Poker has always been one of the most popular games to gamble on. Part of what attracts poker players is that there is no house edge as you’re playing against other players. It’s largely a skill-based game, with elements of luck.
It’s a game you can truly improve at. Many of the best players have even gone on to turn it into lucrative professions.
Casinos are increasingly allowing different forms of poker online, with some even unveiling dedicated poker rooms.
There are a variety of online poker variations in New Jersey. However, for the purposes of this guide, we will focus chiefly on Texas Hold’em, which remains the most popular form of the game.
The basics of online poker are simple. Most players will typically play head’s up (1v1), on a six-man table, or on a 10-man table, known as the full ring. The strategies change depending on how many players you’re competing against.
The way it works couldn’t be simpler.
Two players will put in a compulsory blind, known as the small blind and big blind. The small blind is always half the size of the big blind. The players on the blinds constantly rotate. Another player is on the ‘button’, which is the strongest position on the table as they are the last to act.
Look at your cards and decide whether you want to call the blinds, raise, or fold and sit out until the next hand.
If you play, three community cards are dealt, known as the flop. There’s another round of betting before a fourth card is dealt. Then a fifth card is dealt after another round of betting. Once all the community cards are dealt there’s one final round of betting. If there are still players in the pot, the showdown begins.
The showdown just means all players still in the hand at the end turn over their cards.
The aim of the game is to have the strongest hand. Hands are ranked in classic poker terminology. So a Royal Flush is the strongest hand and the high card is the weakest hand.
To play poker guide will tell you that poker is a simple game. But any professional will tell you the key to how to play poker is strategy and a commitment to constant learning. There have been thousands of poker books written to address different aspects of the game.
So it’s easy to learn the game but it’s difficult to get consistently profitable, particularly since so many players have realized the game is a viable way of making a living.
Your position on the table, in relation to the button, determines whether you have an advantage and which hands you should play.
Positional play is a fundamental skill to learn. Each position has names, such as cut-off and under the gun, but all you need to think about is your position in relation to the button. Where do you act in the order of players?
The closer to the button you are the more hands you can viably play. Someone who’s in the under the gun position acts first and so they’ll throw away all but the strongest hands.
The player on the button can act with more freedom as they act last, so they can dictate the game.
For example, a simple 10 and 9 would only be played by players close to the button or someone who’s on the button. A good hand on the button isn’t necessarily a good hand on another part of the table.
Bet sizing is another important skill you need to master before you play poker online. Incorrect bet sizing can drastically upset your profitability in the long-term.
The general rule is you should always bet hard when you have a hand. For example, beginners should be betting at least 3x the big blind before the flop is dealt.
However, it gets complicated because if someone else goes all-in before the flop you may have to fold an otherwise strong hand.
You need to bet big in order to extract the maximum amount of value from your winning hands. This will counter the times when you have a long streak of bad hands and bad luck.
Online poker in the USA is such a difficult game because the way you play is influenced as much by theory as it is the other players at your table.
For example, if a player has sat out for the last 30 minutes and then suddenly makes a big bet what does that tell you? It means he likely has an incredibly strong hand and you should back out.
Likewise, if a player seems to play every hand you know he likely bluffs weak hands a lot, so there’s nothing wrong with calling him out.
Watching how the fellow players at your table play can give you a lot of valuable information about how you should act next.
Other than Texas Hold’em, there are some less popular versions of poker online you can play in online casinos in New Jersey.
Unlike other types of online casino games, there are significant variations in different poker games. The strategies are completely different, so just because you’re good at one type of online poker doesn’t mean you’ll be good at another.
In land-based casinos, you’ll see these terminals all over the casino floor. Online video poker is five-card draw. So you’ll receive five cards and you’ll be able to trade out as many cards as you like to try to make the best hand.
Payouts are based on the strength of your hand. Usually, you need at least a pair of tens to get a return.
Pot Limit Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em in that there are multiple streets of betting. It also comes with much of the same strategy as you’d utilize in a game of Texas Hold’em.
The difference is you receive four cards in Omaha instead of two cards. However, you can still only use two of these cards to create a hand.
