Poker Online Legal

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Poker Online Legal

The issue of whether it’s possible to play poker online legally in the United States is a potential minefield—to a casual poker player, recent legislation appears to have outlawed all online gambling, and it’s easy to assume that playing poker online legally is now off-limits. In 2006, then-President Bush signed into law the Safe Port Act, which included an amendment known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA. The UIGEA defined “unlawful internet gambling” as placing, receiving, or otherwise transmitting a bet through the internet in a state in which the bet is illegal under any law in that state. In other words, the UIGEA prohibits American banks from sending money to online gambling sites. After the UIGEA was passed, many large online poker gaming sites closed their U.S. Operations.

This all sounds very ominous, but the idea that playing poker online legally in the United States is now impossible is getting very ahead of the game. Many American financial institutions had already stopped allowing transactions between themselves and online poker gaming sites years before the passage of the UIGEA, so by the time President Bush signed it into law, many compromises already existed that allowed American gamblers to play poker online. One approach has been to provide online poker that offers no actual money wagering. These websites are typically hosted at a dot-net online address, rather than a dot-com address, and are presented as a way to learn how to play poker for free. If you are a beginner looking to test the poker waters, this remains a safe and easy way to learn the ropes.

For a more adventurous player looking to win real money, though, there are still many options that are safe, secure, and most importantly, completely legal. The most common approach is to use a third-party e-wallet as an intermediary between the player and the poker site. The player deposits money into an online “wallet,” hosted outside the United States, and when he wants to play poker online, all the player has to do is pay a deposit to the poker website of his choice from that e-wallet. Because the American bank is not paying directly into a gambling website, no law has been broken. Many poker websites now even offer a “cashier” as an integrated part of their own website that can process payments legally.

It’s easy to become intimidated by the buzz surrounding this topic, but as the laws currently stand, it is incredibly simple to play poker online legally in the United States.

Play Poker Hold Em

If you’ve watched a high-stakes game of poker on television lately, or caught one of the several movies centered around poker released in the last several years, odds are you’ve been watching one of the most popular variations of poker around: Texas hold em. This article outlines its basic rules, and should give you all the information you need to play poker hold em.

The game begins with two cards dealt face down to each player, known as the “hole” or “pocket” cards. Another set of three cards, known as “the flop,” is then dealt out as community cards—in other words, every player can use those cards. After the flop, two more cards-”the turn” and “the river”-are dealt out one by one. Players have the option to check, bet, or fold after each group of cards are dealt. Bets begin with the player to the left of the dealer, and proceed clockwise around the table. The winner of each hand is the player with the strongest cards, or the player who is left after everyone else folds their hand.

Aside from the bets which players place according to the strength of their hands, hold em poker also involves a few different types of mandatory bets. Some games involve an ante, or a contribution that must be made before any hand begins. In each game, a “dealer button” is used to indicate the player in the dealer position. The button rotates clockwise after each hand. For each hand, a “small blind” is played by the player to the left of the dealer, and a “big blind” is put down by the player to the left of the small blind. Each big blind is usually equal to the minimum bet, while the amount of the small blind is half of the big blind. When you progress to tournament poker, the ante, small blind, and big blinds all often increase in amount as the tournament continues.

The important thing to remember is that if you play poker hold em, you should be playing the long game. Rather than trying to win every hand, a smart player will decide whether to bet, raise, call, or fold based on the odds of winning each particular hand. The goal is to win as much as possible each round—even if the best win in that instance means not winning anything—in order to maximize the winnings for the entire game. In fact, most strategy books based on how to play poker hold em advise playing relatively few hands, but betting aggressively on the hands where you remain in play. This strategy is because if you play poker hold em, you play until every other player is gone.

Pot Limit Omaha

Pot limit Omaha is an interesting spin on an already intriguing game. In the Omaha variation on poker, each player is dealt four private cards, and assembles his or her best hand from two of those private cards and three of the five public cards dealt out in the middle of the board. The pot, or amount of money in play for each hand, is determined by the bets placed in between each round of cards dealt. In no-limit Omaha, the amount of money in the pot is limited only by the money held by each player—potentially, if every single player went all-in, the pot could be the entire amount of money in the game. In pot limit Omaha, however, the pot is exactly like it sounds—limited in size. In this variation of the game, no player is allowed to raise his or her bet more than the size of the total pot. The total pot includes the money collected from all of the previous betting rounds, or the “starting pot,” the past bets placed in the current betting round, or the “trail,” and a call from the player making the raise. In order to make a maximum raise, the betting player announces “raise pot” or “pot”; this action is referred to as “potting” or “raising the pot.”

