Online Poker Rooms

 As of this writing, online poker rooms operate from offshore locations.  It is illegal to operate an online casino from within the United States, although the law on this is changing rapidly.  Some casinos in Nevada are pressing for laws allowing their United States-based businesses to operate over the Internet.  The law on playing in online casinos for real money is unclear.  In no manner should this book be construed to offer legal advice on the issue of online gambling.  The law in this area is vague and changing.  It is your responsibility to know and follow the laws that apply in your state and jurisdiction.  Seek appropriate legal advice from a qualified attorney if unsure.

            It is my opinion that observation of real-money play in online poker rooms and participation in play money games are valuable activities for learning the structure, mechanics, and strategies of various forms of poker.  However, playing for real money in an online venue is a risky activity.  It is difficult to know for certain if the games and operators are completely legitimate.  If you choose to play poker online, proceed with caution

Setting Up To Play Online

To play poker online, you will need:

  • A computer
  • A software package called a Web browser
  • A connection to the Internet.
           I will make some general comments on all of the above; in particular, how your choices relate to online poker games.  It is not my intent to review specific computers or make recommendations.  Consumer choice changes weekly and there are thousands of publications on computers, software, and accessories for those who need guidance.
Computers :-

            Personal computers come in two basic types that are defined by their operating system.  The operating system is the program that appears when you first turn on the computer and allows the user to perform all the basic tasks-launch application programs, manage files, connect to peripherals. The Windows ® operating system published by Microsoft runs on more than 90% of the personal computers manufactured.  The Macintosh ® operating system runs only on computers manufactured by Apple ® Computer and accounts for less than 10% of the market.  There are other operating systems (for example Unix and its variants), but most people rarely encounter them.  Windows dominates the market so most online poker rooms require use of a Windows-based computer.  If your primary purpose for owning a computer is for online activity, poker or otherwise, a Windows-based computer will give you more online options.

            The Macintosh operating system is used heavily for education, graphics design , and desktop publishing (this book was produced on a Macintosh).  If you have an Apple computer, you can still play online poker, but your choices will be limited.  While all online poker rooms work on Windows machines, not all work on a Macintosh.  The online cardroomprofiles in Chapter 10 specify which ones are Macintosh compatible.

Web browser :-

            The software that allows you to download and view Web pages is called a Web browser.  The most popular browsers are Netscape® and Microsoft’s Internet Explore®.  While these two browsers are slightly different in appearance, they are nearly identical in function.  Use of one or other is a matter of personal preference.  Most computers come with at least one of these browsers (often both) preloaded.  Once you are using a browser to surf the Web, the difference between the Windows and Macintosh operating systems is not readily apparent.  From the user’s point of view, Internet Explorer works close to the same way in either operating system.  The same is true of Netscape.  Once your Web browser is launched, you to go specific Web sites by typing the Uniform Resource Locator (URL)  into the window at the top of the screen.  The URL is the Web address that usually begins with For example will take you to my Web site assuming you have established an Internet connection.

Internet connection :-

            By itself, your computer will not connect to the Internet.  You must subscribe to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to have access to the Web and other Internet features such as e-mail.  There are two basic kinds of Internet service: dial-up and broadband.  Dial-up subscriptions range between $ 15 to $ 25 perspective month and work over your existing phone line.  You connect the cable that goes into your phone, into your computer instead and program the computer to dial the phone number provided by your ISP.  Dial-up connections are inexpensive and easy to set up.  The disadvantages are that they tie up your existing phone line and are slow, unstable, and unreliable.  For real-time poker, the transmission delays and sudden disconnects in the middle of hands are a nuisance.  Online poker games are programmed as a courtesy to automatically put players “all in” if when it is their turn, they don’t respond within 30 seconds.  What going “all in” means is that a player does not have to match further bets to contest the pot.  If the disconnected player’s hand is the winning hand, his or her account is awarded the fraction of the pot present at the time of the disconnection.  Bets placed after the disconnection go into a side pot and are awarded to the second-best hand.  However, the “all in” courtesy is usually extended only once perspective day to avoid intentional disconnects motivated by players who want to finish the hand without paying bingo.

            Broadband connections are faster and more stable.  However, they are more expensive ($ 40 to $ 60 per month), more difficult to set up, not available in all areas of the country, and not completely free of glitches.  Your broadband connection will also experience sudden disconnects, though not as often as a dial-up.  Broadband ISP’s include providers that connect through the cable TV lines with use of a cable modem, and providers that work through the local phone company by using ISDN  (Internet Services Digital Network) or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line ) services.  Find out what services are available in your area and their set-up costs and procedures.  Set up of a broadband connection is more complicated than plugging the phone line into your computer and entering a number.  Often the set up takes several weeks and requires an on-site visit from a technician.  Unless you live in a densely populated area, dial-up may be your only choice.  If broadband is a available and you try it, you will quickly get addicted to the increased download speeds.  You will also not tie up your phone line.  If you are a serious Internet user, consider getting broadband. It gives you an opportunity to win huge amount of money along with casino. The extra cost (compared to dial-up ) is about the cost of the extra phone line that you might want if you spend hours online using a dial-up connection.  If you are just getting started, try dial-up first and find out what the Internet is about.

            One final note on Internet service for users of Web TV deserves mention.  Televisions do not have computer processors and hard drives and therefore cannot download and run poker playing software.  Web TV users are only to view (browse) sites.  You cannot play in any online poker room that requires a software download unless you have a computer.