Choosing an Online Card Room
What to look for when making a decision. Provided by www.studstrategy.com
When choosing an online card room to play at, there are several things to consider. First and most importantly is the integrity of the card room. Card room integrity is your insurance that there are preventive measures taken to prevent collusion, that the processes of both depositing and withdrawing funds are prompt and secure, customer service is quick to respond considering the number of clients the card room has, the card shuffling is reviewed for distribution fairness, and the site provides a feature that offers review of previous hand histories played and a record of rake taken from pots played.
The top recommended sites that this site promotes meet these integrity requirements. Some of them provide greater service in some areas than others. After downloading the software, test the options available to you at a play chip table; changing the colors of the decks, the waiting list features, variety of games and different limits, etc.
When you decide to make a deposit for the first time:
- Deposit an amount that will allow you to play effectively. For this example $100.00 will be sufficient. Set aside a budget of $25.00 to play with at a micro limit table. Play to get a feel for the software. Make the minimum withdrawal possible after 48 hours.
Deposit bonuses are nice, and a small deposit may not be what you had in mind, however, if you are unsure about the card room or have not played at the play chip tables to get an introductory feel, you may want to bite the bullet on receiving a smaller deposit bonus to make sure that any funds you depositing will remain safe, and any potential money transfers that could get hung up in processing will be handled quickly. Observe how long it takes for the transfer to occur from your bank into your card room account and vice-versa. Most deposits are instant, withdrawals should usually take 48 hours, or two business days to complete processing for. If you did get a deposit bonus, some card rooms require that you play a minimum amount of raked hands before receiving the entire bonus. Your deposit and withdrawals should be processed within a reasonable amount of time.
- Send an email to customer support:
A generic question to customer support will give you an idea about how quickly you should expect to receive a response in the event that a situation arises. For example, send an email asking them what the average response time to support questions are. Naturally if it has taken four hours to respond and they tell you it normally takes two hours, then you have a general idea that it will take four hours to receive a response. From there you will at least be assured that they receive your emails. Next you will be able to determine whether that amount of time is acceptable to you. Look for a confirmation email to see if the request you have sent has been received and will be handled at its earliest convenience if they don’t send a personalized response right away.
A card room may boast that they have 12,000 players at the tables at any given time. With that many players, you should probably not expect to receive a response in ten minutes, but the response time to handle support requests should be a reasonable amount of time. And if you do receive a response in ten minutes, add brownie points to the card room’s integrity.
- Get a Feel For the Clientele
Secondary to the card room’s integrity, is gauging your potential-for-profit. Specific card rooms are notable for having specific kinds of players at certain limits. For example, playing 7 card stud at PokerStars at the .50/1.00 limit has players that play differently than players at the same card room at the 3/6 limit, and even the players at America's Cardroom at the .50/1.00 limit play differently than the players at Party Poker at the .50/1.00 limit.
The clientele for the card rooms vary as the type of clientele would vary between hotels or even restaurants. What you are looking for is something that will fit your style to maximize on your investment. Word-of-mouth has some general truths to it. Read reviews on the poker chat forums and other poker strategy web sites for information about how a card room generally plays.
Critical Things to Know:
- If the initial deposit or withdrawal is not handled in a reasonable amount of time, do not continue to play there. Some card rooms will require that you provide additional verification information on your first large withdrawal, such as providing a fax copy of a cancelled check, driver’s license, SSN, or information from a valid and current credit card. This procedure is fairly standard to protect against either party being defrauded. When this occurs, be patient. It is a necessary inconvenience to minimize liability. As long as the correspondences and continued follow-up are handled in a timely manner (3-7 business days), this should be acceptable.
- To expedite any problems with funding that may occur; the email address that you are funding your account with should match the email address that you have created your card room account with. For example, if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org for Neteller, the email address you use for the account at the Party Poker card room should be exactly the same. Listing a different email address can cause delays with transferring funds between your accounts for security reasons.
- You want to be sure that the card room has features that will account for your funding. You should be able to view deposit and withdrawal histories and anything in process. If the card room does not have a way to have this information readily available to you, do not play there.
- The card room should have a feature that will allow you to review previous hands you have played. Each hand should be its
own non-repeatable, unique number as its reference. Hand histories should include information on all of the action sequences
that occurred during the hand. The history should include the amount of rake the house has taken from
the pot when the hand has finished if it has qualified for this deduction.
- Not all players count the rake taken out of pots that they have won, however, this information is viable to a card room’s integrity. Whether you pay attention to how much rake you are paying or not, if there is no record available via recalling the hand history log, there is no way to verify whether the amount they are taking is accurate.
- If the card room does not offer uniquely numbered hand histories that lists the amount of rake or “house fee” taken when the hand is finished, do not play there. If hand history records are completely unavailable, do not play at the card room at that time.
- The rake deduction schedule should be listed on the card room’s official website. The amount of rake taken should be listed on this schedule for each type of game and/or its bet limit. It should show what amount in a pot qualifies for each deduction, and the maximum subtraction allowed. If this information is not available on their website as public information, do not play there. Also, having it listed on their website alone is not enough. This information should be provided to you when you recall a hand history.
- The card room’s official website should have information on the review of their card shuffling for poker games. Most use a random number generator (RNG) and the RNG’s algorithms are tested for technical compliance. If a card room does not present a letter of compliance from an independent organization that conducts these types of reviews on its official website, or they will not willingly provide this information to you, absolutely without a doubt, do not play there.
When you have determined that a card room you have chosen meets your expectations it will make for a much better experience while playing. Believe it or not, there are online card rooms that do not comply with these standards. A few of them may be relatively newly-opened card rooms, which does not excuse that any of these basic things should be provided.
Whether the reasons for playing online are strictly for fun, or to turn a profit, consider that you are normally putting your money into an off-shore non-interest account when you join a card room. You must take measures to ensure that your money in these accounts will be secure, and as much as possible the only liability involved in having it there is that your only losses will occur while playing other players at the poker tables. Best of luck at your new card room