Online Poker Rooms are sprouting on the Internet like poppies in spring. Like
anything else in life, there are good poker rooms and there are bad ones. These
are some of the issues that need consideration when selecting an online poker
Of utmost importance when playing poker online is to
ensure that the poker room you are playing at will keep you credit information
private and secure. You also must ensure that your personal
identification and contact details will not be sold. Moreover you need
to ensure that the online software used by the poker is secure. By this we mean that the software cannot be
manipulated and players can't take advantage of weaknesses in the software as
there are checks and balances in place by the operator to ensure this does not happen; etc.). The servers on which the software
sits needs to be secure.
should provide details about the encryption system
Make sure that the poker room is transparent with this information.
For example, do they explain how card are shuffled and their random number
generator? Good rooms will
maximise the level of unpredictability
in the cards being played. Investigate the other measures they have
put in place to
eliminate, for example, game rigging, player collusion, hacking. Make sure you
Availability of Games
It's very important to familiarise yourself with how
busy a poker room is. Will you be able to play any
poker game you choose to play, around the clock?
In other words do they offer a diversity of games and
sufficient players to keep the tables occupied? Obviously
the bigger the pool, the more activity you will
see in game-play and cash winnings.
It's advisable to visit the poker
rooms at various
times of the day to assess what the action is
in the variety of games on offer.
Usability and Software
Once you have satisfied yourself that the poker room
keeps your cash and personal details safe,
you need to satisfy yourself that the game-play and
visual effects are appealing. Investigate the variety of poker games offered and
pay attention to how successfully
a site is in creating
a great poker environment to play
in. Ask yourself - how easy
are the games to play, are the graphics and sounds funky
and interesting, can I play even if my
computer set-up does not support the
very latest graphics, and is all the information needed to play
accessible and easy to understand? Some sites definitely have more attractive
and captivating game-play than
others. Speak to other players and elicit their opinions
So the site is secure and fair and you love the
game-play and get lots of action but you experience a problem. For example your
computer crashes, or the poker rooms server goes down,
or your request to cash out has not been processed.
Check the site to see how easy is it to find and use
the contact details on the site
to get someone
help you. Ensure that they offer a 24-7
support service? Obviously toll-free numbers (although
not necessarily for non-U.S
players) are best. But
look for how fast they are to respond. If You get a
speedy resolution to
your problem and it is dealt with in a fair and
professional way then this is a site to play at.
Check how well they respond to e-mail
Some poker rooms are more reliable then others. Try to
establish how much "downtime" the poker room has, as anything that interrupts
game-play can be very irritating and may cause major problems. Downtime can be
caused by problems with the servers that host the software. Try to
establish if there are delays in transferring information. Communicate
with other players, and read gaming portals such as this one for up to date
information and reviews of poker rooms.
This is a very important issue and should be thoroughly
researched before playing at a poker room. Try to establish how much
money players have won at their poker games. Find out what the procedure and
timing is for paying out winnings. Establish if they will pay your winnings
into your credit card? Find out what charges are
applied to what method of payment. It is important to establish how long it
takes before you will receive your winnings. Once you understand these
procedures and turnaround times you can determine whether they are acceptable
to you. Look for sites that offer features such as e-mail confirmation of the
verifying all the details of the request,
such as dates, and amounts.
It is great to be able to check-out all the
aforementioned features of a poker room such as game-play,
look and feel, payout
percentages, activity, etc.without
having to use your own money. Use the free
play amounts on offer but try go for sites that don't require you to give
masses of personal information before qualifying for the free play amounts on
If you are quite experienced at playing poker on line,
then look out for sites that offer tournaments. There has been a lot of online poker rooms
that have added this as a feature or in beta stages of testing.
There will definitely be more variety and increased cash prizes
on offer in the future.
Comps and Promos
Every poker room wants to attract and retain the most
amount of players. Poker rooms are getting more and more creative in the type of player incentives
they offer. Try and establish what it is they reward.
Do they, for example,
reward frequent visitors? What about high hand or bad beat jackpots?
tournaments? random cash giveaways?
Rake structures must be fair. This is a topic on its
own, as poker rooms calculate rake very differently. However, it is easy to see
if a poker room overcharges on rake. By the same token, tournaments fees also
need to be in a general ballpark.
In the quest to attract and retain the most and best players poker rooms
have launched all types of features. Some sites, for example, will allow you
to select a character image which becomes identified with your nick. Others
sites will monitor your game-play and track your statistics for you. Certain
sites do not levy a charge for certain types of cash-outs. Some sites track
the top players. If you are a regular player you may be given the opportunity
to beta-test new games or poker tournaments in they have in development. Some
poker rooms offer good poker resources by way of celebrity columns, advice,
links, etc. Look for poker rooms that offer both access to quality information
that's useful when playing poker as well as convenience.
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