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The Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money

The game of poker has been a staple party game for decades. Nothing typifies hanging out quite like a group of guys and girls sitting around, drinking beer and throwing chips across a kitchen table. It has come a long way since the days of home games and darkened back rooms. Today, live poker tournaments attract thousands of players, huge television audiences, and has elevated the world’s best players to stardom. Online, the game has become an entirely different beast.

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The best online poker sites for real money offer daily events, tonnes of cash games and cash bonuses and prizes. On YouTube and Twitch, online players stream their games to audiences of millions. The poker boom may be over, but the real money scene is alive and well. Our top operators listed here deliver the best online casino packages available in the UK today.

Quality Real Money Poker Sites are Key

One thing that the poker boom gave online players was choice. With so many operators around today, it’s easy to feel like a kid in a sweetshop. But choice can be a double-edged sword. With an array of sites offering welcome bonuses and perks, it’s never been more important to be wary of false promises. When looking for real money poker sites, there are several factors we look at to avoid the bad eggs. With all the free options out there, it’s important to be able to identify a true real money poker site so that you don’t end up wasting your time.

Person playing real money poker

Keep in mind your budget when selecting where to play. Bankroll management is a key part of online poker. Different operators will offer different tournaments with a wide range of buy-in options. For real money cash games, pay close attention to blinds and antes before committing to a table, especially if’re playing with a smaller budget. Payment methods for deposits and withdrawals are another factor that need to be considered. If you plan on using PayPal or another virtual wallet, make sure the method is compatible before signing up.

Real Money Online Poker – A Rich Range of Tournaments

Tournaments at the best poker casino suites are split across two or more games. By far the most popular is Texas Hold’em – a variant where players receive two hole cards and play with a board of five community cards. Omaha Hold’em, often simply referred to as Omaha, is played with four hole cards and five community cards. Both games use the standard ranking of poker hands to separate the winners from the losers. There’s a couple of types of tournaments that new players should be aware of. Sit n’ Go games, named due to how quick they can be started, are single table affairs. Ranging from between five to nine players, as soon as the table is full, the action begins. Play continues in an elimination format until only one player remains. Second and sometimes third place players also receive a share of the winnings in Sit n’ Go tournaments

Playing poker online for real money can be done with or without elimination. Tournaments have a set buy-in fee, and once you’re out, that’s it! Although, some tournaments do allow re-buys for a set amount of time at the beginning of a tournament. Cash games can be re-bought into again and again without leaving the table. They last until you leave the table, and work on a drop-in/drop-out basis.

Table limits, or buy-ins as they’re known in the poker world, range dramatically. Sit n’ Go’s can be played for a little as £0.10 + £0.01 (with 10p going into the winners’ pot, and 1p going to the casino as a fee) right up to games with buy-ins above the £1,000 mark.

Larger tournaments, that are scheduled and start at fixed times, are played with larger fields of players. Numbers can run anywhere from 20 to 500 or more, and follow the same elimination format as Sit n’ Go’s. Full tournaments take place over several tables, with players moving around to plug holes as opponents get eliminated. Satellite tournaments work the same way as regular ones but with one key difference. Rather than cash winnings, it’s entry to higher stakes tournaments that’s up for grabs. It’s this kind of structure that allowed the aptly named Chris Moneymaker to win $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker Main Event with a buy-in of just $39.

Online Poker Tournament Payouts

As online poker is played against other players and not the house, there is no return to player rate to analyse, and there are no ways to decrease the house edge to gain an advantage. The game is a combination of both luck and skill, so the only way to really increase your odds is to become a better player. Practice, take notice, and learn from your mistakes.

What is important, however, are the payout tables for online poker tournaments. Your typical Sit n’ Go game with six players will pay first and second place. Usually, although you might find slight variations, the split will be 65% for first, 35% for second. Finishing second will typically result in doubling your original entry fee. Let’s imagine, for a minute, six players buy into a £10 tournament. That makes the prize pool £60. First takes £39, whilst second takes £21. If you’re wondering where the casino gets its cut, it’s in the entry fee that is separate from the pot contribution. So, a £10 tournament will typically cost £10 + £1, or a total of £11 to the player. Larger tournaments with 300 or more players can pay out 30 or more places.

Online Poker Bonuses

The best poker casinos typically separate their operations from their regular tables and card games stuff. This means that – typically, but not always – that your bankroll will also be separate from your regular casino funds. As a result, operators can offer different deals specifically tied to real money online poker. Deposit bonuses tend to be a little more generous in this market than in the straight-up casino space. We’ve seen 200% match deals up to £700. In addition to bonus cash, it’s normal for poker casinos to hand out free entry tickets to premium tournaments as well. This acts as a kind of no-deposit bonus, giving you the chance to play for big money with zero risk.

