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Beginner or Pro? The Top Online Poker Casinos in 2022

Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, there’s no denying poker is one of the most intricate and spectacular card games out there. So, if you’re here to learn more about it, improve your strategy and find the best online poker casinos in 2022, keep reading!

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What is Poker?

Poker is a broad term referring to a category of card games in which players wager over who has the best hand, according to a fixed set of rules, which may differ depending on the poker variant.
The modern game of poker is typically played with a standard deck of 52 cards, and it involves betting with chips.

Skill or Chance? Skill or Chance?
Poker is widely regarded as a game of skill, because the individual’s knowledge and ability to strategize play a key part in winning each round, as opposed to pure games of luck, such as roulette or slot machines.

It is believed that the game of poker first originated in North America, although nowadays it’s played worldwide under many shapes and forms. Many variations exist, with differences in details such as the number of cards or participants involved.

The game is super versatile and can be enjoyed from anywhere – you can sign up on poker sites for real money, play poker online with friends using streaming platforms or even try out your luck for free on various demo poker sites.

The most popular poker games in 2022 are Casino Hold’Em, Texas Hold’Em, Omaha and 7-Card Stud. Many other variations to these classics exist, depending on the software developer.

How To Play Poker

Although earlier forms of poker were played with 20 cards, today, the game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards.

That means you will have four of each card and four different suitshearts, spades, clubs and diamonds.

In most instances of the game, a poker hand consists of 5 cards. The value of each hand will be determined by a fixed ranking called the hierarchy of hands.

Poker Basics & Gameplay

A round of online poker begins with one or more players making a forced bet or a minimum contribution to the pot, called a blind or ante.

Each player will be given two cards face down and their goal throughout the game is to complete the best poker hand possible.

If you play against a real dealer, then he will be the one to provide these starting cards and determine the order of the blinds and betting rounds. Most commonly, the dealer passes out the cards in a clockwise direction, starting from the left.

In community card games, such as Texas Hold’Em or Omaha, the dealer will put 3 cards face-up on the table that all players can use to build their hand. This is called ”the flop”.

For betting, poker chips are used instead of cash – the chips have a fixed money value and are present in poker predominantly, because they’re easier to stack and count.

The next players will then take turns wagering on the value of the hands.

Basic Poker Moves Basic Poker Moves

Participants can either call (match the amount that has been bet by the previous player), raise (increase the opening bet), check (don’t put anything in the pot, pass the action to the next player) or fold (surrender their hand and lose the chance to win the pot).

At the end of the all betting rounds, the player with the winning hand takes the pot.

The Hierarchy of Hands

Poker Heirarchy of Hands Infographic

The main pillar of poker is the hierarchy of hands – once you understand each card ranking, it becomes easier to play the game, even as a beginner.

Winning Cards Winning Cards

In some poker variations, such as Texas Hold’Em and 7-Card Stud, the highest ranking hands win, whereas in Hi/Lo poker games, both high-ranking and low-ranking hands win.

Here are the most important hands in poker, from highest to lowest:

  • Royal Flush – the best possible hand in poker, it’s made up of five consecutive cards of the same suit in order of value (A, K, Q, J and 10)
  • Straight Flush – five cards of the same suit in sequence (e.g.: 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 of clubs)
  • Four of a Kind – four cards of the same rank and any fifth unmatched card
  • Full House – three matching cards of one rank and a pair of cards of another rank
  • Flush – five cards of identical suit in any order
  • Straight – five cards of sequential numerical value with at least two different suits
  • Three of a Kind – three cards of the same rank and two of different ranks
  • Two Pair – two cards with the same rank, plus another pair of cards of another rank
  • Pair – two cards of a single rank and three cards of other ranks
  • High Card – also known as no pair, it involves a hand that doesn’t fall into any of the above categories

Steps to a Basic Poker Round

  1. Two starting bets are placed – the small blind (worth half of the minimum bet) and the big blind (worth the minimum bet or more)
  2. The dealer gives each player 2 cards, starting from the left (they are not allowed to reveal their hand until the showdown)
  3. When it’s their turn, players can either check, call, raise, bet or fold their cards
  4. The dealer puts 3 community cards face-up on the table (”the flop”) that players use to complete their hand. If you play draw poker games, you can replace your existing cards or draw new ones
  5. After multiple betting rounds, each remaining player participates in a showdown and reveals their cards face up, starting from the left of the dealer
  6. The best hand wins or, if there is a tie, the players split the pot

How To Win at Poker

Poker games online are unique in the overall landscape of gambling due to their complexity.

For that reason, they are typically aimed at intermediary and professional players, although there is poker for beginners as well, for example video poker or Casino Hold’Em, in which you play against the house or computer software.

