Updated Updated: August 8, 2023

Free online poker real money in NZ

Poker deserves its own special mention because just as the word casino can mean multiple games, online poker real money can also be described as a collection of games. In fact, there are many popular versions of the poker game available to play online and we’re about to take you through everything there is to know about online poker in New Zealand.

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Poker online – overview

playing poker on laptop, tablet and mobile

The great thing about this game is that there is a core set of rules to understand and once you know these, you can quite easily go and try out all the different versions of poker.

Poker can be played online or offline and for free or with real money and while most of you will have likely already played the game in some format with family and friends, the world of online poker might be somewhat of an unknown to you. Don’t worry though because as we said, you only need to know a core set of rules to get started.

A game like a poker can take you deep into many different lines of strategy and tactics. This is something that many professional poker players stick to strictly in order to come out on top of the many multi-million-dollar tournaments played throughout the year.

You can make money playing poker online if you learn the basics and create your own online poker tournament strategy. It does take time but the good thing for you is that you can learn a lot from practising online.

Betpal Tip! You can play online poker for as low as $1 at the $1 deposit casinos NZ.

Playing poker online – real money vs free

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Getting to grips with poker can be tough at first and so we always recommend that you practice with ‘play money’ or free chips whenever possible. You don’t want to be wasting money playing against experienced poker players as you try to understand the basic rules.

Learn the ropes with free poker money and then save your real money for when you get to a level of skill that you feel confident with. Becoming a master at poker takes time, so get the basics right first and you’ll have a solid foundation on which to create your very own winning poker strategy. So, what’s the difference between free and real money poker?

Poker online for free

  • Learn the basics for free
  • You can take your time
  • Understand all versions of poker
  • You don’t win real money prizes
  • Hard to measure your skills
  • Hard to work your “tells”

You will instantly notice the difference when playing with ‘play money’ over real money. You will often find that players in the ‘play money’ games are more daring and harder to read, all because there is nothing to lose. It’s almost impossible to judge your skills in this case but these games are useful for learning the ropes and getting used to how the game is played.

Online poker real money

  • Win real money
  • Bigger prizes available
  • Quicker learning curve
  • Playing against experienced players
  • You can lose your money quickly
  • Games take longer so patience is required

Your first case of online poker real money games will often be interlinked with bonus money and you’ll receive this bonus when you register an account with an online casino or poker site.

The bonus details will all depend on the site you sign-up with and we’ll let you know about the best real poker online NZ sites shortly. You will notice the improved skill level of players when playing with bonus and real money. A lot more is on the table in terms of value and so every decision counts.

In short, there are two main types of online poker bonuses you can find at online casino ith NZ Dollars, one is the no deposit bonus and the other is a deposit bonus:

  • No Deposit Bonus: You register an account and receive a bonus without making a deposit.
  • Deposit Bonus: You register an account and then receive a bonus after you make your first deposit.

Best online poker sites in New Zealand

We know the next question that you’re going to ask and that will be where exactly can you play online poker? Well, we’ve already done the hard work for you and reviewed all the top poker sites available to you in New Zealand, here are the top three:

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Types of poker games

Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of poker in the world with an easy learning curve and plenty of players available to play against. The majority of games at online poker sites will be based on the Texas Hold’em rules.

Casino Hold’em

Casino Hold’em is very similar to Texas Hold’em except that in this game you only play against the dealer and not any other players. It’s a straight contest between you and the dealer without all the extra ‘tell’ signs and waiting for other players.

Caribbean Stud Poker

The Caribbean Stud Poker game is much akin to 5 Card Stud Poker but again this game is only played against the dealer, so no extra players are at the table. You don’t need to worry about deception or bluffing with this game,

Oasis Poker

Oasis Poker is based on the Caribbean Stud Poker game but with a few additional changes in the rules. Players are allowed to exchange cards before the fold/raise decision and can do so by placing down extra money.

Three Card Poker

A simplified poker game in which you play against the dealer and try to make the best hand out of three cards. An ante bet is placed down first before your cards are dealt and then you can choose to call or raise after viewing your cards.

Advantages & disadvantages of online poker


✅Comfort: Sitting down to play poker at a real casino takes a certain level of confidence. If you’re new to the game or even new to playing against real experienced players then online poker offers a huge level of comfort. You don’t get so intimidated by other players and comfortable surroundings allow you to enjoy the game and learn at your own pace.

✅Easier on the wallet: The costs of playing online are considerably cheaper as you can instantly remove all the extras that come as part and parcel of visiting a casino. Drinks, food, taxi fares… the list goes on. The plus point is also that online poker gives you a much wider range of limits which go from micro stakes to high-roller tables with everything in between.

