The ability to play online Texas holdem from your house or
apartment or on your tablet or phone while you’re on the go is
one of the best developments of the last 20 years. No longer do
you have to get dressed and drive or fly to the nearest casino
with a poker room or risk the dangers of playing at an
Now you can find thousands of players competing online at any
hour of the day. The largest online poker rooms have tens of
thousands of players around the clock and dozens of online rooms
have over 1,000 Texas holdem players waiting for you to join the
action at any time of the day or night.
But before you jump into the fray take a few minutes to learn
more about playing online including about online poker room
bonuses, deposit and withdrawal options, playing styles, limits,
and a few things about strategy.
At the low end of online Texas holdem play are free ring game
tables and free tournaments. These games don’t cost anything to
play and you can’t win real money. The competition is terrible
and even if you play perfect strategy the variance can be
brutal. You’ll win eventually if you keep playing solid poker,
but you’ll also get drawn out on often.
The next step up is freeroll tournaments. These are almost
always run as no limit Texas holdem games. You get to play for
free but the top finishers win real money. Most players who
finish in the money win pennies and even the final table
finishers usually only win a couple dollars. But what can you
Freeroll tournaments are also filled with poor players, but
you will find a few decent players at most tables. You need to
play a tight and aggressive tournament strategy, but don’t be
surprised if you get knocked out by a player who plays an odd
hand or should fold instead of calling.
You can play in freeroll tournaments until you win enough
money to start playing at the micro limits and keep improving
and building your bankroll from there.
Once you master the free games or if you want to jump in at
the lowest levels of real money online Texas holdem play you can
play at the micro limit tables. These tables start with limits
as low as .01 / .02 at some poker rooms and the no limit games
can be entered with $1 or less.
Surprisingly, the play is much better at the micro limits
than at the free tables, but the overall level of your
competition is still quite poor.
The low limits are where most players start feeling like
they’re playing for real money, but you can still play at these
limits with a deposit of $100 to $200. Even if you’re a
consistent winner it’s difficult to make a living at this level.
Your best bet to win consistently is to play a solid game
focusing on tight starting hand requirements, correct calls and
folds base on pot odds, and not trying anything fancy. Simply
[lay your best poker, bet when you have the best hand, and fold
when you don’t. Most bluffs are a waste of time and trying to
fool your opponents isn’t worth trying because they probably
aren’t paying attention anyway.
At the medium limits of online Texas holdem, you start
separating the real players from the pretend players. If you’re
able to win consistently at this level you can make a decent
living as an online poker player.
You have to be a good fundamental Texas holdem player but you
also have to be able to read your opponent’s betting patterns,
adjust your play based on the table, and think beyond the
current situation. You need to start visualizing all of the
possible outcomes for every hand and use this information to
make every single decision.
When you start playing online Texas holdem at the high limits
you’re playing with a great deal of money. Pots can reach
hundreds of thousands of dollars and frequently reach into the
tens of thousands.
The competition is good, with professional poker players
joining these tables often. Not only do you have to be a top of
the line player from a poker basics standpoint, you also have to
be able to play the other players and constantly adjust your
game if you want to be a long term winner.
Another issue that can become a concern when you play at
these limits is moving your money around online. The best option
is usually direct bank wires into and out of the poker room, but
when you’re moving tens of thousands of dollars and more it can
create issues that low level players don’t have to think about
and deal with.
Most players are introduced to Texas holdem by watching a no
limit game. Most televised poker games and tournaments are no
limit Texas holdem. When you start playing online you’ll have
plenty of no limit options.
But online poker rooms also offer limit Texas holdem games
and many players would be better off starting in these games
instead of jumping into the no limit games. You still have to
play solid poker to win at the limit tables, but a mistake
rarely costs you your entire stack like it does at the no limit
If you’re a new player or are just starting to play
online, consider trying your hand at a few low level limit
tables before moving up and / or to the no limit tables.
Online Texas holdem strategy is the same as live game
strategy. The only real difference is you can’t see your
opponents so if your game depends a great deal on reading your
opponents you’ll need to make a few adjustments moving from live
play to online games.
We have an entire section of the site dedicated to Texas
holdem strategy, so if you want to get a complete education you
should investigate that. But here’s an overview of the important
parts of online Texas holdem poker strategy you need to focus on
in order to be a winning player.
Starting Hand Selection
The importance of playing better
starting hands on average than your opponents will never change.
If you want to be a winning Texas holdem player you have to use
smart and tight starting hand requirements. The good news is
most of your online opponents play far too many hands so this
makes your job easier.
Position is directly related to your choice of
starting hands. Only play your strongest hands when you’ll be
out of position and you’ll get better results. Most players
ignore position so if you simply use good judgment you’ll be
ahead of most Texas holdem players in this area.
Don’t be like most online Texas holdem
players and simply jump into the first game you see. Take some
time to watch a few tables and find one that seems to be filled
with poor players. Choose to play against worse competition, not
better, and your results will instantly improve.
Until you reach the middle and high limits you’re
probably best to not bluff at all. You might be able to run a
successful bluff from time to time at the low limits, but most
of your opponents simply aren’t very good so they won’t even
realize they should fold or call, depending on what you’re
trying t accomplish, so your bluff will be wasted.
