Online Poker Guide


Best and Worst Poker Sites of 2015

PokerStars

Simply put, PokerStars is the room of the year, every year. This site sets the standards for the entire industry and boasts top-notch software, excellent support staff, and unrivaled competition. The traffic on PokerStars accounts for almost a half of all online poker traffic in general. With an average of over 20,000 cash game players online at any given time, you won’t have problems finding opponents to play against, even if you pick an exotic poker variant.

What’s more, PokerStars is known for hosting the Sunday Majors – a weekly series of tournaments, which culminates with a $1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. The only downside of picking PokerStars is a rather lackluster $600 first deposit bonus, but in the end that doesn’t matter all that much, as no other site can provide you with so many opportunities to make money simply by playing the game.

Full Tilt Poker

Despite the atmosphere of scandal surrounding the site’s closure back in 2011, the new Full Tilt Poker is currently the second most popular poker room on the online poker market. The site boasts a 7 day average of more than 2,500 unique cash game players, with over 4,000 playing during peak hours. This means that the tables are almost always full, even when you’re playing high stakes. The Full Tilt software has always been renowned for being extremely comfortable to use and well-suited for multi-tabling, which makes it an excellent choice for grinding low and medium stakes.

What’s more, Full Tilt Poker supports a wide array of exotic poker variants and Sit & Go tournaments, so while finding opponents may be fairly hard at times, it’d be unfair to say that the possibility isn’t there. Last, but not least, Full Tilt Poker is second only to PokerStars in terms of massive weekly multi-table tournaments, with over $200,000 up for grabs in each Sunday Brawl.

888Poker

888poker used to be yet another site offering online poker in addition to its casino games. Nevertheless, the newcomer-friendly features, professional customer service, quick banking and honest business practices made it possible for 888poker to become the third most popular poker site in the world. With an average of about 2,000 cash game players online each day, 888poker can actually compare to the entire iPoker network in terms of traffic.

The game selection is also rather impressive, as the supported poker variants include Hold’em, Stud and Omaha with stakes ranging from $0.01/$0.02 all the way up to $500/$1,000. 888poker is also known for its extensive Sit & Go support, but unfortunately the site can’t compare to Full Tilt or PokerStars when it comes to pre-scheduled events, as its Sunday Challenge sports a relatively low $100,000 guarantee.

Bovada

Bovada is currently the best non-official option for online poker in the United States. Since the other sites mentioned in this list have been forced out of the US market, Bovada has stepped in as the national leader, offering poker favorites of all varieties including cash games and tournaments of texas hold’em, omaha, omaha hi-lo, 7-card stud, and 7-card stud hi-lo.

It is worth noting that Bovada has pulled out of 3 states that have their own online poker networks running: New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. But for the rest of the US, Bovada continues to provide the best gaming experience and the fastest withdrawal times in the industry.

How Online Poker Rooms Work

Rake

The thing that enables online poker rooms to provide you their services and make money is rake. To put it simply, rake is a commission fee taken by the operator of the games and is usually a percentage calculated based on the size of the pot in a poker hand. Obviously, this way of collecting rake applies only to ring games – tournaments are slightly different, as the rake is collected as a part of the entrance fee.

Whenever you see a tournament buy-in listed as $150+$25, this means that you’re contributing $100 towards the general prize pool, while the poker room takes the remaining $25. It’s important to remember that rake makes it harder for players to earn money or break even, as it’s not enough to win back 50% of the money you wagered – you actually have to beat the rake in order to start turning a profit.

Playing for Free

Most poker rooms allow you to play for free using play money. As soon as you register with the site, you receive a number of free credits you can use at special play money tables. Whenever you run out, you can request another batch. As a result, play money games are widely regarded as being useless when it comes to learning the inner workings of the game. Obviously, you might learn the basic rules and familiarize yourself with the possible combinations, but since nobody feels the pressure associated with risking real money, you won’t be able to learn how to read your opponents or make the right calls.

Keep in mind that some sites also offer free-entry tournaments called freerolls, allowing you to win a limited amount of real money without making an investment. Unlike play money tables, freerolls might give you some idea as to what serious play looks like, without forcing you to risk your own cash.

Fairness & Security

The truth is that most of the major online poker rooms are 100% safe to play on. These rooms are regulated by their local gaming commissions or similar entities and simply have to follow the law if they want to stay in business. What’s more, the Random Number Generators (RNGs) they use to determine the outcome of each hand are certified by third-party companies to make sure that everything remains fair and that the odds aren’t stacked against any particular players.

