If you’re an inexperienced poker enthusiast, it may be challenging to grasp the online poker terminology. Online poker rooms are a particularly tricky term, but you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, most online poker heavy hitters started their journey offline and then transitioned to the internet. However, the term “poker room” in the online world means a poker site, casino, or provider.
Hearing someone talking about such rooms means they are usually referring to specific sites specialized in this ancient card game. Regardless, countless punters still prefer brick-and-mortar venues because of the virtually non-existent risk of scamming players. Although there is inherently more risk in online and live poker games, there is usually no reason for concern. Join us below to learn more about online poker explained and how you can become a part of this world safely and sustainably.
What Are Online Poker Rooms? Understanding The Fundamentals
As previously mentioned, a poker room is merely another term for the site or operator providing the opportunity to play this game. So, when you hear this expression, you’re typically talking about an online casino site, a specialized poker site offering virtual games, or a provider of live poker games. However, the number one concern for countless punters typically has to do with the legality of such games.
If we take live poker as an example, the situation is straightforward. Players abide by the laws and rules of the jurisdiction in which the poker room or casino site has a physical location. However, the more prudent among you may wonder how it’s possible to know the rules if you’re playing poker from your home’s comfort.
When it comes to the physical location, the operator’s servers’ location determines the laws that the casino must abide by when offering gambling services. You’ll find that some of the most popular server locations include remote islands with relatively flexible laws. Operators choose such places because they allow them to avoid anti-gambling regulations and rules and turn a more significant profit due to lower taxes.
Although noting which gambling license (jurisdiction) online poker rooms operate under, this factor shouldn’t worry you too much. The reason is that the loss of a gambling license typically spells disaster for the operator – one they usually can’t recover from.
After choosing the poker room you’d like to try, you’ll need to sign up for a casino account. New players usually receive a welcome offer of some type after registering but note the offer’s terms and conditions before claiming. Most poker rooms will not allow you to keep the bonus unless you play enough hands or deposit a minimum amount of money.
Playing Online Poker In Poker Rooms
Once you’ve chosen an adequate poker room and set up your account, it’s time to decide which poker game you’ll play. Keep in mind that the online gaming possibilities are endless. On the other hand, the number of live poker games is nowhere near as large as their online counterparts). Two reasons for this difference include a typically higher player count and a lack of real-estate restrictions.
Remember that you can usually play every real-life poker variant online. Typical variants available in online poker rooms include Stud, Omaha, and Texas Hold’em. But, you’ll typically come across countless other variants that are just as – if not more – exciting. Additionally, one of the best things about playing poker online is choosing games with different stakes. Stakes in online games range between $0.01/$0.02 to several hundred/thousand dollars.
The game formats also differ from brick-and-mortar games. You’ll come across everything from MTTs (multi-table tournaments) to sit n’ gos and cash games. You can use factors like your bankroll and current play level to choose the suitable format.
Novice punters often wonder what’s in it for the poker room if the winnings always go to the most skilled/luckiest player. The room takes a rake from every cash game, which represents its profit. The rake is a small percentage from the pot and is a capped amount for every stake level. Additionally, every player pays a small fee for entering a tournament, which goes towards the casino’s profit. You can commonly see the rake before entering each game.
Simultaneously, it is impossible to cheat the system or spot patterns when playing in online poker rooms. A random number generator deals the cards, which ensures every deal is random and unpredictable.
Online Poker Rooms Through The Years
Online poker has consistently attracted individuals looking for thrill and lucrative wins. However, the 2003 WSOP $10,000 Main Event signaled a global wildfire among online poker fans, thanks to Chris Moneymaker’s success. Moneymaker scored a $2.5 million win and a satellite seat into the Main Event through an online poker tournament. The exciting part is that this player managed all of this with a less than $40 tournament buy-in.
Following Moneymaker’s roaring and unexpected success, hordes of poker enthusiasts began storming global poker rooms. The goal was to become rich through playing poker online and avoiding the offline physical limitations of wherever they lived. Punters worldwide realized they could compete against millions of others regardless of their location.
