In the late 1990s, when the first internet poker games were being played by degenerates using chat programs like IRC, one might not have envisioned how huge the industry would get. However, with the WSOP Main Event win from Chris Moneymaker, wearing a PokerStars hat in 2003, the game exploded. For many Australians, the tipping point may have been the summer of 2005 when a young Joe Hachem brought the country into the spotlight winning the Main Event himself. Whatever the case, online poker has been a mainstay in the gambling world ever since. Despite the recent challenges facing Australians from a legal perspective, the game continues to grow in global popularity.
Let’s take a look at the world of online poker, specifically as it relates to our Australian readers. Below are some links to our pages about a number of poker-related subjects, as well as an overview of the Aussie market:
- How to play Texas Holdem
- How to play Stud Poker
- Best poker sites for Australians
- Real money online poker in Australia
Playing Online Poker in Australia
As we mentioned, the big win by Joe Hachem back in 2005 really put poker on the map for Australians, and also put Australia on the map for the rest of the poker world. The number of Australian players grew, and with that came a new set of poker tours designed for players from that region. The Aussie Millions, which had been around for many years already, suddenly became a huge poker series based on the number of Australians who could qualify online, as well as those who qualified and traveled to Melbourne from other areas of the world.
The Australian government, in an attempt to control problem gambling and protect its citizens from rogue operators, enacted the Gambling Act in 2001 but added some amendments to it recently which have had a detrimental effect on the industry. Similar to what happened in the United States in 2006, these amendments to the Act have forced out many of the top online poker operators. To make sure you have the best places to get your poker fix, we have put together this list of recommended sites below. These sites all continue to take players from Australia (for now), and each site offers a nice selection of games as well as the best promotions and bonuses available in the market.
Why do people play online poker?
There are loads of reasons that people play online poker in Australia. The game is far more complex than playing the pokies or some of the table games you will find a casino, so it really takes learning strategies to consider yourself a successful player. Here are some of the top reasons that Australians play online poker.
Let’s face it – poker requires players. In many cases, it requires a lot more players than you may know personally. It also requires time, and in the case of land-based poker, it means traveling to a local poker room or casino to play a game. Online poker makes all of that much easier. You can play from the comforts of your own home (or if you are playing on a mobile app, then you can play anywhere the device is connected to the internet. With online poker, you can enter events that have thousands of players in them, generating huge prize pools, without anyone having to be in the same room.
One of the things that online poker operators noticed during the poker boom years of the mid-2000s
was that a significant amount of the players on any site was playing for free. This number could reach over 75% of the concurrent users on a site. What this showed is that regardless of the stakes, people loved the entertainment part of the game. Today, social poker sites have tried to blend the best of both worlds, successfully monetizing players who otherwise might have stuck to playing for free.
For those who play for real money, of course, the goal is to win more money! There is something very exciting about putting up some of your hard-earned cash, no matter how much, and competing against other players to try to take down a pot or a prize pool.
Qualify for land-based events
Many of the land-based poker tournaments around the world cost a lot to enter. This is especially true of the prestigious events like the Aussie Millions Main Event, and many of the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events. Online poker allows players to enter into satellite events that cost far less, and win not only the entry into some of these tournaments but also travel packages. Poker travel has become far more popular in recent years as the destinations have expanded from the traditional gaming locations. The Aussie Millions is a perfect example of a poker tournament whose appeal is split between the event itself and the location.
Types of Online Poker Games
There are several types of online poker games available at each site you visit. Here is a quick understanding of each so when you are in the lobby you feel comfortable making your choices.
Cash games are just as they sound – they are tables set at certain stakes levels, that you sit at with cash and play. There is no time limit to a cash game, and if you run out of money you can just reload right there at the table. Online Cash games range from pennies per hand to hundreds of dollars, so there is something for everyone.
Multi-table Tournaments (MTTs) are what most people know and understand, as these are the blueprints for events like the Aussie Millions. These events tend to follow a schedule, and in many cases have a guaranteed prize pool attached to draw attention. Some of the weekly online MTTs can have prize pools in the millions, while there are also freeroll events that cost nothing to enter.
Sit and Go Tournaments
The Sit and Go tournament has the same format as an MTT, in that you have an entry fee and when you are out of chips you are eliminated. However, these events tend to have limits on entries, from 2 to 45, and only start when the event is full. Popular sites can have single table Sit and Gos launch every couple of minutes all day long.
Satellite events are smaller events that qualify players for a larger buy-in tournament. These can be either scheduled MTT events or Sit and Go satellites, but players who win are not paid in cash, rather entries into the next stage of the event. This allows players to qualify for events like the Aussie Millions for only a few dollars if they play their cards right!