Guide to How to Play Poker Online
Are You New to Online Gambling?
With a little bit of knowledge before you jump into it, gambling and online poker can be incredibly exciting. Imagine all the fun you can have at a casino at home, with some pretty great perks: you've always got the best seat in the house no matter what game you're playing; you can listen to your own music; you can play in your pajamas; the kitchen and the bathroom are all close by, and - perhaps best of all - most of the software out there today allows you to mute those annoying chatty players beside you. Try doing that in a casino! All the great things about visiting are casino are still there, too. The fantastic games, the thrill of playing, and the social camaraderie of the people you're playing against. With the tips you'll learn below, you'll be on your way to winning those big pots, and can be guaranteed that you'll have the time of your life.
Make Sure it's Legal
Before you even think about playing online poker at an internet casino, be sure you can do it legally. Make sure you're old enough to play (different online casinos and card rooms have different age restrictions), and you should also check with you local law enforcement authorities to find out if it's legal where you live. Internet gambling isn't sanctioned everywhere, so find out before you do anything else.
Make Sure The Site is Trustworthy
There are a lot of online poker sites out there. ...A lot. So before you start depositing your paychecks into the first one you come across, do a little research first.
- Avoid sites that don't have their own specific domain name (ie., www.pokerstars.com is good; www.geocities.com/stanscasino or bigpotcasino.8m.com is not). An online gambling site that's professional enough to buy its own domain name and hosting is more likely to legally be able to accept online wagering.
- If you aren't sure how to find the best online poker sites out there on your own, try an online casino and gambling portal like CasinoAdvisor.com or PokerNews.com. These sites are very trustworthy, and put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the sites they link to are not only trustworthy, but fun and of the highest quality.
- Avoid sites that link through partner programs. While some of these sites are trustworthy, enough of them are not and all of them are looking for a fast buck. How it works is that the casino site offers a percentage of the house winnings to the site that referred the player, but because the transactions aren't monitored by a third party it opens the process up to a lot of shady practices between the operator of the site and the referring site. If they're willing to be dishonest with their "partner" sites, what's to keep them honest when it comes to your money? Again, this doesn't apply to all sites using a partner program, but it applies to enough of them that you should be very cautious, and may want to avoid them all together.
- Make sure the online gaming sites you play at are accredited. This means that they are in compliance with a body or council that oversees their actions and ensures that everything is on the level. These councils, such as Kahnawake Gaming Commission and the Internet Gaming Council, establish guidelines and fair, responsible trade practices in order to protect you, the player.
- Be sure that the gaming site you're using can be contacted. See if they have a toll free number, and if they do, try it out before joining the site to see what kind of service you get. If not, be sure that they at least have email support, and try that before joining, too. Some sites, like Hollywood Poker and Fat Cat Gaming, even have Live Help features, a support chat room specifically for helping their members 24/7.
Make Sure Your Money is Safe and Secure
Obviously, what you're probably most nervous about is your money. And I don't think anyone would blame you for that, but with these simple tips you'll be feeling much better about it.
- For various reasons most online poker and gaming sites don't accept credit cards anymore, but there are other ways to go about depositing your money once you've decided on a gaming site that works for you. Sites like NETeller, Skrill and Click2Pay are great alternatives to using your credit card, and offer quick and easy use. As well as that, you can use these accounts on any number of other sites.
- Understanding what happens to your money while it's on the internet is very important. Make sure that you understand everything about the process - another reason to use a service like NETeller or FirePay, because of their clear and easy instructions and explanations.
- Take screenshots of your winnings, and get a shot of the transaction record, too. This is like an electronic copy of a receipt, or a photocopy, which will come in handy if there's ever any dispute between you and the online casino about your winnings. To take a screenshot, simply hit the "Print Screen" (or "PrtScn") key, or command-shift-3 on a Mac.
- Use your Transaction History logs to keep an eye on your money. Think of these logs as a sort of checkbook of all your activity on a site. It tracks everything right down to the bets you placed on a hand and keeps track of it all for you. Get yourself accustomed to how it works, and always keep an eye on it. After all: you wouldn't just throw out your bank statements, would you?
Get Out There and Play Some Poker!
You heard me - get out there and play some poker!
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