Real Money Poker
Playing online poker for real money is a favorite past time for a lot of people in the United States (yes even after Pokerstars and other sites closed down for US) along with other players from around the world, but few of them actually manage to make the switch and do it for a living. With hard work and discipline, plus a bankroll management strategy in place, it’s entirely possible to make a good living from it. Real money online poker is not the same as the poker you might be used to at home or in a Las Vegas casino. While there are plenty of things that they have in common, some differences exist, so the experience is different.
One of those differences is the fact that you don’t know who you’re playing with and you don’t have any visual cues regarding your adversary’s body language. As a result, an online poker player has to learn to look at the patterns behind a player’s game and learn how he reacts in different situations. When you’re playing poker online for money you have to adapt quickly and to learn how to read players by looking at their actions alone.
Online poker is considerably faster than regular poker. While in a casino you can expect to play up to thirty hands, online poker rooms might reach even one hundred hands over the course of one hour. You have to be able to make quick decisions and they need to be the right ones. Not only that, but in time you have to learn how to play poker at multiple tables at once, which helps you make more money per hour, even while playing at low stakes tables.
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Types of Real Money Poker Games
Real Money Texas Hold’em – as far as poker games go, there is none that is as popular as Texas Hold’em. Up to ten people can play it at the same table and enjoy the fast pace, as well as the simple rules which everyone can learn. In Texas Hold’em, there are a total of four rounds where betting is done. The game begins when each player gets two cards which are handed face down. These are known as hole cards. During the game another five cards are placed face up, cards which belong to all the players at the table. The winner of the game is the player with the best hand of 5 cards, for which they can use both the cards they hold and the cards that are on the table.
Real Money Omaha – this type of poker game is actually quite similar to that of Texas Hold’em, with the same number of players and rounds. The difference lies in the number of cards that are dealt face down to the players, four instead of two. Another five cards are placed face up as community cards. In order to win an Omaha game, the player has to combine two of the four cards he owns with three of the community cards, and have the best 5 card hand.
A variant of Omaha is the Hi-Lo game, where a player has to also create the best low hand with five cards, not just the highest.
Real Money Seven Card Stud – with this type of poker the table has up to eight poker players. They each get three cards face down and they need to combine them with the four community cards, in order to create a great hand of five cards. There are a total of five betting rounds, following the initial ante.
Real Money Razz – playing Razz is the same as playing Seven Card Stud for the most part, with one major difference. Instead of attempting to create the best possible hand, you’re trying to own the worst hand when the game is over.
Real Money H.O.R.S.E. – playing H.O.R.S.E. poker actually means having to play five different types of poker, a round for each one. The five poker games that are included in this game are Texas Hold’em, Razz, Omaha, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Eight or Better. This game is always played with fixed limits in place. Since it requires that you know five different types of poker, experience is a must and it’s not a recommended game for a beginner.
Real Money Five Card Stud – this is the oldest type of poker that was played in the US, known to have been around since the Civil War. It has lost a lot of its appeal since, but it still has its fans. It uses both hidden and showing cards and the position in relation to the player with the best showing hand is important.
Real Money 2 to 7 Triple Draw – it’s one of the popular types of poker among the Las Vegas high stakes poker players and it’s available at many online poker rooms. Each player gets five hole cards and they have to create the lowest combination of cards in order to win. Three draws of cards and four betting rounds are part of this game. Before the last betting round the players are allowed to change three of their cards. The bets are all predetermined, since this is always a fixed limit game.
Real Money A to 5 Triple Draw – is similar to 2 to 7 Triple Draw. The player which can present the best hand of low value will be the winner. The players get five cards each when the game begins, after which he can get rid of some of them and replace them with others during the next three draw rounds. As the name of the game suggests, the best hand you can get has the cards between A and 5.
Real Money Crazy Pineapple – it’s a game that is quite similar to Texas Hold’em, with one notable difference, the number of cards that are dealt when the game begins. The player receives three cards at the beginning, but one of them has to be discarded after the initial round of betting is over. The game continues after that the same way as a normal game of Hold’em.
