Many poker players make their start with free games online but lack the confidence or knowledge to take things up a level with real-money online poker games. This article will share some key advice you need to take the next step in your poker journey and start playing online poker for real money.
Make sure you’re not breaking the law
While free online poker may be legal in many places, some US states and countries have banned the practice of playing for money. So first off, if you want to avoid any run-ins with the law, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s legal for you to play online poker for money.
At the time that this piece was written, it is currently legal to play poker online in the following states:
- New Jersey
It is also legal to play real-money games in West Virginia, but official sites are expected to only launch later in 2021.
Pick the right poker site
After you’ve confirmed that it’s legal for you to play and bet in poker games online, you need to find the right site to play on. Here are some of the most important factors you should keep in mind when playing online:
- Make sure the site is legitimate – There are many people online who are trying to make a quick buck by scamming people, and one way they do this is through fake gambling and poker sites. To be sure you’ve chosen a bona fide operator, check which organization regulates and licenses the site, whether it’s associated with an offline casino, and read reviews and customer feedback about the site.
- Test out the site’s software – Not all poker apps and online software are created equal. Be sure to test out a site’s apps and online platform before you part ways with your money.
- Find out whether the site has the features you want or need – Does the site offer low- and high-stakes games? Are there regular online tournaments? Can you play multiple tables at a time? If the site doesn’t have the features you are looking for, seek out one that meets your requirements.
- Check which poker variations it offers – While most sites have Texas Hold’em, you may enjoy other poker game variants. Check the poker library on the site to learn more about what types you can play.
- Do some research on the bonus offers – Poker sites often have bonuses to entice new players to play or reward their existing customers. Be sure to review their bonuses and check the fine print before you sign up to take advantage of them.
- Look for great customer service and support – As a customer, you need to make sure you can get fast, friendly, and efficient support at any time of day or night. Again, this is something you can check out before you part ways with any money. You can even test out a poker site just by emailing the customer service team a few questions.
- Follow up on the available payment methods – Some sites only provide one or two payment methods. Better sites offer multiple channels including credit cards, dedicated poker deposit services, or online payment systems. Make sure the site you are interested in has many options to make your life as simple as possible.
Tips for starting out
If you’ve found a reliable and safe site to play poker online, here’s some advice you can use to have a better time playing.
Manage your bankroll
The first thing you should do as a new player venturing into real-money games is decide how much you can afford to lose playing poker – and then set aside that amount of money each month. While you are learning the ins and outs of betting using real money, you should be prepared for the fact that you might lose it all while you get to grips with these higher-stakes games.
Don’t worry. If you’re starting out playing small-stakes (also known as “micro stakes”) games, this is very unlikely to happen, but it’s better that you get used to budgeting for poker from the beginning than try to learn this habit in higher-stakes games. If you’ve set yourself a limit and decided on your level of risk, you can be confident that you’re managing your bankroll in a sustainable way.
Also, if you’re playing high-stakes games and find yourself on a losing streak that could exhaust your budget before you intended, you can always switch to playing lower-stakes games.
Give yourself time
Even if you’re a master at free poker games, you’ll undoubtedly notice a change in the game when you switch to playing for real money. This shift may even result in a series of losses when you first begin but rest assured that if you give yourself time to learn the ropes of real-money games, you’ll adapt and be able to turn that losing streak around.
Take a look at poker resources if you find you aren’t improving
If you find yourself stuck in losing streaks, or simply not improving as quickly as you’d like in real-money games, then check out some poker learning materials to help you improve. Some of the resources you can take advantage of include:
- Poker books
- Poker blogs
- Poker forums
- YouTube poker channels.
These resources could help you improve your game without even having to put down money in actual games.
Understand that you can play the perfect game of poker and still lose
Sometimes in poker, just like in life, you could play the perfect game with the cards you get and still lose to a better player or someone who simply got luckier than you. It’s important to learn this lesson early on in your real-money career so that you don’t get disheartened when you play well and still somehow lose.
Have fun playing regular online poker and live dealer games
Whether you’re playing poker for money or not, the important thing to remember is to have fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, take a break, and do something else. Maybe even try some other online casino games just to mix things up a little before you consider returning to the felt.
Join our online poker community at BetMGM
If you’re ready to start playing online poker for real money, visit BetMGM. Our online casino provides a premium service with great poker experiences – you can enjoy Texas Hold’em poker online, along with many variants of the classic game of cards. What’s more, if you’re interested in live dealer games and tournaments, you’ll be interested to know that you can also play live poker online at our virtual casino!
No matter how you prefer to play poker, if you’re interested in having a great time playing casino games, register at BetMGM.