Poker online

For those of you who love to play poker online and are living in New Zealand we may have a ton of new gambling opportunities just ready and waiting for you.

You may not realise it, but there are plenty of places to play online poker NZ right here.

Better yet, these sites all offer a range of different poker game types and these include being able to play online poker for real money, free poker games, live options, video poker and a whole lot more. 

This epic combination of online poker options means that you can experience the excitement of playing against other top poker players, against a computer or just to get some experience. And all of this is accomplished from the comfort of your home. 

Read on to find out how anyone in New Zealand can get the most fun playing poker online NZ. On top of that we’re going to show you which are the best poker online sites to play at. 

Best online poker sites in NZ

Poker games



Casino war
Casino War

Casino War

Pai Gow
Pai Gow

Pai Gow

Texas Holdem Poker
Texas Holdem Poker

Texas HoldEm

Teen Patti (Indian poker)
Teen Patti

Teen Patti

Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker

5 card poker
5 card poker

5 card poker

Latest poker news

Online poker real money vs free online poker

With the internet comes a number of exciting options for playing poker. For starters, you don’t actually have to play with real money if you don’t want to.

You can just enjoy playing poker for fun or betting with minimal stakes. Playing for free is a great option if you’re new to the game and just want to get your footing. 

The only downside with playing for free is that you’re not going to make any profit from it. You will also need to be aware that some casinos do charge a fee for their poker room service even if you’re not playing with real money.

Nevertheless, free online poker is an excellent way to hone your poster skills, try out a new poker variant, or simply have some fun without spending much money.

live dealer on online poker
Live poker online

What are the types of poker games online?

There are a large number of different poker variants online. Each offers a different game style. 

How to choose the best poker online rooms?

The next step to playing online poker real money games is to determine which poker game you want to play.

So, how do you choose the best online poker room? Generally, online poker tables are categorised by the bet amount they allow at the table.

This means that you will need to choose the right room; one that has a game style and a betting limit that suits your needs, preferences and budget. Here are a few things to think about:

  1. Loud poker tables are more profitable. This is a common phrase in traditional poker, referring to the fact that people who are having fun tend to bet more freely. This increases your chances of walking away with a decent winning.
  2. Watch the players bets. If your goal is money then keep an eye on the player betting amounts just as much as the poker table bet limit. If players are keeping close to the minimum then chances are you’ll be putting in a lot of time and getting a minimal return on that investment.
  3. Learn about the other players. This is true of poker games regardless of the setting, you’re playing against one another, not the dealer. Get a feel for how the other poker players bet and their experience level so that you can predict their moves and make bets to your own advantage.

Don’t miss pro poker tips before you play online!

No matter whether you’re playing poker online or in-person, the game can offer a serious thrill. However, if you want to maintain an edge over your opponents, keep in mind these five tips to have the best time possible:

  • Set a pot-limit – A pot limit is just a consistent amount that you’re willing to spend per day. Establish a pot-limit and stick to it, win or lose, as this will help you keep track of your poker earnings and spending.
  • Play poker for fun – Profit can be very changeable in the gambling world, but if you play for fun, you will always feel like you came out ahead. Thinking practically, if you find yourself getting anxious or obsessed when playing poker, it’s clearly not enjoyable, plus it can impair your ability to objectively view a situation and see advantages or disadvantages, increasing the likelihood that you’re going to fail. 
  • Avoid alcohol – Poker can be a great place to socialise and have fun, which means that, in a social setting, there can be a lot of drinks. But this can hinder your ability to win as alcohol impedes your judgement and observation skills. Other players may take advantage of this encouraging you to spend, and lose, more than you should. If you want to unwind with a drink and play poker, then perhaps a free online poker game is a better option or simply limiting the amount you have for betting. 
  • Create a distraction-free space for online gaming –  Online poker is hugely convenient which can make this a very appealing option, but it does have its downsides. If you get too comfortable, you may end up only paying partial attention to the game, keeping one eye on browsing your phone while trying to play at the same time. This is likely to cause you to have a losing streak. 
  • Consider your comfort – Ensuring your comfort may sound a little self-indulgent, but if you plan on playing poker long-term there can be real benefits. Poker often involves a lot of waiting all at the peak of your focus. If you have a comfortable set up you’re more likely to be able to maintain focus rather than making snap decisions because a sore back is bugging you.

What do professional players understand about the Poker game that casual players don’t?

Online poker tournaments

You may be used to playing poker, but if you decide to switch to playing at a poker tournament, then you will want to take note, because tournaments function a little differently to a normal poker game.

When you join in an online tournament, you will usually have to pay the casino with a fee for joining.

This is so that you can buy your seat at the table. It will also usually require purchasing a set amount of starting chips.

These chips will have no inherent value except that you want to end the tournament with as many as possible to collect the pot. Poker players who lose all their chips are eliminated.

Poker sites that offers poker tournaments often

How to play poker – Rules!

Starting your online poker journey is relatively simple because poker is actually hugely accessible and the basics are easy to pick up.

Really, all you need is a computer and good internet. When you start your poker journey, you will need to find a site offering poker where you will be required to make a membership.

