Poker Room TourA quick guide to online poker rooms
If you've seen the stars of professional poker playing the game on television and have been inspired to join an online poker room, chances are you'll have discovered that navigating an online poker site and becoming a good player isn't as easy as you might have thought.
While the poker pros make it look easy, becoming a successful online poker player involves more than laying down pocket Aces or calling bluffs. To make the most of online poker you'll need to discover which poker format suits you best, and then choose the table structure that best suits your skills.
To help you find your way around William Hill and start on your journey to the big time, we've put together this simple guide to finding your way around an online poker room.
Once you've signed up for a poker account, downloaded the William Hill poker software and made your first deposit you can log into the William Hill poker software. The default screen for the William Hill poker room shows the list of all the cash games in progress, with a list of the different blind limits and table names.
On the bottom left of the screen you'll see a selection of buttons, which include:
- Cash Games
- Sit & Go
- Scheduled Tournaments
- Play Money
These four options allow you to choose how you want to play the game, and have important consequences for your experience of online poker.
Many novice poker players start off with cash games. Cash games are essentially open tables where the only limit on your play is the size of your bankroll. You can choose the game format of your choice, followed by the appropriate minimum bet value, before selecting an open table or joining a waiting list for an appropriate table.
Cash tables are popular for a number of reasons:
- You can play instantly without waiting for a game to commence
- There is no increase in blinds, so you will rarely be under pressure to play weaker hands
- Pots can get quite big, even on smaller stakes tables
However, cash tables can also be very testing for a number of reasons:
- It's often the player with the bigger bankroll rather than the better game who does well, particularly on low stakes tables.
- A high percentage of players on low stakes cash tables play a very loose game, calling with weaker hands and waiting for cards on the turn and river to complete straights and flushes
- You can lose a large sum of money in a very short period of time
Sit & Go Tournaments
Sit & Go poker tables are great places to learn the art of tournament poker. Sit & Go tournaments are mini-tournaments ranging in size from 6 to 50 players with buy-ins ranging from a dollar to hundreds of dollars. To participate in a tournament players simply click on a suitable tournament, register on the tournament page and wait for a sufficient number of players to register for the game to begin.
Sit & Go Tournaments are popular for several reasons:
- A single stake can provide hours of poker action. This also means the amount risked in each tournament is limited to the buy-in
- Players do not need to win a tournament to earn a payout. The bigger the tournament, the more players are paid out. This means players can build their bankrolls steadily if they are able to survive until the final stages of Sit & Go tournaments
- Participants in Sit & Go tournaments rarely play as loosely as players on cash tables. While some players take risks to build their stacks, having a finite chip stack is usually enough to keep even the slimiest fish in check
However, Sit & Go Tournaments can also have the following disadvantages:
- Waiting periods for tournaments to begin can be long if traffic on the poker room is low
- Once you have started a tournament you will need to complete the tournament if you hope to earn a payout. This means that interruptions, or internet connectivity issues can disrupt a game at the most crucial moments
- Blinds are raised at predetermined intervals. This means that players are forced to play to avoid the blinds consuming their stacks, which makes playing a tight game difficult.
Large online poker tournaments are how the pros make their money and build their reputations. Scheduled tournaments are organised throughout the day. To participate, players simply select a tournament with a suitable starting time and affordable buy-in.
Scheduled tournaments are popular for a number of reasons:
- Players can win big prizes. Whether it's a ticket to a major live tournament or thousands of dollars in cash, good play is always rewarded
- Many tournaments offer re-buys for the first hour of play, allowing players to recover from bad-beats and continue playing
- A place in the final 80 of the tournament is often sufficient to generate a payout
However, the following aspects of tournament play need to be kept in mind before registering for a scheduled event:
- Scheduled tournaments can take several hours to play. The better you play, the longer the game will take, so it's a good idea to set aside at least 5 hours if you plan on playing in a scheduled tournament
- Players in re-buy tournaments and free-rolls can play very loosely in the early stages of the tournament. When several players at a table adopt this strategy simultaneously it's easy to suffer a bad beat. It's advisable to play a very tight game early on in these tournaments and let the loose players eliminate one another
The play money section of William Hill poker allows players to take part in poker games without any risk. This part of the site is only useful when attempting to pick up a new poker format or experiment with new poker strategies. However, it must be kept in mind that there is limited value in playing free poker as the absence of risk has a dramatic effect on how players approach hands.
Ready for the Poker Room?
As you can see, there is a world of poker excitement awaiting you in the William Hill poker room. Once you've found your way around the site and discovered the formats and table structures that work best for you, you'll find that there are dozens of additional opportunities to generate big payouts and move up in the virtual poker world. If you require any further assistance, don't hesitate to contact William Hill's poker help-line direct from the online poker room. Now that you've got the basics, further your knowledge on how to play poker and try out some online poker tournaments!