Poker revenues began growing at an incredible rate. Because Poker was well suited to the internet the expensive overheads involved in Casino Poker (Bricks & Mortar) were largely eliminated. Also the Casino profit margin was slim. Casinos charged an entrance fee or time charge and this proved unpopular with players. It simply became better business to fill a room with slot machines.
By 2005 Online Poker was booming with the big name online card rooms ruling the roost and generating an estimated $2.4 Billion profit between them. A few people became concerned notably George W Bush who signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement 2006 which basically outlawed Online Poker in the United States (Since 2013 a handful of States have authorised Online Poker).
In the UK however and throughout the rest of Europe Online Poker remained legal and a firm favourite with the players. An Online Poker room generally makes its money in four ways:
- The Rake – a percentage cut of the pot
- Entrance fees to tournaments
- Side games and side bets
- Holding the money (Interest)
For the player one obvious difference to conventional poker is that it’s impossible to read your opponents face or body language and so players will learn to focus on betting patterns and speed of play etc. Many Online Poker rooms offer free play games where novices may go and practice without the risk of losing real money. These rooms can greatly speed up the learning curve and are an essential experience for the novice player. Minimum bet limits are also much lower online than Casino limits.
Online Poker rooms are now compatible with most platforms including Windows, Macintosh or Linux and since technology is advancing in leaps and bounds some mobile content providers have started offering poker on Smartphone and Tablet, now you can access phone casino wherever and whenever you want to plus the apps that you can get are simple to use and offer great game-play.
Many Online Poker rooms offer promotions or bonuses. Players should always read the Terms & Conditions before opting for promotional offers. Usually bonuses are offered after a certain number of hands are played or related to deposits made. Welcome bonuses are very popular and can be very generous. Referral and Cashback bonuses may be offered and some Online Poker rooms offer a VIP package with preferential rewards for regular players. Rewards may be offered for Reloads (topping up player accounts).
Most Online Poker sites are certified and regulated by Gaming Commissions guaranteeing fair play. Cheating is very rare and usually takes the form of collusion between players. The Poker Rooms actively scan for collusion and other suspicious activities.