This involves giving your personal details so that the operator knows you are able to gamble legally.

Essentially, the operator needs to know that you’re over 18 and that online gambling is legal where you live. Once your membership is verified you can then start your poker journey by making a deposit and getting your poker chips ready to play.

As you are now familiar with the different types of poker and have learnt all the tips and tricks, it’s time to dig deeper into the rules of online poker.

Learn how to play Texas Holdem in two minutes!

What are the key aspects of online poker NZ?

As you will know, the goal in poker is to beat the other players at the table, not the dealer. Depending on the game variant you are playing, you will usually need to create the best hand out of five cards.

There are different hierarchies for these hands and the poker player with the strongest, or highest hand, will win the round. 

Poker hands

In poker, the hands are as follows:

  • Royal Flush – Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, all in the same suit.
  • Straight Flush Five cards in sequence, all of the same suit.
  • Four of a Kind – Four cards of the same rank.
  • Full House – Both three of a kind and a pair.
  • Flush  –  Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence.
  • Straight Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit.
  • Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank.
  • Two Pair – Two different pairs.
  • Pair    Two cards of the same rank.
  • High Card – when you haven’t made any of the hands above, the highest card plays.
hand ranking and value videopoker
Here you can see hand value for every possible outcome in a poker game!

Learn more about poker hands here

Types of hands

The next step is to understand what the different hands can mean in terms of winning. Knowing the strength of your hand will help you in the long run. Here are some examples:

  • Starting hands: contain any number of pairs of cards of the same rank. You can also have multiple pairs, as in two 2’s and two Jacks.
  • Marginal Hands: consist of straights, as in five cards in a sequence, or flushes, five cards in the same suit.
  • Medium hands: usually feature four or five cards in sequence, or multiple pairs simultaneously, like a Full House consisting of three 10’s and two 3’s.
  • Strong hands: have all five cards both in the same suit and in a sequence. The Royal Flush is the best hand in the game and consists of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10, all in the same suit.

Choose the best poker table position!

You should also pay attention to your position at the table as this will also have bearing on  the way you play. In online poker, there are usually two positions, referred to as Early and Late Position. These terms refer to which section of the table the player inhabits and in what order they play.

  • Early Position: faces both the small and large blinds and, as the name implies, goes first
  • Late Position: inhabits the farther end of the table, near the button and plays after early players.

Online poker glossary

A poker glossary is important because there are many slang words that have sprung up over the years. In order to have a better idea of what’s going on, we’ve created this section to give you a legup in the poker world. We’ve tried to find all the important poker words and collected them right here: 

Most used words in poker

  • Action: Essentially players turn during a hand. Usually used to bet or raise.
  • All-In: When a player runs out of chops while betting or calling.
  • Call: Player places the amount of money equal to the last bet to see that bet
  • Check: Player passes on betting for that round
  • Flush: A poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit.
  • Fold: Player opts out of around by placing cards face down on the table. Whatever bet was made up to this point is forfeit.
  • Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same suit.
  • Raise: Wagering more than the minimum needed to call. This forces the other players to put more money in or fold.
  • Straight: A hand with 5 cards in sequence.

Lesser known poker words

  • Backdoor: Getting the cards you needed to make a hand on the turn and the river.
  • Bad Beat: When a player with a significant lead loses a hand to the opponent after a flop, turn, or river.
  • Bankroll: The predetermined amount of money a player has to play with.
  • Big Blind: The number of chips the player second to the left of the dealer must bet.
  • Blind: A position at the table. Refers to both the big blind or the small blind.
  • Board: Five face-up community cards that everyone can use in combination with their hole cards.
  • Boat: Shorthand for a Full House.
  • Bubble: The bubble is the top finisher in a tournament that is still outside the pay range.
  • Burn: Discarding the top card before each betting round.
  • Button: The dealer position, named for the plastic disk used in live poker.
  • Continuation Bet: The play makes a bet after missing the flop and enters the pot with a preflop raiser.
  • Draw Dead: Player continuously draws cards that won’t create a winning hand.
  • Flop: The first three community cards dealt after the first betting round.
  • Freeroll: A term with two meanings. Either a hand where the player can only split the pot or win, or a tournament with no fee.
  • Freezeout: The most common style of poker tournament. Players pay their buy-in, get chips, then play until they run out.
  • Full House: Three of a kind plus a different pair.
  • Gutshot: An inside completed by one possible card.
  • Heads-Up: Describes playing a pot or tournament against one other player only.
  • Kicker: An unpaired card. If players have the same hand at the showdown, the one with the highest kicker wins.
  • Limp: Another term for calling.
  • Loose: An aggressive or reckless playstyle.
  • Monster: A very large hand.
  • Muck: All discarded cards in a hand. When players fold they toss their hand “into the muck.”
  • Nuts: The best potential hand one can have according to the board.
  • Offsuit: When you have pocket cards of different suits.
  • Outs: A card that will improve your hand.
  • Overpair: Specific to Texas Hold’em. When there is a pair in the hole larger than the community cards on the board.
  • Play the Board: Using the five community cards instead of your hand.
  • Pocket Pair: Specific to Texas Hold’em. A pocket pair is when a player has a pair in their hole cards.
  • Position: Your placement at the table, generally either early or late. Determines play order.
  • Rags: Cards that do not improve your hand.
  • Rainbow: A flop where no two cards are of the same suit.
  • Rake: The amount taken out of each hand by the house.
  • Ring Game: A standard poker game with money wagered every hand.
  • River: The fifth community card.
  • Satellite: Tournament with a small buy-in. Entry fees are pooled and seats awarded to a higher-value tournament instead of cash.
  • Set: A pocket pair that hits on the board and makes three of a kind.
  • Showdown: When more than one player remains after the final round. To determine who wins the remaining players expose their hands.
  • Side Pot: After players go all-in on the original pot, a side pot is created. This consists of any extra money bet by the other players. Only contributing players can win a side pot.
  • Sit and Go: A style of poker tournament. It only starts when a certain number of players have registered.
  • Small Blind: The smaller of two blind bets. The position to the left of the dealer button, and to the right of the big blind.
  • Split Pot: Multiple players make the same hand, dividing the pot equally.
  • Street: The fourth community card, placed face-up and by itself.
  • Top Pair: This a pair with the highest card on the board.
  • Trips: Three of a kind.
  • Turn: Otherwise called,” Fourth Street.” The fourth community card placed face-up and by itself.
  • Under the Gun: The player position located in the first-to-act spot. Left of the big blind.