Internet poker rooms soon started recording unprecedented growth thanks to the enormous influx of new players. Most of these providers operated with tremendous liquidity thanks to a global player pool. Simultaneously, these poker rooms expanded their ventures until they hit a brick wall some eight years later.
Most major online poker sites in the United States became seized by the US Department of Justice on April 15, 2011. These online poker rooms had to shut down operations, and accusations started swirling around on money laundering, fraud, and other charges. Prominent CEOs, payment processors, and site owners faced potential arrests but remained free because they lived outside the US.
Online poker players worldwide immediately felt the severity of the shutdown. One of the most prominent sites, PokerStars, almost immediately refunded their American players, and it would be years for the refunds to go through to players on other sites.
What Happened Following The US Ban?
The biggest and most well-known sites managed to get their domains back following the blockage of US operations. These entities successfully continued operating in other parts of the world, but the event left scars on the worldwide image of online poker sites. The online poker landscape changed forever because a significant amount of the player pool became unavailable.
You may still come across unregulated online poker sites even today. However, most online operators became extremely serious in terms of regulation and licensing in the US market. Consequently, such games are only available throughout explicitly authorized jurisdictions.
Online Poker Rooms Today
Understanding the implications of registering a casino account to play online poker is crucial nowadays. It’s not a secret that numerous online sites simply do not offer players a safe playing experience. You should never, ever play on unregulated sites.
Compared to how it looked before 2011, the online poker scene in the US today seems nowhere near as flourishing. However, new legislation is slowly coming into place on a state level, giving rise to the market’s slow recovery. For example, states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have already passed legislation allowing people to play online poker safely and legally.
Technology has also significantly progressed over the last decade. Cryptocurrencies are a perfect example of a new way for players to deposit funds into poker rooms. Consequently, you can find numerous dedicated crypto-poker rooms today, and more and more reputable sites have started accepting crypto payments.
Bots have also become a significant problem in numerous online poker rooms but fear not. Experienced punters state that the number one method for avoiding bot-filled poker rooms is learning to select rooms and games properly. Therefore, your safest option is to stick to mainstream sites.
The global online poker scene today features numerous operators running impressive festivals and live events. PartyPoker, Unibet, 888Poker, Pokerstars, and other sites sponsor renowned tournaments worldwide. Each of the sites also offers online satellites, offering winners package deals including entering live events, paid flights, and hotel accommodation beside a mere tournament seat.
Reasons For Playing Poker Online
If you haven’t realized it by now, there are many reasons why playing online poker is an excellent choice. We’ll cover some of the most evident ones below:
- No noise
- Honing your skills in a controlled environment
- No need to practice your poker face
- More lucrative promotions
- The ability to multi-table
- Replaying hands and player notes
With every player shuffling their chips and numerous packet tables full of chatter, poker rooms can be extremely noisy. Some players even find such an environment uncomfortable and difficult to concentrate in. If you also have the misfortune of one of your opponents refusing to stop talking, it’s clear how in-person poker gaming can be challenging.
On the other hand, you can mute any players getting on your nerves when playing in online poker rooms. In other words, an online experience gives you complete control over your surroundings. You can play the game more enjoyably by controlling the noise level and adjusting it to your overall level of comfort.
Honing Your Skills In A Controlled Environment
Compared to live and brick-and-mortar games, playing poker online typically features much lower stakes. Since offering low-stake games isn’t economically viable in live casinos, these operators cannot run penny games sustainably.
However, you can encounter everything from gigantic to minute stakes poker games. If you’re looking to hone your skills or try a new variant, doing so online is more cost-effective and safer. If you encounter opponents with the same learning intentions, you can branch into previously unexplored poker variants in a fun, challenging, and secure environment.
Alternatively, you can leave the table and look for another game if your chosen variant just isn’t working. Such an approach isn’t always possible in a live setting.
No Need To Practice Your Poker Face
Playing poker in a brick-and-mortar casino instead of online poker rooms can make players nervous. When that happens, inexperienced players often give off physical signs that can betray their hand. Perhaps you begin to sweat, or your breathing becomes labored the longer it takes your opponent to think.
