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Can playing free poker online improve your skill at real poker? The short answer is yes. However, if you’re unsure as to whether or not online poker games will improve your knowledge regarding real poker, take a look at three reasons why online poker is just as good as the real thing.

Rules of the game

Like real poker, online poker can be played in several formats. Depending on where you’re playing, a number of different poker variations will be supported. In fact, poker is the collective term for a family of games. Community card poker variations like Texas Hold’em tend to be the most ubiquitous, but a few others are quite popular as well.

Aside from community card poker, variants fall under three additional categories; namely straight poker, stud poker, and draw poker. Community card poker includes variants like Texas hold ‘em and Omaha. Straight poker, the oldest form of poker, uses a five-card format. Stud poker uses a seven-card variant of poker, while draw poker allows for up to eight cards in total.

All variations mentioned above are supported by both online casinos as well as brick and mortar casinos. Regardless of whether you play online or offline, knowing the basic rules of each variation is a good way to avoid common beginner’s mistakes. Every legitimate game of poker, regardless of variation, will always follow fundamental rules.

Speaking of fundamentals, betting structure is another element of poker that follows pre-established conventions. The three main types of bets in poker are known as fixed-limit, pot-limit, and no-limit. All three betting structures are used in both online poker and real poker. Ultimately, the strength of your hand dictates how well any round of poker will go.

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Winning strategies

Knowing when to hold and when to fold are the hallmarks of a great poker player. For any playing strategy to work, you will need a thorough knowledge of the standard rankings for poker hands. Additionally, some forms of poker deviate from these standards, meaning you may need to become familiar with several hand hierarchies.

Online poker shares the same standard of hand rankings as real poker. These rankings, ordered from lowest to highest, are always in the following order: pairs, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and royal flush. As we’ve already mentioned, these rankings can change depending on which poker variation it is.

In poker variants that use wild cards such as the Joker, the highest hand is five of a kind. A straight flush is not recognized as a winning hand under ace-to-five low rules. Do you see how varied poker can get? Regardless of whether you’re playing online or in real life, the main issue to consider is which variant you prefer the most. Knowledge and experience are the only two factors that matter, irrespective of the platform.

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If there’s something about poker you’re uncertain of, don’t hesitate to seek out information from as many sources as possible. For example, provided you can communicate freely with them, dealers in both online games and real games are usually more than happy to answer any questions players might have. You can also check general rules online, do some research on variant differences, or simply watch tutorial videos and competitive games.

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Shared experiences

Nowadays, online poker is practically indistinguishable from real poker. There are already a growing number of live dealer games that allow players to join a virtual table, essentially bringing the authentic casino experience to your living room. You play at a real table against people from all over the globe, with a real dealer handing out virtual cards. It’s quite a technological achievement if you think about it.

Betting on any game, whether online or not, requires prior knowledge of the systems at play. For instance, knowing that the house will always have the advantage is vital to your success at poker. Whether you’re new to poker or an experienced player, betting strategies are useless if you don’t know your odds of success. 

Typically, newer players should make small bets at first, building their confidence up before taking on big pots. Avoiding common pitfalls like “gambler’s fallacy” can be the difference between winning and losing. At the end of the day, playing free online poker has no major drawbacks compared to real poker. No matter which of the two you start with, both forms of poker are as legitimate as they come.

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