When you play poker online you will be amongst hundreds of thousands of other players. Some of these players are rookies and others are seasoned professionals. I know many players that starting playing in college, only to drop out because the money they win in a week at the tables is higher than what they'd earn in a month in their chosen profession, if they had obtained their degree. Not everyone is destined to because full time poker players though. For most of us it is just a recreational/hobby type deal that occasionally pays the bills. I don't know about you guys but playing at 6 tables simultaneously, 5-6 hours/day, isn't for me. This internet poker guide will cover some of the basics that new online poker players will need to know in order to avoid costly and embarrassing mistakes. I have added links to some other useful poker sites below:
Online poker is technically in gray area in regards to legality in the United States. Despite that, millions of Americans play online poker every day for real money and not one has ever been arrested. The only actual law concerning online poker players actually has more to do with banks. Years ago, a few shady/crooked/corrupt congressmen attached an amendment onto a "security" bill. These senators were paid off by the offline casinos and horse race betting companies. In 2010, online poker is more popular than ever and continues to grow at an astounding pace.
How Does Online Poker Work?
This is a good question and it deserves a good answer. Poker rooms take a small percentage (called rake) out of each pot, that is how they make their money. The amount is very insignificant though, unless you look at it in the large scale POV. Most "new" online poker players think that if they win they are taking the poker rooms money, this couldn't be further from the truth. The poker rooms could care less who wins, their only objective is to keep players at the tables, thus generating more rake. If you deposit $10 and turn it into $1,000,000 within a month, they won't give you a hard time, like a casino would. That is of course assuming you won your money fairly. It is almost impossible to effectively cheat in online poker anyway, if you are playing at a legitimate room.
Which Online Poker Rooms Are Legitimate?
Online poker rooms can be broken up into two categories; Independent poker rooms and network rooms (skins). These can be further broken down into two sub categories; U.S. rooms and non-U.S. rooms. There are two major online poker rooms that are both independent rooms (they don't share software or players with anyone) and they both accept U.S. players. You have likely seen commercials for them on ESPN; Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker.
The Pokerstars vs Fulltilt Poker debate - Pokerstars is the dominate room in 2013 based on several important factors. Their peak traffic is around 300,000, their tournament line-up is unrivaled and their VIP program is the best available online. Full Tilt Poker clocks in at around 150,000 players logged in at once during peak hours and offers plenty of unique features as well. Rush Poker for instance is very popular amongst new online poker players because it takes the edge away from seasoned players. Pokerstars on the other hand offers several games that Full Tilt does not, including 5 Card Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Single Draw, 8-Game Mix and several other mixed poker games. Full Tilt also boats their own unique mixed games like 7 Game Mix. The software at each of these rooms is flawless so it's a dead tie there. The first deposit bonus at Pokerstars however is much better though. Enter the Poker Stars marketing code PSP11820 for the best sign up bonus. This Poker Star marketing code is good for the rest of 2013 Our Poker Stars 2013 review will teach you more about this poker site.
Each room offers a "100% match up to $600" bonus, but Pokerstars will match your first 3 deposits, compared to Full Tilt's one-time match bonus. You do not have to deposit at either room. Both offers "play money" tables and freerolls so you can fine tune your poker playing abilities, while having the chance to win money or a seat at one of the major poker tournaments like the WSOP. We have different signup instructions for each room. By following the directions below, if you decide to make a deposit you will be guaranteed the largest bonus possible.