Real Money Poker

Published: 28/12/2010

Poker web sites provide plenty of risk-free opportunity to get the training needed to win at the tables using the “For Fun” mode. But eventually the time comes to stop practicing and start playing Poker with real money. What differences can one expect when making the switch to cash games?

Many Poker sites allow the same software to be used for free play and real money games. In such cases, the only adjustment needed is to click on the “For Cash” option. However, some sites segregate their games. It may be necessary to download and install additional software in order to gain access to the real money Poker rooms. Instructions can usually be found on the homepage or in the FAQ section.

Cash In and Cash Out

Once logged on to the cash play section of the Poker web site, a functioning real money account must be established. This can be accomplished by using any of a number of deposit options available, from credit or debit cards to eWallets, eChecks, wire transfers, and even certified cheques or bank drafts.

Some methods of deposits are instantaneous, meaning funds are immediately available for play. Others require a brief waiting period while funds clear. There may be minimum deposit requirements to set up an account. Maximum limits may also apply.

Almost all Poker sites provide some sort of incentive for making a first deposit, such as a cash match or welcome bonus. Special free rolls may be offered, too. Be sure to check the site’s promotions page before making that first deposit. Take advantage of the deposit method and amount that maximizes the funds used to set up the account.

Bonus amounts received are often subject to requirements of play, such as participation in a certain number of hands, a specified amount wagered, or a level of turnover achieved, sometimes referred to as “play through.” Many sites use a system called “rake back” to determine qualification for withdrawals. Winnings can not be taken out of the account until those requirements have been met.

When it does become possible to cash in, the funds are often transferred using the same method used for deposit, such as a reverse credit applied to a credit card or a direct deposit made back into the player’s bank account. Some sites pay by cashier’s cheque. Be sure to confirm what the practice is before opening a cash account at any Poker web site.

Handling Cash

Online Poker rooms are not like casinos. Players compete against each other, not the House. For that reason, the Poker site has no House edge or way to win money from participants. To cover costs, the Poker site must have some form of compensation, so it takes from each pot a small percentage or commission called “the rake.”

The amount of the rake is determined by the number of players, the amount of the ante/blinds, and the size of the pot. In general, the higher the table limits, the larger the rake. But even at low limit tables there is always a fixed maximum that the rake cannot exceed. For exact details, see the “rake schedule” located on the web site.

At the best Poker sites, players’ money and account balances are held in accounts separate from those used for operational expenses. These accounts are often managed by an independent bank. Such an arrangement guarantees that the site can always fulfill its monetary obligations toward online Poker players, while providing further reassurance that players’ funds are secure at all times.

When considering setting up a real money Poker account online, always choose a site that is well established, with years of experience serving customers and a track record for fair play. Also, look for the Technical Systems Testing (TST) symbol of certification, which indicates technical compliance with the standards set by gaming authorities. Only reputable real money Poker sites are worthy of your patronage.

Published on: 28/12/2010

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