Playing your first online cash games can be a daunting experience. Irrespective of whether you have played on the sites´ play tables or not before you make your first deposit, it is still foreign ground for many people, and like most things in life, the key tool for your success is preparation. There are a few guidelines you might like to follow before taking the plunge:-
The first thing is to select the right web site to play on. Every online poker room will try to attract you with fantastic initial deposit bonuses and loyalty programs, but you need to find out if the bonus is attainable for the amount of time you intend to be playing. For example, if you feel that you will just be playing low stakes games for a couple of hours a week, being offered “Double Your Money” on a $1.000 deposit is pretty meaningless if you need to turn the funds over twenty times in sixty days to qualify.
So, looking beyond the initial bonus, what standard of play will you find on the site? The looser the play, the more value you will get when you win. Poker rooms associated with sports betting web sites usually have a lower level of player, as they tend to migrate from the betting area of the site onto the poker as an afterthought, or when there is nothing left to bet on! In any respect, the poker is not their prime consideration.
However, on these sites, you may have to wait to find a full table to play on or a game to start, as the poker sites are not that well populated outside of peak hours (European evening and Sundays). So, should you go to one of the larger dedicated poker sites? Well, that is going to depend on what reward structure they are going to give you for playing on their site.
“Rakeback” or “Cashback” is becoming a very popular concept, whereby players receive money back against the rake they have paid to join a SnG or tournament, or that has been deducted from the pot during a ring game. Even if you only intend playing for those few hours each week, you will be surprised how quickly rakeback can accumulate – but not all web sites offer it!
It is fair to say that there is no “One Size Fits All” online poker site. You have to consider all the above factors, plus any ongoing promotions, and select the one that suits you best. If you prefer games other than Texas Hold´em, make sure that there is a strong enough clientele online at the time that you want to play and at the stake level you want to play at.