Online poker is a popular casino gaming option in the Philippines. The card game is one of the most popular because it comes in several variations and the potential for great wins. Before playing poker online in the Philippines, though, any smart gambler will want to know if it’s legal. Although the country has some strict gambling laws, it presents some loopholes in certain areas. For example, no specific laws prohibit real money poker gaming. Local casinos are not allowed to offer poker games, but licensed offshore poker sites can.
So, poker fans don’t have to look very far to find what they need. Whether you prefer cash games, poker tournaments or sit & go’s, you can easily locate a suitable platform. Besides gambling for real money, Filipino players also have the option of free poker where you can play without risking your bankroll. Keep reading this online poker guide to find out more about the gambling option in the Philippines.
Brief History of Poker
Learning where online poker gets its origin gives you a perspective about gambling on this particular game. Poker is among the oldest forms of gambling and is said to go back almost 1,000 years. Some reports say that it hailed from a Persian card game called As Nas. Others claim that it can be traced to a 10th-century Chinese emperor. What is clear, though, is that the game Poque, popular in 17th century France, was its predecessor.
Poque moved to North America, specifically New Orleans, where the game evolved to poker. There, it adapted the 5-card mode. Real money poker later spread across America and then Europe in the 1870s. Over time more variations of the game came up, including five-card draw, seven-card draw, and later, Texas Hold’em. As traditional gambling moved to the online sphere, poker games became more accessible through online poker sites.
How to Play Poker – Basic Rules and Terms
Before you stake real money on online poker, you should familiarise yourself with the rules. We compiled this simple and quick guide to help beginners learn a few basics. The specific rules depend on the poker game. You can find some of them in the next section. Most rules don’t change across the variants. Nonetheless, you have to know the key differences. The principle rule when playing online poker, whatever the type, is to get the best hand. You can also win real money if all players fold, leaving you with the pot. A poker game can have anything from 2 to 10 players.
The cards are dealt and divided among the poker players. Then you can proceed with different actions. You can call, which means betting the same number of chips as the previous player, raise, meaning your bet is higher than the previous one or fold, which requires you to leave that round and wait for the next one. The point is to bet on your hand, which comes down to how good your cards are.
Most Popular Online Poker Games
No-Limit Texas Hold’em is the most popular poker game. However, poker sites in the Philippines have more to offer. The huge variety of games that offer real money prizes is part of poker’s appeal. Because poker games vary in complexity, players with different skills can find appropriate options on which to wager. Note that the availability of different poker types varies across platforms. So, you have to be careful when picking the best online poker operator. Below are some of the most played poker games.
You can always count on finding a Texas Hold’em title for real money gaming because it’s the most popular. One reason for that is the game’s simplicity. A round starts with each player receiving two hole cards, dealt face down. Players can then use community cards to make the best five-card hand. During each betting round, you can call, raise or fold. You win real money if you end up with the best hand at the end of the final round. With No-Limit Texas Hold’em, players can bet for real money as much as they want.
Omaha Hold’em, or simply Omaha, is similar to Texas Hold’em. However, instead of two hole cards, you get four, and you must use two of them to make the best hand. The poker game begins with a draw for a dealer. Each player receives a card facing up, and the highest-ranking card acts as the dealer. The two players to the left of the dealer put out the small and big blinds before each player gets their four cards. Then the initial betting round begins (pre-flop) followed by the flop, turn and river rounds. Omaha is available in several alternatives, including Omaha Hi-Lo, 5-Card Omaha and Pot-Limit Omaha.
This poker game is among the oldest variations. Every player gets seven cards to use for a five-card winning hand. Unlike the above two variants, Seven-card Stud doesn’t involve community cards. Also, the variation uses bring-in and ante bets instead of blinds. The player with the lowest up-card is the first to play in the first round. This player also has to put up the bring-in wager. For the next rounds, the highest up-card plays first. Each player starts with two face-down and one face-up cards. As betting continues, you get card 4, 5, 6 dealt face up and the seventh one face down.
Players looking for something more non-traditional can try Chinese poker. Usually, it involves 4 players, but 2 or 3 will do. Each player gets 13 cards. You then have to divide the cards into three categories. First is the highest-ranking 5-card hand. The second is a middle strength 5-card hand, and the third cluster consists of the weakest 3 cards. You then have to show these hands and compare them to what your opponents hold. The best hand in each category wins. It means that you can win one or all of the hands depending on your cards. The poker game uses basic hand rankings.
The objective is to build the highest five-card hand. In this online poker variant, each player is dealt five cards separately after setting the small and big blinds. The player to the left of the big blinds starts the pre-draw round. Then players can proceed to draw 0 to 5 cards from the top of the deck. Players go another round before reaching the showdown where they have to reveal their cards. The best hand takes the real money prize. Five-card Draw can have fixed or no limits.
Poker Hand Rankings
Standard hand rankings apply to most online poker options, and here are the highest to the lowest:
- Royal Flush – Five cards of the same suit made of a straight 10 to Ace (A, K, Q, J, 10).
