At Play Online Poker, we have compiled all the information you need about the world of online poker in Ireland. Whether you are a complete beginner or ready to take your game to the next level, we have up to date information on sign up bonuses, poker site reviews, poker software, training sites, coaching, and poker strategy. Playing is not only fun and exciting, it can be lucrative. We want to set you on the right track to choosing the best tools to enhance your game for the best value. Check out our fresh content for the latest news and read our strategy guides to help you get the upper hand at the table. Our site also includes reviews of software and training sites to get you the best bang for your buck.
What is Online Poker
Brand new? Start right here. Online poker is exactly what the name implies. It is your favorite card game played online via the internet. Following the Moneymaker boom of 2003 where an amateur poker player took down the World Series of Poker and became world champion, poker, and in particular Texas Holdem has skyrocketed in popularity. Revenues are now mind boggling sums of billions of dollars yearly, and we want to teach you how to get a piece of the pie.
Professionals make their living through different poker websites by playing real money cash games and poker tournaments. When you take an exciting, fast paced game and put real money on the line, it is not hard to see why online poker has shot up in popularity. Winning is no easy task. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up slowly and steadily, while avoiding sharks, tilt, and bad bankroll management. You need to be constantly improving your game, thinking about your decisions, and using sites like ours to develop your edge. You need to choose the right website to play on, keep your technical skills sharp and have the mental discipline to avoid tilt and bad game selection. Poker is a game where a big ego can cost you everything.
If you are completely new to the game, many sites offer freeroll tournaments. These multi table tournaments attract novice poker players and are a great way to learn the flow of the game, get comfortable with the game, and start your journey to a real money player. There are even sites that will credit your account with a bonus without any deposit required. We provide information on websites that offer no-deposit bonuses, freerolls, and play money games.
Basic Tips And Strategies
Are you viewing poker as purely for entertainment, or do you want to win? If you want to be a winning player, you will have to invest time and effort to succeed.
Make the best decisions you can and do not expect to win every time. Variance can be brutal in poker. Poker is all about the long run. You need to play in games where you have an edge, and you need to play enough hands to combat the luck factor that keeps losing players coming back to the tables. One of the fastest ways a winning player can go broke is by getting a string of bad luck and going on tilt, trying to win back what they lost through overly aggressive, poor play. Stay calm and view your poker sessions as a whole instead of getting hung up over a single loss.
Avoid playing with emotions. Opponents will try to take advantage of you if you are playing with anger or frustration. If you feel these emotions creeping up, exit all of your tables and take a break. You might notice when playing poker online that after losing a huge hand, a player will start to go all in pre-flop or try outrageous bluffs that simply do not work. This is a classic example of angry, frustrated play, otherwise known as tilt.
Apply a mathematical approach to poker. Poker involves statistics, odds, and patterns. You can beat players by playing hands that have a mathematical edge over their holdings, by correctly calculating your odds, and betting in ways that force opponents to make incorrect calls or folds. At the very lowest stakes of poker, the most important first step is to know which hands you can comfortably play. At the micro levels, tight is right.
Manage your bankroll. The world of poker has countless stories of great players going broke while good players that manage their bankrolls make a living. We will show you how to allocate your money and explain when you can profitably move up in stakes.
Some players play too tight, losing value on their mid strength hands and folding too often to bluffs. Other players play too loose and aggressive, bluffing when their opponents have shown strength and often showing up at the river with the second best hand. We can help you find your most profitable play style, master recognizing betting patterns, bluffs, and calculate odds on the fly. With hard work and dedication you can sit down at an online poker table and quickly see who are the fish and who are the sharks.
Make sure you take full advantage of sign up bonuses and rakeback. Sites reward their loyal customers with rakeback programs that vary from site to site. Rake is the house fee which is taken from every pot played, and poker sites will give back a percentage of this rake to their players. Some sites offer as high as 60% rakeback, which can be the difference between winning and losing as a player. Playing on sites which do not offer sign up bonuses and have poor rakeback can turn even a strong player into a break-even player over the long term.
Software is a vital component to winning. In the current day and age, software can give you a huge edge in calculating odds, analyzing opponents games, choosing which hands to play in specific spots, and reviewing your own mistakes.
A) HUD Software
HUDs, or Heads Up Displays are the most essential software for players. HUDs track every aspect of your opponents games whenever you play a hand with them, giving you a clear picture of what kind of player they are. Using a HUD, you can dissect an opponents play to understand what cards they will reraise you preflop with, how often they are bluffing, and whether they are a tight or loose player. HUDs can be used for No-Limit, Limit, and Pot-Limit cash games, tournaments, and sit and go tournaments. The two main providers of HUD software are Holdem Manager and Pokertracker, although recently two new companies have sprung up for select markets. Jivaro is a new HUD which offers a free version for Pokerstars players, and Holdem Indicator is a HUD which focuses on the anonymous tables of Bovada.
