, which is a combination of five of the main poker versions. This game serves to showcase the all-round skills of the players participating. Usually played near the end of a tournament to weed out the boys from the men, this can also be an entertaining game at home with more experienced friends.

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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!

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Types of Online Casino Bonuses

The online casino business is booming, with thousands of online providers wanting you to play at their casino. This is great news, because these casinos will compete to ensure you choose them over others. To tempt you over to a particular casino, an online gambling site will offer bonuses. The types of bonuses on offer can be seen below.

Casino Welcome Bonus

A welcome bonus, or sign-up bonus, is given when you create an account with an online casino and deposit funds. Many casinos offer bonuses which double the money you deposit, giving you even more funds to play with. Many casinos will offer a fixed amount sign-up bonus. This is a free amount of cash that will be added to your account and will be the same, whatever you deposit.

Monthly Bonus

An online casino will often offer monthly bonuses, and these are paid each month when regular deposits are paid into an online casino account. These bonuses will usually be a fixed amount that will be credited to the account when new funds are added on a regular basis. These bonuses will give you more funds every month to play with, giving you many more hours of fun.

VIP Schemes

A VIP scheme will give you access to benefits and promotions that other players will not get. VIP offers are usually dependent on certain amounts of money being added to the account. VIP offers include special games, higher stakes games and bigger jackpots.

There are many other types of bonuses and promotional offers available from online casinos. These offers will give you more exciting game play and even more opportunities to win big cash prizes. The offers provided by casinos will be detailed on their website, and it’s best to browse a few different ones to find the best deals.