The communications between your software client and the poker room’s server are usually encrypted using the latest SSL technology, so it’s basically impossible for a hacker to see other players’ cards or crack the system to gain an unfair advantage. What’s more, online poker rooms are very serious about preventing collusion or other forms of cheating and use automated systems as well as trained staff to prevent foul play.

Keep in mind that everything written here holds true only for reputable poker rooms and networks – generally speaking, you should research the site you want to play on before you sign up and send any of your money their way. If any of the security items listed above seem to be missing, you should choose another room, as odds are high you’re dealing with a scam site.

Stakes Offered

The available stakes vary from site to site, but usually they are grouped into four separate categories, at least when it comes to cash games: micro stakes, low stakes, medium stakes, and high stakes. Low stakes and medium stakes are pretty much the same on every single site and usually range from NL20 to NL400. In this context, NL20 means that the big blind is equal to 20 times the lowest credit used by the site (usually 20x$0.01, so the blinds are set at $0.10/$0.20) and that it’s a No Limit (NL) game.

Micro stakes tend to differ in that not every site offers 2NL games. For example, the lowest stakes available at Party Poker are $0.02/$0.04. High stakes also tend to differ from site to site, as only the biggest and most professional-oriented poker rooms offer anything above $30/$60. As you’ve probably already guessed, the specific examples used here all refer to No Limit Hold’em, but hopefully they’ll give you some idea of what to expect from other games too.

Typical Games Offered

Poker is by no means a monolithic game – in fact, there are so many versions of the basic rule set that plenty of online poker rooms simply refuse to support some of the more exotic variations. Below, you’ll find a short list of most of the poker variants you can play online, which were roughly listed from the most popular to the most niche games:

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is hands down the most popular poker variation in the world by a rather large margin, which makes it pretty much the first game you should learn if you’re new to the online poker world. Texas Hold’em can be played by up to 10 players – each player receives 2 face-down hole cards, while the board (community cards) is composed out of 5 face-up cards, with three being revealed on the second betting round (flop), one being revealed on third betting round (turn) and one on the fourth betting round (river). Players combine their own cards with the board to make the strongest 5 card combination possible and the winner is determined according to standard hand rankings.

Omaha

Omaha is also very popular, especially in its Pot-Limit version. The difference between Hold’em and Omaha is that in the latter, players receive 4 hole cards instead of two, which pretty much changes the entire dynamic of the game. Omaha is often played in a Hi-Lo variant, in which the pot is divided into two portions – one goes to the player with the strongest hand, while the other is won by the weakest hand.

5-Card Omaha

5-Card Omaha is basically a version of Omaha in which every player receives five hole cards instead of four. The action post-flop is pretty much the same.

7-Card Stud

7-Card Stud is also known as Stud Hi and used to be the most popular poker variation before Texas Hold’em came and conquered. In 7-Card Stud, each player starts with two downcards and one upcard. The game starts with each player placing the ante, which is followed by four betting rounds corresponding to three more upcards and a downcard. Consequently, players ends up with four upcards as well as three downcards and they have to make the best hand using five of the cards that are at their disposal.

Razz

Razz is similar to Seven Card Stud, but in this game your main objective is to make the best five-card low hand using the seven cards at your disposal. Keep in mind that aces are always considered to be low, while flushes and straights have no effect on the strength of a hand. This means that the best possible combination in Razz is A-2-3-4-5.

5-Card Draw

5-Card Draw is widely considered to be the most basic variation of the game – each player receives 5 hole cards and has a chance to replace any of the cards after a round of betting. When the players are done adjusting their hands, a final round of betting takes place, which is followed by the showdown to determine the winner of the pot.

2-7 Triple Draw

2-7 Triple Draw is a variation on Five Card Draw in which players have three chances (or draws) to replace their cards. Keep in mind that in 2-7 Triple Draw, all flushes, straights and pairs count against your hand, while the Ace is always considered a high card. This means that the strongest combination in 2-7 Triple Draw is 7-5-4-3-2 off-suit.

2-7 Single Draw

2-7 Single Draw is very similar to 2-7 Triple Draw – the only notable difference is that there is only one draw round instead of three.

