Three Ways to Play Poker Online

Who’s your favorite poker player? Whoever it is, they weren’t born knowing how to play the game – they had to start from Square 1, just like everyone else. If you happen to be brand-new to poker, or you’re making the transition from live to online, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll show you how to

 

Poker Cash Games 

The cash game is the simplest way to play online poker for real money. This is how poker was first played on the Mississippi riverboats, and it remains popular to this day. To play cash games, you sit at a table (a virtual table, when you’re online) with at least one other opponent, and you each have a pile of poker chips in front of you. These chips are worth money – you buy them at face value before you play, and use them for betting during the game.

Here’s what makes cash games one of the easy ways to play poker online: Each hand of poker is a separate event. You can sit down at the table anytime you like, and you can leave anytime you like, even if you play only one hand. Once you decide to quit, your chips will be converted back into cash (again, at face value) and returned automatically to your Ignition Poker account.

The opponents you’ll find at Ignition Poker are real players, just like you. We go to great lengths to make sure there aren’t any “bots” at our tables; we have thousands of actual players from around the world, giving you access to the largest player pool available in the United States. You’ll find people from all walks of life when you play at Ignition Poker. Some will be more skilled than others, but you won’t run into too many “sharks” while you’re learning how to play online poker.

The cash games at Ignition come in three flavors: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Omaha Hi/Lo. Hold’em is the most popular game in the world today, fueled by the poker boom of the mid-Aughts. Omaha is a similar variant, but you’re dealt four hole cards instead of two, making the game more difficult but also more exciting. Omaha Hi/Lo takes it a step further by awarding half of the pot to the highest hand and half to the lowest hand – if there is one. All five cards you use to make your low hand have to be Eight or lower. If nobody has a qualifying low hand, the high hand scoops the pot.

Ignition is also proud to offer other special features such as Zone Poker, our fast-fold version of cash games. With Zone Poker, as soon as your hand is over (either when you win or fold your cards), you’re seated at a new table with new opponents, and dealt a fresh set of hole cards. This lets you play about two to three times as many hands as you would at a regular cash game in the same amount of time – yet another reason to play poker online instead of twiddling your thumbs at a brick-and-mortar casino.

 

Poker Tournaments 

Thanks to the World Series of Poker, tournaments have become the first choice for many new players. In a poker tournament, the chips don’t have monetary value; you pay a predetermined buy-in along with an entry fee, then all of the buy-ins are pooled together and awarded as prizes to the players who last the longest, with the biggest prize going to the winner.

Everyone who enters a poker tournament begins with the same number of chips in front of them. Depending on how many players enter, there may be dozens or even hundreds of tables going all at once. At the scheduled starting time, the first hand of poker is dealt, then the second, and so on. Your stack of chips will go up or down depending on how well you do. You can’t leave the tournament and cash in your remaining chips, so if you want to win, be prepared to play for up to several hours.

Once a player runs out of chips, they’re knocked out of the tournament, and as more players are eliminated, the number of tables is reduced, until only the final table remains. Then the remaining combatants play until there’s one sole survivor holding all of the chips. You don’t have to win to earn a cash prize; roughly the top 15-20% of players will finish “in the money.” But if you are the last player standing, you’ll earn a much bigger payday than you’ll usually get at the cash tables.

To keep the action flowing, the blinds in a tournament go up at regular intervals. A typical tournament might start with the blinds at 10/20, then move to 20/40, then 30/60 and so on. This helps ensure that the tournament ends before turning into a marathon. As the blinds go up, your stack will get smaller in relative terms, but as long as you have at least 40 big blinds, you can use most of the same moves (3-betting, 4-betting and so on) in a tournament that you can at the cash tables. Once you’re down to 10-15 bigs, it’s pretty much all-in or fold.

Here’s an example of a recent tournament at Ignition Poker. This was a $3,000 Guaranteed tournament with 15-minute blind levels, meaning there would be at least $3,000 up for grabs in the prize pool no matter how many players signed up. In this case, 786 players entered, each paying a $5 buy-in and a 50-cent entry fee, thus creating a prize pool of $3,930.

Anyone who finished among the Top 153 players in this tournament, out of the original 786, received a cash prize. The smallest prize was $9.03, then the rewards went up from there, with $594.34 going to the winner. Not a bad return for a $5.50 investment. This was a Texas Hold’em tournament, as most are, but Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo tourneys are also available at Ignition Poker.

This $3,000 Guaranteed tournament had a special feature: Each player started with 10,000 chips, which is a very deep stack when the blinds start at 10/20. Some tournaments at Ignition might give you shorter stacks than normal, while others will have longer or shorter blind levels. You’ll also find Knockout tournaments, where you get a special bounty for every player you eliminate, and Satellite tournaments, where instead of a cash prize, you win a seat into a tournament with a larger buy-in. This lets you qualify for a major tournament like the weekly $75,000 Guaranteed High Roller, without paying the $300 buy-in and $25 entry fee.

 

Anonymous Tables 

Before we wrap things up, here’s one more important thing you should know before you start playing at Ignition Poker: Your identity is kept secret thanks to our anonymous tables. Instead of having a username when you’re at the tables, you’ll simply be referred to by your seat number. This prevents other players from using software to track your moves and figure out how to beat you. Anonymous tables are super-important when you’re a new player, giving you an extra layer of protection while you’re learning the ropes.

Now that you’ve been introduced to these three concepts, you can jump right in and play with confidence at Ignition Poker. Try some Play Money games at first, then start with the lowest Real Money stakes and work your way up the ladder at your own pace. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out our treasure trove of useful poker articles here at Ignition, and as always, best of luck at the tables.