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Poker Article: Online Poker Site Selection
There are an inordinate number of online poker sites to choose from these days. Contrasting them at a glance can
certainly be an overwhelming experience, so we have taken the liberty of providing you with a concise list of criteria
that you can use to objectively rate, and ultimately select, an online poker site. The following criteria should be
taken into consideration for online poker site selection:
In conclusion, the aforementioned criteria should provide a basis for comparing and contrasting the multitude of online
poker sites that are available. Use of the above criteria, when analyzing perspective poker sites, can prove to be
- Amateur Play - The vast majority of online poker sites allow amateur players to play for free, or "try before
you buy". You should look to see if your site offers this free play mode.
- Installing Mechanism - You can either play at an online poker site by installing software locally on your
computer, or by playing on the site via a web browser interface. Almost all of the online poker sites offer the direct
installation option, and some offer the web-based option. By installing the poker application on your computer locally,
you will be able to utilize the power of your computer for various game and screen functions. The disadvantage of installing
locally, that it will use some of your disk space and that some (usually the unscrupulous) sites may install annoying adware
onto your system, for the purposes of displaying advertisements to you during gameplay or when you use your browser. The
advantage of using a web-based interface is that you will not waste valuable disk space with the games' software installation,
and you will not run the risk of unscrupulous software being installed on your machine. The disadvantage of web-based programs,
is that more data will have to be sent over your Internet connection, which will impede speed, and may give you an overall
sluggish feel to the game. This latter issue will be especially noticeable over a slower internet connection (e.g., dial-up).
- Game Features of Play - Every online poker site offers a different array of features, so it is important that the
features you are interested in be supported at the site you choose. The following features should be considered by you:
1) online chatting facility; 2) history of hands; 3) ability to play simultaneously on multiple tables; 4) eye-catching
visual indicators; 5) discernible audio sounds; 6) game and historical statistics; 7) turbo (speed-up) games; and
8) visually appealing screen features.
- Company Support - It is important to have the requisite amount of company customer support, when you need it.
The types of support to look for include: fax, telephone, live chat, and email. The more, the merrier, but the key is
how long it takes to get a response when you need a question answered.
- Financing Methods - If you are wagering when you play online poker, you need to ascertain what the deposit
and withdrawal methods for you will be. Types of monetary transfer to look for include use of major credit cards,
direc bank transfers (like ACH or wire transfer), checks, and the availability of 3rd party eWallet systems (which provide
a middleman interface between your bank and the poker site). With all of the above, it is necessary to ascertain whether
funding a poker site from your locale is within the bounds of your legal jurisdiction.
- Purchasing Bonuses - Some online poker sites provide lucrative first-time player bonuses for those that
deposit a minimum amount of money into their player's account. In addition, many sites offer what are known as
"reload" bonuses, which are bonuses that are handed out to existing players, that deposit into their accounts
subsequently. Always be on the look-out for both of these types of bonuses.
- Restrictions of Play - Be cognizant of any locale restrictions imposed by the poker site. For example, a
site may strictly prohibit a user from a given locale (due to local law prohibition), and as a result they may block
any IP addresses from this locale, so that the applications are effectively blocked for these users. Alternatively,
a site may block "playing for money" due to the above, but may permit "free play", for users in a restricted locale.
- User Experience - A key ingredient to an online poker site selection, is the user experience that you will have
at the site. Are you comfortable with their screen graphics ? Is the information displayed about a game displayed in a
visually appealing manner ? Is all the information that you expect to be displayed for a game, actually resident on the
screen ? This user experience must be to your liking, particularly if you are playing for money.
- Rake - Rake is the percentage of each pot that the online poker site takes as its fee (to generate revenue for
itself). Usually, it is a very small percentage of each hand's pot that is claimed by the site. Rake percentages and
rakebacks (deals that sites give you for reimbursing you on some rakes) should be taken into consideration when selecting
an online poker site.
- Poker Game Types - Every poker site offers the standard poker games, plus a few others. Make sure that the
games that you are interested in playing, are supported by the online poker site. Some of these games can include the
folloiwng: Stud, Holdem, Omaha, and pot limit and limit games. Additionally, other games like Blackjack are very
popular, and should be considered. All variations of the aforementioned games should be included in a sites' arsenal
as well. Also, be cognizant of the Poker Tournaments that are available on the site. Some tournaments are extremely
lucrative, and run fairly frequently.
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