Ultimately, although elements of luck are involved as well, it is skill that separates beginners from pros.

To win at poker, you have to understand that the outcome of each hand is determined by chance.

However, in the longterm, it is your actions, your understanding of psychology, your ability to read your opponents, predict odds, keep calm or even bluff that will secure you a spot at the winning table.

Pro Poker Tips

As much as we’d love to tell you the opposite, it’s impossible to arrange your poker cards in the best order and win each round.

With that said, here are some quick tips the pros use that will transform your next game session:

  • Understand the poker variation you’re playing – not even the best Texas Hold’Em tips will work for other types of poker, so make sure you understand the rules of your game of choice in great detail and the rankings of each hand
  • Perfect your poker face & understand opponent psychology – in other words, keep your bluff aggressive to make your opponents think you have a strong hand, even if you don’t. And, if you believe another player has a weak hand, use that to your advantage
  • Be calm, collected and analytical – probability has a strong bearing on the outcome of most gambling games, poker included. Allocate some time to study poker odds or use a calculator online – this will help you determine the probability of a certain card appearing multiple times

How We Choose The Best Online Poker Casinos

If you’ve only played the most loved card game at home with your friends, you may not know how to properly select the right online poker casino for your budget and preferences.

While some sites such as Pokerstars Casino have the game built into their name, other's aren't so obvious, requiring you to check out some key aspects before you make the plunge. Casino Midas for example has a great poker section hidden behind its golden outer sheen.

Don’t worry, we’ve outlined some key steps for you below, so you can have the best virtual poker experience in 2022:

Licensing & Security

Never play on unlicensed poker platforms – you can risk losing your money, not receiving your bonuses or, worst of all, having your data stolen.

The online poker casinos we’ve selected all hold valid licenses from distinguished regulators, such as MGA (Malta Gambling Authority) or UKGC (UK Gambling Commission).

You can check licensing details for yourself by visiting the homepage of your chosen platform, then scrolling to the footer section.

Poker Bonuses

When ranking the online poker casinos available on the market, we pay special attention to their bonus offers and if any of them cater to poker players in particular (e.g. welcome bonuses, freerolls, live poker tournaments and events etc.).

Software Providers

Don’t forget to also check the software providers your online poker platform of choice works with. We only recommend online poker casinos with software from top suppliers like Microgaming, IGT, Evolution Gaming, Ezugi, Rival Gaming, Tom Horn Gaming or Play’N GO.

Types of Online Poker Games

Although the standard online poker game has evolved a lot in 2022 in terms of visuals & tech, most well-known poker categories follow similar gameplay and hand rankings:

What different types of online poker are available?

This is one of the oldest poker games out there, which has its origins in an older card game from the 16th century called Primero. It is played with a deck of 52 cards, and between 2-14 players can participate. Each player is dealt 5 cards and they must make the best hand possible. Jokers are also present and can be used as wild cards.

Stud poker differs from regular poker because of one key element – players receive both face-down and face-up cards during the betting rounds.

The most popular stud poker games are 5-card stud poker (particularly popular in Finland, where it’s called Sökö) and 7-card stud poker (players are dealt 2 extra cards and must come up with the best 5 card combination).

Also known as five-card draw, this variant is considered the most beginner-friendly for a poker player and it served as inspiration for video poker. Each player is given a complete hand of 5 cards, face down. Then, they must conceal their cards, as the round of betting begins.

The players that are still in the game after the first round have the option to draw – replace or discard some of their cards. Another round of betting commences and, at the end, players show their hands and the best one wins the pot.

This term refers to a family of poker games in which players can use community cards (or shared cards), which are set at the center of the poker table, face-down.

Participants are given a partial hand to start, and they must use the shared cards to complete it. The most well-known community card poker games are Texas Hold’Em and Omaha.

Video poker is based on the classic five-draw poker, with a layout reminiscent of electronic games. It can be played online or in-person across a computer console that resembles a slot machine. Famous video poker games include Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild.

Blockchain poker, also known as Bitcoin poker refers to online gambling platforms that organize provably fair poker games, using blockchain and RNG technology (e.g. Blockchain.poker or Coin.poker).

Users can verify the randomness of the software provided at all times and betting is done with various digital currencies (BCH, BTC, ETH).

Live Casino Poker vs Solo Online Poker

Live dealer poker and online poker follow the same basic game rules and they both use chips for betting.

However, the real differences pertain to the pace of the rounds and the difficulty levels.

