So, you have decided that you intend to play poker Online, and your search for an ideal site has begun. But alas, you can find literally a huge selection of poker sites on the Internet. How will you discriminate between many of these available sites, to locate that desired site ? There are several key criteria that you need to be aware of, in your quest to obtain the poker site that is ideal for you. Understanding these criteria, and to be able to utilize them as a basis for comparison, will significantly simplify your selection process:
Free Poker – If you are looking to play online poker for pure recreation, and not for cash, make sure that the website you are enthusiastic about accommodates “free” players. Most online poker sites do cater to free players.
Software Download vs. Web-based – Most, if not totally all, online poker sites require you to download their poker client software onto your personal computer system to run. If you are adverse to downloading such software onto the body, you then may want to check to see if the poker site alternatively includes a web-based poker interface, which enables you to play poker on the internet site from within your browser. Software installs run the potential risk of viruses and/or adware being loaded onto the body (although all the reputable firms would not do that), but software installs on your computer generally run much faster than web-based sessions. Software installations harness the power of the local PC’s CPU, whereas web-based interfaces rely on downloading any screen real-estate updates over the Internet during play. This is slow, particularly, if you are running over a slow web connection (e.g., a dialup line). Hence, if you are after speed, select local software installations; if you are concerned with your computer’s safety or cannot pay the disk space employed by a pc software installation, select a web-based poker site.
Ways of Deposit/Withdrawal – If you are likely to play poker for cash over the Internet, it is very important to think about the methods of deposit and withdrawal a poker site supports. Many of these sites permit major charge cards to be used, which appear to be the universal deposit mechanism of choice. Others permit the utilization of bank transfer, ACH transfer, checks, visit site and wire transfer from banks. Most poker sites also support some type of 3rd party eWallets, which provide an intermediary between banking institutions and the poker site itself. The key criteria to consider are: 1) What methods of deposit/withdrawal are supported by the poker site, and how a number of these methods are supported by the locale that you reside in ?; 2) Is it legal to fund/withdraw to/from a poker site, from the jurisdiction that you’re playing in ?; 3) What’re the fees associated with the 3rd party eWallet companies that you are able to use, and how reliable are they (this latter question can be researched on a few of the poker message forum boards) ?
Locale Restrictions – Some poker sites restrict the playing for cash (and even free play sometimes), based in your locale, and the laws governing gambling in your locale. You must seek advice from the laws of the local jurisdiction and seek advice from the poker site, to see if you can find any imposed restrictions on play, based in your locale.
Support – You should definitely look at the methods of support a poker site offers. Poker sites generally provide one (or more) methods of support including: telephone support, fax support, Email support, and live chat support. The more of the a poker site offers, the better. For telephone support, check and see if the poker site offers toll-free support from your own playing jurisdiction or not.
Game Variety – Depending in your degree of poker playing expertise and your interest in variety, it is very important to ascertain which game types the poker site supports. Almost all of the sites offer Texas Holdem, but depending in your degree of interest, you need to check to see if they provide games like Five and Seven Card Stud, Omaha Poker (and most of its variations), Blackjack (not poker, but often included as a game title option), Stud (and its variations), Draw poker, Tournament support, and limit and pot limit games. Tournaments particularly are very well-liked by online poker sites, and some site tournaments offer huge prize pools.
Bonuses – Most, but not totally all, of the poker sites offer some type of bonus to the gamer, when you initially subscribe with the site. Each site’s bonus is somewhat different, but of the one’s that provide first time bonus, it is usually predicated on a minimum initial deposit. Many bonuses will also be calculated based on the sum of money deposited and allocated to the site. Additionally, many sites offer reload bonuses, which are bonuses that are wanted to existing customers, beyond their initial deposit bonus, and as an incentive to keep you as a customer.
Graphics and Useability – That is a critical consideration. Every poker site includes a different look and feel to it. If you are going to be playing poker for cash, it is important that you feel confident with the screen graphics and your power to navigate (via mouse or keyboard clicks) through the poker program. Should you feel uncomfortable at all with the poker site, you should definitely not consider playing at it for money. You must always test a poker site out in “free” mode first, before actually considering it for real-money wagering.
Game Features – You must always consider the overall game features that are available with confirmed poker site. Game features such as for example hand history, multiple simultaneous playing windows, player notes, audible and visual indicators, player statistics, connection status indicator, player chat, turbo games, and screen options should always be considered.
Rake – Rake is the total amount of the pot that the poker site takes (as part of its fee for doing business), from each hand. You must always be aware of simply how much rake a poker site takes (compared to some other site). Poker sites usually use a Weighted Contribution rake method or an Average Contribution method, when calculating rake. Obviously, the lower the rake, the more money you’ll collect available wins, but this criteria alone should not dictate which poker site you employ, since most of the above factors have to be taken into account as well. In summary, these criteria should always be used, when deciding which Poker site is best for you. Depending in your preferences, several of those criteria should get more weight than others. Happy Poker site hunting !!
Douglas Hayman, President of Expert Software Systems, is just a database and web engineer, who designs, develops, and hosts several informational websites, including: