Online Poker Table Software & Features
In this section we’re going to take a look at the actual poker tables themselves, including the various buttons, boxes, and all the different things you’re going to use to make your online poker experience the best it can be.
Taking Your Seat
If you’ve registered for a tournament or Sit & Go, you’ll be assigned your seat automatically. If you’ve opened a ring game table (by double clicking from the lobby) and the table isn’t full, you’ll see places available for you to sit down marked as “seat open”. Here’s an example from a play money game at PokerStars:
As you can see in the above image, there are two seats available. When a seat is open you simply need to click on the seat and a pop-up will launch asking you how many chips you want to bring to the table:
Type in the amount of chips you want to bring to the table. When you’ve taken your seat at the table you’ll see your user name and the amount of chips, listed under/next to your seat. And once you’re sitting down, you’re ready to play online poker. It’s time to shuffle up and deal!
The Betting Buttons
Once the cards are dealt, you’ll see a group of boxes appear which allow you to make a decision before the action gets to you. Click on them if you want to make your decision to check, fold, or call, in advance.
Using the advanced select options is very useful, if you’re folding. It’s not a good idea to click the check buttons in advance, because it’ll check instantly and alert everyone that you have a weak hand. If you’ve not used the advanced options when the action gets to you, you’ll be presented with buttons; fold, call/check, and bet/raise (depending on the previous action):
Most online poker rooms also have a bet slider and some have pre-set betting options. Just be sure you make the right choice, because a miss-click at this point could prove costly (although not in a play money game)!
The Chat Window
The chat window is where you can communicate with your fellow players, and is a common feature at all online poker rooms. If you type a comment and press return, the other players will be able to see your comment, and likewise – you’ll also see comments from other players in the chat box.
In the early days of online poker, chatting with your fellow online poker players was more common than it is these days. Many players avoid chatting, particularly if they are playing on multiple tables simultaneously. But you’ll still find people using the chat box, and those that do usually type in abbreviations, such as:
- GG – good game (commonly typed in the chat box after somebody exits a tournament).
- NH – nice hand.
- VNH – very nice hand.
- NB – nice bet.
- WP – well played.
It’s not a good idea to curse and abuse other poker players in the chat window. If any of your opponents are annoying you, then you can easily block their chat from appearing. Many sites will also ban some players chat privileges if they step out of line.
Sitting Out / Leaving the Room
If you ever want to leave the poker table, but don’t want to lose your seat, then you can just sit out. Maybe you need the toilet, you need to answer the door, or fetch a drink – whatever the reason, just click on the “Sit out next hand” option that you’ll find on all tables at online poker rooms:
When you’re ready to play poker again, you just have to hit the button that says “I’m back”. It’s considered poor etiquette to leave the table and not select the sit out option. So try and remember to do this and be respectful of your fellow players.
Of course, should you be leaving the table for good then just click on the “Leave table” button, seen here in the top right of the table window:
In the above example you’d fold your hand, and then click to leave the table. You’ll then be returned to the lobby area. From the lobby you can choose another game, or exit the site completely.
Other Common Table Features
Player Notes – Most online poker rooms include a feature that allows you to take notes on your opponents. The software saves your notes, so next time you meet that player you’ll be able to read the notes you previously made. By taking notes on other players, you’ll be better prepared to play against them and in the future.
Statistics – Basic statistics are also a common feature on most online poker tables. A statistics box will show you things like; how many times you’ve entered a pot, and how many pots you’ve won when the cards have been showdown.
Table Themes – Most online poker rooms allow you to quickly and easily tweak the theme of the table. You can usually change basic things like the background, table and deck colors’, show/hide player avatars, sound settings, and so on.
Hand Histories – Reviewing how you played previous hand is one of the best methods of improving your poker game (particularly if you post them on our poker forum and ask people to review your play). Online poker rooms make it easy to review previous hands, by using their hand histories option. At the most basic level, you’ll be able to view hands in a standard text format. Sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker also allow you to replay previous hands via their hand re-player tools – which are available directly from the game table (the re-player opens in a new window).
Are You Ready to Play Online Poker?
Now you know how to use the lobby and the table features, it’s time to start playing online poker. In the next chapter we’ll discuss poker tournaments, before moving onto cash games. We recommend you read both sections and then decide which types of games are best suited for you.