Most poker sites strive to be as easy to use as possible, while a good land-based poker club should make you feel very welcome. However, there are still likely to be some things you are not sure about, whether you’re playing online or offline, so make sure to check out these Frequently Asked Questions to help clear up any confusion you may have. Click the questions below to display the answers.
In the UK, it is legal for players who are at least 18 years old to play poker online or at land-based poker clubs. This is strictly enforced and players may be asked to verify their ages by submitting official documents to the online operator or the owner of the venue.
As long as you have chosen a trustworthy site to play poker on, your money is perfectly safe. Many of these businesses may be based in places like Gibraltar or the Isle of Man, but if they are properly licensed and regulated, you can be sure that your deposits (and any winnings) will be safe. All of the sites featured on Gamble.co.uk are licenced by the UK Gambling Commission, which maintains stringent requirements for gaining a gambling licence of any kind.
Quite a few poker sites offer instant poker in a pop-up browser, which measures up just as well and allows players to get to the tables straight away. However, many do not and you will need to download software, which may not be possible on every device. It is easily done the vast majority of the time, though, and it’s completely free. The download usually takes less than a minute and will let you join a vast network of players on the site of your choice.
As part of the agreement with users on most sites, software will be installed which allows them to monitor your computer for possible fraud. They’re not interested in who you’re emailing or anything like that. Scans are done purely to check that you aren’t running any software that will allow you to cheat, and if something is found to suggest you are doing so, then there may be an investigation. Just like poker sites are required to hold specific licences, so are gaming software designers, who must ensure that their online poker software is properly regulated. If you are downloading poker software from a reputable cardroom, you have nothing to worry about.
Gamble.co.uk’s online poker reviews show each site’s accepted payment methods and there are a wide variety of options in every case. Typically, you can use debit or credit cards or various e-wallet brands such as Skrill, Paypal or Neteller. As well as a minimum deposit and minimum withdrawal amount, many sites will ask you to set your own limits on how much money you put down. This can be a daily, weekly or monthly amount, and is designed to help you stay in control as you build your bankroll.
A number of the poker sites featured on Gamble.co.uk offer players the chance to enjoy poker via mobile or tablet devices, and many of the others stated when asked that they had plans to bring in such an option. Check out the reviews to find out which poker sites have mobile or table offerings.
Poker winnings in the UK are not taxed so for the average casual player there is no need to worry. For a minority of people the issue might become more complicated; for example a ‘professional’ player may receive appearance money for being on a TV show where they are providing a service, and the specifics of such cases would need to be examined individually. It has been reported that the government may start to tax the winnings of players, following studies which suggest that skill is a more important factor in the outcome of a poker game than luck. As more information becomes available it will be reported on Gamble.co.uk.
Multi-tabling is just what it sounds like – playing on more than one table at the same time. It is one of the great advantages of online poker that you don’t just have to concentrate on one game at a time, giving players multiple chances to win. It is a fun feature available on most sites, but it does take some brain power as you have to constantly switch focus from one table to another.
Most sites allow you to view tables even when you are not playing, which is a useful way to learn about how things work before you get started. You can pick up ideas on how to play and analyse the action more closely when you don’t have a hand of your own to worry about, while it is also good to if you want to see if you’re ready to move up a level to high-stakes tables.
Disconnecting deliberately during a tournament or hand in a bid to avoid losing money could lead to you being reported and your account flagged. If you think another player has disconnected on purpose, make sure the site is informed so an investigation can be carried out.
There are strict rules against players colluding and every site will watch out carefully for signs of two or more people working together. If you suspect this is happening, report it to the site with details of the table number and which player(s) you suspect. If you are worried, then you can just switch tables or opt to play tournaments, where seat distribution is completely random.
Chatting online during a game of poker is an enjoyable aspect of the game for many players, but comments are carefully monitored. As well as rules strictly forbidding collusion, you should not speak about a hand while it’s going on. Every site will have its own guidelines, but abusive language will obviously not be tolerated, so it’s best not to go too far with any banter. It is also safe to assume that you can’t use chat for any commercial use, and in most cases the sites will make it clear that any language other than English won’t be allowed. ‘Flooding’, which involves sending so many messages that legitimate chat is drowned out, is also not permitted.
Bluffing is a huge part of poker and involves trying to make other players think that you have a hand that you really don’t have. For example, you might have a poor hand but pretend that you have a strong one to try and convince opponents to fold. This is easier if you’re face-to-face with your opponents, but it’s a bit trickier when you’re staring at a computer or tablet screen.
If you’re playing online, you might want to consider toning down your bluff depending on what sort of hand you have; if your hand gives you a good chance of grabbing the pot, you can raise instead of limping into the pot. As you play more online poker, you’ll get better at spotting the bluffing tactics that opponents use and that you can take on for your own gain.
Gamble.co.uk has developed a Poker Club Finder to help you discover where you can go to play in your area. There are clubs all over the UK, many of which are part of casinos, and you can read detailed reviews of some of the best to find out more about what you should consider before heading out for a game.
You have to be 18 to play poker in a club and you should take photo ID along to prove your age. Even if you are not blessed with youthful looks, you will need your ID to verify your name, address and other details.
The best advice is to check with the place you’re visiting to avoid disappointment, but generally poker clubs are not black-tie affairs. In fact, think of a poker player’s typical outfit and you might visualise someone wearing sunglasses and a silly hoodie. These can help you hide tells or intimidate opponents, but it is all down to personal preference and, in the main, if you opt for smart casual you are likely to fit right in.
It is a good idea to see if you can register online in advance, and then when you get to the club the best course of action is to find a member of staff to check you are all signed up and find out where you’ll be playing. You will also need to see the cashier to exchange your money for chips. At the end of your visit, the cashier will also buy your chips back from you.
The minimum and maximum buy-ins will vary between games and establishments. Most poker clubs will try to cater for players of all abilities, from newcomers enjoying the game for the first time who do not want to risk losing too much to old hands battling it out for big prizes.
You cannot smoke inside public buildings under UK law, but most poker clubs will have a designated smoking area on the premises. There will also be a code of conduct to which visitors are expected to adhere. Collusion or cheating at the tables will obviously not be tolerated, and neither will obscene language, threatening behaviour or damaging property. Touching other players’ chips is also forbidden and you will not be allowed to use your phone at the table.
It may be that you have to wait for your game to start or have more time than you expected after it finishes, but there are usually lots of other fun ways to spend time at a poker club. As many clubs are part of casinos, you might have the opportunity to play blackjack and other table games, or you could just enjoy the simple pleasures of the bar.
Online poker rooms will often have their own FAQs, with answers specifically tailored for their own players. Check out full, independent poker reviews to find out which site is best suited to your needs.
If you have any questions which aren't covered here, get in touch with us using our Contact page and we'll do our best to answer your query.
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