Online Poker Sites: Everything You Need To Know
Poker websites are pretty self-explanatory. It’s basically a platform that offers different poker games for players to play. It includes popular poker games and multiple variations too. Some of the games found at Online Poker Sites include Texas Hold’em, Casino Hold’em, Omaha, Caribbean Stud Poker, Pai Gow Poker and Live Poker.
With the plethora of online poker sites available out there, it can be difficult selecting the best online poker sites for you. Although it’s easier to simply register and start playing your favourite game at the first online poker site you find, it’s actually important to take your time and research these online poker sites. But what do you need to consider when searching for an ideal online poker site?
Before you go and register at an online poker site, you should check to ensure what games the site actually offers. Most sites will provide players with a chance to play a variety of poker games but others will go out of their way to provide you with casino games too such as slots and other table games. This will help keep you occupied for a long time.
Bonuses And Promotions
It’s important to check what promotions and bonuses are on offer at online poker sites. Today, most gambling websites offer some sort of welcome bonus but the promotion will vary depending on each online poker site. So we suggest you browse through several poker sites to find the welcome offer that best fulfils your needs. What’s more, it’s a good idea to check whether the online poker site you’re thinking of registering with offers rewards for long term users too!
However, it’s important that you check the terms and conditions before being swayed into signing up with one of the many UK Online Poker Sites. You don’t want to register only to discover later on that you don’t qualify for the bonus for some reason.
You never know when you might run into a problem at an online poker site. This is why it’s important that the online poker site you register with offers great customer support to help you when you need it most. Check what’s available when browsing through the various online poker sites.
Safety And Regulation
In the UK, gamers can only gamble at online poker sites and casinos that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. This ensures that you as the player are kept safe and are not mistreated since the site has to follow a strict set of regulations to maintain its operating license. Check whether the online poker site you like has a UK license in the website’s footer where the Gambling Commission should be clearly displayed. What’s more, most casinos also encrypt their websites to avoid third parties from getting your personal information. So, all in all, online casinos and Online Poker Sites are entirely safe.
Finally, it’s also important to check the online poker site’s payment options. Ensure that your preferred payment method is accepted at the online poker site take a look at the site’s processing times and check whether there are any fees for making deposits and requesting withdrawals.
Once you’ve checked over all of this, you can then make a decision on which online poker site you prefer and sign up. From there, you can simply enjoy gaming.
The Best Online Poker Sites UK – Our Recommendations
To discover which online poker site is best for you, take at our three recommendations below. They’ll have all the information you need to know before you get started.
888Poker With Free No Deposit Bonus
888Poker is one of the most well-known online poker sites around. It’s one of the fastest growing online poker rooms as, according to the site, a new player registers every 12 seconds. The online site offers games including Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi Lo, 7 Card Stud, Snap and Blast. You’ll also be able to take part in a variety of tournaments including multi-table tournaments, poker satellite tournaments, one-on-one tournaments and sit and go tournaments.
The online poker site holds a valid license from the UK Gambling Commission and is regulated and audited by eCOGRA. It also works with charities GamCare and GamStop to protect vulnerable people. When it comes to deposits and withdrawals, 888Poker accepts a number of payment options including VISA and MasterCard debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill and Wire Transfer.
Upon registering, new players will be offered a no-deposit bonus of £20 plus a 100% deposit match bonus of up to £400. In addition, new customers who make their first deposit will also receive several tickets to the site’s £500 Depositor’s Free Tournaments.
PartyPoker is another hugely popular online poker site. It offers the above poker games including Omaha and 7 Card Stud as well as numerous others. You’re also able to take part in its numerous tournaments and cash games including sit and go, multi-table tournaments and much more. It’s also home to the famous Monster Series and POWERFEST IX tournaments which return each year.
Like 888Poker, PartyPoker possesses a valid license from the UK Gambling Commission and is audited by eCOGRA. It also works with GamStop, GamCare and BeGambleAware charities. Sadly, PartyPoker only accepts a few payment methods. They include VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Paysafecard, Neteller, Skrill, EntroPay and Maestro. According to PartyPoker’s terms and conditions, withdrawals are made using the same method used when depositing.
New customers who register at PartyPoker can claim £40 in free play. This welcome bonus is credited across six days and consists of £40 of free spins tickets worth varying amounts, from $5 to $0.25 per spin.
PokerStars is probably one of the biggest online poker sites available today. The site offers poker games such as Omaha, Texas Hold’em, 7 Card Stud and much more. PokerStars offers regular tournaments as well as annual tournaments such as the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) and the MicroMillions and Turbo Series tournaments.
