Play Online Poker from New Zealand

An all-time favourite at both land-based and online casinos, Poker is now more accessible than ever, as players from New Zealand can play online poker from the comforts of their own home. A game that has fascinated hundreds of thousands of players worldwide, it requires a delicate balance of skill and luck. To enable our Kiwi players to acquire the best knowledge possible to play their best poker game yet, we’ve put together this detailed guide, that shares strategy tips, necessary skills to succeed and even the best online gambling platforms to play poker online from New Zealand.

What are the Best Online Poker Sites in New Zealand?

It is now possible for Kiwi players to play poker online by joining an online casino accepting players from New Zealand. The variety of poker games online includes all-time favourites like Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker. And what’s more, these days you can choose to play them in the version that you enjoy best: virtual poker, video poker and Live Poker. Check out the below-recommended casinos for the best selection of online poker games and the most generous promotions!


NZ$ 1 500 bonus and 150 free spins.

NZ$ 1 600 bonus.

NZ$ 1 000 bonus and 10 free spins.

NZ$ 300 bonus and 100 free spins.

What is Online Poker?

Online Poker reunites under one name all of the poker variants that can be played in a virtual environment. Kiwi players are likely to come across two different types of poker online, commonly referred to by the poker community as poker rooms and poker games. This guide is more focused on the latter of these two options, but it is not a bad idea to learn to distinguish between the two as there are some significant differences to be taken into consideration. 

Poker rooms consist of a virtual space where a number of players reunite to play poker against each other, hence why they are called rooms. Although it is considered as a version of online poker because an internet connection is still needed, players have to download a specific software to access these virtual poker rooms. 

Online poker games, on the other hand, can be played in Instant-Play mode on both desktop and mobile. Another distinctive feature that sets them apart from poker rooms, is that in online poker games, the players are either playing against an RNG computer or else against the dealer. 

Live & Virtual poker

 

Difference between Live Dealer Poker & Virtual Poker

Online poker games can be separated into two different categories: Virtual (RNG) poker or Live Poker. Under virtual poker, we usually group together those poker games that are often found under the table games tab, together with video poker games, whose location within a casino might vary from table games to a specific tab labelled video poker. What makes them so similar is the use of an RNG computer for the random card dealing. Since virtual poker and video poker are software operated, these games often come with a demo version that is free to play.

Live Poker takes the game to a whole new level by setting up the poker table in a real studio, with a real dealer to deal the cards and play against. This kind of online poker is streamed live to the players’ mobile or desktop, where they can view the action in real-time. Participation in the game is done through an on-screen interface, where players can place bets digitally and make the appropriate moves.  

Virtual Online Poker Games

We can tell you from experience that virtual poker games are quite abundant online, especially if you join the right online casino. Although virtual poker is a one-player game, it by no means detracts from the excitement of choosing a new poker variant to try out, like Hold’em Poker, Omaha Poker, Three Card Poker, and the hundreds of video poker games available. In order to give you a better idea of what is available online we’ve visited one of our favourite casinos, Royal Panda, and we’ve taken stock of the poker online games they offer. 

Virtual Poker Games

  • 3 Hand Casino Hold’em 
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em 
  • Casino Hold’em 

Video Poker Games

  • Fortune Pai Gow Poker 
  • Jacks or Better
  • Jackpot Poker
  • Deuces Wild 
  • Jacks or Better Double Up Aces and Faces 

NZ$ 1 000 bonus and 10 free spins.

Studio Live Poker Tables 

Live Poker games might be a recent development, but providers like Playtech and Evolution Gaming have already come up with a number of variants to keep the selection fresh and exciting. With rules of their own and a couple of twists to make them worth your while, Live Poker variants are amongst the most popular Live Casino Games out there. We’ve visited Lucky Days Casino and the below are some of the games we’ve found in their Live Casino section: 

  • Live Casino Hold’em 
  • Live Caribbean Stud Poker 
  • Extreme Texas Hold’em 
  • Live Three Card Poker

NZ$ 1 000 bonus and 100 free spins.

https://images.nzcasino.co.nz/images/online_poker/how-to-play-poker-sunrise-insidearticle_1200x250.jpg

 

How does Online Poker work?