B) Poker VIP Table Mod
This software allows you to modify the aesthetics of your playing experience. It makes it possible for members to makes changes to layouts, cards and chips while they play online. This software is found online in PokerVIP stores and is free for site members. If you are going to play poker online seriously, it helps to have a professional, neat layout tailored to your preferences.
C) Pokerstove and Equilab
These free programs analyze the equity of hands you play. Equity means the percentage of a pot you are expected to win. So, for example if by using this program I plug in data for pocket kings against pocket aces of the same suits, I see that the pocket aces have an 82.636% chance of winning. That means that in a pot of 1000$, the pocket aces have 826.36$ of equity and the pocket kings have 173.64$ in equity. By using statistics you find in your HUD, you can put your opponents on a range of hands they could possibly have and see how your cards mathematically fare against them.
D) Holdem Manager 2
Hold’em Manager 2 is a Heads Up Display program which allows you to track information on your opponents as you play against them. It gives you a heads up display in real to enhance your poker strategy and help you make tough decisions. It is essential for analysis of both your own game and the strategies of your opponents.
If you wish to know more about HM2 and how to get it for free, you can read our in depth review. For those who want to be able to play for real money without ever deposition a cent, we have compiled an entire article on all the best no deposit required bonuses.
E) Poker Tracker 4
PT4 is another premium HUD program which is among the best poker tools available for players. It has comparable features to HM2, and you can read our full review to help you make your decisions as to which HUD to purchase. I personally use PT4.
Every site wants one thing: to attract new players. We have compiled information on the best Online Poker Bonuses by the most popular sites.
Training sites make sense for both amateur and expert players. Once you have taken advantage of free information available online, you can pay a monthly subscription to watch in depth videos on training sites. Some training sites are general, while others are focused on certain game types such as cash games or sit and go tournaments. The tips and strategies you will find on these paid sites can make the monthly subscription pay itself tenfold if used correctly. These videos must be viewed critically, and for full value you need to engage yourself in the material, question the decisions of the coaches, and take notes on how you will improve your game based on their knowledge.
Tournament Poker Edge
This website is the leading multi-table tournament training site. They are focused entirely on a single format, which results in their information being highly detailed and specific. Compared to other online poker training sites which cover different cash, heads up and sit and go’s, Tournament Poker Edge simply has the most information on MTTs.
The site is also known for its customer service, responding to forum posts and emails quickly. You can view the forums for free, and get a sense of whether the subscription fee will be worth it for you. We feel that for players focusing on multi-table tournaments, this training site is the perfect choice based on its wealth of knowledge and interactive style which facilitates engaged learning.
The site also has recent and archived podcasts which are available completely free. Guests include some of the best players in the world at high roller events and mid stakes tournaments and revolve around strategy, motivation, and hand analysis. Each podcast will leave you thinking about your game from a different angle.
Poker Xfactor is a training site which focuses on MTTs, although they do have a limited section of cash game content. There are seven videos of MTT reviews which are available for free to get a sense of the content before joining.
Poker Xfactor features an online classroom setting where members pick apart each other’s play to find leaks, and suggest improvements. There are also monthly strategy lectures, live sessions where members can watch pros play while explaining their thought processes, and multi-day classes for in-depth material.
Poker Xfactor has the benefit of exclusive poker software for subscribers. The tournament payout calculator, 3bet calculator and re-stealing spreadsheet are incredibly useful for players in the intermediate and advance levels of MTT play.
Ivey Leauge is Phil Ivey’s training site, and carries some big name coaches include Patrick Antonius, Aaron Johns, and of course Phil Ivey himself. The site includes content from a wide variety of poker games, including Seven Card Stud, 2-7 Triple Draw, NLHE, PLO, and Mixed Games. With some of the highest stakes players as coaches, this website offers insight into the minds of the bests in the game.
Recent content from Ivey league is from smaller stakes coaches, and much of the high stakes content is only available with the “Masters” subscription, which comes with a high cost of 75$/month. As well, Phil Ivey himself has not published any videos of his own since 8 months ago. The site offers a forum and short clips of the member only videos, so you can take a look and see if the site is a good fit for you.
Online Poker Coaching
Poker coaches are the best way to improve your game. There is nothing that can compare to one on one sessions where a professional player dissects and analyzes your game to find your weak spots and flaws in thinking. This does not come cheap. Good poker coaches charge a premium hourly rate, and for a mid-level player who hits a plateau, they are a wise investment. A coach needs to have extensive experience with the game, understand your level of play, and work with you to take you to the next level.
You can find a poker coach through referrals from other players, or through poker training websites. Tournament Poker Edge, Poker Xfactor and Ivey League all have contact information for one on one coaching with some of the strongest players in the world. To get full value from your coaching sessions, make sure that your coach understands exactly what your level of poker is.
