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Internet Gambling
by J. Phillip Vogel
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Subtitled 'How to Win Big Online Playing Bingo, Poker, Slots, Lotto, Sports Betting, and Much More ,' Internet Gambling consists of twenty-three engaging and descriptive chapters where Vogel demystifies and dissects all topics related to Internet gambling, including the history of online gambling, how to get started, choosing the best sites, understanding the various kinds of software available, the technical difficulties one might expect to encounter, managing money, and more.
Poker Stars
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Poker Stars has reopened for most of the world, but not yet in the United States. It is endorsed by professionals like Daniel Negreanu and Chris Moneymaker. The site offers Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha 8/b, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud 8/b, Crazy Pineapple, Crazy Pineapple 8/b, Triple Draw, Royal Hold'em. Table limits range from penny games up to $300-600. The competition leans to the more challenging end of the spectrum.
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PokerStars.comPokerStars is one of the Net's biggest poker sites and has dealt nearly five billion hands and run more than 20 million poker tournaments, awarding well over $4 billion in prize money. Greg 'Fossilman' Raymer is a regular at the site.Poker StarsEndorsed by professionals like Chris Moneymaker and Daniel Negreanu, Poker Stars is the most popular poker room in the world. The site also provide poker strategy and continues to support US players.

Choosing an Online Poker Room

Only a handful of years ago, choosing an online poker room was a fairly easy process—there were simply barely enough of them around to make it a challenge. Oh, how things have changed. TheJ. Phillip VogelJ. Phillip Vogel is considered a leading authority in online gambling.  He has written for most of the major gaming publications worldwide including Casino Player, Strictly Slots, Gambling Online, Bluff, and many more. He is also the author of a series of best-selling gambling books collectively titled The Real Deal. He is the founder of online watchdog site at and currently serves as the Editorial Director for Poker Life magazine.  past few years have spawned a multitude of online poker rooms, all boasting some combination of tournaments, satellites, ring games, and more. 

Indeed, it’s almost become a major obstacle just to choose a site that fits you the best. 

Quality online poker rooms have specific features that can help you to determine if the room is worthy of your attention or simply a “Johnny-come-lately” looking to take a share of the $200 million poker bonanza. Here’s what to look for when selecting an online poker room.

Games, games and more games

Although the game of choice for right now is Texas Hold'em, you might want to try and find a site that has pushed past that singular craze to offer a selection of other not-so-trendy poker classics such as Five Card Stud, Seven Card Stud, Omaha, Omaha 8/B, Triple Draw, Crazy Pineapple, and Five Card Draw. Also, wherever possible you’ll want the choice of selecting from limit, pot limit, and no limit games, as well as ring, single table, heads-up (limited to two opponents) and multi-table tournaments both with and without re-buy (purchasing more chips during play) options. 

Player Volume

In addition to wanting a solid selection of games and game formats (i.e., single table, multi-table, limit, no limit, etc.,) the ideal site must also have an ample stable of players accessing the site around the clock. Why do you want to have so many players constantly streaming in? Because there’s nothing worse than having the itch to sit down at a table and start playing only find a room full of empty chairs. 

The curse of many new poker sites is that they often lack a large enough membership to allow for continuous play. You may have to sit and wait for quite some time—possibly even hours—just to have enough players to begin certain single table tournaments, while in established rooms with 20,000-50,000+ members the seats fill up quickly.

A Wide Range of Limits

Poker rooms differ in the betting limits, and it’s important to be able to play in a room that offers the widest possible range—something like $0.02/$0.04 to $100/$200. 

The reason you want a large gap in limit structure—especially for you new players—is to be able to accurately adjust your game according to your bankroll and skill level.

Although there is some debate as to the appropriate bankroll for an online poker player, as a rule of thumb solid players want something on the order of 200 to 300 times the value of the big blind. That means that if you want to play comfortable at a $2/$4 table you’ll need a bankroll somewhere between $800 and $1,200. As you go along, you make adjustments to your table limit based on your bankroll and success at a particular level. 

So if you’re playing—and losing—at a $1/$2 table, you might want to drop a level or two to recoup some loses and enter a game that’ll suit you better. That’s why it’s always good to be in a room that offers the widest range of table limits.

Player Incentives

Of course, free cash is always a very nice feature that can make a big difference in your bankroll and ultimately your sustainability at the tables. Ideally, whichever poker site you select should offer a combination of incentives to help keep your bankroll healthy throughout your play. Standard comps include a new player bonus (initial deposit bonus), VIP points (also called “Frequent Player Points” in some sites), and monthly deposit bonuses (these are sometimes announced sporadically on sites).

As you examine each site, make a note of what comps are given out, how often you’re entitled to them, and the rules regarding their usage and availability. Also, create a checklist and compare the comp options from site to site, to see which ones are currently offering the most lucrative rewards. Don’t forget to take into consideration your probable play frequency as this can drastically affect the value of your comps over time. 

For example, let’s suppose that site X offers a 100% deposit bonus, but no additional comps, or re-load cash for returning players. Site Y, on the other hand, offers a 40% deposit bonus followed by an additional 20% re-load bonus every month. 

Assuming you were to deposit an additional $200 each month, which site do you think offers the more lucrative program in the long run? Take a look. 

Initial Deposit
New Player Bonus
Total Starting Bankroll
Monthly Bonus (for six months)
Total Comps Earned

As you can see, in the end players who chose site Y are earning substantially more comps than players who went for a much larger new player bonus. 

However, if you do not plan to stick around for too long and are only looking to get your feet wet online, site X with its 100% bonus would be the better option.

Multiple Banking Options

As with online casinos, a quality poker room provides ample banking options designed to suit a wide range of player preferences. If you hate to wait for your money to reach your poker account, make sure that the site offers at least one option that provides immediate funding.

A Dedicated Support Team

Because problems can happen at any time—the server might be down during a crucial stage in a tournament, or your bankroll shows less than what you deposited—you’re going to want to be able to secure help in a moment’s notice. 

The best sites offer numerous contact options that include live chat with a room host, 24/7 toll-free telephone numbers and multiple e-mail addresses.

Pleasing Graphics

Despite the technical advances, online poker rooms are not completely accurate representations of traditional poker rooms. You don’t see live images of your opponents, can’t read their faces or watch them intently for any sign of physical tells. 

You’re staring at a screen full of avatars (simulated player images) placed to represent who’s sitting at the table. These images vary from site to site, some appearing as nothing more than bland placeholders, while in others they border on the cartoonish. 

To make your play as enjoyable as possible, opt for the sites that support the best games with as realistic software are you can find. This will help to better recreate the poker setting, adding an increased level of entertainment and comfort to the experience.

Special features

When making your decision about which room to frequent, be sure to take into account any unique features a site offers. For example, if you’re new to the game you might like access to a strategy library where you can learn all of the subtle nuances of the game. 

If your dream is to become a poker legend, you might want to factor in the availability of satellites to major terrestrial poker events such as with the World Poker Tour or the granddaddy of ‘em all, the World Series of Poker.

Online poker rooms all offer their own mix of each of these features, so be sure to note which elements are most important to you when selecting a site. 

For example, some poker rooms offer:

Single and multi-table step tournaments that allow players to win their way up to big money tournaments and/or players may request statistical data on their play for analysis.

As you can see, there are many factors that go into choosing and online poker site.

While no one room can legitimately boast superiority in every crucial category indicative of a great site, the best ones offer a mixture of compelling features that set them apart from the late-coming riff-raff who care less about providing quality gaming than they do about getting a piece of the poker pie. 
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