We’ve promised a complete guide to online poker so let us start with a visit to the basic rules of the game. If you are a beginner, then knowing how to play poker is a must, and if you’ve been playing for a while, a revisit to the rules cannot hurt either. Online poker is the traditional poker game adapted for the online world. The virtual world offers various types of online poker, and in this guide, we will show you how to distinguish between them and how to play when different rules apply. To start with, most online poker variants share one common trait: the winner is always the player with the best hand! 

Online Poker Rules 

That last statement will take a more significant meaning when we start going over the different kinds of hands that can lead you to a win. In the meantime, let us start with some basic rules. Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The kind of poker you are playing will determine whether a joker or two are added in the mix. These have the role of a ‘wild’ which in pokies, substitutes all other symbols. Similarly, in poker, the joker can stand in for any card. The game starts when the dealer gives each player two random cards known as the hole cards and deals 5 cards for the centre of the table, known as the community cards. Each player must try to match the two cards in his hand with 3 of the community cards, thus forming the best 5-card poker hand possible. 

The 5-card poker hand is almost universal amongst poker variants, with some hands deemed stronger than others. Below we are going over the various winning hands, starting with the strongest to the weakest.

  • Five of a kind -  4 cards of a value of ten with a Joker (wild) eg. J, K, Q, A and Joker
  • Straight Flush - 5 cards of the same suit in sequence eg. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of hearts. 
  • Four of a Kind - 4 cards of the same value and the same suit eg. 4 Queens and 5. 
  • Full House - 3 cards of one value, and 2 cards of another value eg. 3 eights and 2 Aces. 
  • Flush - 5 cards of the same suit but not in sequence eg. Q, A, 8, 4 and 3 of diamonds. 
  • Straight - 5 cards of a different suit but with a value that places them in sequence
  • Three of a Kind - 3 cards of the same value and any other 2 cards eg. 3 Aces and an 8 of hearts and a 2 of spades. 
  • Two Pairs - 2 cards of the same value, another two cards of the same value and 1 completely different card eg. 7, 7, 4, 4 and a 3. 
  • One Pair - one of the easiest combinations any player can get this consists of a pair of cards of the same value and 3 other that do not match. 
  • No Pair - no matching cards. When this combination, or in this case, lack thereof, the winning hand is determined by highest-ranking card. For example, the Ace is always better than the King. 

Betting Rounds in Online Poker 

Most of the online poker variants you are going to come across would involve a series of betting rounds, like in the case of Omaha Poker and Texas Hold’em, two of the most popular variants online. In total, there are usually 4 betting rounds called the pre-flop, the flop, the turn and the river. There is a specific time during the game when each one takes place and below we are going to see the exact dynamics. 

  • Pre-Flop - The betting rounds start with the pre-flop, a round of betting that takes place after each player gets their hole cards and before the community cards are dealt.
  • Flop - the second round of bets takes place after the community cards are dealt and 3 of them are revealed to the players. 
  • The Turn - this third round of bets takes place as soon as the 4th community card is turned face upwards
  • The River - the final bet of the game, it is made by the players still in the game after the fifth and final card is revealed. 

The 4 betting rounds are very important in games where they take place, as each round must go on until every participating player has either placed a matching bet or folded. Once the river is completed it is time for the final showdown. Although it might sound dramatic and movies tend to make it seem so, this final stage of the game simply requires each player to lay down the cards for all to see, so the winner can be determined according to the strongest hand. 

Poker betting systems and strategies

As you can see online poker rules are simple enough to learn, however, it takes hours and hours of practice to become a good poker player. The best of the best have theorized about the best ways to play and win at poker and over the years have come up with some effective strategies compatible with more than one variant of poker.  

As you can deduce the rules of the game are important because without good knowledge you risk losing all the time. However, a strategy or two can boost your chances of landing a few wins, thus in the next part of our guide, we are going to share with you the most popular techniques to successfully win at online poker.

Starting hands

As the name suggests, this strategy focuses entirely on those two cards that you are dealt at the beginning of the game. As the best poker players have suggested, it is important for all kinds of players, whether amateur or professional, to know which 2 cards constitute the strongest hands. Why? Well, if you get a poor hand from the start wouldn’t it make more sense to fold right away, than keep going with the betting rounds and risk losing a substantial amount? On the other hand, if you knew which hands are deemed strong and which have no potential, you could take the necessary steps to maximize your winning advantage. Professional poker players have grouped together starting hands based on their strength, similar to what we did earlier on in this article, and organized them into a chart that can help you decided what is the best action to take. 