Ace-5 Lowball

Ace-5 Lowball is basically a different take on Five Card Draw – the game has the same structure, but the goal is to make the lowest combination after three draws. Aces are always low, while straights and flushes don’t count against the player, so the best hand is A-2-3-4-5.

Mixed Games

Mixed games are a broad category of tables and tournaments that require you to play different poker variations due to their structure. The most popular type of a mixed poker game is H.O.R.S.E, which stands for Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud Hi, Stud Hi/Lo and is played with a Limit-betting structure.

Triple Stud

Triple Stud is basically a combination of Seven Card Stud, Razz and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo. Each variation is played for eight hands, which is followed by a transition to the next one.

Badugi

Badugi might be somewhat similar to other triple draw games, but each player receives four hole cards instead of five, and the hand ranking system is a different take on lowball rules, as the goal is to make the lowest hand which is composed of all the suits. Keep in mind that while flushes and pairs do count against you, straights don’t. What’s more, the Ace is always considered a low card.

Courcheval

Courcheval is a version of Omaha in which you receive five hole cards rather than four before the flop, as well as a single community card which is called the flopet. Unlike in standard Omaha, only two cards are revealed on the flop. Nevertheless, the game follows the standard Omaha rules afterwards.

Poker Networks

Not every online poker room is capable of maintaining the traffic necessary to populate most of the available tables and to keep things interesting for the players. In fact, only the absolute best sites like PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and more recently 888Poker are capable of keeping the action going 24/7 without any outside help.

It should come as no surprise that the lesser poker sites have created massive poker networks, which allow them to share their player pools and increase the traffic as perceived by the player. Keep in mind that while the software used by each site operating within a single networks has to be shared, the specific rooms may differ in terms of bonuses and promotions offered, as well as in terms of available stake limits.

Ongame Network

The Ongame Network has been established by the Swedish Group Ongame, but has been purchased by Bwin in March 2006. The network is currently composed of about twenty minor poker rooms and refuses to accept American players following the US government’s crackdown on online gambling. What’s more, the network recently updated its software platform to the new P5 standard, but that didn’t save it from a significant traffic drop as Bwin merged with PartyPoker and moved on to a separate network back in 2011.

As a result, the global OnGame Network isn’t doing too well at the moment, but it is worth mentioning that OnGame.it – a separate network operating exclusively on the fenced Italian poker market – is basically topping the popularity charts within the country and is second only to PokerStars.it.

Merge Gaming Network

The Merge Gaming Network is different from most other networks in that it has no qualms about accepting US-based players, even though the legal status of online poker is at best uncertain within most states. The network is composed of about 40 poker sites and its flagship rooms include Carbon Poker, Aced Poker, and Poker Host. Nevertheless, the traffic isn’t all that impressive with less than 800 cash game players online during peak hours.

Despite being the 20th most popular site/network in the world, Merge Gaming offers some rather exotic poker variants like, Triple Draw Lowball, Badugi or H.O.R.S.E. Keep in mind that while Merge Gaming Network is a relatively new entity on the global poker market, it has been created by the people standing behind Poker.com, which used to be one of the most popular sites back in the game’s formative years.

iPoker Network

The iPoker Network is the third most popular poker network in the world right now. Powered by Playtech software, the network has about 4,000 cash game players online during the 24-hour peak. The most important rooms include bet365, Titan Poker and William Hill, though the entire network is composed of 49 sites in total. While iPoker tends to offer lucrative promotions and won’t give you any problems when it comes to finding opponents to play against, the number of available uncommon poker games is disappointing, as the network is geared towards Texas Hold’em and Omaha. What’s more, iPoker focuses on European players to a large extent and doesn’t accept US-based players regardless of the state they hail from.

Party Poker Network

Party Poker has been an important part of the online poker landscape since its launch back in 2001, and came close to being able to challenge sites like PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker in terms of popularity. PartyGaming, the company owning the site, merged with Bwin in 2011. Nowadays, the Party Poker Network, which is composed of both Bwin and Party Poker users, is ranked fifth in terms of overall traffic with an average of well over 3,000 cash game players online at any given time. The exotic poker variations available on the Party Poker Network include Double Hold’em, as well as Fast-Fold Hold’em and Fast-Fold Omaha, which makes it well suited for action-oriented poker enthusiasts. Unfortunately, Party Poker does not accept American players.