An easier way of understanding this is to put it in more concrete terms. Let’s say there’s $10 in the pot at the beginning of a betting round. Player 1 has bet $5. If Player 2 wants to raise the pot, her wager will be $20. This is because from a $10 starting pot, Player 1 bet $5, making the total pot $15. When Player 2 raises the pot, she must first call Player 1′s bet, making the total pot $20. Her wager is $20, so the pot total after Player 2′s raise will be $40.

In a fast and furious hand, the figures of pot size and pot raise can easily get very confusing very quickly. To make things a little bit easier on the players, in pot limit Omaha if it’s requested, the dealer can inform the players of the pot size and amount needed for a pot raise. The dealer is also required to return any money that exceeds the maximum raise to the player who has attempted to bet it—which is an added bonus for any pot limit Omaha players who aren’t so good with figures!

Poker Omaha Hi

Even the most casual fan of poker can usually recognize a game of Texas hold em: a table of players, each checking a pair of cards in their hands as well as a spread of several cards laid out face up in the middle of the table. A particularly intriguing poker variation, though, takes this general idea—a table of players each working with a set of private cards and a shared set of community cards-and adds another level of complication onto it, creating a poker game known for its complexity and chutzpah—the game of poker Omaha Hi.

The overall structure of poker Omaha Hi is very similar to Texas hold em: each player has his or her own hole cards, with a set of five public cards shared by all players. The order in which cards are dealt are identical, and betting rounds progress exactly the same way they do with Texas hold em. The goal is still to assemble the best hand from the cards given. However, poker Omaha hi deals each player four hole cards instead of two, and each player must use two cards from their hole and three from the public cards to assemble the strongest hand they can.

But surely that just means two more cards are in the mix—how much more complicated can this game get? It turns out, poker can get much, much more complicated, and all it takes are a simple extra two cards. Poker is above all a game of probability, and introducing more cards into the mix increases the probabilities in play exponentially. With Texas hold em, each player only has to pay attention to their two hole cards and the five public cards any player can use. In Omaha Hi, the player must choose two of their four hole cards to play, and then use three public cards to assemble their best hand; but depending on the cards dealt, each player can potentially have several different options of a best hand playing out throughout the hand!

Poker Omaha Hi is a complex game; it is not unheard of for even experienced players to take extra time during each hand to examine their cards and assess all the different possible sets of cards open to them. But if you are well-used to Texas hold em, and looking for a real challenge, Omaha Hi is a game well worth checking out.


Have you heard of people placing bets on whether Heather Mills’ prosthetic leg would fall off during the 2007 season of “Dancing with the Stars”? Or do you remember the record label that signed DMX after he pled guilty to animal cruelty charges? As unlikely as it may seems, if you’ve heard of those attention-getting antics, you’ve already heard of Bodog Poker.

Bodog was originally founded in 1994 as an online gambling company. While it briefly branched out into more celebrity centered forays such as Bodog Fight and Bodog Music, those were closed as of 2008. In fact, as of 2008 the company does not exist as a direct gambling organization at all; instead, Bodog licenses its name out to third party companies, which run their own endeavours under the Bodog brand name. Their best-known licensee is the company which runs, an online gambling service within the United States and the place to play Bodog poker. Bodog poker was sold to the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group after the passage in 2006 of the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act, or UIGEA. The UIGEA makes it illegal for American banks to process any transactions related to “unlawful internet gambling.” As a result, after the UIGEA’s passage many gambling websites ceased any interactions with the United States market.

In 2007, a judge in the District Court of Nevada issues a nearly $50 million judgement against, leading to the URL being seized as part of the judgement’s collection effort. In early 2009, the Morris Mohawk Gaming Group settled the case and regained control of all the seized domains.

However, Bodog’s problems haven’t stopped there. In 2008, an IRS special agent released an affadavit documenting the seizure of over $24 million in assets that were potentially used in money laundering activities to process payments to players of Bodog poker. The assets were moved from bank accounts within several different banks which could all be traced to businesses linked directly to Calvin Ayre, Bodog’s founder. Morris Mohawk Gaming Group’s CEO, on the other hand, has responded that a Forbes article discussing the affidavit was “misleading.”

Recently, Bodog announced a new online gaming license arrangement with the former CEO of the Ongame Poker Network. This new network is due to launch in 2010; what this new version of Bodog poker looks like is still to be determined!

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