The card game poker is a part of American tradition, whether you like it or not.
It gained popularity here in New Orleans, originally known as Poque. It slowly spread across the country before finding a home in the saloons of the Wild West. Our country fully embraced poker here, with the Birdcage, Deadwood and Will Bill Hickok becoming synonymous with the game.
In modern times, poker has taken up in Las Vegas, forming a key part of Nevada’s gaming community. The Strip’s casinos are littered with high roller poker rooms, and some of the best players in the world have moved to the desert to be closer to the action. For aspiring players, online poker is growing steadily across the country, bringing the game firmly into the new millennia.
Online poker is a growing industry in the US, tripling its income during the pandemic and retaining customers in the year since restrictions were fully eased. It’s certainly cleaned up its act since the 2011 Black Friday crash and can now be described as a mainstream industry. Here’s everything you need to know to get involved.
Where You Can Play
The term online poker is fairly self-explanatory; you play online. However, did you know poker legalization hasn’t happened in every state? There are currently seven states with provisions for cash games, but only five where operators provide services. If you live in Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan, you’re in luck; you can play games. West Virginia and Connecticut might follow suit, but you can’t play cash games online if you’re anywhere else in the US.
What You Need To Start
Assuming you’re in the right state, you’ll need a basic computer setup to play online. You can play on your phone or tablet if you wish. This is a great way to play whilst on the bus to work or on a break, but it is restrictive as you can only play a single hand at a time. Some people like to ‘multi-table’, where they play several hands at once. To do this, you’ll need a laptop or PC, possibly an extra monitor, a desk and a chair.
You’ll also need some stake money, but it doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Some people will deposit $50 into an account to play, but games can cost as little as ¢50. The key is to start small; playing online poker should always start as a fun and affordable hobby, nothing more.
You’ll also need to choose a provider. Do some research online about the games you wish to play and reputable providers, and you should find one that suits you quickly. Don’t be afraid to try a couple, but once you’re happy with one, it’s best to stick with them.
What Games You Can Play
The question should perhaps be, what games do you want to play? You’ll be catered for if you’re up for playing with a few people of a similar skill level. You can mostly play Texas Hold’em, but most providers have other variants, such as Omaha, should you prefer. If you wish to qualify for a major US poker tournament such as the World Series of Poker, there’s scope for that. You might find some good free-to-play apps and providers if you’re not in one of the five states allowing cash games. Every taste and expectation is catered for.
How Do I Get Better?
That’s really up to you. Our advice would be to start small and test the water in some low-value games on a single provider. Once you’ve become accustomed to the interface, you can begin branching out. Some people play more games to improve; others look for online resources. Plenty of sites offer tips, hints and techniques, so as you would with any hobby, take time to read up and learn. After that, it’s up to you.
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