Microgaming Poker Network

Microgaming Software Systems Ltd. is known as one of the oldest companies in the online gambling business, with their first online casino dating back to 1994. Consequently, while the Microgaming Poker Network has probably seen better days, it still remains the tenth most popular network on the market, with over 1,000 cash players online on average and about 2,500 during peak hours. The network is comprised of 28 sites, with their most important poker rooms being Ladbrokes, Unibet and 32Red. Like most of the other networks listed here, Microgaming does not accept players from the United States.

Revolution Gaming Network

The Revolution Gaming Network might be relatively new, but that didn’t stop it from making it to 18th place of the poker network traffic chart with over 600 cash game players online on average and about 700 during peak hours. The entire network is composed of over 80 online poker sites. The heavy hitters attracting most of the traffic are Lock Poker and Juicy Stakes Poker. Keep in mind that while the Juicy Stakes software won’t allow you to play any exotic poker games, the network doesn’t have any problems accepting US-based players.

Additional Features

While the core gameplay remains the same, online poker rooms have a number of features that make the overall experience very different from live poker games. Even though these features may differ from network to network, most sites will allow you to play on multiple tables at once and give you access to stats, hand histories and allow you to save notes on your opponents.

Stats & Hand Histories

Virtually every online poker room will allow you to browse your hand history, which is very useful when it comes to analyzing your game and correcting your mistakes. For example, you don’t have to remember a particularly confusing hand to post it on a poker forum and request help from the more experienced players. All you need to do is access your history and you’ll be able to copy all the data you need to post.

Most sites will also allow you to track your statistics, such as the number of times you’ve been dealt in, played your hand from a given position, won the pot at showdown, and the number of times you’ve been to the showdown. Those statistics are usually grouped by poker variant and the number of players present at the table. What’s more, you can also check your tournament history and inspect the tournament results. Even better, all this important information can be easily imported by a number of third party tools, which will do most of the work when it comes to analyzing the data and presenting you with actionable game-improving advice.

Playing Multiple Games at Once (Multi-Tabling)

What makes online poker so unique and lucrative to play is that, unlike in live real money poker, you can play hundreds of hands within the space of an hour. What enables you to do so is the ability to play multiple games at one time, which is better known as multi-tabling and which is supported by virtually every single software package available on the poker market these days.

Most poker clients will allow you to play on twelve or more tables simultaneously, so if you want to take full advantage of this feature you’ll have to make sure you have enough screen real estate, which will usually mean using more than one display. Nevertheless, you have to keep in mind that playing on multiple tables while making the right decisions requires a lot of skill and experience, so beginners are generally advised not to play on more than four tables at once.

Customizable Themes and Avatars

While online poker is predominantly about things like math calculations and the ability to predict the moves of your opponents, some poker sites really do try hard in the eye-candy department. Consequently, many poker rooms allow their customers to choose their avatars, pick a visual theme or switch between two-color card decks and four-color ones. PKR.com actually took this approach to the extreme, replacing two dimensional avatars and tables with a fully three-dimensional environment, which can easily rival modern video games in terms of overall quality.

Taking Notes On Other Players

Most sites recognize the fact that being able to take notes on other players becomes the more important the more advanced of a player you are. As a result, you can tag your opponents simply by right-clicking their avatars and leaving a note that will help you in subsequent encounters. Keep in mind that, like everything in poker, the ability to make useful notes requires a lot of practice. Another important thing is to check whether the notes you have on a specific player are fresh or a few months old – in the latter case its generally safer to start from scratch and don’t expect your opponent to be predictable, as most people care about improving their game as much as you do about improving yours.

Run it Twice

The Run it Twice feature isn’t available on every poker site. It’s an interesting option that gives players an opportunity to receive two outcomes for one hand by dealing the community cards twice. Basically, if both players are heads-up in an all-in situation and agree to use this option, the pot will be split in half. Each of these halves will be contested using a separate set of community cards, which means that the player who has the odds on his side decreases the risk of a bad beat, or losing due to an unlikely outcome. Full Tilt Poker allows you to use this option pre-flop, post-flop or after the turn card has been dealt.

Rabbit Hunt

While rabbit hunting is generally considered by professional poker players to be in bad taste, some beginner-friendly sites like Bodog Poker prefer to include this feature in their software package. Basically, whenever your opponent wins the pot without going to the showdown, the Rabbit Hunt feature allows you to check what the community cards would have looked like if you didn’t fold your hand. Keep in mind that rabbit hunting doesn’t give you an edge in any situation, as the hand in question is already over and you won’t be able to use this information in any subsequent confrontations. In fact, seeing that you missed the combination that would’ve won you the hand might actually put you on tilt and contribute to further losses.

