Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

All You Need To Know When Playing Online Poker


The world of online poker can be extremely daunting, especially if you're a first-time player. When the Internet is saturated with thousands upon thousands of online poker sites, with millions of players all around the world trying to get in on the action, where do you begin?

Online poker rooms are akin to the Internet's Real Madrids, Barcelonas, Juventus versions in the poker world. Similar to football clubs, each poker site has its own ways of playing –– a different selection of games, payment options, etc –– which can be quite complicated, especially for poker newcomers. However, fret not! In this article, you'll get a review of a poker site with lots of action and learn how to not only make your poker journey seamless but also profitable, too.

Types Of Poker Site Bonuses
Every online poker site offers different kinds of bonuses, and these could come in the form of monetary incentives or a free entry ticket into certain poker contests. Making proper use of these bonuses –– especially for newcomers –– will be key in developing a strong foundation for your bankroll. Bonuses aren't just offered at the beginning of the site; in fact, many sites continue to offer extended deposit bonuses every time you 'replenish' your account.

Sign-Up Bonus

The most common bonus you will most probably encounter is the sign-up reward, which is given right after registration. In most cases, bonuses are paid out in matches after players hit certain amounts of gameplay. This form of bonus is termed as 'Rakeback', which began in 2004 to reward players as an incentive for them to continue patronizing the site.

A raked hand is the scaled commission fee that is paid to the online client operating the website. It usually ranges from 2.5 to 10% of each pot and is capped at a maximum amount. To be eligible for these bonuses, players must often engage in 'ranked' hands. Subsequently, players receive 'Rakeback bonuses', that are either dealt or contributed. Dealt rewards accumulate the amount of Rakeback of each player into a hand, whilst the contributed method offers players based on their amount of contribution to the pot.

One of the dealt rewards is as follows. For example, a site may give a player, who has deposited $100, a bonus of $100 –– that is paid out in batches of $5 after every time the player reaches $25. In order to win back $100 worth in bonuses, the player needs to amass a total of $500. The majority of sites often cap their maximum bonuses at $500, but it can vary from platform to platform.

Fine Print

Before you instinctively want to skip this part, we strongly recommend taking a note of the website's fine print, especially since your money is at stake. One of the most immediate things you may notice is that your promised bonus does not appear immediately upon deposit. This is due to a set number of exceptions stated within the fine print.

Take this for example. You may have received a bonus code that has a 100% match deposit bonus, but the fine print may require you to spend a certain amount of money before being eligible for the bonus. For example, in order to deposit $40, you are required to play 400 raked hands before your bonus can be released.

Within the fine print, many of the deposits are labeled as one-time-only rewards. A first-time deposit bonus will not be valid if you attempt to reclaim it at a later date. However, online poker continually offers new and exciting bonuses, so don't worry if you miss out on your initial bonuses.

Tips And Tricks For First-Time Users

Before you immediately start placing your bets, here are some things that you should take note of.

Choosing An Appropriate Username

This is often one of the first few things that you have to settle when creating a new account. When picking an account name, feel free to come up with anything –– the possibilities are endless and your creativity is the limit. Some people use their real names while others prefer to stay anonymous and get a little creative. Ultimately, pick a username that resonates with you the best.

Familiarize Yourself With The Software

Every online site has its own set of operating systems. Upon logging in, you'll be brought to what is known as the "lobby". Here, you have access to the game settings, table selections, and cashier segment. You'll probably frequent these three categories when you play, so spend some time familiarising yourself with them.

Additionally, the in-game features of each site are likely to differ as well. This includes actions such as calling and folding. Again, get acquainted with where the different functions are to avoid clicking on the wrong buttons and making unnecessary mistakes.

Staying Within The Bankroll

Bankroll refers to the amount of money you have, specifically for online poker. This means that you should place an initial amount of money in your bankroll and as much as possible, refrain from adding more money from your pocket. Online poker can be addictive and some players might invest more money than they planned and this is how people find themselves with outrageous debts. Therefore, be disciplined and stick to your bankroll.

Play For Free

Before jumping into where the action's at, you might want to consider playing for free first. Many online poker sites do not require a single cent from you. It's a good platform for you to familiarise yourself with the game flow and rules of online poker.

Most of these sites have "freeroll" contests as well. Players get a chance to win real money without having to invest anything. It's a win-win situation. You gain valuable experience while possibly winning real money.

Play Money and Real Money
These are two completely different ball games. Even if you have played in the free rooms for a while, there's still much to learn from the sites that use real money.

Skill Disparity

The first thing you'll notice is the gap between the skill sets. In the free rooms, most players are beginners who are looking to brush up their poker skills. On the other hand, the real-money tables will be occupied by players ranging from beginners, all the way to seasoned elites.

One of the most crucial skill differences in the level of game awareness. Awareness of proper bet sizes, pot odds, table positions, and stack sizes are all important elements that can make a large difference early on.

Need For Strategies

Given the disparity in skill sets, it's important to remember that what worked for you in the free tables might now be applicable in the real-money tables. In the free tables, where the real money is not at stake, players are often bolder and are riskier with their moves. After all, what's there to lose?

On the other hand, players tend to be more cautious in the real-money tables, especially those who are experienced. They know that folding is better than losing their money. Therefore, we recommend following your instincts and adapting accordingly.

Live Poker and Online Poker

Besides the obvious difference in venues, playing poker online compared to playing physically in a casino is drastically different.

Game Flow

Whilst the game setup and rules remain the same, the speed of the poker game can vary considerably –– online games are often approximately two to three times faster than live games. This is because online games often have around 50-100 hands at once, whilst live tables use about 25 hands or so. If we factor in how the dealer has to physically deal the cards, and players contemplating their moves, one hand can take about five to seven minutes to complete –– a far cry from the two to three hands that are dealt in a minute on online poker.

Low Stakes

Generally, the players at a "live table" are tourists or people who visit once in a while. Therefore, some go play with the intent of "go big or go home". You'd be surprised at how willing they are to gamble and raise the stakes.

Conversely, the convenience of online poker allows players to log on and log off whenever they wish. Hence, players on the online sites see less need to "play big" to multiply their winnings.


This is self-explanatory. Live poker tends to be more festive and full of energy. Socializing is a big part of the game itself and being able to observe your opponent's expressions and physical movements is a plus side. On the other hand, online poker lacks the social aspect as all you're seeing is your computer screen with no human interaction.


Online poker doesn't have to be as intimidating as it seems. Following this guide for beginners would help you to avoid making costly mistakes. So go on out there and have fun! 

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