Online Poker

Are you wondering why your poker-addict brother is now hogging the computer that was once your faithful companion? Well, he's found a new addiction on the Internet -- online poker. It is just as engaging as the conventional game and he's probably making money from his new obsession. You should, too. But before you make a call on any hand, read about online poker and know how to to become a pro.

The basics of online poker

Played on the Internet, the mechanics and rules of online poker is no different from conventional poker wherein you can create a bankroll from a few bucks or less. But while online poker has the same mechanics as conventional poker, there are still obvious disparities between the two.

One is the manner of playing the game. In conventional poker, players sit beside each other by a usually oval-shaped table. There is a real person dealing and shuffling the cards and overseeing the process of the entire game. In addition, players use real chips and real cards in conventional poker.

In online poker, however, players need to log on to the Internet, visit an online poker website, and engage in the game as virtual players. All players only generally know each other through usernames and communicate through chat. In addition, because online poker is played through a computer, players are unable to actually see each other.

Another difference between conventional and online poker is the speed of the game. Conventional poker is slower compared to online poker because the dealer in the former has to shuffle, deal, reshuffle, and again deal cards. But in online poker, a virtual dealer does the role automatically and very quickly.

The existence of different ways to increase player earnings is a third factor that makes conventional and online poker different from each other. For players to earn a lot in conventional poker, they must join high-stakes games. In online poker, players only need to open multiple windows and play multiple games.

Finally, a factor that distinguishes online poker from its brick-and-mortar counterpart is the fact that you can learn to play the game faster through online poker website tips. Various online poker websites are introduced as poker schools wherein people learn beginner to advanced-level playing strategies while engaged in the game. The tips are unavailable in brick-and-mortar poker rooms where you have to learn the game by experience.

Legality of online poker

Online poker is legal in many countries including the United Kingdom and some of those in and near the Caribbean Sea. In the United States, however, there have been steps to legalize online poker. Only a few online poker cardrooms are allowed to operate; Poker Stars is one of them.

Owners of online poker cardrooms and how they profit from the game

Several public and private companies run online poker cardrooms. One of the ways owners profit from the game is through the rake. A rake is money collected from online poker pots and it amounts to a certain percentage of the entire pot. Varying rake amounts are collected for different online poker cardrooms.

Another way owners earn from online poker cardrooms is through player deposits. In many online poker cardrooms, people are required to pay an entry fee before playing the game. The money deposited by players are invested by the owners in the same way that real casino owners do.

Finally, it is through fees added to tournament buy-ins that some owners of online poker cardrooms earn income. Before players can sit at an online poker table, they pay a buy-in or a fee to enter the tournament. Usually, ten percent of the buy-in is added to the actual amount of the buy-in. The ten percent is taken by the owners of online poker cardrooms as their income.

Random card shuffles in online poker cardrooms

Complaints regarding the manner of card shuffles in online poker have been raised by several online poker players. They say that online poker cardrooms do not shuffle cards as randomly as they should be, considering that bad beats take place every so often. In addition, complainants say that card shuffling systems have been rigged to the advantage of online poker cardroom owners. Several players, especially new ones, are dealt good cards to make them place higher bets, experience good game play, and come back for more games.

Because of the complaints, audit firms, such as the PricewaterhouseCoopers, assess online poker cardroom shuffling systems. Organizations like the Kahnawake Gaming Commission also study online card shuffling systems and random number generators of various online poker cardrooms before licensing those that meet the commission standards.

Earning money quickly through online poker

To quickly earn money and create a substantial online poker bankroll, you must join online poker cardrooms. Either play online poker games often or become a regular playing member. Usually, members and frequent players are given bonuses. Say, for a $150 deposit, regular online poker players can get a $60 bonus.

The bonus can be used to pay for buy-ins. By using the bonus as buy-in money, players no longer have to subtract from their non-bonus earnings the money needed to join a game. Without taking from the non-bonus earnings, players can increase their bankroll.

Another way to increase your earnings when playing online poker is to play multiple games. Many online poker players open at least three windows and play three separate games at a time. Other online poker players also join several high-stakes games to make more money.

Finally, it is advisable to play satellite online poker games to earn a lot in a short time. Satellite online poker games are separate online poker games played in an online cardroom. Winners of each of the satellite games play at a final table and the first placer earns an entry into a real poker tournament, such as the World Series of Poker.

Practices to avoid when playing online poker

One of the practices you should avoid is collusion. Collusion is a way to mislead or deceive other players and to get an unfair advantage. In online poker, collusion is done by using several membership accounts simultaneously in a single game. A person involved in collusion plays at a table under various usernames so he or she can defeat other players easily. A variation of collusion is done by several players situated in one actual room. They talk to each other as cards are dealt. Then, when all have been given cards, colluding players plan on how to steal game pots.

While collusion is an effective way to build a bankroll fast, many online poker cardrooms have systems that are able to detect colluding players. In several online poker cardrooms, website operators read the players' IP addresses and see if at least two come from one location. If similar IP addresses are spotted together in a table, corrective action is implemented.

Another way to detect collusion is through the use of a hand history system. The hand history systems in online poker cardrooms record the playing and betting behaviors of players. The behavior patterns enable easy identification of any fraudulent scheme.

Other activities that can be done on online poker rooms

Aside from playing the game, you can read articles and tips on strategies as well as news related to poker. In addition, you can read online poker reviews or discuss poker strategies, game rules, and tournament results with other players in chat rooms.