On the other hand, you can bluff with slightly more confidence when playing online because there are no physical reads. You can do whatever you want from your private card room at home and remain confident that your opponent won’t read any physical info from you.
More Lucrative Promotions
When you compare the available promotions between online and land-based poker casinos, you’ll immediately see the difference. Online poker rooms provide numerous bonus offers compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts, which is beneficial for players.
Some of the promo offers will include special bonuses for joining the site. Others will provide unique perks for specific games, but either way, these promotions represent valuable benefits. You can use them to try new games in a rewarding environment.
Players can expect lucrative promotions that reward players daily, weekly, or monthly. Some poker rooms also offer annual leaderboard contests, which stimulate healthy competition. Leaderboards provide an excellent way to accomplish that goal when looking to become part of a site’s poker community.
Additionally, these promotions frequently include chip packages, which can significantly help your bankroll.
The Ability To Multi-Table
The number of games you can simultaneously play is another reason to play at online poker rooms. You would not be able to play more than one game simultaneously in a live card room. However, you can have as much action as you wish online. If you’re looking to accelerate learning, playing more games at once is an excellent method. You can gain experience at a faster rate by increasing the number of hands you play per hour.
Comfort is the crucial aspect of playing multiple tables at once. If you feel pressure when multi-tabling, try removing one or more tables and gauge the feeling again. Timing out with an excellent hand because your focus was on another table is one of the worst things that can happen.
Replaying Hands & Player Notes
Online card rooms have another significant advantage over their live counterparts: the ability to see previous hands in real-time. You can look back on any hand from your session with the click of a button. For example, you can effortlessly see what happened in a hand if you missed a showdown because your attention was elsewhere. The replay feature allows players to stay ahead of the curve since information is crucial in poker games.
When it comes to information in poker games, note-taking can be incredibly effective. You’ll find that most reputable poker rooms allow punters to save notes on every opponent they play. You can write down the relevant points you notice someone doing and save them for later. Therefore, you can refer to your notes if you encounter the same opponent in a later game.
There are countless online poker rooms nowadays that operate as community-based initiatives. These rooms feature a thriving and friendly player base and offer numerous chances to debate and converse with like-minded people. If you’re looking for long-lasting friendships, such rooms are excellent places to start your search.
Luckily, winning isn’t the goal of every poker hand. Plenty of players consider social interaction and camaraderie to be above the mere thrill of victory. Additionally, you’ll come across forums on numerous community-focused sites. Various people join such forums with community giveaways and promotions or discuss a hot topic, the merits of a hand, etc.
As a newer player, it can be particularly effective to join such poker rooms. When looking to learn and interact with the community, look for social games that players often arrange. Such games typically take place either by meeting at a prearranged time or through a private club.
Ultimately, playing online is much more practical than traditional poker gaming. When you consider the lack of a dress code, irritating traffic jams, and zero commute time, the benefits of online become evident. You can play wearing slippers and a onesie and still win.
In other words, playing online gives you the freedom to play what you want, whenever you want, and in whatever setting you choose. Dealing with waiting lists is unnecessary. Instead, games await you 24/7. Online poker rooms put the player in control and let them choose their path.
Can You Use Online Poker Rooms To Play With Friends?
Some poker sites also offer players the opportunity to organize private poker games to play with friends. Two of the biggest poker rooms currently allowing this option are PokerStars and 888Poker. Both sites have different methods for setting up the games, so we’ll briefly run through each one.
The first order of business is ensuring that you and your friends sign up for a PokerStars account. There’s no need to deposit money, and the process is free. Create your poker club by navigating to “Home Games” in the PokerStars client. Go to “Manage Games” and choose between the available options to customize your game. Lastly, invite your friends by sending them a unique ID. When your friends join the club, they will see all of the scheduled games and play in them.
Setting up your private game at 888Poker is even more straightforward than PokerStars and other online poker rooms. After making sure all of your friends have an account, you’ll see the “Play With Friends” option when you download the client and sign in. Use the link to set up as many online poker games as you want and follow the on-screen instructions. Once you’ve created your game, you’ll also receive information to share with your friends and invite them to play alongside you.