Bricks and mortar to internet play: the value of free online poker

The movement from the physical world to the online sphere has allowed the game of poker to become one of the most popular forms of interactive entertainment in the world. While the ease with which players can now log on and find a game is the most obvious way that the internet has facilitated the massive, worldwide expansion of poker, it is arguably the existence of free online poker that has made it possible for so many new players to learn the game. Pretty much all of the established and reputable sites such as offer the facility for players to take part in free games of poker online, and in so doing they provide an invaluable chance for the inexperienced to put theory into practice in a risk free environment.

Free online poker should always be the first port of call for the complete beginner and newcomer to the game. It is one thing to read up on and understand the rules, but quite another to actually see them in a_ction, particularly in the online game. For one thing, internet poker is not slowed down by the simple physical limitations of the game in the bricks and mortar casino, such as the time it takes to deal out cards without displaying them to the whole table, or gather up chips. This allows online poker to be played at a breakneck pace.

This difference in the speed of the game also means that more experienced players, who have played physical casino poker but have yet to play online, should probably play at least a few hands in a practice game when making that first transition to internet play, before hitting the cash games.







Many people choose online poker over the green felt of the casinos

And this is not just to get used to the pace of the game – a more significant alteration in the playing environment is of course the fact that the other players are almost invisible. There is no body language to read, completely removing the vast majority of physical tells from the game. However, you might have noticed that we’ve called the players almost invisible, and it is the vast majority rather than every physical tell that has been removed by the online game. There is still one physical rea_ction left to read, which in fact holds all the information you can get about the other players’ state of mind when playing poker online, and that is the time it takes a player to act.

Getting accustomed to reading between the lines, and working out what other players are trying to communicate by using the ‘in turn’ buttons – which allow a player to select ‘check/ fold’ or ‘bet/ raise’ before it is their turn to act, rather than waiting and then making a decision – is an essential skill that is unique to the online game. However, one thing that you must be aware of when playing free online poker is that without real chips many players play loose. Encountering tighter play - when there is actually something at stake - should come as no surprise, but you need to be able to adjust your own tactics accordingly. For more on the difference between physical world and online poker, try reading the following article.