Coaching is an investment, and a costly one. Because of the price tag associated with good coaching, make sure to do your research first. Look at their websites, read through student reviews, and view graphs of student success before and after coaching. Ask them for their poker usernames and look at their results for yourself. Once you are sure of your choice, contact them and arrange your first session.
Coaching is generally done through skype or other video messaging services. A typical coaching session would consist of them analyzing you as you play a session live or critiquing a pre-recorded video of your play. As you explain your thought processes and reasons behind your decisions, your coach will identify deficits in your play and put you on the correct path to improving. Coaches are also experts of poker software, and can walk you through using different programs so that you can analyze your own game and improve autonomously.
Online Poker Sites
The 6th worst poker player in the world can make money by sitting down at a table with the five worst players in the world. Choosing the best online poker sites is one of the most important decision you will make in your poker career. You need to take into account security, bonuses, software, rakeback and the softness of the site. Sites geared towards recreational players will generally be easier than those which appeal to mass multi-tabling grinders.
The gold standard of poker. Reliable, easy to deposit and withdraw on, with the largest player pool in the world, there are many reasons to play on Stars. They offer a 100% first deposit match of up to 600USD or 500EUR, and have new promotions running every month. We have a full review of Pokerstars which gives you more info on bonuses, games offered, and even how to use a HUD for free.
The games are tough. Even at the lower stakes, you are going to be up against professional players who multi-table sometimes over 24 tables at a time to try to take money from new players. Also, Pokerstars has in the past changed their reward programs without consulting the player base.
Party Poker is one of the giants of online poker. While it is not the titan it used to be, it still has action around the clock, high guaranteed tournaments, and a unique bonus program for new players. Read our full Party Poker Review to learn more about this site.
If you’re a seasoned pro, the antiquated layout and look might grate on you. As well, playing multiple tables at once is not quite as smooth as Pokerstars.
This site is hugely popular in part because of their deposit bonuses and marketing campaigns which appeal to recreational players. The most incredible draw to this site is the 88$ bonus which is given absolutely free, without a deposit required to all new players. This is currently the best online poker bonus available without a deposit. In addition, you can double your first deposit up to 400$ by earning “Status Points” through playing real money games. Read our 888poker review to get an in depth look at the site.
888 is compatible with Mac, PC, and mobile devices. It is known for being fast, secure, and easy to use.
Many people prefer live poker because it feels more social and less like a video game. In response to this demand, 888 Poker now offers webcam poker to mimic the feel of live poker from the comfort of your home. You can view your opponents as you play, and practice spotting tells as you try to conceal your own emotions.
888 Poker offers many ways to deposit and withdraw, including Paypal, Visa, Mastercard and more.
How can they afford to give all new depositors 88$ free? 888 Poker unfortunately offers poor rakeback deals. As well, traffic can be low in less popular game types and during non-peak hours. This does have the positive effect for new players of reducing the number of professionals, or “regs” who play on the site.
Titan Poker is known for its 200% sign up bonus matched up to 2,000$ which makes it ideal for those who have a larger bankroll and want to get the most bang for their buck. As you play, you earn extra cash based on your first deposit. Titan Poker is hosted on the ipoker network along with Paddy Power and Bet365, which are gambling and sports betting websites which draw exactly the type of player you want to be up against to the poker tables. After winning a huge bet on horses or sports, gamblers love to sit down at the poker table and punt off stacks.
Titan Poker has good volume and a strong player pool, meaning that finding a game is never difficult. It features Texas Holdem poker and Omaha Hi Lo. If you are not ready to make a deposit yet and want to test out the site, there is a free bonus of 20$ which requires absolutely no deposit. It is geared towards the international community, with multi-language software to allow you to play comfortably in your native language.
Titan Poker offers competitive rakeback, which makes it a solid choice for long term players who wish to make this site their home.
The software is unfortunately the biggest negative to Titan Poker. It can be buggy and even crash during games. As we said previously, Titan Poker offers very competitive rakeback. While this is good if you are playing a high volume of hands, it has the negative of attracting players who are not good for the game. Sometimes you will sit at a table which has more regulars to recreational players.
Pros: PP is a huge player in the online betting market, with a near monopoly on the action in Ireland. Their poker site makes up a small part of their business, and you can tell that the players are focused on gambling. This is one of the best sites to practice “table selection”: the process of finding the whale who just won big betting on horses and wants to gamble it up on the poker table. Want to learn more? We have a full Paddy Power Poker Review ready for your reading pleasure.
While PP might have some of the softest players, there is a good reason why many pros avoid this site. The rake is high, and if you are playing at the low stakes in particular you will be brutalized by the amount the site takes.
Thanks for checking out our site. We are committed to giving in depth reviews of sites, following the latest sign up bonuses and promotions, and giving you the edge you need to compete with the best. Please reach out to us in a comment or email if you have any recommendations or requests.