Online poker is generally more suited for the pros – the game is faster, more complex and requires spur of the moment decisions, in a very competitive environment that tends to attract aggressive players. It’s also common for multi-tabeling to exist online (gamblers competing in multiple games at once, such as Omaha,7-Card Stud etc.).

Live dealer poker imitates the feel and pace of an actual poker game, offering more realism compared to its virtual counterpart. It’s a much slower game, since the cards are dealt manually by the croupier, and social interaction is encouraged.

Real Money vs. Free Poker – Differences & Similarities

If you’ve never played at online poker casinos before, here’s how to determine if the free version is right for you or if you should jump straight into real money gambling:

Play Poker For Real Money Play Poker For Free
Can win significant sums of money Can’t cash out any winnings
Risk of monetary loss involved No level of risk involved
Can participate in live tournaments & competitions Can only participate in freerolls
Must register an account and verify it Available without registration
Dozens of poker games & tables available Few variations available, mostly video poker

The Best Poker Bonuses To Claim in 2022

If you can’t resist a deck of cards wherever you are, why not play on the best online poker casinos and get rewarded for it in the process?
Plenty of sign-up offers are up for grabs in 2022 and we’ve selected the best ones for you below:

No Deposit Bonuses

A no deposit bonus at online poker casinos works the same as its counterpart from slot sites or bingo platforms. You need to create a new account, validate your identity and residence, claim your free poker bonus and use it on your favourite games.

Unfortunately, there are restrictions to keep in mind, also – the size of the bonus is usually smaller (e.g.€10-€50) and the sum is credited in bonus money, meaning that wagering requirements apply.

Match Deposit Bonuses

Match deposit bonuses are a staple offer at online poker casinos – the maximum amount you can claim will depend on the size of your first deposit and the cap imposed by the casino.

Dream Vegas is a good example here – they currently advertise a 100% match deposit bonus up to £300. Wagering requirements and time limits should also be taken into consideration.

Free Tickets

Betfair poker page

Some online poker casinos, such as Betfair, offer their poker players free tickets for tournaments and races.
The principle is simple – the more poker games you play, the more points you acquire.
Once you reach a particular number of points, you will receive your free tickets. They often have a cash value attached, ranging from €20-€40 on average.

Access To Live Competitions & Tournaments

Pokerstars PSC page

Perhaps the biggest perk to singing up on online poker casinos is the ability to measure your skills against a global audience.
You can take place in weekly tournaments with real money prizes or even international competitions, such as PokerStars’ No Limit Hold’Em Championship or the Unibet Online Series XVI. The prizes offered are mouth-watering – up to €400 000!

Daily Cash Drops

Unibet Poker Prize dropOne final offer to take advantage of is daily cash drops – this one is perfect for beginners, as it requires no other steps but playing at your favourite poker table!
The online casino will add a fixed number of cash prizes that you can claim on top of your winnings, which will get triggered randomly over the course of a game session.

Payment Methods for Online Poker

Online poker casinos and live poker rooms make it easy to fund your account and withdraw your winnings quickly and safely.

Depending on your needs and the device you use, you can juggle between different banking methods, many of which accept multicurrency transfers in EUR, USD or GBP:

What are the available payment methods?

Swiping our debit or credit cards for purchases has become second nature – if you don’t want to say goodbye to that familiarity, you should sign up for Mastercard casinos with a robust poker offering, such as William Hill or Grosvernor. VISA and Maestro are also commonly supported.

Opting for e-wallets catered specifically to gamblers is always a wise option – many of them even offer loyalty points if you deposit on gambling sites, including online poker casinos!
The safest options to try are Skrill gambling sites, NETELLER casino sites, MuchBetter casinos and PayPal casinos.

Cryptocurrency deposits are widely used on blockchain poker platforms, but also on regular cryptocoin casinos, such as Bitstarz.

All you have to do is select the digital currency you wish to deposit, specify the network and scan the QR code to confirm the transaction. Bitcoin casinos are particularly popular with poker players, but you can also use stablecoins like USDT at the table, if you prefer.

 

Mobile Compatibility at Online Poker Casinos

The best online poker casinos understand our need to be flexible with our gambling and they adapt to modern trends, including the rise of mobile play.
They connect us with our favourite games on any device, help us shuffle those cards from anywhere and, best of all, interact with live dealers and other players!
Mobile compatibility is ensured in multiple ways for poker players in 2022, such as:

  • Optimized Websites – most online poker casinos typically fall into this category, for example Genesis Casino or Dream Vegas
  • Poker Apps for Android/iOS – some platforms, such as 888 Casino, Unibet or Grosvernor have designed real money gambling apps for poker, where players can access a wide range of games and bonuses
  • Poker Clients/Software –the absolute best online poker casinos have created their own poker client or software that you can download to your device. The most authentic experience awaits, plus a huge number of games, rewards and even the chance to watch your favourite poker streamers on Twitch! Unibet and PokerStars offer all of the above, plus access to their unique competitions – Unibet Open and PokerStars Live
  • Instant-Play Poker – if you don’t want to download anything, but enjoy the same content, many online poker casinos further provide a browser version of their poker client, available for insta play on all devices

Most Prestigious Poker Events In The World

One of the most prestigious and long-lasting poker events is The World Series of Poker or WSOP. It is a series of poker tournaments organized every year in Las Vegas, from 1970s until today.