PokerStars, which possesses a valid license from the UK Gambling Commission, offers a great selection of payment methods, most of which can be used for withdrawals too. They include VISA and MasterCard, Paysafecard, Neteller, PayPal and Skrill. PokerStars also has a fast deposit option which offers an even quicker way to fund your PokerStars account. Options that accept fast deposits including VISA, MasterCard, MuchBetter, Neteller and Skrill.
PokerStars is giving all new customers a £20 free play bonus. Players must deposit £10 or more with PokerStars bonus code TWENTY to receive the bonus which consists of free Spin & Go tournament tickets plus cash bonuses.
Popular Poker Games
Texas Hold’em is one of the best-known poker games around. A normal game of Texas Hold’em uses a standard 52-card deck that is shuffled before each hand. It’s played on a single table with between two to ten players. The goal of the game is to win as many chips as you can by either having the best hand or by forcing the other players to fold.
Playing The Game
A game of Texas Hold’em consists of at least one and a maximum of four betting rounds. A game ends when all players have folded or the fourth round ends with multiple players still participating. When this happens, participating players enter the showdown where the player with the highest hand wins. If two players share the highest hand, the winnings are split equally.
To begin the game, the dealer deals cards to the players, known as your hole cards. When all players have their hole cards, you’re in what’s called the pre-flop betting round. During the pre-flop betting round, each player looks at their cards and decides what action to take; fold (Pay nothing and exit the game), call (Match the big blind), or raise (Raise the bet by doubling the amount of the big blind).
Once each player has made their action, the flop betting round begins and sees three cards added face-up to the middle of the table. Once this is done, players then begin the flop betting round and it follows the same rules as the pre-flop round. When this has been completed, players begin the third betting round which plays the same but the size of a bet is now doubled.
Throughout the rounds, players can fold if they think their hand isn’t high enough to continue. After the third betting round is finished, players begin the fourth and final betting round where the surviving players enter the showdown and whichever player has the highest hand wins the game.
Casino Hold’em, sometimes known as Casino Hold’em Poker or Caribbean Hold’em Poker, is a gambling game created by Stephen Au-Yeung in 2000 which was developed into a House game and officially launched in 2000. The main difference between Casino and Texas Hold’em is you play against the dealer, not other players. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand.
Playing The Game
Casino Hold’em is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The game begins when each player makes a compulsory ante bet. After this, the dealer deals cards to the players and themselves with three cards shared on the board. From here, players can either fold and lose the ante bet or make a call and double it.
If one or more players make a call, then a further two cards will be added to the board for a total of five. Once all players have made an action, the players and dealer must make their best poker hand from their two personal cards and five board cards. When this is done, the players’ cards are compared to the dealer’s.
The dealer must qualify by having a pair of 4s or higher. If they do not qualify, the ante bet is paid accordingly. If the dealer does qualify, they can win by having a hand better than the player’s, lose by having a hand worse than the player’s, or draw if the hand is equal.
Omaha Hold’em is a poker card game similar to Texas Hold’em that is now the second-most played poker variation due to its similarity to Texas Hold’em and simplicity to learn. The aim of the game requires players to make the best hand combination against competitors to win the game. The main difference between Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hold’em, is that players are dealt four hole cards and are required to use two of them to form a hand combination along with three of the community cards.
Playing The Game
Omaha Hold’em Poker uses a standard deck of 52 cards and is played by two to ten people. The game begins after a dealer is selected and the two players to the left of the dealer have put out a small and big blind. The dealer then deals four cards to the players, kicking off the pre-flop round. Like Texas Hold’em, each player can either fold, call or raise the bet.
Once everyone has had a chance to act, the first betting round is over. The dealer then deals three cards face-up in the middle of the table, known as the flop, and the second round of betting begins. Players must make one of the same three actions described above and once the flop betting round is finished, the dealer deals one card face-up onto the table.
The third round of betting begins and when finished, a final card is dealt and placed on the table. Players begin the fourth and final round of betting. When it finishes, the surviving players enter the showdown where the player with the best hand wins.
Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker, also known as Casino Stud Poker, is a popular poker game that was created by David Sklansky in 1982 under the name ‘Casino Poker’. In this variation, the game uses a standard deck of 52 cards but you play against the house or dealer rather than other players.
Playing The Game
To play Caribbean Stud Poker, players are required to make a compulsory ante bet on a marked spot on the table. Once each player has made a bet, five cards will be dealt facedown to the player and dealer. The dealer will then turn over one of their cards as players check their own.
Players must either fold or raise in which they must bet twice the amount of their ante. When all players have acted, the dealer unveils all four of their cards and if their hand contains an ace and a king or forms a pair or any other high-ranked poker hand, they immediately qualify.
If the dealer qualifies, the players must compare their hands with the dealer’s hand one at a time. If the player’s hand is better than the dealer’s the ante bet is paid to the player, if the dealer’s hand is equal to the player’s it’s a draw, and if the dealer’s hand is better than the player’s the player loses all bets.
Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker, also known as double-hand poker, was created in the mid-1980s by Sam Torosian, the owner of the Bell Card Club. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and a single joker. Up to seven people can play, including a dealer, and the aim of Pai Gow Poker is to defeat the banker by making one five-card hand and another two-card hand.
Playing The Game
Once all players have made their compulsory ante bets, seven cards are dealt to players and the dealer. Each player, including the dealer, must separate their cards into a five-card high hand and a two-card low hand. The five-card high hand is ranked according to ordinary poker rules.
When players have organised their hands, the dealer reveals their hand, and the player and dealer compare hands. If both of your hands are better than the dealer’s you win, if one of your hands is better than the dealer’s it’s a draw, and if both of your hands are worse than the dealer’s you lose.
Seven-Card Stud Poker
Before Texas Hold’em was invented, seven-card stud poker was the king of the poker table. Today, the game isn’t as common as Texas Hold’em but some online poker sites may still offer it to players.
Playing The Game
Each hand starts with two cards being dealt with players face down, followed by one face up. The player with the lowest face-up card will place the first bet. A betting round follows every card dealt. The fourth, fifth and sixth cards dealt will be facing up, and the seventh one will be facing down. Same as Texas Hold’em, the goal of the game is to finish with the best five-card hand.
Nevertheless, no community cards are dealt in seven-card stud, which results in fewer high hands. Hence, seven-card stud is more about calculating odds and aggressive early betting.
Three Card Poker
Possibly originating from Three Card Brag, a 16th-century British card game, Three Card Poker is tailored for fast thinkers and is an excellent starter for online poker beginners. Similarly to Seven-Card Stud Poker, this game can be hard to find but still exists.
Playing The Game
During the game, individual players line up against the dealer. ante bets are placed before each player is dealt three cards face up, while the dealer obtains three cards face down. Players will then have a choice to fold, forgoing their stake, or continue to play by placing a second bet equal to their first. After that, hands are exposed, and wagers will be resolved.
If the dealer wants to play, their hand must be Queen high or better. No second bets will be placed if the dealer does not play and ante wagers will be paid 1 to 1. On the contrary, if the dealer does play, the dealer’s hand and the player’s hand will be compared.
If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand, the ante bet and play bet will be paid even money. In the case of the dealer’s hand being equal to the player’s, the player will be returned his ante and play bets. However, if the player’s hand is worse than the dealer’s hand, they will lose both the ante and play bets.
Other Types Of Games
Live Poker games are generally any of the above games but played online and with a real-life dealer. The dealers are streamed to you over the internet, providing you with an authentic casino experience. You can message and interact with the dealer by messaging them and also interact with other players too.
Believe it or not, but some online poker sites actually do allows you to play free poker games and win prizes and cash while doing it. Known as Freeroll, these free poker games generally come in the form of tournaments where you can win a special prize.
Freerolls do not require an entrance fee and can be offered daily, weekly or even monthly depending on the site you’re playing at. In addition, these tournaments are usually only offered to users who have deposited recently.
You can find freeroll poker tournaments at PokerStars, 888Poker and PartyPoker. However, they’re not offered on a regular basis so you must remember to check the website frequently to take part.
What Can You Win?
Most freerolls give you a chance to win cash prizes while others are known to other tickets to big real-money poker tournaments or the latest tech gadgets such as an iPad or iPhone. It all depends on the poker site you’re playing at.
Online Poker Tournaments
In addition to the above games, many UK Online Poker Sites offer tournaments in which players compete against each other like an ordinary game. Online tournaments follow the same rules as real-life tournaments, but there are some slight differences between the two.
For example, online poker tournaments have no restrictions on the number of players that can take part in the game. Besides, people from different countries can join in on the competition as long as the Online Poker Site is available in their country.
Most online poker tournaments offer better prizes than those at real-life tournaments. Smaller Online Poker Sites, in particular, offer great bonuses, promotions, and rewards because they want more people to register and join them. However, it’s important to remember that a smaller Online Poker Site may have a limited selection of players.
There are three main types of online poker tournaments, they include:
Rebuy tournaments allow players to rebuy casino chips in order to stay in the game and continue playing. In tournaments without rebuys (Known as freezeouts) you’re eliminated once you’ve run out of casino chips.
However, the rebuy period is limited as it only runs for the first few early levels of the tournament. In fact, many casinos only run the rebuy period for the first hour of the tournament. Once the rebuy period is over, players cannot buy more casino chips, meaning they’ll be excluded from the game. The number of rebuys available depends on the casino as some offer a fixed number while others offer an unlimited number of rebuys. However, they generally work the same way.
