Basics of Real-Money Poker
Where Should I Play?
If a poker site is to be considered one of the best around, it needs a large player pool. The more players online, the better the selection of games available and the larger the tournament prize pools. So even though there are hundreds of real-money online poker rooms, you can count the ones worth joining with one hand. That’s good for the poker economy since it would be much worse if all the players were evenly distributed among, say, ten or 20 poker rooms.
Ideally, you should sign-up at a few sites. Just joining one of the biggest poker sites ensures you’ll have plenty of people to play against, but having a few different sites to play at ensures you can take an advantage of an ample amount of opportunities.
Your location makes a big difference especially if you’re from the US. Those who are physically located in America have significantly less options, and even the ones that are left are smaller, which means fewer players and uneventful prize pools. Still, Americans have decent-sized poker rooms to choose from in Bovada, Carbon Poker and BetOnline.
Our list of trusted poker sites is geo-targeted based on your location and shows the poker rooms that we consider most trustworthy. We have been involved in the online poker industry around ten years by now, so we feel like we have a decent idea of which sites to trust and which ones to stay away from.
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Is It Safe?
Nothing you do online is 100% safe but certain poker websites, like PokerStars and Party Poker, have proved to be trustworthy and secure throughout the years. But being an online poker giant doesn’t ensure complete safety, like in the case of Full Tilt and (albeit significantly smaller) Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker. But we consider the likes of PokerStars and Party Poker as safe as you can get.
US citizens have more to be afraid of as each of the sites that accept US customers are operating from some offshore jurisdiction and against the will of the US government. What happens when one of these folds? US citizens have gotten screwed before and, considering how playing online likely violates laws in almost every state either directly or indirectly, playing itself is a risk from a legal point-of-view.
There are exceptions. Three states – namely Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey – have legalized and regulated online poker. If you’re located within state boundaries, you can play internet poker legally at sites that have been licensed to operate by the states in question.
We have ranked USA online poker rooms in order but they’re all offshore sites. We recommend that you contact a local gaming lawyer to find out if playing internet poker for real money is legal where you live.
How to Move Money Around?
We all want to get our money to and from internet poker rooms as quickly and cheaply as possible. Players outside of the US have a wide variety of ways of moving money around instantly with low (or zero) fees – in most countries, you can transfer money via online banking services, e-wallets (like Neteller and Skrill) and credit cards (mostly Visa and Mastercard).
But for those in the US, deposit methods are limited to cards (credit, debit and gift) and money transfer services (like Western Union). Withdrawals can, in general, only be processed through money transfer services and checks. The exception is, of course, if you play at licensed sites that operate within the three states mentioned above, which offer deposit methods like ACH transfers, credit cards, e-wallets and even live casino cage cashier transfers.
How Can I Win?
The million dollar question is: how to win at real-money poker? This is one of the questions that simply has no easy, straightforward answer. Winning requires lots of dedication and studying, plus the right kind of a mindset. The goal is simple, though: you need to beat your opponents by more money than what the house takes as rake, and you need to be able to do that over a long period of time. Additionally, you can’t have moments of weakness where you gamble away all the money you’ve won by playing conservatively.
Start by learning the basics:
If you want to see real online poker winners in action, you might want to try signing-up at some poker training websites. There are literally thousands of poker videos online that show how real money winners play and think through their decision-making processes.