It is known for having huge prize pools, which have steadily increased over the years – for example, in 2006, the event reached a peak prize pool of $82,512,162!

Due to its massive success, starting 2007, the WSOP event spread to other parts of the world like Europe, Africa and Asia and became a global phenomenon for poker enthusiasts.

Famous Poker Players

There are many players who have turned their passion for poker into a successful career! Here are their stories and achievements:

  • Doyle Brunson is a professional poker player, who won the WSOP Main Event two times and was even inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. He is also a renowned author of poker strategy books, such as ”Super System” and ”Super System 2”
  • Daniel Negreanu is one of the best poker players of the modern era. He is a winner of 6 WSOP bracelets, two World Poker Tour championship titles and no less than $42,000,000 in prize money!

Alternative Table Games To Diversify Your Play in 2022

If you’re bored of your poker cards and want to try other table games, here are our best recommendations to switch things up:

  • Baccarat– baccarat is a pure game of chance, which means Baccarat strategy can be a little hard to implement when compared to the skill-based poker, but they both follow the principle of the strongest hand winning the round. Your goal is to bet which hand will be dealt by the dealer – the player’s or the banker’s. A winning hand has a total card value of 9 points
  • Blackjack– blackjack is an exciting, beginner-friendly card game that is also based on chance. Known as 21 or vingt-un, it’s a comparing card game. You no longer compete with the other players, like in poker – instead, you compete with the dealer for the strongest hand, which is 21 points. Best of all? There are plenty of blackjack sites to try with top bonuses & customer support!
  • Roulette – roulette is a gambling game whose outcome also depends purely on chance. A wheel spins and players wager on where a small white ball will land once it’s thrown into the wheel. Sound interesting to you? Learn more in our dedicated article on the best real money roulette sites!

Summary

Poker is by far the most popular skill-based card game at online casinos today – although it involves a bit more effort & learning, as opposed to games of luck, the prizes are worth the grind!
The best online poker casinos help you feed your competitive streak with bonuses, live poker rooms and tournaments with thousands of dollars up for grabs!
So, what are you waiting for? Pick your favourite online poker site from our list and let the shuffling begin!

Online Poker Casinos FAQs

High-quality online poker casinos can be found all across the world, from Canada to the UK – our top picks are Grosvenor, William Hill, Unibet and 888 Poker.

If you play on licensed online poker casinos with software from Microgaming, IGT, Evolution Gaming or other leading studios in the iGaming industry, the answer is no. All of these providers have certified software and fair odds.

Yes, all you need to do is register on any of our recommended online poker casinos, verify your account and make the minimum deposit requested by the platform (e.g. €10, €20).

Although some elements of luck are involved as well, for example the value of each hand you’re dealt, for the most part, poker is regarded as a game of skill, since it involves complex strategies and personal skills (e.g. reading your opponent, bluffing) to be successful.

The most basic poker rules to remember are the following: the game starts with a forced bet, then multiple rounds of wagering commence that increase the size of the pot. During ”showdown”, at the end, all cards are revealed and the player with the best hand wins.

The most played variations of this classic card game are Texas Hold’Em, Omaha and Casino Hold’Em.

When you play poker online, the order of the cards and the suits determine the value of the hand – the 4 types of cards to pay attention to all correspond to a different suit: hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds.

It depends on your preferences – what features you value, which games you habitually go for, if you like to play poker online for free or engage in live tournaments. Some of the best poker apps we’ve found are Unibet and 888Poker, available on both Android/iOS.

There are many free and reliable poker platforms you can try, such as Zynga Poker or 247 Free Poker. You can play straight from your browser or download the apps on your device.

Certainly. The wonders of video streaming have made it possible to play poker online with your buddies from all over the world, using sites like Poker Now.

The most beginner-friendly variations you can go for at online poker casinos are No Limit Hold’Em, Casino Hold’Em and Draw Poker.

Cristina Tudose

Cristina Tudose

I’ve been writing for the online casino industry for over 2 years now. During this time, I became passionate about player-centric content, especially slot and brand reviews.