According to PokerPulse, there are now about 140 sites with virtual tables and
an astonishing $100 million is wagered each night in online poker, up from $20
million in 2003. Some of the larger sites attract up to 40,000 or 50,000
players a night. Is it legal? Many of the online sites are located offshore,
beyond the U.S. government's reach. Technically, anyone 18 or older can legally
play at a web site based offshore. Regulators have made it tough to use credit
cards, but the sites will take an electronic check. Online poker ventures based
in the U.S. say players must be 21, but no one's checking IDs at the door.
One reason that online poker is becoming so popular is because it reaches
people too scared to step into a smoke-filled casino poker room, often
male-dominated. By playing on line people can play where they won't get
If you are new to online poker, the larger sites such as PartyPoker.com,
PokerStars.com and UltimateBet.com are recommended because since they take in
more revenue they typically spend more on security and support, including staff
who will investigate suspected cheaters.
Like with any skill you want to improve, read some books such as David
Sklansky's The Theory of Poker, and Hold 'Em Poker. Consult your local library
which will offer a myriad books to help you understand both the mechanics and
theories of the game. You can also learn from the poker community through
message boards such as www.TwoPlusTwo.com, www.unitedpokerforum.com, and
www.rec.gambling.poker. Another smart move is to hone your skills by watching
other players; what is their strategy for winning? Recently, a new site was
launched, www.zerorake.com. It is very exciting and gives a new twist to poker
players: instead of charging the industry standard of a "rake" or commission on
every winning hand, players are only charged a fixed membership fee. The
financial benefits to regular players can be substantial.
Everyone from housewives to company presidents are going on-line to play a hand
in this phenomenon. Since you no longer have to fly to Vegas to get in on a
good poker game come join the millions who are finding it fascinating and a bit
of a "get away" without leaving the house.