online poker rooms
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Once a game solely played by aficionados, online poker has fast become a favourite pastime for even casual gamblers. It’s one of the most popular forms of online gambling, with plenty of online poker rooms to pick from across some of the industry's top-rated poker websites. Texas Hold’em is the top type, but there are plenty of twists on the game to cater for those who want their poker fast, such as spin and go tournaments. If you’re a poker player who's looking to play real money online poker to win big prizes then you’ll find this 2018 guide to Irish internet poker sites invaluable!
Choosing the Best Online Poker Rooms
With a wide selection of top online poker rooms to pick from, there are some things to consider before settling on just one and hitting the virtual felt. Internet poker rooms are all competing against each other, offering different poker games, various takes on the virtual poker table and competitive online poker bonuses. Some of the biggest and best Irish poker sites are even creating their own versions of online poker.
These poker competitions, quick-fire poker rounds and fun-to-play games are what separates the top-rated poker sites from the rest. Take note, the top sites are leading the way with their immensely popular 'Sit and Go' tournaments. Before picking a poker room, you should think about the poker community, the poker rooms available, the prize pools and what incentives they offer, like tickets into land-based poker tournaments.
How Safe is Playing Poker Online?
Online poker had a shaky reputation when online gambling first came about, but since the arrival of government regulators and licensing, it has become an extremely safe gambling environment. Many online poker sites are household names that certainly guarantee a safe and secure online gaming experience. These sites use state-of-the-art encryption to ensure player protection during any and all financial transactions as well during any gameplay.
You should play your poker on a site that’s eCOGRA approved, this stamp of approval means the poker site has gone through rigorous acceptance inspections and met certain gaming standards. This means that these sites use a random number generator (RNG) that ensures fair play and no funny business behind the scenes. Some online poker sites have been caught out, so it’s important to make sure the site you wish to play at is regulated by an official licensed regulator.
Are Online Poker Sites Legal in Ireland?
Ireland has extensive gambling laws, with the end result being that almost all forms of gambling are legal and highly regulated, including online poker. Casinos are fully allowed to offer online poker games and players are given full legal access to those sites. Irish players can rest easy knowing they will not run into any legal issues related to their licensed online poker play.
Do Poker Websites Offer Bonuses?
It’s worth taking a look at the online poker bonuses that are available to you before signing up. These offers can give your poker balance a boost and there are some good deals out there for first-time players. Since there are plenty of competing poker sites, you can find some nice incentives to join up, ranging from match bonuses, entry into exclusive tournaments and even free spins at a connected casino (if there is one). What’s more, you should keep an eye out for the promotions that the poker site runs – these can offer tournaments tickets into the World Poker Series and other tempting poker prizes.
Most Popular Online Poker Games 2018
There are many poker variations to pick from. The most popular is Texas Hold’em, while Omaha and Stud poker game variations both have their legion of fans:
- Texas Hold’em | Texas Hold’em is the most recognised version of the game. It's the form of poker that’s played by the best players in the world in the World Poker Series Main Event, among other tournaments.
- Omaha | This variation isn’t as popular as Texas Hold’em but it’s still widely played thanks to its action-packed gameplay, especially pot-limit Omaha.
- Stud | 7-card stud is another poker game that’s played across casinos, though it's a very challenging version of poker and takes a while to master.
- Razz | Razz is growing in popularity; this poker game uses a five-card draw and is very similar to Stud poker.
Understanding Poker Room Reviews
There are a lot of online poker room reviews available on the internet, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of what other poker enthusiasts are saying about them. These reviews provide a full breakdown of the game selection, user experience and payment options. You should also be looking out for the security measures in place and what variations of poker games are available on each site. These reviews should also show what offers and promotions each site has so you can filter through and pick the one that best suits your poker needs. Remember to take a look at other review platforms so you can see what individual poker players are saying and not just one person writing an in-depth review.
The Rules of Poker
- Rules for Texas Hold’em Poker | Each player gets two hole cards dealt face down with five face up community cards to make a five-card hand.
- Rules for Omaha Poker | This poker game uses four cards per player instead of the two used in Texas Hold’em, but at least two of those need to be used along with the three community cards.
- Rules for Stud Poker | Players start with three cards, one face up and two face down. Three other cards are then dealt face up and the seventh card is dealt face down. The aim is to end with the best five-card hand, as there are no community cards dealt in this game.
- Rules for Razz Poker | Much like Stud, this game is seven-card draw and has the same dealing pattern, except this time it’s the lowest five-card hand that wins the pot, so the best hand would be A-2-3-4-5 (a 'wheel').
Comparing Texas Hold’em vs Omaha vs Stud
Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Stud poker have some similarities but where they differ is in the number of cards dealt to each player. Stud is a little more challenging than the other two poker games because of the cards some of the players receive are face up. This means competing players can see a few of your cards from the start, thus shaping their next moves. Each version still holds the element of bluffing but with Stud, there's a twist because the competing players have a glimpse into your game plan.
Downloading a Poker Site to Your Desktop
Most poker rooms have a downloadable lobby that gives you desktop access to the poker rooms. These downloadable poker sites make it easier for you to play poker from your computer at the click of the mouse and give you a much clearer dashboard where you can find the right poker table for you. Since poker sites don’t work like online casinos when it comes to game selections and navigation, you'll need to download an icon to your desktop for the optimum online poker playing experience.
Top-Rated Poker Networks 2018
Online poker networks count towards how big the poker community is on a particular site – and the bigger, the better, because those tables need to be filled otherwise you can’t play. The most popular also count towards the quality of the online poker play:
- iPoker Network | Playtech’s iPoker network sets a high standard in online poker gaming with a huge community and a variety of classic and modern poker games that's fully secure.
- MPN (Microgaming Poker Network) | This software is the longest established poker network, with 27 different poker rooms that all share the same tables and tournaments.
Advantages to Playing Poker Online
Online poker has plenty of advantages, the most obvious being that now you have 24/7 poker wherever you go. You can find poker games that suit your speed of play and your budget in no time. Plus, there’s a huge selection of tables to choose from compared to brick-and-mortar casinos. What’s more, you can find Freeroll tournaments so you can enjoy poker action without buying in with real money. You get to play against people from all around the world and they don’t get to suss out your poker face!