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Online Poker Site Selection

How to choose an online poker site

The World Of Internet Poker
An Overview of The Industry For The Apprehensive First-Time Player
Written By: John

As I am sure most of the readers know, poker has become one of the fastest growing games in the world over the last few years. The broadcast of tournaments such as the WPT (World Poker Tour) and WSOP (World Series Of Poker) have drawn thousands upon thousands of players into the world of poker. Along with the buzz came the need to expand the market and the Internet proved to be the next logical step. Currently there are thousands of gambling websites spread across hundreds of networks from Costa Rica to Gibraltar. This can be very intimidating and shady looking to new players looking to learn about and possibly play poker on the Internet. The focus of this article is to hopefully alleviate some of those fears and let you know exactly what to look for to ensure that you will be playing at a reputable site. We will begin by looking at the major concerns of licensing, financial security, fairness and support. 

Simply put, all of the poker rooms on the Internet need to be licensed. A regulated gaming commission who grant the site a gaming license enables them to legally conduct their operation on the Internet. The most commonly used licensee is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, located in the province of Quebeq in Canada. This gaming commission is empowered to regulate and control gaming and gaming related activities conducted within and from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake in accordance with the highest principles of honesty and integrity. Their website www.kahnawake.com/gamingcommission features a list of Internet gambling related sites whom they license. Whenever looking at a new site, make sure to find out whom they are licensed by. As well, it is a good idea to see if that gaming commission has a complaints department, as this helps maintain transparency and accountability between the site and its players. This is the first step to picking a reputable poker room but definitely is not the only consideration. Next we will look at financial security and different methods of adding and withdrawing funds from poker sites. 

Financial security seems to be the number one concern of people considering using the Internet or any online transaction, let alone poker. Needless to say millions of dollars pass over the Internet each day in complete financial security, but nevertheless it is always good policy to make sure you are conducting your financial transactions with a reputable processor. Specific to Internet poker rooms, the most popular and secure methods of putting funds into your poker account would be by credit card or via Neteller account and in some countries you can even use paypal to play poker. Credit card deposits are generally self-explanatory and are a very secure way to fund your account. All the transactions from the poker room cashiers are encrypted and can only be seen by the payment processor and the site. Although credit cards may be the most convenient method, many banks do no allow credit card use on online gaming sites. This is both a combination of social responsibility and liability for gambling debts (Yes, someone successfully sued a credit card company and didn’t have to pay off their gambling transactions). The most popular and safest alternative to credit card would be to open a Neteller account. This is a free service to Canadian and American consumers and basically acts as an offshore bank account (completely legal, they have various offices in North America). Neteller allows its consumer to fund their account via credit card, EFT (Electronic funds transfer) and Instacash (An immediate EFT). The transfers are made from your bank account into your Neteller account and this may be done once you have verified your account details. After funding the account, clients can make instant transfers to a merchant such as a poker site. This is a convenient alternative to credit cards and is safe and easy to set up. More information can be found at www.neteller.com. We will now examine fairness and equity in poker rooms online and examine how this is achieved. 

Most people who have ever played online have heard someone complaining that the cards are rigged or that the site is out to get them. Simply put, this is a falsity and there are a couple reasons why. Firstly and most importantly, when you are playing poker online you are seeing a much higher volume of hands when compared to a live or offline game. Whereas a game at home with friends may have 30-40 hands played an hour, a single table cash game online could have upwards of 100+. This is important as it may seem to some that certain so-called “bad beats” or suck outs are occurring much to often when in reality it is just a reflection of the increased number of hands being seen. Secondly, all card rooms employ RNG technologies. RNG stands for Random Number Generator and is the technology that essentially shuffles the cards in the poker room and ensures that random cards are dealt to everyone at the table. More information on random number generation can be found at www.random.org. Lastly, all poker rooms use some form of anti-collusion and fraud detections on their site. This software monitors player activities across the poker network to sniff out any suspicious behaviour. It can detect players working together on a table or working against a single player and helps to maintain the overall integrity of the games. All of these factors are important in selecting a new poker site to make sure that you are always getting a fair game. A reputable poker site will have information on anti-fraud and collusions and their use of RNG technologies. To finish off, we are now going to discuss support features at poker sites and how they can be a determining factor on the respectability of the site. 

The last aspect of poker room selection that I believe is vital is support. Support at all the poker rooms is your lifeline to the site. They will deal with you directly answering all questions, concerns or suggestions you may have in regards to the site and are your main source of information. The most important factor when looking at support services is availability. You want to pick a site with lots of support staff that will answer your questions promptly. The best way to ensure this is to join a site that offers live 24/7 support. This feature will ensure that you can contact the site at anytime you wish. Although live support is the best tool for contact, some sites do not offer it. This does not mean they are not respectable but rather that they have a huge volume of inquiries. The biggest poker sites respond to thousands of emails a day and having live support is just not feasible. The general rule of thumb for email-based support is a policy that guarantees a reply within 24 hours of your email. If you are still feeling sceptical of the website you are researching it never hurts to write an email to support asking them about the poker room and see how long it take them to respond. This will help you in determining their dedication to their customers. 

Well I hope that this article has given some insight into the online gaming industry and helped some of the sceptics gain a better understanding of its workings. Whenever you are thinking of joining a poker site please do some research and see what people are saying about it. As well always remember that the top sites on the Internet have gained their success through reputation and work hard to earn their customers loyalty. Happy hunting!!