Poker FAQ

In this poker FAQ we have listed a wide range of commonly asked questions that relate to playing poker both live and online. We have provided you with helpful answers to these questions and links to additional information on topics that we feel need further explanation.

This page has been provided as a reference tool for anyone that has a specific poker related question, but if you're looking for more information and advice on poker we can help with that too. Our website features a detailed beginner's guide to playing poker and a section on playing poker online.

General Poker FAQ: Answers

Is poker hard to learn?

No, playing poker is certainly not difficult! You only really need to know the basic rules to start playing and the rules of most variations of the game are pretty simple. Learning how to play well can be more challenging, but you don't necessarily need to worry about that if you're just playing for fun.

Can I win money playing poker?

You can definitely win money by playing poker, and in fact, anyone can win money, even if they're not a particularly experienced or skilled player. You can improve your chances of winning by learning how to play the game better than your opponents, but there's enough luck involved in poker that even a complete beginner has the potential to win.

Why is poker so popular?

Poker is popular for a number of reasons. It's a simple game to learn for starters and many people really enjoy playing it. The possibility of winning money is also very appealing and it's even a game that's suitable for all budgets.

Is poker all about the cards you are dealt?

Not entirely, no. Obviously the cards play a major part in determining who wins and who loses, but there's more to poker than that. The actions of players, including their betting strategies, are also a fundamental part of the game. Good cards will help you win, but skilled players can find ways to win even when they aren't dealt a good hand.

What is poker strategy?

Poker strategy is a very broad subject. It's not something that can easily be explained in just a sentence or two but, in very basic terms, it's about learning how to play the game to it's full potential. Poker is a game based on decisions and poker strategy essentially teaches you how to make the right decisions at the right times.

Are poker winnings taxable?

Poker tax laws vary from one country to the next, so there's no definitive answer to this question. If you start winning significant amounts of money while playing poker, then you should check your local tax laws to see how they apply to you. Alternatively, you could consult with a qualified tax professional and seek their advice if you have even more concerns or questions that you need answered.

What is the best form of poker to play?

There are several different variations of poker and none of them could really be described as the "best." With that being said, it makes a lot of sense for beginners to start with Texas Hold'em. This is the most popular form of the game these days and it's also one of the easiest to learn. Once you are familiar with Texas Hold'em, you can then start learning other forms of poker more easily.

Is it better to play tournaments or cash games?

Tournaments and cash games are two distinct types of poker. They both have their own set of characteristics and come with their own advantages and disadvantages. A lot of players prefer to specialize in one type or the other, but there's no reason why you can't enjoy playing both. You should certainly at least try both styles once, as you may be able to clearly see that you prefer one over the other. However, neither one could definitively be described as better than the other, as it's completely based on a player's preference.

What is the difference between fixed limit and no limit?

Limit and no limit are two different types of betting structures used in poker. There are others as well but these are the two most commonly used. A betting structure basically defines the limits for how much each player can bet when it's their turn to act. In fixed limit, a player can only bet or raise a fixed amount. In no limit, a player can bet or raise any amount providing they have the required chips to do so.

What is rake?

Rake is essentially a commission charged by a casino, online poker site, or any other organizer of a poker game. In cash games, rake usually appears in the form of a small percentage taken out of each pot and in tournaments rake is generally a small percentage taken out of each entry fee, otherwise referred to as a buy in.

Online Poker FAQ: Answers

What's the difference between live and online poker?

Poker is fundamentally the same regardless of whether it's played live or online. The basic rules are the same and the game is played largely in the same way. There are, however, a few notable differences that you need to focus on. A particularly significant one is the pace of the game, as playing online is much faster than playing live. Playing online is also much more convenient; it offers a greater selection of games, and it has a wide range of stakes available to suit your own personal needs.

Is online poker legal?

The laws relating to the different types of online gambling vary from one part of the world to the next. In some regions the laws are very clear about online poker, but in some they are very confusing. If you're uncertain about the laws in your region, then you should check them using a reliable source. It's also worth noting, though, that online gambling laws tend to apply more to those providing the services (i.e. running a poker site) than those who just simply use them.

More Info

Gambling Laws

Is online poker fixed?

No. This is a common concern among people who play online poker, but it's a largely unfounded one. Although there have been some cases where poker sites have cheated their players, these are extremely rare and it has become increasingly difficult for a site to get away with it. In any case, if you play at reputable sites, then you really don't have anything to worry about. It doesn't benefit the site in any way to fix the games, as who wins is unimportant to them. They get paid either way every time a player pays rake.

Can I trust poker sites with my money?

Yes, but it's still important to be cautious. You can trust most poker sites with your money, the vast majority in fact. There are a few sites that we would consider to be untrustworthy, but if you steer clear of these you really have nothing to worry about. You just need to make sure you use sites that are reputable and that have a good track record, which describes any of the sites that we recommend on our site.

Which are the best poker sites to use?

This is a matter of opinion to some extent, as the best poker site for one player may not be the most suitable option for another. When you are deciding where to play, the important thing is to try to find a site that's right for you. There are certain criteria which all good poker sites should meet (being trustworthy for example), but there are several other factors which come down to personal preference.

Can I play at more than one poker site?

Yes. There's nothing wrong with playing at only one site as long as it offers everything you need, but there's nothing wrong with playing at a few different ones either. You might like to use one site for your tournament play, for example, and another one for playing cash games. You might also use one site to take advantage of a monthly reload bonus and another because the standard of the opposition is quite weak.

Do I have to download software to play?

Not necessarily. There was a time when all poker sites required you to download software before you could play, but more often than not we are seeing sites that offer the option of playing directly from your web browser.

Can I play online poker with a Mac?

You can, but not at every site. There are a few sites that use software that's only compatible with a standard PC. There are still plenty of options for Mac users though, including the majority of the bigger sites.

Can I play online poker using my phone or tablet?

Yes. It has taken a while for mobile poker to take off and it still has a long way to go, but there are now several poker sites that allow you to play from the convenience of your own mobile device.

Do I pay rake online?

Yes, rake is charged in online cash games and online tournaments. This is how the poker sites make their money. The exact rake structure will vary from one site to the next, but you usually will pay less in rake than if you were playing live.

Which poker games are available online?

All the popular poker variants are available online. Texas Hold'em is easily the most popular and the most widely available, but there'll be a variety of options at most sites. Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and even some mixed game formats, are all pretty common too.

What stakes can I play for online?

You can play for almost any stake you could imagine, as most sites have a wide enough range of stakes to suit all players. You'll find cash games starting at stakes as low as $.01/$.02 blinds and tournaments that cost just $1 to enter. The very highest stakes are only available at a few sites, but almost every site has high enough stakes to please its players.

What are poker bonuses?

Poker bonuses are extra funds that poker sites add to your account. They are typically offered as an incentive to new customers to join and make a deposit or to existing customers as a way to reward them for their playing activity. These bonuses usually have to be "cleared" before you can withdraw them, which means you have to play a certain amount of times at the tables first.

What is a poker loyalty program?

A poker loyalty program is a specific method that poker sites use to reward their customers. Some sites may refer to it as a VIP scheme, but either term essentially refers to the same thing. The main focus of a loyalty program is to give customers something back in return for the rake they pay and their commitment to the site. These rewards often come in the form of cash, additional bonuses, entries into tournaments, or a variety of other things. For more information, please read the above page that focuses on bonuses and rewards.

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