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In some states, it's clearly illegal to play Texas holdem on the Web for money. We take it into account, but it's a much less important factor than the site's safety and security, for example. Number of Pieces 1 to 9. They're often gamblers who don't play well. At this time, no one has stepped forward to publicly claim ownership. Which poker games are available? Stud poker is older and stiffer than these other 2 games, but it's still occasionally found online.
A Quick Online Poker History Lesson and How It Affects U.S. Players
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Product - Pc Poker Set. Product Title Pc Poker Set. Product - Trademark Poker pc Product Title Trademark Poker pc Product - Trademark Poker Product Title Trademark Poker Product - piece Product Title piece Product - Brybelly The Greenbacks: Assume that you and all the other entrants are of equal skill level. That means an entry is worth more than what you paid for it. Even if you're a slightly below average player, you have a good chance of showing a profit in such a situation.
When we rank poker sites, we look at the variety of tournaments available. More tournaments with more games means a higher ranking. For the most part, any reputable poker site will have similar safety and security measures in place. But you shouldn't ignore this. Smaller, newer sites might be scams and might not have the measures in place they should have. When you're looking for safety and security measures at an online poker site, you want to consider some of the following:.
As far as encryption goes, make sure that the site is using SSL encryption to keep your information safe from hackers. When we talk about the infrastructure behind the site, we're talking about the likelihood that something will go wrong in the middle of a hand.
Getting kicked off a poker site in the middle of a big hand can be a disastrous event for your bankroll in some situations. Look for complaints related to this in poker player forums and avoid sites where you think this might be an issue. In terms of regulation and licensing, look for sites that are licensed by large, recognizable international authorities.
If it's a country you've never heard of, do some more investigating. The better-known and larger the country is that hosts the licensing agency, the better off you'll be. If you've done this much investigating into the site's safety and security features, you can probably feel safe regarding the use of your credit card information. It's rare to find a complaint among players that someone from an online cardroom stole or mis-used a player's credit card information.
Frankly, the business is profitable enough that such shenanigans aren't necessary. A poker site will make more money by keeping your credit card number safe.
As far as getting your winnings quickly, you can investigate this in 2 ways. One way is to spend some time searching forums and reading reputable site reviews at information portals like ours. Another is to look at whether or not the site offers frequent, large guaranteed prize pool events. Being able to afford these guaranteed prize pools is a clue albeit not a guarantee that the site is well-funded enough to afford timely payouts.
Not all new poker sites are scams, and not all old poker sites are safe. But this, like the other criteria listed on this page, is a clue as to what you're getting yourself into. Reputable information portals like ours include detailed information about the history of an online cardroom in their review. As a general rule, older sites are often safer in a number of ways.
For one thing, it takes time to build a reputation—good or bad. If you develop a bad enough reputation over a long enough period of time, you'll go out of business. This happened to Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker. But don't disregard new sites. Ignition Casino is one of our favorite sites at which to play online poker. It seems like it's brand-new this year, but it's actually more of a re-branding of an older cardroom that used to be associated with Bovada.
Before that it was associated with Bodog. No one has complaints about any of those companies that we're aware of. User interface is more important when playing Texas holdem online than with most other games. If the interface is unfriendly and causes you to bet when you mean to fold, you'll pay for it—literally. We recommended earlier that you try the free games before playing for real money. This is one of the reasons. Another factor to consider when trying out a cardroom is whether or not you like the graphics and sound effects.
We've seen poker rooms which were cartoony and felt entirely too childlike, but we had friends who loved those sites. We've also seen ultra-modern sites that felt slick and state-of-the-art, and we had friends who hated those, too. Aesthetics are largely a matter of personal preference. You can glean some of what you need to know related to whether or not you'll enjoy the look and feel of a site from screenshots and a website.
But there's really no substitute for actually playing the games and trying them out. Competition level is important. If you can find a site where most of the players are unskilled, you can increase your chances of being a profitable player. When we look for a poker site at which to play, we tend to favor sportsbooks and online casinos which have poker rooms attached to them.
You'll often find sports bettors and casino bettors who are just trying out online Texas holdem. They're often gamblers who don't play well. Think about it this way. But suppose that you're twice as good as the average player. That's not possible at a poker site where everyone who is playing is already an expert. Keep this in mind, too, though. Wherever you find fish, you'll also find sharks. As long as you can recognize the difference, you can take advantage of sites with unskilled competition.
As far as the fairness of the games goes, you're looking for sites which use legitimate random number generators. Most online cardrooms do have such RNG programs in place already. But if you're suspicious, be prepared to back up your claims with data. You'll find complaints about the fairness of the deal at every poker site online. Most of the time, this is just short-term deviation and sore losers at work. One other thing to watch for when it comes to fairness—collusion.
Reputable online cardrooms watch for players who share information and take extreme measures to run them off. If you suspect other players of cheating, contact the site's security team. All Internet cardrooms offer signup bonuses and reward programs. There's more to a signup bonus than its size, though. You also need to understand how long it's going to take to play through the rake requirements and release the entire bonus.
But these bonus founds don't hit your account immediately. That's one of the main differences between a poker bonus and a casino bonus, by the way. Those funds are released as you accumulate player points by participating in raked hands. Let's say this particular poker site—and this is the actual program at Ignition Poker, by the way—has levels based on poker points, and your bonus is released when you hit the following milestones:. By requiring you to participate in a certain number of raked hands before releasing your bonus, the site ensures that you're not able to just claim the bonus and immediately cash out, guaranteeing yourself a profit with their promotional funds.
Reward programs are usually points-based, as in the example above. These points do more than release your signup bonus, though. At other online cardrooms, you can use those points to get cash rebates or to shop for various brand-related items in the frequent player club store.