Show One Card

Generally speaking, when your force your opponents to fold or you decide to fold in a heads-up situation, you have two choices: you can either throw away your cards while keeping them face down, or you can show them both to the other players. The Show One Card option allows you to reveal one card without showing the other one, which can be useful for playing mind games in certain situations.

Playing for Real Money

Legal Issues

Poker may be a game of skill, but that doesn’t change the fact that most governments perceive it as yet another form of gambling, no different from slots and roulette. Even worse, online poker is a relatively new phenomenon, which means that regulations dealing with this version of the game are still far from perfect. Below, you will find a brief rundown of the most common legal situations online poker players may face.

Online Poker is Perfectly Legal. Example: United Kingdom

If playing online poker is perfectly legal in your country, you have no reasons to worry. Basically, all you need to know is whether you have to pay taxes for your winnings or not. What’s more, you’ll be able to access the vast majority of online poker rooms, with the exception of the few sites operating on fenced national markets.

Fenced Online Poker Markets. Examples: France, Italy, Spain, Nevada

Some countries have opted to legalize online poker, but keep it heavily regulated. As a result, poker operators were forced to separate some of their customers from the global player pool, which in turn led to the emergence of region-locked poker rooms such as PokerStars.es, Winamax.fr or OnGame.it. While these rooms are no different from their global counterparts in terms of functionality, the traffic tends to be significantly lower, which results in smaller tournament prize pools and less action at the tables.

Uncertain Legal Situation. Example: USA

The USA is a special case, as most states don’t have any specific online poker-related legislation that explicitly prohibits players from joining the action on one of the few poker sites that accept US-based players. Nevertheless, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prohibits gambling businesses from accepting payments from American players in a bet or wager that is unlawful under any federal or state law.

Most online poker rooms refuse to accept US-based customers just to stay on the safe side, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Basically, whenever an American player decides to play on a US-facing site like Bovada or Carbon Poker, there’s very little the government can do to stop this. Nevertheless, I’d advise US residents to consult their relevant state laws (or even a lawyer) before registering at one of those sites.

Online Poker is Illegal

If playing online poker is explicitly prohibited in your area of residence, there’s nothing you can do short of breaking the law, moving somewhere else or campaigning to change the current regulations. Most major sites won’t accept players from regions that prohibit online poker.

Depositing & Withdrawing

Most sites offer numerous banking options, but keep in mind that some of these might be unavailable in certain countries due to legal regulations and/or the relevant policies of the financial institutions involved.

E-Wallets

E-Wallets like PayPal or Neteller can be used both for making a deposit or requesting a withdrawal. The biggest advantage they have over other banking methods is that every transaction is pretty much instant, so you won’t be forced to wait until the money goes through. Keep in mind that while deposits will be processed instantly, cash out requests might take some time, particularly if it’s your first withdrawal and you haven’t verified your account yet. The only downside of this method is that it won’t be available in certain countries, like the United States.

Credit Cards

The vast majority of online poker rooms accept credit card deposits, but keep in mind that very few allow credit card withdrawals. Using your credit card to fund your poker account is possible all over the globe, which means that this method is very popular in regions where using your e-wallet isn’t possible due to country restrictions. The transactions are pretty much instant, so you’ll be able to join the action pretty much as soon as you confirm your payment.

Money Orders

Money orders aren’t exactly cheap, but the advantage they have over credit cards and e-wallets is that they enable you to send the cash both ways, even if you’re living in a country that isn’t exactly online poker-friendly, like the United States. However, it is important to remember that making a Western Union or MoneyGram cash-out is possible only if you’ve used this method to fund your account – if you opted to go for a credit card deposit, you won’t be able to receive your payout via a money order.

Wire Transfers and Checks

Most sites don’t accept deposits via a bank wire transfer or check, but it’s a popular method for making a withdrawal, particularly in the United States. Unfortunately, relying on either of these methods will cost you a lot of time, as you’ll usually have to wait between 5 and 10 business days until the money goes through.