Real Money Badugi – while Badugi is somewhat similar to games like 2 to 7 Triple Draw, the game ranks hands in a completely different way. Four pocket cards are used to play this game and the objective of the player is to create a low hand of four cards, each of a different suite. A hand like that, where there are four different suits, is called a Badugi.
Real Money Mixed Hold’em – this is a type of Texas Hold’em which combines the No-Limit and Limit variants, allowing players to experience both, in different rounds.
Real Money Double Flop Hold’em – another type of Texas Hold’em, Double Flop involves two sets of community cards being dealt at the beginning. As a result, the game has two flops, followed by two turns and then by two rivers. Each player can create two different hands, by combining the cards they have in their hand with the two sets of community cards.
Real Money Royal Hold’em – another variant for Texas Hold’em, Royal Hold’em uses a deck that has 20 cards in it. The cards are 10, J, Q, K and A, of all four suits. Since there aren’t a lot of cards to be used, the maximum number of players is 6.
Real Money Caribbean Stud – the vast majority of the poker games are played with other players. Caribbean Stud Poker is different though, as the player goes against the dealer. If the player wins, the house is the one that will pay him. In order to be a winner, the player needs to beat the hand of the dealer alone. There is no competition here against other poker players.
Real Money Irish – this is a Texas Hold’em variant, with the main difference being the fact that the player gets a total of four hole cards at the beginning of the game. Once the betting flop round is over, the player has to discard two cards. From that point forward it’s played the same way as Texas Hold’em.
Becoming a Good Poker Player
Anyone that is serious about playing real money poker should get a basic strategy in place. Poker is a game that requires serious skill and discipline. Below are a number of tips that should help players make a living by playing poker. They should be helpful to anyone that wants to play the game for money, not just for those that are playing a certain variant of the game. If you want to be a good poker player, you should work on these elements:
Focus – having discipline and focus is the best thing you can achieve as a poker player. A good poker player is a patient poker player, able to stop themselves from making moves that are foolish. Waiting for the right hand is something that you should be able to do. Consider poker a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not easy to get the focus necessary to be a good poker player, but it’s something that you should work on.
Observation – another element that a good poker player pulls off is being observant. Paying attention to everything that is going on and seeing how each player reacts to the moves made by the others allows you to understand how they function and from there you’re able to predict their next move. It doesn’t work as well when you’re playing poker online, but it’s still something that needs to be done. People are emotional and most of them are not focused enough to have discipline and to always make the right decision. If you can figure out what makes them tick and what they will do next, chances are you can take their money.
Understanding – this one requires that you practice quite a bit in order to pull it off. A good poker player will understand what’s happening at the table and the reasons why players make one decision or another. You need to know the odds for each move and you have to be able to guess what other players are trying to do.
Improvisation – as a poker player you never want to be predictable. Don’t be consistent and try to keep the other players on their toes. If you do the same thing all the time, others will read you easily and they will be able to beat you. Being unpredictable has the added benefit that you can win even when your hand is bad.
When you’re playing a game that requires not only skill, but also a bit of luck, having a good bankroll management strategy in place certainly helps you not to become bankrupt in the process.
Stick To Your Bankroll – always keep in mind that you need to exercise discipline and patience when you’re playing poker. Keeping to your bankroll and staying within certain limits is important, as your financial status will influence your game. If you go above the bankroll, you can expect to play more tightly, since you’re starting to get worried. When you play beneath it, you might be more inclined to play loosely, once again leaving yourself open to the other players.
Rules Are Important – as a beginner you definitely need to have some rules that you stick to. When you’re playing poker you need to keep your emotions in check and instead rely on the basic strategy that you know gives you the best chance to make money in the long run. If you’re playing at low limit tables, keep playing there until your bankroll allows you to make the move to higher limits, without risking to go back after just a couple of bad beats.
Start At The Bottom – as a beginner, you should be playing at the tables where other beginners are playing. Even if you have a big bankroll to start with, don’t go after the high rollers. Start with small bets and see how you do against other beginner poker players. In time, make the move to bigger bets, but keep in mind that a high roller is usually a professional poker player. While they play for more money, they are also much better and your bankroll is much more at risk when you play against them.