Whenever you run out of chips, you’ll be offered a rebuy if it’s available. At online casinos, you can choose an option which automatically rebuys chips whenever you run out. When you do rebuy, your account will be charged and your casinos credited immediately. You can also rebuy at any time if your chip stack is less than or equal to what you started with. So, if you started with 1,000 chips, you can buy whenever you have 1,000 chips or less.
However, some players confuse rebuys with a reentry. In a rebuy, you’re able to buy more chips right at the table and continue playing in the seat you’re in. In a re-entry tournament, you need to leave the table, buy an entirely new entry and then draw a new seat as if you’re a brand new player.
Rebuys are also different from add-ons, which allows players to purchase additional chips regardless of how much they have. This can only be done at specific times such as the first break. However, it is possible to mix both rebuys and add-ons to ensure you never run out of chips.
Also, the prize pool in rebuy tournaments can grow quite large as the fees for rebuys and reentries are added to the overall prize pool.
Freezeout tournaments are the most common type of poker tournaments. In this version, players are excluded after running out of chips. The World Series of Poker Main Event is a freezeout tournament as are most online poker tournaments. Also, most rebuy tournaments become freezeouts when the buyout period is over.
However, some freezeout tournaments do allow for reentries and rebuys, but this occurs before the first break and is very rare. Many people prefer playing freezeout tournaments because they’re shorter in duration than rebuy tournaments. In this version, the defeated player is dropped out of the game and cannot Buy-In.
The biggest disadvantage to buyout tournaments is that the prize pool doesn’t grow because rebuys generally aren’t offered. This could lead to a very small prize pool at smaller tournaments.
In knockout tournaments, a cash bounty is placed each player and every time you eliminate someone, you win a cash prize. Like freezeout tournaments, a player is excluded whenever they run out of chips and the last player standing is declared the winner. Along with winning the overall cash prize, the winner also takes home their own bounty.
A player’s bounty is determined by the cost of their buy-in. For example, a knockout tournament may have a buy-in (Entrance fee) of $14 + $6 + $3. From this, $14 would go to the prize pool, $6 acts as the player’s bounty and $3 is the tournament fee.
Depending on the poker variation being played, you need to make the best possible hand using a combination of your hole cards plus the community cards on the table. For example in Texas Hold’em, you can use both, one or none of your hole cards along with the community cards. In Omaha Hold’em, however, you’re required to use at least two of your hole cards.
The poker hand rankings from highest to lowest are:
Royal Flush: A straight ten to an ace with all cards of the same suit
Straight Flush: A straight with all five cards of the same suit
Four of a Kind: Any four cards of the same rank
Full House: Any three cards of the same rank together with two cards of the same rank
Flush: Any five cards of the same suit
Straight: Any five consecutive cards of different suits
Three of a Kind: Any three cards of the same rank
Two Pair: Any two cards of the same rank with another two cards of the same rank
One Pair: A pair of cards of the same rank
High Card: The highest-ranked card in your hand
Are Poker Winnings Taxed in the UK?
Generally, no. Poker winnings normally aren’t taxed in the UK. Before 2001, betting shops charged a tax on a players winnings. However, Gordon Brown introduced changes in 2011 that stopped betting shops and casinos from charging tax on players’ winnings.
However, the 2014 Gambling Act changed this by taxing the poker, betting and casino sites themselves if their customers reside in the United Kingdom. This means that you and your winnings are 100% tax-free. However, there are some instances where you may be taxed on winnings.
For example, if you’re a famous poker player that receives free seats at tournaments. Those free seats could be considered a form of payment and any winnings from those seats could be considered an extension of that payment. However, situations like these are rare and do not apply to most players.
Questions & Answers (FAQ)
Do poker rules change when playing online?
Nope! Poker rules remain exactly the same when playing online. The only difference between playing in real-life and online is that everything is done automatically for you online, meaning you don’t have to touch cards! What’s more, winning combinations are automatically calculated and wins are credited straight away, making it much easier for you to simply enjoy the game.
Is Party Poker a good poker site?
Yep! In fact, Party Poker is one of our three suggested online poker sites! The website offers a range of poker activities, a great welcome bonus and accepts several major payment options. What more could you want?
Should I register at 888 Poker?
Like Party Poker, 888 Poker is one of our three suggested online poker sites. The website has a great reputation for offering a plethora of poker-based activities to players and is known for its great customer support and fast payments.
What are the best UK online poker sites?
There are dozens of poker sites in the UK, making it rather overwhelming for new players. But we at CasinostoPlay have managed to narrow the best UK online poker sites to three which you can read about right here.
What are poker hands?
A poker hand is a card combinations consisting of cards dealt to players and those dealt to the table. There are various combinations available, all of which you can discover right here.