Poker is one of the most well-known card games in the world and it is popular online as well as offline. A long row of different poker variants exists, but most of them fall into one of these four broad categories: Straight Poker, Stud Poker, Draw Poker and Community Card Poker.
Straight Poker is the most basic form of poker and it not very popular today. Each player receives a poker hand that can not be improved in any way. One or several rounds of betting takes place, before any players still in the pot compare hands.
In Draw Poker, your hand can improve along the way because you will be given the option to discard one or several cards and have them replaced with new ones from the deck. This adds another element of strategy to the game. One example of a popular draw poker variant that has survived into our time is Five Card Draw.
Just like Draw Poker, Stud Poker allows poker hands to improve, but you are not permitted to discard any cards when you play stud poker. Instead, you start out with an incomplete hand and receive one or more cards after each betting round. Some cards are dealt face-up while others are face-down. One example of a popular stud poker variant is Seven Card Stud.
Community Card Poker is the newest form of poker and just as the name suggests, community card poker uses community cards, i.e. cards that any player is allowed to use to form their poker hand. You are dealt a certain number of hole cards (personal cards) while the community cards are placed on the table. Two of the most commonly played poker variants of today – Texas Hold’em and Omaha – are both community card poker games.
Playing poker online
During the 2000’s, online poker went through a huge boom, partly thanks to the advent of televised poker tournaments with visible hole cards. A lot of different poker rooms appeared, offering both tournament poker and cash game tables.
In the United States, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 and the subsequent Black Friday of 2011 made it difficult for U.S. residents to play poker online and a majority of the international poker sites started blocking U.S. players to avoid problems with U.S. authorities. In many other parts of the world, including Europe, governments took another approach to online poker and decided to legalize and regulate it to increase tax revenues and promote safe gambling. Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Estonia are just a few examples of countries that issue gambling licenses for online poker rooms.
To increase traffic, it is common for poker rooms online to be included in larger poker networks. Let’s for instance assume that you log into Expekt Poker tonight to play some $1/$2 No Limit Texas Hold’em. Expekt Poker is a part of the iPoker Network, which means that the players that you play against tonight can come from a long row of other poker rooms that are included in the same network, e.g. Bet365 Poker, Titan Poker, Everest Poker, Winner Poker and Paddy Power Poker. That way, it doesn’t really matter to you if Expekt Poker is having a slow night with little traffic – your poker table will be full anyway.
Examples of large poker networks online are Ongame, Merge Gaming, MPN (formerly Microgaming Network) and the aforementioned iPoker Network.
Some poker rooms are big enough to ensure large traffic without being part of any network. Examples of such poker rooms are PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Party Poker. You can find all the biggest and most popular poker rooms in Europe at PokerSpelaren which is Swedens biggest poker guide and portal.
Playing poker offline
The increased interest in online poker has also fueled a growing interest in offline poker, both cash games and tournaments. Instead of competing with the offline poker, the online poker actually acts as an advertisement for offline poker, bringing in new players to the game. For a person curious about poker, playing a few freerolls online is decidedly a smaller step than traveling to an offline casino where the buy-ins tend to be comparatively high and you need to follow the pace of more experienced poker players.
Today, it is common for poker rooms online to have so called satellite tournaments where you can win your way to major offline tournaments. In many cases, you will not only win the required buy-in for the offline tournament but air fare, hotel accommodation and pocket money as well. Thanks to this practice, a skilled online player can try out offline poker for free or for a very modest buy-in to a satellite tournament.
(Satellite tournaments are also available for major online tournaments.)
Major poker tours
If you are interested in participating in a major poker tour, there are many different tours for you to chose among, both online and offline. Here are just a few examples of large and popular poker tours.
|World Series of Poker (WSOP)||x|
|World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE)||x|
|The Australian Poker Championship (Aussie Millions)||x|
|European Poker Tour (EPT)||x|
|World Poker Tour (WPT)||x|
|Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT)||x|
|Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT)||x|
|Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT)||x|
|Unibet Poker Open||x||x|
|Grand Series of Poker (GSOP)||x||x|
|Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS)||x|
|World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP)||x|
|Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP)||x|