Money Management Strategies
Two major types of strategies exist when it comes to the management of your bankroll. You can either do it conservatively or you can do it aggressively. There are pros and cons to each one, but they are both valid choices and they can be efficient if you use them right. Choose the one that is more suited to your temperament and style of play.
Conservative Bankroll Management – if you’re a cautious player, this strategy is probably for you. With it, you can build up your bankroll in time, without taking a lot of risk. In order to best use this strategy you need to have a bankroll that is around 800 to 1200 times the value of the table’s big blind. With this type of resource at your disposal, you can go through the bad beats easily and in time your bankroll will go up.
Aggressive Bankroll Management – the real gambler will probably prefer this method, but keep in mind that it’s not for the faint hearted. While it will allow you to get a bigger bankroll quickly, just as easily you can lose it all. 200 to 300 times the value of the big blind is the value that you should aim for if you want to use this strategy. When you have winning or losing streaks you will notice that the bankroll varies wildly, making it harder to manage.
From Play Money to Real Money
A beginner that starts at the practice table, using fake money to learn the game of poker, should soon consider making the move to small stakes poker. Even the tables with lowest blinds will do, as long as they start playing for real money.
Play money that the poker rooms give you to get you started has the unfortunate disadvantage that it’s not worth anything. Beginners that use it will go all in without giving it a second thought, giving you the wrong impression of the way poker is usually played. When you don’t care about the stakes you play differently than when you have actual money on the line. Make the move to real money poker and keep practicing at the low stakes tables until you see success. Only then you should consider moving up to bigger tables.
- The best free or real money poker site is Carbon Poker.
- Download Free Software → Here
Choosing a Real Poker Site
When you’re looking for a poker site there are a number of things you should consider before you make your choice:
Bonuses – while it can be an important part of your decision, it’s not the only thing you should be concerned about. Unless you’re ready to make a substantial deposit after you create your account, it’s likely that the bonus limit will not matter to you. Do look at the conditions put in place by the poker room if you want to withdraw that money in the near future.
Software – the software used by the poker room is very important. You need to be comfortable with it, so you might actually have to test a few different poker rooms before you find the one that appeals to you most. You can use the play money offered by the poker rooms to test their software and see how it feels.
Other Players – the ideal poker room to play at should have plenty of beginners that you can go against while your learn the game. Not only that, but it should have plenty of traffic, so you don’t wait around before you’re able to join a table.
Adding Funds to Your Account
Once you’ve chosen a poker room that you want to focus on, add funds to your account and start playing. Adding funds can be done through a couple of different methods. Depending on the country you’re in, some of them might not work for you.
Electronic Wallet Solutions – one of the more popular options is using services like those of Neteller, Skrill or PayPal (among many others) in order to make a deposit.
Credit Cards – a solution that not everyone is comfortable with and that doesn’t work for everyone is using your credit card directly to make a deposit.
Prepaid Cards – using a prepaid card allows you to make a deposit without giving out your financial information to a poker room that you don’t necessarily trust.
Wire transfer – while slow, there is always the possibility of making a wire transfer. It might take a day or two, but it’s a safe way of funding an account.
Making Money Playing Poker
When you’re looking to play poker for a living, you have to be ready for the roller coaster that is the world of poker. Having the discipline to manage your bankroll and to keep making the right decisions even when you’re on a losing streak can help you get through the worst times. Since it requires that kind of discipline, willpower and hard work, playing poker for a living is not something that everyone can do. For every poker player that makes a lot of money online, there are hundreds that lose their bankroll and go back to their 9 to 5 job.
When you do reach the level of skill required to do this constantly, don’t change the way you do things, or immediately go against the high rollers. If you’ve been making good money by playing against beginners with $1 blinds, stick with it and keep improving your game. That success you’re having doesn’t mean that you’re ready for high stakes poker.
A player that makes a living from poker should treat it as a business, not as something they do for fun. Manage your money well and study hard how to play the game. The more you know and practice, the better the odds that you will be successful at playing real money poker.