Over the last few years, online gaming has seen massive growth. In fact, thanks to the sector’s growth, by 2023, reports suggest that the overall gaming market will be worth more than $200 billion. Among the many online games that have contributed to this huge boost, online poker remains the most prolific.
In the past two years alone, the online poker gaming market has swelled by almost 43%. On top of this, the number of first-time online poker players grew by 255%. But just what is online poker, and how can first-time players safely try it?
What is online poker?
As made obvious by its name, online poker’s biggest difference is the platform on which it’s played. Online poker is played purely via online poker platforms, which can be accessed anywhere at any time. Because of this, online poker draws playing pools from all around the world. Aside from remote convenience, online poker is also known for its many player benefits. For instance, some sites offer new players cash-back incentives or free chips. Ultimately, this makes online poker a highly entertaining option, especially for poker players who can optimize its advantages.
That said, while online poker is arguably more accessible than in-person poker, it does have its limitations. To date, poker legislation is such that online poker is only legal in seven states. Out of that, only five (Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Delaware) have licensed poker operators. The biggest reason why most states have prohibited online poker is due to the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. This act prohibits operators and banks from processing cross-state betting transactions. Currently, no actions are being done to amend the said act, but there have been regular efforts to legalize online poker in more states. Every year, proposals are regularly made to state lawmakers to legalize online poker, which bodes well for its massive player base.
How to play online poker
For starters, players must find a safe online poker provider. Today, many cybercriminals like to pose as fake online poker providers for the sake of phishing. Thus, to ensure that an online poker provider is legitimate, check the licenses it carries. If in doubt, some of the most popular online poker platforms today are World Series of Poker (WSOP) and PokerStars.
Once you’ve found a platform to play on, you’ll have to create a player profile. This profile will require sensitive personal information such as your name, birth date, and banking details. However, this is kept confidential and only used as a reference for your playing transactions.
Next, you’ll need to fund your player wallet. This is how you get your bankroll started and where all your winnings will be kept until you cash out. Depending on your chosen platform, you can fund your wallet with fiat money, wired transactions, or bank transfers. More recently, though, many online poker stakeholders have also adopted the use of cryptocurrency. In North America, monthly crypto transactions from online poker are now worth about $100 million.
Finally, with your player account set and your wallet funded, you can start playing. Online poker platforms today feature different interfaces for different players. While some rooms will have a live chat and bright graphics, others are more subdued, with little interaction between players. As soon as you find a room to your liking, though, you can begin playing poker much as you would in person.
Is online poker worth trying?
Considering that online poker continues to evolve, it’s definitely worth trying for poker players who want to experience next-level immersion. Just recently, online poker has even stepped into the metaverse. In early 2022, metaverse poker was reportedly making some platforms millions of dollars every month. To illustrate, Decentral Games’ ICE virtual casino generated nearly $8 million in the first three months of the year.
That said, online poker is still not a risk-free activity. Although there are more beginner-friendly features and incentives online, the same risky nature of poker remains. As such, players who are new to poker would still do well to play cautiously. However, players who can exercise control and management have much to gain from playing online.
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