We have a huge collection of poker site ballcaps, but that's just one example. No one wants to wait a month or longer to get their winnings. If you live in the United States, it can be tricky to get your funds, but reputable poker sites should still be able to get you your funds within a week or so.
When we're ranking poker sites, we take into account how many withdrawal options a site has. If you only one or two ways to get your money, that's not as player-friendly as if you have a half-dozen options to choose from.
Low withdrawal limits are another hot button issue for us. You should be able to withdraw a reasonable amount of money at a time. A poker site that's limiting how much you can withdraw isn't doing as good a job. Not all poker sites offer a bad beat jackpot, and that's okay.
In fact, a lot of the more elite poker players we know turn their nose up at such foolishness. But for a lot of gamblers, a bad beat jackpot adds a little spice and excitement to the game. You win a bad beat jackpot when you have a strong hand, but it loses to someone with an even stronger hand. Each poker site has its own specific requirements about what qualifies as a bad beat. For example, you might need to have a 4 of a kind or better to qualify. Other requirements might apply, too, like needing to use both hole cards in both the winning and losing hand.
A bad beat jackpot differs from a bad beat bonus. A jackpot is progressive—that is, it grows over time until it's hit. The poker site uses a percentage of the rake to "fuel" that jackpot".
A bad beat bonus, on the other hand, is a flat amount that's awarded—it's the same regardless of how long it's been since the last bad beat.
One of the nice things about a bad beat jackpot is that everyone sitting at the table gets to participate in the winnings. The jackpot is normally divided up according to who lose, who won, and who just happened to be at the table.
The loser normally gets the largest percentage, followed by the winner. The other players at the table only get a small percentage. Whether or not the sound and graphics suit you is a largely personal decision. When we rank poker sites, we take these factors into account. Clearly, some sites have better sound and graphics than others. But in other cases, the sounds and graphics are comparable—it's just that what you think looks and sounds good might be different from what someone else thinks.
So we don't weight this factor too heavily when we rank a site. We take it into account, but it's a much less important factor than the site's safety and security, for example.
Below you'll find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about online poker. In some cases, we've written entire pages providing comprehensive, detailed answers to those questions. In those cases, click on the link to read the detailed answer.
In the United States, there is no federal law that specifically outlaws online poker. But individual states often have state laws which apply. We're not lawyers, but we know this—the likelihood of facing legal action in the USA when playing poker online is minimal. Cheating at online poker sites isn't unheard of.
Do a little research into what happened a few years ago at Absolute Poker if you want to read a really hair-raising story about online poker cheats. The most common form of cheating is collusion.
That's when 2 or more players at a table share information with each other about their hands. Cheating is a concern, but it's not a major concern. In our experience, most of the players who would be willing to cheat in this way are so bad at poker that you can beat them consistently even when they are cheating. This varies from site to site. For the most part, reputable poker sites keep your money safe. But it's possible that if the US government takes action against a poker site, your money could be tied up temporarily.
When the federal government went after PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, many players waited months before getting their funds out of the sites. Full Tilt Poker wasn't segregating player funds from their operating funds, either, which made things even harder for players.
Reputable cardrooms keep those funds firmly separated from the rest of their moneys. The most common way to make a deposit into an online poker site is to charge it to a credit card. Mastercard and Visa are both commonly accepted at most online cardrooms.
You have other options available, too, depending on the cardroom. Some sites accept e-checks, money transfers like Moneygram, and depending on where you live , online wallets like PayPal or Neteller. These are also the typical ways of withdrawing funds, but with some exceptions. But funds above that amount have to be cashed out using another method. Bitcoin is becoming an increasingly popular means of accomplishing your banking needs with online gambling sites, too.
At most sites, yes, you do need to download a software client in order to play. The good news is that the download is quick, safe, and painless. Some sites do offer no download interfaces, too. For most of these, you play through your Internet browser. We don't know of any online cardrooms which lack Texas holdem as an option. Most also offer at least one form of Omaha, too.
Stud poker and 5 card draw might or might not be available, depending on which site you're using. Badugi is becoming more common, too, but it's not available at all sites, either. If poker game selection is an issue for you, be sure to read the detailed information about what's available before signing up at the site. At one time, Apple and Mac users had a limited number of options for playing poker for cash on the Internet. But most sites now offer compatible software or some kind of interface for Mac or Apple users.
In a worst case scenario, you could use a Windows emulator to be able to play. If a site lacks information about Mac compatibility, you can always ask customer service about it. Not all sites offer mobile apps, but it's becoming increasingly common.
See our answer to the question about Mac users. It varies from site to site, and most sites offer detailed information for prospective customers. You can also always contact their customer service teams. Playing online poker from the United States isn't as easy as it used to be. At one time, there were dozens of high profile choices. But in , the federal government shut down the largest poker sites accepting U. Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet shut down entirely.
This doesn't mean you can't play poker online. It does mean that you have fewer options than we used to have. It also means that it's a little harder to get money to and from the cardroom.
At most poker sites which accept U. Below we offer some tips and advice about Internet poker. This information should be especially helpful to beginners. If you're just getting started with online poker, you need to learn the basics of how to play. This means knowing how the rankings of hands works. It also means understanding betting. The math is also important—an understanding of pot odds and drawing odds will put you ahead of many of your opponents, skill-wise.
Then there are factors specific to online poker—things like how to best take advantage of signup bonuses, how to compare player rewards programs from one site to another, and which banking methods are most appropriate for your goals.
We cover all these topics in detail elsewhere on this site. One of the mistakes many players make is to get involved in a lot of fancy strategic thinking too early. At its heart, poker is an easy game. You get good hands, then you bet those good hands.