Most people think of online poker’s heyday as having happened some 20 years ago. While this was relatively early for internet gaming in general, it is when online poker really exploded to a higher level of popularity. Amateur players all over the world were watching professionals win millions in high-stakes tournaments on TV, and were in turn logging online to try their own luck at digital tables. While that time will forever be known as the poker boom though, we may well be seeing another wave of online poker activity right now. During the pandemic throughout most of 2020 and into 2021, video game popularity spiked significantly as Americans (and indeed many others around the world) sought ways to entertain themselves and connect socially.
And alongside this jump in general gaming activity, various poker platforms reported boosts as well. In some places, online activity is even being credited with keeping casinos alive, given that the brick-and-mortar counterparts saw so little business in 2020.
At any rate, with so many people getting back into online poker in America and around the world, we thought it would be productive to offer something of a modern-day guide for how best to optimize your setup for the activity. Ultimately, much of your experience will simply come down to finding the right platform to play on to suit your needs and preferences. But there are some things you can do in the meantime to ensure a favorable internet poker experience.
Choose an Optimal Internet Service for Gaming
The first step is to select an optimal internet service for gaming, which is something we discussed at length in a recent article. For the most part, this means finding a provider that offers the speed you will need to avoid lag and latency while in the middle of the game. As you may have seen in the aforementioned piece, we recommended options from Frontier Communication, Cox, Verizon FiOS, Xfinity, and Spectrum in this regard.
Now, it’s true that online poker doesn’t necessarily make the same demands of your system that some other forms of online gaming might. If you’re playing the latest God Of War game on your PC, for instance, speed will be a more important factor than if you’re in the midst of an online poker tournament. Even so, however, we wouldn’t recommend skimping on your provider if you plan to play a lot of online poker. Any multiplayer game can be somewhat demanding, and a secure, high-speed connection ensures that you’ll be more likely to stay connected in real-time in any game you’re playing.
Read Also: What is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming
Look Into VPN Options
One issue that is somewhat particular to online poker among internet gaming options is that some sites are only accessible in certain locations. And for this simple reason, people planning on playing a lot of online poker might want to look into VPN options. To be clear, we are not suggesting that anyone engage in activity that is not legal simply by way of bypassing location restrictions. If betting real money in online poker games is not legal where you live, a VPN is not considered an acceptable workaround. However, if you merely want to ensure that you can access high-end sites for free play, a private network can sometimes help to open doors — even if it may slow down gaming in a very marginal way.
Bookmark Reliable Online Resources
One simpler tip we have for people looking to optimize their setups for online poker play is to spend a little bit of time surfing the web and bookmark and/or download some basic resources. This is primarily a good idea for relative newcomers to online poker. If you aren’t accustomed to living competition, tournament play, and so on, you can occasionally feel overwhelmed and want to step back and double check a rule or some other aspect of the game.
There are a number of different types of resources we would suggest gathering together to have on hand. Beginning with basic poker terms and the rules of the game and extending that to include betting strategies, rankings of hands, and general tips, you should think about every aspect of the game and equip yourself as needed. In the end, having a bookmark and/or download folder that contains this information will save you from having to go searching in the middle of gameplay, and allow you to enjoy a more seamless experience.
Control Your Environment
Moving away from internet-specific actions, you’ll also want to spend a little bit of time controlling and optimizing your environment. This might mean upgrading your monitor and equipment if you feel you could use it. It means exploring different audio options and making a choice between headphones or speakers for your poker gaming. And for those who really plan on spending a lot of time in game rooms, it can also include finding a comfortable game chair or adjusting the lighting, temperature, and décor of the room. Really, it’s just about what kind of gaming experience you want and how far you’re interested in going to make it happen.
Hopefully, these tips are helpful for anyone considering getting into the second internet poker boom we appear to be in the midst of. It’s an excellent game to get into, but like all other online entertainment, it’s all the better if you take the time to ensure you have a great setup.