This page is intended to teach online poker beginner players exactly what it takes to start playing online poker. From the initial stage of choosing a real money poker site, to the process of registering and depositing, right down to selecting a table and playing the game; we offer the complete step-by-step guide of how to play internet poker.
First, you'll need to select an online poker room. If you've read some of our other guides, you should already know what to look for, and what to avoid. Please see our poker sites reviews to help you make the right decision. Remember, our reviews only include the most trusted, reputable sites with a proven track record for honesty and integrity. Also please look at poker signup bonuses, compare them and choose a room with the best bonuses for you. If you want to try poker without any risk, then please choose a no deposit poker site or play games for free without registration and deposits at no download instant play poker sites.
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The next step is to download the poker client. You should find the download option available on the front page, often as a large can't-miss-it button, and under the 'Getting Starting', or similarly named, section.
Once you click the download button, a window will pop-up asking if you want to save or run the file. Click 'Run'. Another window may appear asking if you chose to run this download. If so, click 'Run' again.
Once the download completes (this should take only a minute or two, at most), an 'Install Shield' should pop-up, asking you if you want to install the software. Click 'Next'. The 'License Agreement' should be displayed now. Click the circle or box by 'I Agree' and click 'Next'.
You'll now be asked to choose a location on your computer for the files. You can browse to choose a location, but it is recommended to just use the default location, so just click 'Next'.
Finally, the poker software is ready to install. If you want to change anything up to this point, click 'Back'. Otherwise, click 'Install' to complete the installation. When done, you'll have to click 'Finish' to finalize the install.
Note: If you cannot or choose not to download the software, there may be a no-download version of the poker software available. Click the 'Instant Play' option if available. From here, you should be taken directly to the Login or Register New Account section.
The login window should automatically appear after installing the online poker room. Click the appropriate button to register a new user account ('Create New User', 'Register Now', 'New User', etc.)
You'll be asked to fill out some basic personal information. This commonly includes your full name, address, phone number, date of birth and email. Make sure you fill out each field accurately and honestly, as errors may prevent you from depositing and/or withdrawing. If you intend to use a credit card, your info must match the info on the card. You'll also have to provide a username and password for you online poker account.
You should now get a message asking you to check your email. The online poker room will usually send an activation email to the address you provided. Log into your email and click the Activation URL. This should instantly activate your online poker account. If you do not receive the email, click the 'Resend Activation Code' (or similar term) in the poker software.
Your next step, if you choose to play for real money, is to make a deposit. Click over to the cashier. This should be easy enough to find. Most online poker rooms offer a big, vibrant 'CASHIER' button to make sure you can't miss it. Within the cashier, choose to make a deposit.
You'll now be asked to choose a deposit method. Common methods would be Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), Debit Card (Visa Delta, Visa Electron, Maestro, etc.), online payment processors like NETeller, Moneybookers, EcoCard, UseMyWallet or direct Bank Wire or Bank Transfer. Make your choice and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the deposit.
You're ready to start playing online poker! Near the top or right side of the poker lobby should be several choices. These may include 'Ring/Cash Games or Tournaments'. We're going to walk you through cash games, since these should be practiced before joining a tournament.
Under the Cash Games table you'll find a list of available poker variants (Texas Hold'em, Omaha, 7 Card Stud, Caribbean Stud. Etc.) Choose a game you know how to play (see Poker Games & rules for more info).
There should be a whole line of information provided for each poker table. You'll find the name of the game, the blind structure and stakes, average pot size, viewed-flop percentage (the higher this is, the looser the game is), hands per hour (a higher number means faster game pace), and the number of players seated.
If the table is full, it will look like this: 6/6, 9/9 or 10/10. An open table would look more like this: 5/6, 7/9, 6/10, and so on.
Find a table with an open seat, and click on it. Over to the right you should be able to see a list of all seated players and their chip stack. Under this info should be a button to join the table. Click this and you're ready to go!
All poker lobbies are different, so we can't walk you through the exact game play, but you should be able to figure it out fairly easily. There will be buttons to Fold, Check, Bet, Raise, and go All-In. Take you time and get to know the software, but beware, there is a timer on every player. Once it is your turn to act, you must make a choice before the timer runs out. If you do not choose in time, the online poker room will automatically 'Check' if it is free to do so, or 'Fold' your hand if it is not.
If you are not familiar with poker terms and definitions then we'll recommend you to read our poker glossary.
Now you can choose a poker room from the list below, and play poker online!
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