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5 Important Things Beginners Should Know About Online Poker

by Jon Sofen

Online poker has been popular for more than a dozen years. The excitement of playing poker mixed with the convenience of the Internet makes online poker appealing to millions of people worldwide. Want to get in on the action and excitement of online poker? Great! But, first, I want you to know what to expect once you start playing online. That way, you’ll never be confused.

1. Online poker is NOT rigged

If you type “online poker rigged” in Google, you’ll probably find a gazillion forum and blog posts from bitter poker players. Let me tell you the truth about online poker’s legitimacy: it’s not rigged. Online poker sites use a random card generator that is monitored by a third-party organization. “But my hand never holds up online”. False. Your hand holds up just as often online as it does in a live casino. It just seems like you’re dealt so many bad beats because you play more hands online than offline. The more hands you play, the more bad beats dealt. Trust me, I’ve suffered a lot of pretty sick bad beats offline as well.

2. No online poker site was created equal

Unfortunately, there are some pretty darn mediocre poker sites out there. The good news is you don’t have to play on those sites and we will never promote them. But you should know that no site is the same. There are even significant differences between the top online poker sites. You need to find the site that is right for you, not one that your friend loves. Play at a poker site that has the games you like to play at the limits you can afford.

3. The best poker players play online, but most online players are bad

Online poker sites are packed with some bad poker players, and that’s to your benefit. However, the best poker players play online, but they are in the minority. Most of the best poker players in the world today got their start online (Daniel “Jungleman” Cates, Tom “Durrrr” Dwan, Scott Seiver, etc.). Even Chris Moneymaker (not a top pro, obviously) began playing online and parlayed a cheap online satellite into a buy-in for the WSOP Main Event in 2003. The rest is history.

4. The US is making strides towards legalization nationwide

After Black Friday in 2011, online poker took a big hit due to US players no longer having such easy access to great poker sites. However, things are starting to pick up. Nevada, New Jersey, and New York already have legalized online poker. California could be right behind them. Things are looking up in the US. Many politicians are speaking out in favor of legalizing online poker. The game of poker will be stronger once more US states step up and do the right thing.

5. You CAN play poker online legally in the US

Poker players cannot be prosecuted for playing poker online. Online poker isn’t legal throughout the United States, but the only ridiculous crimes are committed by poker sites that illegally operate in the US, not the poker players. For example, the US government didn’t crack down on the poker players following Black Friday. They went after the operators of PokerStars, Full Tilt, etc. You can legally play online regardless of where you live. Have no fear!

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