Poker is considered a fantastic equalizer. Whether you're small, big, young, old, quiet, or loud. Poker is a card game that can be enjoyed by everyone. For years, live poker primarily existed in the back of land-based casinos and smoky bars but that all changed with the introduction of the internet which ultimately elevated poker into the worldwide phenomenon we know today.
Thanks to technological advancements during the early 2000's, the best free poker sites were able to safely secure a player's bankroll, allowing poker enthusiasts to bet against each other online. In 2003, poker expanded even further when Chris Moneymaker, an amateur poker player, managed to qualify for the Main Event in the World Series of Poker with a mere buy-in of $40. He went on to win the Main Event, taking home a staggering $2.5 million. It wasn't long thereafter when poker was broadcasted on several popular channels around the world which attracted thousands of players to test their skills online.
In this article, we are going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to play poker and provide key characteristics to help you locate the best free poker sites where you can hone your poker skills and claim poker no deposit bonus offers to give your bankroll an additional boost before you hit the tables.
How to Play Poker
If you want to learn to play poker, Texas Hold'em should be your first choice. This 5 card poker game is considered the most popular poker variant in the world and all major poker tournaments are based on this variant. It might be a simplistic game at first glance, but don't let this mislead you. It can take a few moments to learn the basics of the game, but it will undoubtedly take a lifetime to master it. The structure of Texas Hold'em can essentially be divided into three categories, including the setup of the game, the betting rounds with each hand, and the showdown to determine the winner of each round.
Setup of Texas Hold'em
Texas Hold'em requires a minimum of 2 players and up to a maximum of 10 players per table. In the beginning, each player will receive a stack of chips in various colours, representing different values. Once the chips have been equally distributed, one card will be dealt to each player to determine the starting point of the dealer button. The dealer button is allocated to the player holding the highest card value. The dealer button will also rotate clockwise with every new round, allowing each participating player to act as the dealer.
Once the dealer button is allocated, the allocation of blinds is required. In Texas Hold'em, there are 2 blinds that need to be allocated, including the small and big blind. The player located on the left of the dealer button will represent the small blind, while the big blind is allocated to the player situated to the left of the small blind. The blinds basically indicate the size of bets during each round. For instance, let's say the required buy-in is $20. This will typically make the small blind $0.10, while the big blind will typically be valued at $0.25.
Betting Rounds in Texas Hold'em
The player holding the dealer button will be required to deal two cards to each player, known as hole cards, starting with the player situated on the left of the dealer button. The player dealing the cards will deal one card at a time to every player until all players have two cards in their hands.
The first betting round gets underway once all players received their hole cards. The player situated on the left of the big blind will start the first round of betting and will need to decide between the following betting options:
- Call: This betting option requires a player to match the value of the big blind, indicating that they wish to remain in the game.
- Fold: This betting option is made when a player is not satisfied with their two initial cards and will discard the hand to remove themselves from the current round, making no contributions to the pot either.
- Raise: This betting option is used when a player wants to bet more than just the big blind amount. Should a player decide to raise, they are required to double the amount of the big blind.
Once all players made one of the betting options mentioned above, the first betting round will be completed. The players that haven't folded also need to ensure that every player made the same contribution to the pot before advancing to the flop.
After the completion of the preflop betting round, the dealer will remove the top card from the deck of playing cards and place it face down, also known as the burn card. Thereafter, three community cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table. This is followed by a post-flop betting round which is basically the same as the preflop betting round. However, during the post-flop betting round, the player located on the left of the dealer will get to act first and is required to either Check or Bet.
After the post-flop betting round, the dealer burns another card and only one community card will be dealt in the centre of the table. Thereafter, another betting round will commence, following the same betting structure as the flop betting round with one exception. The bet size for this round as well as the final round of betting will be doubled.
The dealer will now burn the final card from the deck of playing cards and deal the final community card in the centre of the table, ending with a total of 5 community cards in the centre of the table. After the river card is placed face up on the table, one more betting round will take place before players enter the final stage of the round, known as the showdown.
After the final betting round is completed, the remaining players enter a showdown. During a showdown, all hands are carefully evaluated to declare the winner who will take the pot. The player who made a bet on the river will be required to show their hand first. Should no additional bets be made on the river, the player located to the left of the dealer will be required to show their hand first.
How to Locate the Best Free Poker Sites
Locating the best free poker sites is no easy task as there are several important characteristics you need to check before registering with the best free poker sites. However, most players are unaware of what to look for in the best free poker sites and therefore we included the most important factors to help you on your journey in finding the best free poker sites that perfectly suits your needs.
The first thing you need to check is the range of games offered on the best free poker sites. The best free poker sites will provide Texas Hold'em and Omaha, but if you're interested in 7 Card Stud or Razz, it's best to browse through the game selection to ensure it's available. Thereafter, you will need to evaluate the traffic that flows through the site to give you an indication of how busy the site actually is. You don't want to register with the best free poker that barely provides any action, especially during the early morning hours.
Once you've established a great selection of games and a constant flow of player traffic, you can continue your review by checking the range of tournaments, freerolls, and sit and go's available on the best free poker sites. The best free poker sites will offer several guaranteed tournaments, freerolls, and sit and go's on a daily basis and include a broad range of different buy-in levels to accommodate both beginner and high roller alike.
Furthermore, you will need to evaluate the poker no deposit bonuses and promotions offered by the best free poker sites you're interested in and check that the user-interface is not too confusing, allowing for easy navigation with plenty of filters to help you find exactly what you looking for in a matter of seconds. Lastly, test the customer service level if you ever have a query or request and ensure your preferred payment method is available for both your deposit and withdrawal needs.