Poker history

Poker, or at least its European equivalent, has a long and storied history that can be traced all the way back to 16th century Europe. The modern version is probably based on a popular 17th Century card game.

This game was known as Poque in France and Pochen in Germany. However, both games are believed to have derived from the Spanish game Primero. Primero was played by dealing three cards each to every player at the table, with the act of bluffing being a major component in the game. 

poker history
Poker back in the days!

Poque spread through French colonies in New Orleans and into nearby regions, growing in popularity. Over the years, it changed and developed into the game we are familiar with today, the French name adapted by English speakers into Poker.

This expanding version, featured five cards per player and a deck of 52, and became a popular game aboard riverboats, spreading as the boats travel up the Mississippi River and across the country. Eventually, the American version of poker travelled back to Europe with American troops during World War I.

Poker in New Zealand land-based casinos

New Zealand is a small country with a population of 4,967,670 people and just 6 land-based casinos that are open for 18+ visitors. Poker is popular at these land-based casinos and there are monthly tournaments available. One of the most popular poker tournaments, NZ Poker Championships, is in Chchc casino.

Jack Efaraimo the godfather of NZ poker.
Left on the photo is Jack Efaraimo, also known as The Godfather of New Zealand poker!

Frequently asked question

How do I learn to play online poker?

The best way to learn is by playing poker. You can learn the basic mechanics fairly easily through study or observation. However, a truly good poker player knows how to read the other players at the table and bet wisely. These skills can only be developed through experience.

What’s the key difference between poker online versus in-person poker?

The most important difference between the two game types is probably speed. Since the cards you’re dealt online are electronic the act of shuffling decks, dealing cards, and handing out chips all happens near instantaneously. This makes the pace of an online poker game faster.

Is there a time limit on decisions?

In online poker, typically there is no limit on how long you can wait to make your bet. However, common courtesy still applies and if you’re taking long breaks the other poker players may vote to have you kicked off the table.

How do I receive my winnings?

Online poker works a little differently than your typical poker game. Earnings from an online game will usually arrive by way of a mailed check. This can take several days.

How do online casinos make their profit?

In order to cover expenses, these online organisations will usually collect a rake. This is a standard fee taken from each poker hand played online. They may also charge fees per player in a tournament. This splits the overall costs between players and means that the casino is never trying to “beat” you because they get paid either way.

Is playing poker online legal in NZ?

Depending where you live you will find that there are always different gambling laws. With this in mind you should always check for your area, or whether it’s even possible to play online poker in NZ.

Happily for you, even if you’re in NZ you can still access, and play, online poker at casinos that are located overseas – that’s completely legal.

However, you will find some local requirements are in place too. In New Zealand, the 2003 Gambling Act actually prohibits any online gambling sites from operating within NZ. But those that are setup offshore or based in other countries are perfectly legal.

More about gambling laws in NZ!

Is it safe to play online poker NZ?

Despite this la mentioned in the question abovew, it’s perfectly safe, and legal, for local players to enjoy online poker better – just make sure the site is from another country. However, you may be wondering if it’s actually safe to play at these offshore sites. And this fully depends on the specific casino you have chosen.

Due to the setup of NZ gambling laws, any fraudulent activity that occurs at an online site will be determined by the legal system where the casino operates – so that means it won’t come under NZ laws. So, when you choose to play online poker, you should select a site that is in a legal gambling zone where there are rules and requirements in place.

Doing so will mean that the casino is regulated and follows strict requirements in order to operate, thus reducing the chances that you’ll suffer from fraud and also ensuring that you’ll have a legal backing should things go wrong.