How To Play Poker

The game of poker continues to grow in popularity, with more people playing around the world than ever before. Thanks to the internet, you can take your game online and enjoy intense action at Bodog Poker. This guide will teach you how to play poker like a boss, starting with the basics; we’ll show you the poker rules you need to know, and we’ll even give you some simple strategies you can use right away to confuse your opponents. Here’s how you can hit the felt and hone your skills at Bodog.

 

How to Play Poker at Bodog

The first step in learning how to play poker is to make sure you understand what the game is all about. Poker is primarily a game of skill, where you bet on your hands and try to outplay your opponents. But it’s also a game of chance. The cards are dealt randomly, using the standard 52-card “French” deck of playing cards, so you never know which cards you’ll receive in any given hand. Some expert poker players say it’s about a 70/30 split between skill and luck that determines who will win in the long run.

Because skill is so important in this game, it’s possible to improve those skills and eventually play poker for a living if you get good enough at it. Tens of thousands of people around the world have tried to figure out how to play poker professionally. Whether you’re one of these people, or you simply want to play the game for fun, Bodog Poker is the place to be. Take a moment to think about your motivation for playing poker before jumping in. Even if you’re here to make money, poker is still a game, and should always be treated that way.

Like any other game, you need to know the rules to play poker correctly. There are several different variants of poker, each with its own set of rules, but almost all variants (including the ones you can play at Bodog Poker) share the same basic elements. You’ll be playing with at least one other player, seated at a table, and you’ll start with a certain number of poker chips that you’ll use to place your bets. Players will take turns clockwise around the table making their decisions. Every bet will see chips pushed towards the middle of the table, forming the pot that everyone will fight over. The ultimate goal in poker is to win that pot by either getting everyone else to fold their hands or by having the strongest hand at the end.

Don’t fall for the trap of fighting over every hand, though. Poker is all about balancing risk and reward. If you’re in a hand and you think your chances of winning are too small to risk money on, then folding is the correct play. The biggest mistake newer players (and many experts) make is to get involved in hands where they should have folded. Instead of focusing on winning pots, focus on making good decisions. That’s the 70% of the game you have control over. Try not to let the other 30% affect the way you play. The more tilted you get over losing a hand, the more likely you’ll make big mistakes on the next hand.

 

Getting Started

Once you understand the basic rules and mindset for how to play poker, it’s time to hit the tables. Getting started at Bodog Poker is simple:

  1. Open a free account
  2. Download the free Bodog Poker software
  3. Choose a table from the lobby

That’s it. Three easy steps and you’re ready to win your way to the top.

To get the most out of these steps, make sure you take advantage of the generous online poker bonuses available at Bodog Poker. The most important of these is the Sign Up Bonus, where you can earn a 100% match bonus of up to $1,000 on your first deposit. This bonus will help keep you afloat while you learn to play poker; for beginners, it can make the difference between success and early failure. Check out our promotions page to get the skinny on all the bonus money available at Bodog.

 

Start With “Play Money” Games

Before you make that first deposit at Bodog Poker, we invite you to kick the tires by starting with Play Money games. This will give you the chance to test out the software for free, and get familiar with the games before you put any money on the line. Every new player starts with 1,000 play chips; anytime your balance drops below 500, you can add another 1,000 chips by visiting the lobby and tapping or clicking on the Account tab. Once you’re comfortable, make the leap to Real Money games. You can switch between the two modes at your leisure.

 

Online Poker Games You Can Play

Just about everyone is playing Texas Hold’em these days. As the legendary Doyle Brunson said, it’s the Cadillac of Poker, and it took off like wildfire in the 2000s – especially when Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event at the 2003 World Series of Poker. Even James Bond switched from Baccarat to Texas Hold’em for the 2006 version of Casino Royale.

But there’s more to poker than just Texas Hold’em. There are two other exciting games you can play at Bodog Poker: Omaha Hold’em (commonly referred to as Omaha), and Omaha Hi/Lo. The poker rules are mostly the same for these three variants. They’re all flop games, where you get dealt your hole cards during the pre-flop phase; if the hand continues, up to five community cards will be dealt face-up in the middle of the table during the post-flop phase. Players will use a combination of their hole cards and the community cards to make their poker hands.

In addition, you have the choice between playing cash poker or online poker tournaments when you play at Bodog. With cash games, you’ll bring a certain amount of money to the table, and you can win or lose money on every single hand. With tournaments, everyone buys in for a specific amount; that money is placed into a prize pool, and distributed among the players who last the longest before running out of chips, with the top prize going to the winner. Tournaments are usually the right choice for new poker players. You can’t lose anything more than your initial buy-in and entry fee, and the competition level tends to be easier than it is for cash games.

 

Choose Your Online Poker Stakes

When we talk about stakes in poker, we’re talking about the size of the games in terms of money. In cash poker, the stakes are indicated by the size of the blinds, the forced bets at the start of every hand that keep the game flowing. In tournaments, the stakes are indicated by the size of the buy-in. It’s very important to pay attention to the stakes and not risk money on any game that your bankroll can’t handle.

The size of your game is also affected by the betting limits being used. No-Limit is the most common structure, especially in Texas Hold’em; with No-Limit, you can bet your entire stack when it’s your turn. There are also Pot-Limit games, where the maximum bet (or raise) allowed is the size of the pot, and Fixed-Limit games, where the maximum bets or raises are 1x or 2x the size of the big blind, depending on what stage of the hand you’re in. The higher the limit, the bigger the game.

 

Learn Poker Terms

Depending on your experience level, you might already have come across some new poker terms in this guide. This is unavoidable when you learn to play poker for beginners. Every game has its own language, and poker has some terms that you’ll need to learn in order to keep up. Any time you see a word or a phrase comes up and you don’t understand, you can always brush up on your poker lingo by using our Poker Glossary. Even expert players might discover a new poker term or two that will give them a better understanding of the game.

 

Basic Poker Strategy

Poker strategy has grown by leaps and bounds since Brunson revealed his secrets in the 1979 book Super/Series. However, most top players are still using similar concepts and tactics to beat the game; you can learn more about it by consulting our Poker Guide and reading the articles. You’ll learn the basic strategies for how to play Texas Hold’em and how to play Omaha, and you’ll even be introduced to the concept of game theory as it applies to poker.

Generally speaking, the right way to play poker is the same way Brunson recommended: Be aggressive. When you bet or raise, you give your opponents the opportunity to fold and surrender the pot. When you call down, the only way you can win the pot is by having the best hand. Newer players are recommended to start with an “ABC” poker strategy that focuses on betting and raising with good hands. Bluffing should be kept at a minimum for now, using drawing hands that can turn into big made hands like straights and flushes as more community cards are dealt.

You’ll also want to concentrate on playing in position as often as possible. The player in position is the one who gets to act last, which is a considerable advantage in poker. When you play out of position, you don’t get to react to your opponent, leaving you more in the dark about what cards they might have. You can’t completely avoid this, especially when you’re in the big blind and you have more incentive to get involved in the hand; be more willing to play passively out of position with checking and (sometimes) calling, which will keep the pot small and lessen your risk.

There’s always more to learn about how to play poker, but for now, you have the starting kit you need to get in the game. You know the rules to play poker, the different games you can play at Bodog, and the basic strategy you can use to get a leg up on your opponents. Sign up for an account and Play real money poker today. We’ll see you at the tables.