An image depicting online poker imagery

It’s worth noting that wagering requirements will apply to online poker bonuses just as they would to a regular casino bonus. However, things work a little differently in the poker world, and every site is slightly different. Typically, the operator will release bonus funds (allowing players to withdraw the cash) in stages. The stages will be tied to loyalty credits or play points. This means that the more you play, the more access you will gain to that bonus cash. You can still play with the freebies, of course, you just won’t be able to withdraw the money until you have earned enough points.

The Best Real Money Poker App

An image of online poker being played on mobile devicesAs mobile internet usage becomes the dominant platform in the UK, the first question players always ask us when we’re talking about any kind of online casino platform is, ‘what’s the mobile experience like?’ It’s understandable why this concern exists. There used to be a huge disparity between what was available on your desktop – either in a browser or via downloadable software – and what was playable through your phone and tablet. Fortunately, this market is moving closer and closer and complete parity, and the real money poker sites are no different from the real money casino scene in this regard.

The best real money poker apps can be downloaded for iOS via the App Store, or for Android by visiting the operator’s website. These apps, which feature cash games, sit n’ go’s and scheduled tournaments, allow players to take their games on the road. Your desktop account is the same as your mobile one, so there’s no need to run two bankrolls either. There’s also practice play mode on mobile, if you don’t want to commit to real money poker while you are out and about.

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Real Money Poker

Poker’s illustrious history and rise to fame has meant that seemingly almost everyone has at least one story about the game. As with all tales passed on by word of mouth, you can decide with how much of a pinch of salt you take them with. However, here’s some of the best (probably) true stories we’ve heard from the world of poker.

Poker Saved FedEx: Back in 1973, when the American courier company was still getting going, it is believed that owner Fred Smith was down to his last $5,000, with a $24,000 outstanding fuel bill to be paid. The poker-loving owner headed to Las Vegas to try his luck at the tables and managed to turn his five grand into $27,000, keeping the company afloat. FedEx has since grown to the multi-billion dollar, world-famous company it is today and Fred Smith is worth about $2 billion.

The Longest Ever Poker Game: Poker can be an enduring game, often taking hours or even days to complete larger events and tournaments. But do you know the record for the longest game of poker ever? In Tombstone, Arizona, it is reported that a match ran for 8 years, 5 months, and 3 days. The game took place at the Bird Cage Theatre and started in 1881. That’s a long time to hold your poker face.

Golden Nuggets for Poker Chips: When it first started to become popular, poker was played for gold nuggets. The problem with using unique lumps of gold was that it was impossible to standardise the values. Once saloons and the first casinos began to open up, they started using ivory bone, clay or wood as units of value. Today, casinos brand their own clay or plastic chips and they are widely used as currency within the casinos for gambling, drinking and tipping.

The Biggest Poker Tournament Ever: The largest online poker tournament confirmed by the Guinness World Records took place in the Isle of Man in October 2015. A total of 253,692 participants battled it out for a $10,000 prize. Each entrant paid $1 to enter the event, which was organised by PokerStars UK.

Mind-Boggling Poker Stats: Poker is a game of numbers and statistics, but these will make your eyes water. More than 300 million seven card poker hand combinations exist in the game – which might explain why you struggle to put your opponent on a hand! The odds of hitting the best hand in the game, a Royal Flush, are 0.000154% or once every 649,739 hands. Good luck!

The Future of Real Money Poker Online

There has always been quite a big distinction between land-based (or ‘live’, as it’s often called) and online poker. A huge part of the game is reading your opponent, picking up on tells, and playing the psychological battle. Online, where you cannot see your opponent, this becomes more difficult. The difference in the speed of play has also widened the gap. Today, online poker is often viewed as the more mathematical, statistical version of the game, whilst the land-based equivalent is still seen as more psychological. As we move into the future, with rapidly evolving technology, is the gap about to be closed? Several operators are developing virtual reality poker suites which have the potential to combine both the visual aspects of ‘live’ poker, with the speed and accessibility of the online game.

The Best Online Poker Sites for Real Money: The Verdict

Playing online poker is not a new thing, but there’s never been a better time to jump in and try it. Real money sites are offering some of the best deals we’ve seen in years, and as cash games and tournaments continue to diversify, there’s something for players of all experience levels at any price. For those asking, ‘where can I play Texas Hold’em online for real money right now?’ Check out the link below to our top recommendation, and get stuck in.

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