The online poker provided by sites like is one of the most accessible forms of gambling in the modern world.  Unlike the physical casino or betting shop, access can be instantaneous, achieved from the comfort of your own home, or indeed anywhere that you can gain access to the internet.  Ease of access is of course not the only reason for the massive popularity of online poker, as the blend of luck, skill and risk has an allure that few if any other card games possess.  The popularity of online poker is not in question; however, the accessibility of this form of gambling holds potential pitfalls to the unwitting newcomer.  Here are a few points to remember that can help you avoid some common, and potentially costly, mistakes.

The first point may seem blindingly obvious, but is in fact overlooked by many who simply cannot wait to start playing online poker.  You must properly learn the rules of the game before you start to play for money!  After you have studied the rules, take advantage of the free, pretend money games offered by most of the big online poker sites.  Use these games to put the theory into practice, and remember that there is no rush to move up to a money game.

It is not only the sequence of winning hands that you need to learn.  The betting system is at least as important as learning the hierarchy of hands, and again, free games are invaluable for getting a proper grip of what is happening.

There is no shame in keeping a cheat sheet beside you when playing online poker, to remind you of the weighting of different hands.  You will understandably want to memorise these rules as soon as possible, but in the heat of the moment – especially in your first few online poker games – it is easy to make mistakes when you start to commit a bit of money.  Put simply, take all the help that you can get.

One of the major advantages of the online game, over the poker you might play in a casino, can help you with the task of assessing hands.  In physical (or bricks and mortar poker as it is sometimes called) you will invariably play with a two tone deck of cards.  Clubs and Spades will be black, and Hearts and Diamonds will be red.  Online poker is famously much faster than physical games, and when the action starts to speed up it can be very easy to misread the cards as you scan your hand, and the cards on the table.  Many online poker games will allow you to display the cards dealt as a four colour pack, with each suite given its own colour.  Spades will commonly stay black, and Hearts red, but Clubs can be green and Diamonds blue. This colour coding can provide a real advantage, both for those starting out in online poker, and those simply playing long sessions through the night.