Reading Playing Tendencies
You can’t see your opponents
when you play online but you can notice certain playing
tendencies they have. Some players become predictable in certain
playing situations and if you pay enough attention to learn
about these situations you can use the information to increase
It may seem strange to see a section on
bankroll management in a set of things about strategy, but the
best Texas holdem players follow bankroll guidelines and f you
want to be the best you need to start acting like he best. Make
sure your bankroll is big enough to support your play at your
When you play Texas holdem the way you play your hands can be
classified as one of four different playing styles. It’s
important to understand your playing style and be able to place
your online opponents in one of the four categories as well.
When you can determine which playing style each of your
online opponents uses you can use this information to make
better playing decisions against them. Here are the four playing
Tight and Aggressive
When you play tight and
aggressive it means you don’t play many starting hands and
when you play a hand it’s usually played in an aggressive
manner. This means you bet and raise trying to force your
opponents to make mistakes. You rarely check and call
because you can’t get your opponents to fold when you play
passively. Tight aggressive play is generally determined to
be the most profitable way to play.
Loose and Aggressive
A loose an aggressive player
plays their hands aggressively like the tight and aggressive
player, but the loose player plays far more hands. A loose
aggressive player can be profitable in the long run if they
play well after the flop, but they have more to overcome to
reach profitability than the tight aggressive player because
they start too many hands behind their opponents.
Tight and Passive
A passive player rarely bets or
raises, choosing to check and call in most situations. This
style doesn’t force your opponents to make mistakes and
forces you to show down the best hand because your opponent
doesn’t have an opportunity to fold. Because of the tight
starting hand requirements a tight and passive poker player
can play close to break-even poker in many games, but it’s
difficult to be a long term winner playing this way.
Loose and Passive
A loose player who also plays
passively has almost no chance of winning in the short or
long term. They play too many hands and then let their
opponents lead the action.
You want to play in a tight and aggressive manner as much as
possible if you want to win the most in the long run. In some
games you can loosen up your starting hand requirements slightly
but you want to keep playing aggressively as often as possible.
When you’re able to place your online opponents into one of
these categories you can use this information against them. If
you know a player is aggressive you can check to them with a big
hand sometimes because the odds are strong that they’ll bet. If
a player is passive you can draw to hands more often because
they won’t make you pay a high price to do so.
When you start playing poker online for real money you can
usually get an attractive sign up bonus. These usually offer a
set percentage of your deposit up to a certain amount.
Here are a couple examples.
100% deposit bonus up to $100
200% deposit bonus up to $500
If you get a 100% bonus up to $100 it means the poker room
matches your deposit up to $100. If you deposit $25 the poker
room matches it with $25. If you deposit $100 they match it with
If you get 200% on a $100 deposit you get an extra $200.
Most online Texas holdem bonuses are placed in a special part
of your account and released in small increments based on how
many raked hands you play or how many poker or comp points you
earn. You might have $10 of your bonus account released for
every 500 raked hands you play or every 100 comp points you
The only way to know exactly what you’re signing up for and
what you have to do to clear the bonus is read the terms and
conditions closely. If you don’t completely understand how a
bonus works you can contact the support department of the poker
room. It’s always better to find out about bonuses before making
Deposits and Withdrawals
If you’re going to play online Texas holdem you have to be
able to move your money into and out of the poker rooms. Your
ability to do this easily is directly related to where you live.
For example, if you live in the UK you have a wide range of
online wallet accounts and other deposit and cash out options.
But if you live in the US you might need to use a credit card or
direct bank wire to make a deposit and accept a check in the
mail to make a withdrawal.
Here’s a list of popular deposit and withdrawal methods for
online Texas holdem.
Bank Wire Transfer
The easiest way to see which options you have is to look in
the cashier area of the poker room where you play or contact the
customer support department.
When you play online Texas holdem you have to use the same
type of bankroll management as you do playing live poker. If you
don’t have enough bankroll to ride out the ups and down of
playing poker you stand the chance of running out of money. If
you can’t buy into a game you can’t possibly profit from the
Here are some general online Texas holdem bankroll
guidelines. They aren’t exact because they don’t take into
account your ability. If you’re a losing player you’ll never
have a big enough bankroll.
No Limit Ring Games
When you play no limit Texas holdem ring games you should
keep from 20 to 30 times the average buy in amount of the games
you play. If you play $500 buy in no limit games you should have
between a $10,000 and $15,000 bankroll.
Limit Ring Games
Limit players should have 200 to 300 big blinds for the limit
they play. If you play $20 / $40 limit you should have $8,000 to
$12,000 in your bankroll.
No Limit Tournaments
If you play no limit Texas holdem tournaments your bankroll
requirements are tied more closely to how often you can manage
to finish in the money and how often you’re able to make a final
table with the chance to win a large prize pool.
When you win a large tournament you might win anywhere from
100 to 500 times your buy in, so this can have a large impact on
A good rule of thumb is to start with 25 times the average
buy in of the large player pool Texas holdem tournaments you
play in. As you play you can see how often you can get into the
money and how often you need to do so to break even.
Some of the top players only need four or five times the buy
in as a bankroll, but even most of them have 50 to 100 times the
buy in or more.
The biggest job of your bankroll other than buying into games
is to give you enough of a mental cushion that you don’t have to
think about the playing decisions made on every hand in relation
to your bankroll.
In other words, you want a bankroll big enough you never have
to think about it while you’re playing.
In addition to all of the information above, we have provided you
with a few other articles we think you my find useful for playing
Playing Texas holdem online is a great way to unwind or
compete in an exciting game from the comfort of your home. You
don’t have to waste the time and energy to travel to the nearest
poker room and you might even get a big bonus for playing.
Concentrate on playing good strategy and using a solid
playing style and you can be well on your way to long term
profit and fun.
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