Promotions

Online poker rooms offer numerous promotions and bonuses that are supposed to attract new players or reward returning customers and make them more likely to stick with the site. Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular deals you will find:

Deposit Bonuses

Deposit bonuses are available for new players and offer you free money, with the exact amount being determined by the size of your first payment. For example, a bonus of up to $1,000, which is a 100% match on your deposit will reward you with $100 if you pay $100, $500 if you pay $500 etc. However, if you deposit $1,100, you will receive $1,000, which is the maximum amount you can get by taking advantage of this promotion.

While deposit bonuses are extremely common and usually make it possible to claim quite a lot of money, there is a small catch: a deposit bonus is almost always released in pre-determined increments as you play and accumulate the site’s brand of VIP points. What’s more, most deposit bonuses have to be cleared within 30 to 90 days of making your payment, which means that you likely won’t be able to clear the entire amount if you don’t have the time or patience to grind it out.

No-Deposit Bonuses

No-deposit bonuses aren’t all that common – in fact, most poker rooms don’t advertise them on their websites. The amount of money you can claim is significantly smaller than in the case of deposit bonuses – usually up to $50 – but you have the advantage of being able to get your first poker bankroll for free, no strings attached. No-deposit bonus offers can usually be found on large affiliate and poker strategy sites. More often than not there will be some country-specific restrictions in place, designed to help combat abusers of these promotions.

Loyalty Programs

Most online poker rooms have an extensive loyalty program, which is usually based around the number of the VIP points you’ve accumulated by playing the game. Those points can be later exchanged for money, tournament tickets, as well as free gifts such as electronic gadgets, t-shirts and duffle bags.

Most sites have different VIP levels – the more points you’ve managed to accumulate, the higher a status you will have. The advantages of having a high VIP status are numerous, as you gain access to exclusive freerolls and promotions. What’s more, certain poker sites offer great rakeback deals to their best customers, which can have a significant impact on your profitability as it increases the amount of money you earn regardless of the poker variant or stakes you decide to play.

Cheating

While playing online poker is generally safe, it would be unfair to say that cheating doesn’t happen. The sad truth is that some players try to exploit the unique opportunities that come with playing over the internet to gain an unfair advantage, which usually takes the form of collusion. However, it’s important to point out that players who secretly cooperate with their buddies to increase their chances of winning are hunted down without mercy by both automated systems and poker room staff.

Poker sites keep records of every hand played and are capable of detecting suspicious patterns and flagging unfair users. Such players are then closely monitored and whenever foul play is confirmed, the offending accounts are locked, and the victims of these plots are reimbursed.

Using Poker Tools to Improve Your Game

Online poker is not entirely about spending time at the tables in your favorite poker room. In fact, if you want to become a successful player, you’ll have to work hard on improving your skills and expand your poker knowledge. Thankfully, online poker allows you to take advantage of numerous resources and tools that can greatly speed up your progress and help you stay ahead of your opponents.

Software

Whether you’re playing on a PC or Mac, poker tracking software is simply a must if you’re serious about your poker carrier. It gives you access to important information that can provide you with an extreme edge over your opponents in many different hands. Programs like Poker Tracker 4 track and analyze all the hands you’ve ever played, giving you access to in-depth statistics that will help you find leaks in your game and consequently optimize your profits.

These programs gather information about your opponents’ play as well, allowing you to display them in real time using a HUD overlay. This means that you don’t have to rely on your memory and notes when playing against hardened regulars – you can always fall back on hard data to improve the quality of the decisions you make. Last, but not least, tracking software is widely accepted and is considered to be fair by the vast majority of the online poker community.

Player Databases

Player databases like Hendon Mob or SharkScope give you access to massive amounts of data dealing with poker players, venues, festivals, events, results and hands. By analyzing this data, you can gain an important edge over your opponents, which becomes very important in high-level play. Beginner and intermediate level players should focus on analyzing hands posted at the limits and poker variants they play, especially since the feedback provided by other players can be very valuable at times, enhancing your understanding of the inner workings of the game.

Training Sites

Poker training sites like PokerStrategy can be crucial when it comes to building your poker skillset, as they offer plenty of advice from professional players in the form of books, instructional videos and even live coaching. Obviously, there is plenty of free training materials and books floating all over the web, but you should remember that the biggest training sites will request payment in return for feeding you well-researched information and keeping their lesson up in line with the most recent poker trends. In the end, paying for full access to a training site tends to be a really good investment. If you properly employ what you learn, you’ll pay earn back what you paid for the lessons in no time.

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