- Straight Flush – A straight where all the cards are the same suit.
- Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same rank but different suits.
- Full House – Any three of a kind combined with a pair of the same rank. For example, 5-5-5-7-7.
- Flush – Five cards of the same suit but not in order.
- Straight – Consists of five consecutive cards in any suit. An Ace can count as a high or low card.
- Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank plus two side cards.
- Two Pair – A pair of the same rank and another one of a different rank. For instance, 8-8-6-6-4.
- One Pair – One pair of the same rank.
- High Card – Any five cards that don’t make the standard hands.
Different online poker titles offer real money winning opportunities. However, the potential payout when playing for real money depends on how much you wager. Poker games come with table limits, which are the maximum and minimum amounts that you can bet. Online poker sites use table limits to control who plays certain poker titles and the potential wins.
When looking for the best online poker alternative, you have to consider the table limits. These restrictions determine if a particular poker game is for high rollers or low-stakes players. For example, take a table with $10/$15 limits. It means you have to wager up to $10 in the first two rounds and $15 in the next rounds. Poker limits also restrict the number of times that you can raise.
Online Poker Bonuses
Filipino gamblers can choose from different types of bonuses when playing poker online. Most poker sites have exclusive promotions for online poker while others allow players to use regular casino offers. Deposit match bonuses are the most popular. An operator can provide such in the form of a welcome offer for new customers. It could also be a reload bonus where you get real money for continued deposits. No deposit offers for poker games are scarce but can be worthwhile. Some websites allow customers to exchange comp points for poker bonuses. A good bonus can boost your betting power dramatically, hence increasing your chance to win real money.
Online Poker Tournaments
The advantage of poker tournaments is that they offer real money winning opportunities on a bigger scale than cash games. An online poker tournament involves several players that have to put up a buy-in to join the competition. As participants wager on poker games, their performances are recorded on a leaderboard, and the top player gets the pot. Poker sites in the Philippines have different types of poker tournaments.
- Sit & Go’s (SNGs) – The tournaments require a specific number of registered players to start. 2-360 participants can join, with each table hosting 6 or 9 poker players. The winner gets most of the prize money.
- Heads Up – Players go one-on-one on several poker games until a single winner remains.
- Multi-Table – Players buy into the tournament for a set price, and as they are eliminated, the remaining ones move to other tables.
- Poker Satellite – They are low-cost tournaments where you can win real money and a chance to join a bigger tournament.
How to Find the Best Online Poker Sites for You
Filipino players have hundreds of poker sites from which to choose. A lot of offshore gambling platforms are available in the Philippines, which is an advantage for players because they have more alternatives. However, it also makes finding the best online poker websites tedious. It’s not enough for an operator to offer real money poker in the region. It must also satisfy certain elements, which we highlight below.
Quality of Bonuses and Promotions
Having a little extra money to spend is always a good thing, and bonuses provide that. The best online poker platforms have promotions to entice players. When comparing sites, check the types of poker bonuses available, if any. Signup offers are the most popular. Don’t focus only on the amount, though. Ensure that a promotion offers value to your gambling. Also, remember to confirm that the advertised promotions are available in the Philippines.
Poker Variants Available
The selection of poker games that a poker site offers should tell you if it’s the one for you. Of course, your skills and preferences are the most crucial here. You want poker rooms where you can enjoy picking from your favourites. If you intend to experiment, the operator should make that possible, as well. Remember to consider the availability of free poker, especially if you are a beginner. You can use free poker for practice to test a particular site or game. Poker rooms that are part of an online casino are usually worth the money.
Security and Reputability of the Operator
If you are going to play poker for real money, then you must trust the poker rooms with not only your funds but also your information. For this reason, the reputation of a poker site is vital. Stick to licenced and registered platforms because they have to adhere to codes of practice. Read reviews to see what other users or experts have to say about a specific real money poker room. Additionally, check the security certificates on a real money poker website to see how it protects customers.
Tournaments and Table Limits
The tournaments that an online poker site offers say a lot about it. Poker tournaments can let you turn a small investment into impressive wins. So, find out what tournament options are available and if the site attracts enough players to join. As for table limits, you should consider websites that offer poker games within your budget. If you are looking to splurge, then you want a poker room with high table limits.
Customer Support and Payment Methods Available
The best poker platform should make it easy for users to find assistance. Regardless of how good a poker games operator is, problems can arise, and you should be confident that you can get help when they do. Look at the available customer support contact methods. Also, find out about response times. A poker website should provide reliable banking solutions, as well. Players should be able to deposit and withdraw real money in the Philippines without any issues.
Conclusion – Why Play Online Poker?
From cash games to poker tournaments to free poker, poker rooms in the Philippines provide more than enough options to indulge in the classic card game. Poker comes with several plus points. Whatever your skills and budget, you can find suitable online poker solutions to play for real money. Besides regular poker games, online poker sites also provide live dealer choices where players get to engage with human dealers. Gamble on poker online and leverage the convenience of playing from anywhere.