Joining an Online Poker Game

 Most poker clients – the software that you use to play online poker – have been designed to resemble conditions of real table poker games. But even if you have been playing poker for a number of years, playing online poker can take some getting used to. It may also take some time to get used to a particular online poker game.

As in a table poker game, you will need to choose which game table to join, “sit” among other players, buy your chips, and then play. Features that are more specific to playing online poker include the possibility of Internet connection failures and particular etiquette for playing online.

Despite the huge number of online poker sites available, most poker clients have similar general features and the basic process for joining an online poker game is the same.

Getting Started

Before you can consider joining an online poker game, you have to download and install the free software that your chosen poker site supplies. Once you’ve installed the software, you can usually double-click an icon on your desktop to run it. The program should automatically attempt to connect to the poker site’s game server.

The Lobby

Upon connection to the game server, an initial page will display the “lobby” of the site. This page will show you the active tables and provide information such as the type of game that is being played, the stakes, and the number of players who are already seated at the playing table.

On some sites, the “lobby” may consist of simple tabular grids. Other sites may feature a 3-D display resembling a real poker room, with the names of the “seated” players marking their places at a table. All sites try to make it easy for first-time visitors to gain enough confidence to navigate to and find the particular games they would like to join.

Pick a table that has room for a player. Joining the online poker game is easy – when you double-click a seat, a new window opens and shows your place at the table. You are now one of the players. If you try to join a particular table that is already full, the game server will ask you if you wish to be placed on the “wait list.” When it is your turn to take a seat at the table, a dialog box will pop up. You have about a minute to accept the seat before the next person in line gets the offer.

For details on what comes next, see playing online poker and online poker betting.