✅Online Variety: The fact that brick-and-mortar casinos have limited floor space means that they need to fill that space with money-making games. Poker doesn’t come very high up on that list, so this is why you don’t find many poker games at a casino. Online is a completely different situation and this is why you can find so much variety.


❌Poker Skills & The Art Of Telling: Poker is a game played against other opponents and one of the vital ingredients to any poker player’s skill set is the ability to read other players. This is known as reading the ‘tells’ and although you can do this online to some degree, you will never get the same edge on people like you do in real life.

Speed: There are always other players available to play against at an online poker gaming site and that means you never have to wait long to start playing. Couple this with the fact that the games are continuously being played, you will get through a lot more rounds than if you were playing offline at a casino.

There will always be plus and minus points for every casino game but when it comes to online poker, the plus always outweighs the negative. It’s why the game is played by millions of players across the world every day and night of the week.

Poker Rules

As we mentioned at the start, poker is all about a core set of rules and then advancing those to create your own poker strategy. To give you a quick head start next time you play, we’ve got a crash course of poker terms below:

Poker Terms

  • All-In: a player decides to bet with all their remaining chips.
  • Bankroll: the total amount of money a player has to play poker with.
  • Blinds: Small and big blinds are two forced ‘bets’ generally found in one and two positions left of the dealer.
  • Bluff: when a player bets or raises with a mediocre or poor hand, trying to fool the other players
  • Busted: when a player loses all their chips.
  • Buy-In: the amount of chips required to enter a game.
  • Call: to make a bet the same size as another player.
  • Check: to not bet and stay in the game (if all other players check as well).
  • Community Cards: the cards dealt out first that are shared by all players.
  • Dealer: the player who sits at the position marked with a ‘D’ or ‘Button’.
  • Draw a hand that requires further cards to make a winning hand.
  • Flop: the moment when the first three cards are dealt face-up on the table
  • Fold: to remove your cards from the table and forfeit your right to the pot.
  • Freeroll: a tournament that is free to enter for players.
  • Hand: the full set of cards that include yours and the community cards to make the best possible hand.
  • Kicker: an unmatched card that is used to break ties between players (Ace is a high kicker).
  • Pre-flop: the round before the first three cards are shown.
  • Raise: when a player adds more money to the bet than the player before, forcing other players to add more to carry on.
  • Rake: the percentage taken from the house/casino from each pot as commission.
  • River: the last round when the fifth card is revealed.
  • Satellite Tournament: a smaller tournament that leads to bigger prize tournaments.
  • Showdown: the final stage of a poker round.

Poker Hands

Your aim in poker is to create the best possible hand-made from the cards you are dealt with and the cards on the table.

It’s essential to learn the rankings of these hands-off by heart. You will need to make important decisions during each game on what you think other players might be holding.

Here’s the rundown of Texas Hold’em poker hands from best to worst:

poker hands rank

Poker tells

We mentioned earlier about the art of telling and we now want to talk about this in more detail. If you understand how this works and you find yourself predicting correctly what other players are holding and how they play, you will quickly be on the way to winning tournaments and prizes.

A slight change in the behaviour of a player can be a sign that the hand they are holding has become better or worse. Of course, this has led to the famous ‘poker face’ where players try to not give anything away.

However, for the sharp-eyed players out there, here are some of the typical tell-tale signs to look out for in a typical offline poker game:

  • Leaning forwards and backwards
  • A change in their tone of voice
  • Nervous tics, appearing when it’s their turn to play
  • The lack of eye contact with other players

The above ‘tells’ are great for playing offline but what about online poker? It’s a lot harder to find these when playing against other people online, and what follows it’s also harder to spot cheaters. But there are some online poker tips to keep an eye out for when playing and these are all based around betting patterns.

  • Playing speed changes
  • Betting sizes increase/decrease
  • Decision reaction times
  • Chatbox comments
  • Changes in bet sizes

It’s a difficult skill to understand player behaviour during online casino poker games as the ‘tells’ are not always as obvious as looking at someone across the table.

But you might be able to find some advantages from time to time and that might be all that is needed to win that pot or win the game. 


The most popular poker game in the world is the Texas Hold’em version and this is the game that you will find most often in the online poker lobbies. It’s the best poker game to learn on in our opinion.

Yes, we recommend claiming bonus money when you sign up to a site and then use this free money to learn the basics of poker. It’s the best way to gain experience without using all your own money.

The minimum stake will all depend on the site you are playing at. Many poker games are available for only $1 or sometimes less if you find the bigger poker sites.

Yes, you can play online poker via your mobile device whether that be a smartphone or tablet device. You can play all the usual poker games and take advantage of all the bonuses as well on these online poker no download sites.

Yes, you can enjoy safe and secure poker games at any of the sites recommended at Betpal. These poker sites are licensed and regulated to ensure fair gaming and player safety.


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