One of the more surprising consequences of the internet age is that it has opened up casino gaming to all. Once seen as a pastime for billionaires, playboys and maybe the occasional mafia boss or two behind closed doors, these days, anyone and everyone can log on to a platform and play slots, blackjack, roulette and the rest.
However, there is one game that still has that air of mystery, and perhaps a little danger. If you are one of those people who has always liked the idea of playing poker, but you feel a little nervous about how or where to begin without endangering the shirt on your back, you’ve come to the right place.
Video poker – the natural starting point
The reason people worry about poker is that they automatically think of versions like Texas Holdem, where you sit at a table and take on other players. Now that probably reflects the game at its purest, but when you are first starting out playing poker online, there are ways to do so without pitching yourself against more experienced opposition. Novices like slot games because it is just them against whatever comes up on the machine. Video poker is just the same, and it is the perfect start point.
You’ll be dealt five cards and can choose which if any to hold. The ones you discard are redealt to give you your final hand. There are different variations of video poker that each has their own scoring weights, but in general anything from a pair of jacks will get you a reward, with the best hand possible being a Royal Flush, which is 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit. Video poker helps you master the basics, and once you are familiar with your straights, flushes and full houses, you are ready to step it up to the next level.
Beat the dealer
There’s still no need to test your burgeoning poker skills against other players just yet, however. The logical next step is a version of the game that you play against the dealer. 3-card poker and Caribbean Stud are the two most common varieties, but there are others, too.
These games are conceptually similar to blackjack in that the dealer is governed by certain rules, so success or failure is all about your decisions. 3-card poker is fast and simple, rewarding pairs, threes, flushes and runs. However, Caribbean Stud provides for more interesting outcomes, as you are back to five cards each, so all the hands possible in video poker are also in play here.
Take on your buddies
With this sort of game experience under your belt, you will feel more confident about sitting at a table to play a game like Texas Holdem with others. But still, take it slow. Most casino platforms offer private poker rooms, so why not buddy up with some friends or family members and all learn together?
That way, if you still lose your shirt, at least you know where it’s gone – and you might just end up with a new article of attire for yourself!