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To get you playing online poker, the first step is to establish an account on one or several websites. This chapter will explain the process one goes through to set up an online account. By the end of this chapter, you will know how to-
- Go to a poker Web site and download and then install the client software to run the program.
- Install the software and get it ready for use.
- Differentiate among the different sites as to the bonuses and other benefits they offer their players.
- Access options one may use in transferring funds to play with in “real money games“.
- Request that your winnings be sent to you.
Once through the minor drudgery of establishing the account is complete, you’ll be able to move on the main part of this website, actually playing poker!
Basic System Requirements
Poker sites operate under the same constraints as other software applications ֲ developers in that they are motivated to provide the best, most functional, and most aesthetically pleasing sites for their players within the bounds of what their typical customer will have under their computer’s hood. Because of this, the newest computers will have the horsepower to spare, while the older ones will have the hamster or squirrel in the computer’s guts, running flat out to handle the software client’s demands. As of this book’s writing, here is what PartyPoker.com recommended as its minimum hardware configuration:
- Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8
- Minimum 512 MB RAM
- Screen resolution of at least 800 x 600 pixels with a minimum of 256 colors
As you can see, most computers are readily able to handle the software’s required workload. If you don’t have a computer that meets these specifications, it may be best to buy one first. It used to be that $350 or so was the minimum price for a decent computer. As of last year, computers for $500 and less are commonplace in the U.S.
Selecting a Site and Installing the Software
Armed with a sufficiently burly computer, you are now ready to head out on the Internet and find one or several poker rooms in which to play. The question now becomes, Where should I play? One way to decide is to follow the crowd and get on the most popular site.
May We Suggest. . .
Learn how to navigate the sites and play the games using play money poker, as it won’t cost you any actual money if you mistakenly fold when you have the best possible hand. Imagine, you’re just about to win a big pot in a tournament that will guarantee you’ll be in the money, but through some silly mistake you hit the wrong button and fold! Another common rookie mistake comes in not knowing how to use the slide bar in games in which a bet may vary in amount. If what you just read looks like English, but you have no idea what the heck it’s saying, you should definitely begin on the play money tables. We would never presume to tell you how to go about your business, but do realize that once you become comfortable with the mechanics of play over a short period of time, you’ll have the rest of your life to play! Don’t feel rushed; there’s always a game. Don’t think so?
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Log on at any time of day and see if a game in which you might want to play has a seat available in less than 20 minutes. We can’t guarantee there will always be one, but gaps will be few and far between. We’ll talk about the mechanics of playֲ later on this website.
The most popular online room at the moment these words were written was www.PartyPoker.com. But there are other well-established Poker Rooms: PokerStars, Paradise Poker, and UltimateBet make strong showings. We aren’t sponsored by any poker rooms and don’t recommend one over another, but for this example let’s be followers and go to www.partypoker.com to download the software. Here’s a screenshot of the main page. Can you find something to click on to get the program on your computer?
Pretty obvious, isn’t it? The entire raison d’être of the Web page is to get you to download the software and start playing. Once you’ve done that, there’s no reason to go back to the page if all you do is play cards. All, or nearly all, functionality is handled by the client software on your machine.
After clicking the Download link, follow the instructions to install the software. To conserve space for more actual poker play discussion in later chapters, we’ll assume you know how to install software. If you haven’t done it before, you should be able to simply follow the prompts until you get to the magic Finish button. Do be aware that at some point in the process you will be required to accept a user’s agreement of some sort. Read it carefully if you are concerned about what, if any, spyware and/or marketing permissions you’re granting the company. If you can live with the conditions, hit Accept and move on. If not, you won’t be able to install the software, but you will have preserved your privacy. Call or e-mail the company with any questions you may have, and don’t install the software until you’re satisfied with the answers they give you.
When you establish your account, you will be required to provide your real name and other information, including a valid e-mail address and your current mailing address. This isֲ used to send you your winnings. You will also be asked to establish a screen name. Some try to be funny (Hugh_Jass still makes us laugh), while others try to intimidate (Cap_It). What you do is up to you.