Many online poker sites offer incentives to players in the form of bonuses. The condition to receive the welcome bonus is usually a first deposit made by the player. Further ways to reward loyal players are the so-called rake back and VIP programs.
Many online poker sites offer incentives to players in the form of bonuses. The condition to receive the welcome bonus is usually a first deposit made by the player. Further ways to reward loyal players are the so-called rake back and VIP programs. Online poker sites, as every brick and mortar casino, profit from rake (a commission fee of 5 to 10 percent of the pot in each cash game poker hand) and tournament fees (a predetermined entry fee for each tournament). Rake back programs pay back a certain percentage of the rake and tournament fees to the player once he has met certain requirements. VIP programs offer a wide variety of free tournaments with a guaranteed prize pool, cash bonuses and/or a chance to qualify to some of the largest live poker events in the world (WSOP, WPT, etc.)
Online poker is played over the Internet, which has been rapidly expanding in the last years. Online poker has been the reason for the dramatic increase in the number of poker players worldwide.
Online venues are much cheaper than the traditional casinos because they have much smaller overhead costs. For example, adding another poker table does not take up valuable space like it would for a brick and mortar casino. An online poker room profits through four methods – rake (percentage of the pot, taken for the house), fees (supplementary five to ten percent of the tournament buy-in), side games (casino games) or investments of the money that players deposit.
Most big online poker sites are certified by bodies such as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, ARJEL (L’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne) and major auditing firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, who review the fairness of the random number generator (RNG), shuffle, and payouts.
The main differences, compared with conventional live poker venues, are :
- you do not see your opponents
- faster rate of play
- lower costs for the player
- multi-tabling option
- available poker tools
As of February 2010, there were approximately 545 online poker websites, but the majority of online poker traffic occurs on just a few major sites, among them PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the iPoker Network.