Online poker is a game that requires skill and bluffing, especially when played against other people. Poker used to only be played in casinos and smoky bars, but with the advancement of technology, the game moved online. It was first played in chat rooms, and then became more serious, with online poker sites becoming secure enough to hold players’ cash.
The difference between online poker and live poker is striking. A few years ago, the distinction between the two styles was quite clear, with many “live” pros complaining about online poker, and some of the “online” players struggling with the etiquette of the game. Today, however, most of the world’s top poker players play both live and online.
Online poker is available in many states. Some states, including Michigan and West Virginia, have regulated the game, and others are considering legislation. Pennsylvania, for example, has begun offering online poker and went live in November. Meanwhile, West Virginia has enacted legislation to legalize online poker, though virtual poker hands have not yet been dealt.
While the internet has been open to gambling for decades, the US has not been fully open to the activity. Since 2003, online poker has grown in popularity in the US. The first online poker sites began to appear on the Internet, and by 2003, Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event. Since then, the sport became a national obsession. Many Americans dreamed of becoming the next Chris Moneymaker. As a result, poker became the talk of television shows and commercial breaks.
However, US laws are not strict on online poker, and offshore sites continue to innovate to circumvent the UIGEA. As of December 2016, four states had passed laws to legalize online poker in fenced markets, and another three signed agreements to share their player pools. Global Poker is one example of a US-friendly offshore poker site. It uses the sweepstakes and virtual currency online poker models to avoid the UIGEA.
Online poker sites in Pennsylvania offer play-money-only tables for those who are just beginning to learn the game. Many sites also offer private tables so players can practice with colleagues or friends before they join a real poker game. As with other states, online poker is already a popular entertainment activity, and the state’s online poker sites will benefit from the popularity.
As a bonus to playing online poker, many online poker sites offer exclusive free tournaments. This gives players the chance to win real cash and earn big prizes without the hassle of paying entry fees. There are also freerolls for specific regions, clubs, or groups. The free tournaments are often offered by online poker sites as a way to reward customers.
Online poker sites in the US have faced problems in the past. The UIGEA has made transactions between US banks and offshore online poker sites illegal, though a few have managed to circumvent the problem. However, a number of sites still accept players from the US.