Value Betting

Value betting is one of the most elaborate poker strategies and one strategy that only a skilful poker player can pull off. This strategy is all about getting your opponent to call on the belief that his hand is stronger than yours. It requires a clever act of manipulation that attempts to get your opponent to call with the second-best hand, unwittingly increasing your chances of winning with the best hand. Value betting cannot be put into practice unless you are completely aware of what is taking place during the four stages of those betting rounds. It is also important to watch your bet, as a large bet that might favour you, might be motivation enough for your adversary to stay in the game blowing up your strategy completely. Value betting might be a useful strategy to acquire but it works better when used in a land-based casino and you have flesh and blood opponents, which can be judged by their emotions and actions. 

Bluffing

Ever heard of the term poker face? And we don’t mean Lady Gaga’s single of the same name! Poker face is a term that came to be sometime in the 1800s in connection with the game of poker. In modern times, the terminology is used out of the poker context to describe someone with an expressionless face, someone who is trying to hide what he’s feeling or thinking. In the poker context, a poker face means exactly the same thing and it is an effective poker technique, whereby players keep their expressions blank so their opponents can’t figure out if their cards are good or bad. The poker face strategy is all about bluffing, leading your adversaries into believing what you want them too with your expression and your actions. 

It adds a certain amount of excitement to the game if you could see how effective your poker face is, however, regretfully when playing online no one gets to actually see your face ( at least not at present). 

Playstyle

A person’s personality is likely to affect the way they do things and in poker, it is not so different. Each player has a distinguished ‘style’ in which to do things and a skilled player can learn to identify the behaviour patterns and group them into 4 main playing styles: loose, tight, passive and aggressive. 

  • Loose: someone who plays with a variety of hands
  • Tight: someone who will play only his best hand
  • Passive: someone who plays with the fear of losing, there are two types of passive players: loose-passive and tight-passive. 
  • Loose-Passive: a player who keeps calling and doesn’t take big risks.
  • Tight-Passive: will avoid playing pots, and when he does all other players will fold as they’d know he has a strong hand. 
  • Aggressive: a player who will continually raise hands instead of calling and is not afraid of taking big risks. Aggressive players can be grouped into two categories: loose-aggressive and tight-aggressive.
  • Loose-Aggressive: some who will re-raise a variety of hands pre-flop and will go on to bet on most flops. 
  • Tight-Aggressive:  they don’t play too many pots but if there is a good opportunity he won’t miss out. 

When you are playing against the computer, the above technique is completely obsolete, and it is not so different when playing Live Poker, where the dealer is your only opponent. It is a technique that can be used when sitting at an actual poker table with other players to evaluate. However, it is never wasted knowledge to learn about playing styles and maybe even find your very own. 

Why play online poker

 

Why play Online Poker?

When playing online poker comes with so many limitations, it almost seems like the fun has been taken out of a good poker game. But let us assure you that playing online has its own benefits too; like playing from the comforts of your own home, just to mention one. There is also the added bonus that poker online is a lot cheaper with a wider range of betting options to suit the situation. 

Play poker from home

Going to a land-based casino might land you a full table of opponents to play against, but nothing beats settling down on your sofa and plunging into the game right away without the hassle of dressing up and driving who knows how many miles for a few hours of poker games. There is also the added advantage of playing from wherever you are. All you need is a good internet connection and a smartphone, and you are good to go for a few rounds before the dentist calls you in! 

Claim Online Poker bonuses

The demo option that comes with virtual games is a lot of fun but wouldn’t it be better if we could play for free and yet still win some cash! The best online casinos in New Zealand would always have a generous welcome bonus which can be used on both virtual and Live Poker games. Although, the prospect of playing with a bonus may be enticing enough, don’t forget to check out the terms and conditions of any offer. Remember, promotions come with wagering requirements and bet limits! 

online poker variants

 

Poker Variants 

We’ve mentioned several times the different online poker variants you can play, so it is time to go over some of the most popular poker games available online for players from New Zealand. The rules are sometimes similar to the ones we’ve explained in this guide with slight alterations or else they might be completely different. Fear not, however, we will go over the most important factors of each variant, so you are well prepared when its time to play.

Texas Hold’Em

Texas Hold’em Poker is one of the most popular variants online, and Kiwi players can find both RNG versions and live dealer options. The rules of the game are exactly the same as the ones we have explained in this guide with the 2 hole cards, 5 community cards, the 4 betting rounds and the final showdown amongst the still active players. 

