Online Poker

2020 has been an eventful year thus far, with both good and bad happening all over the globe.

While the overall business world has seen a lot of shocks and even revenue decrease due to the COVID-19 outbreak, online poker has experienced quite the boom. Both in number of players and games played during the various periods of lockdown we have experienced.

The Popularity of Online Poker

Many factors have so far contributed to the overall popularity of online poker around the world.

The growing number of real money online poker cash games and new and fresh tournaments has increased. And with sports bettors not having any sports to bet on during most of 2020, many turned to poker for their entertainment.

And in addition, when the land-based casinos went into lockdown, many players moved to online “home games” to play with their friends, or joined one of the many poker sites there are to choose from. This introduced a whole new segment of players to online poker. No longer able to play with their friends in their homes they have discovered the benefits and added excitement to playing with international players of all skill levels. Also, the many variants of poker are attractive to players.

Roughly speaking, it’s believed that there are over 100 million active online poker players across the world who play regularly. Poker is largely considered as a game of skill as opposed to the usual casino games which are purely luck based like for instance slots. The young millennials has enthusiastically become part of online poker as well.  In 2020, online poker largely thrived due to players’ movement from all live games to the online field.l

Even World Series of Poker (WSOP) is organized online, which already attracted a mass number of participants with big fields in tournaments and also cash games.

Moreover, plenty of rooms started extensive marketing campaigns, and sites such as GGPoker seems to appear from nowhere and now is taking the whole poker world by storm, also attracting plenty of first-time players into this game. The old giants of the game like PokerStars and 888 are still running strong and attracting new players by the thousands.

online poker

Cash Games

Cash games, also sometimes referred to as ring games, are poker games played with “real” chips and money at stake. Mainly Texas Hold’Em games. Often with no predetermined end time, with players able to enter and leave as they see fit. Players may freely buy-in and cash out of a cash game between hands.  However, it is normally prohibited for a player to remove a portion of his or her chips from the table. This is known as “going south”.

For example, if a player buys in for $100, then wins $100 (for a total stack of $200), the player may not remove the original $100 buy-in while remaining seated. He would have to forfeit his seat, possibly wait to rejoin the game, and buy-in again for $100; however, many cardrooms prohibit the practice of buying in again unless a certain time period has elapsed before the player rejoins. Similarly, cash games are played for table stakes. If a player attempts to put additional money onto the table (from his/her wallet) in the middle of a hand, he may not do so until the conclusion of said hand.

Sit And Go Tournaments

Sit and Go tournaments (a.k.a SnG’s, Sit & Go’s, Single Table Tournaments, STT’s) are an exciting format of poker than has become very popular. This type of games offer the thrill of a regular multi-table tournament but every game is like you’ve reached the final table.

One of the other attractive features of Sit and Go’s, and where the name originates, is that they can be offered 24 hours a day with no set schedule. As soon as enough players have registered, the tournament begins.

It is usually 6-handed or 9-handed games, and games will start as soon as there are enough players on the table.

Multi tabling poker

This is how a pro, playing multi-tables see his screens.

Heads Up Games

Heads-ups poker is quite simply: Poker against a single opponent. It can occur at tournaments and single-table games after the elimination of every other player, or simply be a prearranged one-on-one game.

Playing heads-up poker is much different than playing even three-handed poker because each player’s chance of having the winning hand skyrockets, and the range of what would be considered “playable” hands increases drastically. For example, many players would feel uncomfortable playing a low pair against two or more opponents, but in heads-up poker, a single pair is often a winning hand and as such can be played aggressively.

Satellite Tournaments

Satellite tournaments are relatively small tournaments that nearly all registered players can join. The amount of money required to join is usually not much, with some casino providers allowing even free entries to the lowest levels of their satellites. The main difference between a satellite and a cash game is, the satellite poker tournaments do not usually offer money as prizes. Instead, winning gives access to the next level and eventually entry into high-stakes tournaments, such as live tournaments with very high buy-ins.

Entry fees to other tournaments are usually quite high, which means that the winners of the satellite tournaments get to save a significant amount of money. Ideally, anyone with a limited budget who wishes to join a major tournament that has a high buy-in can use the satellite tournament to get an opportunity to experience the excitement and atmosphere of the bigger tournaments.

Unlike cash games where the winner is clear at the end of the hand, all tournaments are usually long-running, and in particular the satellites. If you do not have the time to invest in playing them to the end, there is no point in starting them. Check the timings and make sure you can actually play them through and make your decisions from there. They can run from a weekend to months to get to the final live tournaments.

live tournament floor

This is how a live tournament floor can look. Table upon table with players all playing to get to the coveted Final Table.

Online Poker Tournaments

Poker rooms all host poker tournaments in various forms where players go against each other to determine who is the last player standing for the big pot prizes. There are many types of poker tournaments, which come in various forms and offering varying amounts of rewards to winners. Most of the poker tournaments usually take several hours, or even spread over days, to complete. For that reason, you need to be prepared mentally and physically to play the tournament for as long as it will go. Doing that will help you to maintain focus throughout the event, which is essential to winning in poker. If you have a job, for example, you need to know that the tournament might continue way past your time to go to work.

The variance in poker tournament stakes can be quite huge. Mainly because of the many different opponents that you have to face as you progress through the tournament. There is a higher possibility of opponents calling your raises, even when they have ridiculous holdings. That further adds to the unpredictability of the outcomes. Mental preparation for such will ensure that it will not affect your strategies or decisions.