What’s so exciting about this game is the extra two cards enable you to make even more hand combinations. It adds a completely new dimension to online poker in the USA.
Caribbean Stud Poker is a game where you play directly against the dealer not against other players. If you’ve played five-card stud, the rules are similar here.
Both the player and the dealer receive five cards, but one of the dealer’s cards is always showing. All wins against the dealer will give you an even money payout.
If the dealer doesn’t have either an ace or king to ‘qualify’ for the next round, you get your stake back.
There’s also a progressive jackpot you can bet on to make Caribbean Stud even more exciting.
Pai Gow is a version of poker based on a Chinese card game. The aim of the game is to get a superior hand to the dealer. Again, you’re playing against the house.
This game utilizes a standard 52-card deck plus a joker card. The joker can be used to complete a flush, straight, or be used as an ace.
The dealer will give you seven cards and you’ll have to create the best five-card and two-card hands you can. You need to beat the dealer with both your hands to win.
If only one hand wins, the round is declared a tie. It’s a popular game to play as there are so many ties, so it’s a cheap game to spend your money on.
There are hundreds of pieces of poker slang. These are the most important ones you’ll encounter when playing online poker in the USA.
This is a raise after a player has already raised. Likewise, a 4Bet is when the original raiser raises again.
The money placed into the pot before a hand begins.
When the best hand statistically loses due to a bad run of cards on the table.
A tactic used to win a pot when your hand is weaker than your opponent’s.
The round circular disk passed from player to player. It comes before the blinds and is the best position on the table.
When there were no bets before you and you also opt not to bet.
A pair of twos.
A term for stupid players who are considered easy to beat, therefore easy to take money from.
The first three community cards.
The highest unpaired card in a player’s hand. Sometimes used to determine who wins a pot when players have the same hand.
A player who calls after a raise. It’s usually used in a negative way to denote bad play.
An aggressive player who enters nearly every hand.
To discard your cards.
The player with the most chips on the table. Often the chips will be called a ‘monster stack’.
The best possible cards on the table. Usually used to describe an unbeatable hand.
The fifth community card dealt.
When players compare cards after the final betting round.
A proficient player who dominates the table.
The fourth community card dealt.
Since you’re not playing against the house, the rake is how the online casino makes money. Rake is taken in different ways.
It may be a small slice of every pot, a fixed percentage of prize money in a tournament, or a percentage of your winnings when you leave the table.
Some online casinos have ‘no rake’ promotions.
You need to put a lot of thought into online poker rooms. Many of them have special tournaments and other promotions to attract players.
It’s also worth looking for online poker casinos in New Jersey that have no rake policies.
Previously known as Party Poker, they became famous due to their poker rooms. Today, they still have a dedicated poker room.
Get a 100% deposit match up to $500 when you register for an account. Your bonus will be held in a pending bonus account until you complete the wagering requirements.
PokerStars is a dedicated poker room that re-entered the market approximately two years ago. It’s become the leading poker room in New Jersey, based on revenue.
Furthermore, it’s sponsored by a number of famous poker professionals, including Chris Moneymaker. Until its temporary demise, PokerStars was highly recommended by both beginners and veterans of the poker tables.
There are plenty of players at all levels at PokerStars. It’s easy to play at all hours and still get a full table.
Pala Casino is a fast-growing online poker room in New Jersey. It’s also one of the few legal casinos in New Jersey owned by a group based in another state.
Play with Pala Casino and get a $15 no deposit bonus. $5 is in cash and $10 is in tournament entry credits. They also offer a 100% bonus on your first deposit worth $500. They release your bonus in chunks of $5 as you earn status points.
888 Poker is one of the biggest names in poker. They now have a firm presence in New Jersey. Thousands of players play here regularly, so you’ll never find yourself without a table.
When you deposit $10 with 888 you’ll get $20 free. You can deposit up to $400 and get it doubled. They release these bonuses in $10 increments as you collect 888 bonus points through playing.
They also offer highly lucrative tournaments every Sunday. It’s possible to win millions of dollars in these unique tournaments.
Plus, they’re one of the few online casinos that have developed their own software. Known as Dragonfish, everything is powered in-house.