Ready to give it a go!? Visit any one of the recommended casinos in this guide and try either the RNG Texas Hold’em or else Evolution Gaming’s live dealer version!

Omaha

Omaha Poker is almost as big amongst poker players as Texas Hold’em and in terms of rules, although very similar, it has a slight difference in how the starting hand is dealt out. In Omaha, the starting hand is made up of 4 hole cards instead of the customary two and each player must choose the best 2 to try and form the strongest 5-card poker hand. The game is still made up of the 4 betting rounds, but the advantage of choosing the best starting hand possible makes this version one of the most exciting to play. 

Three Cards Poker

Three Cards Poker is one of those variants that are completely different but are considered poker games as they share certain elements with the classic game. In this variant, the player is facing off against the dealer and gameplay starts with an initial bet, followed by 3 face-up cards for the player and 3 face-down cards for the dealer. Three Cards Poker does not have 4 betting rounds, instead, it has only two rounds making this game faster and quicker to complete. The second round of bets is quite decisive as the player must decide whether to place a second bet of the same amount as the first, fold or forfeit the game. Once the decision has been made, its time for the showdown. The dealer reveals his 3 cards and if a second bet had been made the best hand is determined. In case the player has folded, the dealer collects the first bet in favour of the house.

Jacks or Better

Kiwi players are more likely to find Jacks or Better under the video poker section and it is amongst the most popular video poker versions online. The aim of the game is to build the best 5-card poker hand possible, which in this case must have at least a pair of Jacks, hence the name Jacks or Better! The game has quite a unique gameplay and starts with each player receiving 5 hole cards. Each player must use all of the skill they possess to determine, which of those cards constitute an advantage and which should be discarded. The game proceeds to the next round of card dealing, where each player must try to build the best poker hand with the cards they have. 

Is Online Poker Legal in New Zealand?

Online gambling is a somewhat delicate subject in New Zealand as current legislation does not cater for online casinos. On the other hand, there are six licensed land-based casinos in the country, offering a variety of table games, including poker. Thus, technically, poker is not illegal in New Zealand, even though online poker is not legal either. As the current legislation does not regulate online gambling it is neither legal nor illegal to play poker online. 

To assuage any security worry you might have, it is always best to play with an online casino licensed within an offshore gambling jurisdiction. The Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission are amongst the best, and so are others regulated by EEA countries. 

Are Online Poker games rigged?

If you follow our advice and choose a licensed casino, you can rest assured that none of the casino games offered are rigged. Furthermore, regulated gambling platforms would have partnered with respectable and licensed game providers for their supply of games. 

RNG games by top names are continually checked for flaws, even engaging an independent auditor to carry out checks to ensure games are always fair and random. With regards to live dealer games, each croupier must be in possession of a gambling license before they can sit at the dealer table, and the hundreds of cameras capturing every single moment makes it next to impossible for any rigging to take place. 

Free online poker

 

Can you play Online Poker for free?

The answer is of course yes! At least for virtual poker! The demo option or play for fun mode is a fun addition by the game developers that allows players to try the game for free and to continue to play for as long as they wish for. It is the perfect way to practice your strategy or else to continue to play if you’ve reached your budget limit. 

On the other hand, Live Poker comes with just the play for real option, understandable, given the work it requires and the services of a human dealer. However, playing at the right casino might mean that you can get yourself a nice casino bonus to play your favourite Live Poker games for free with real bonus money that might result in real cash wins! 


NZ$ 500 bonus and 100 no wagering free spins.

NZ$ 2 000 bonus and 200 free spins.

 


FAQs

Nzcasino is an online casino review site focused specifically on introducing the best casinos and online games to players from New Zealand. We conduct research to determine which are those online casinos and pokie sites that offer a secure and fair gambling experience to Kiwi players, and which also reward their customers with great bonuses and rewards. Check out our guides to online pokies, table games, free spins and other bonuses to make the most of online gambling from New Zealand! 

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Playing online casino games can be incredibly fun, but remember to always keep your gambling habits in check. Be prepared to lose sometimes and only wager the amount that you prepared to lose. If you feel that you or someone else around you is in danger of developing a gambling problem, seek help immediately. You can find additional help on the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealandor by consulting our Responsible Gambling Guide.