By now, you would have gone through a lot of information available online and read numerous online poker room reviews which would have helped you decide on the poker website to join. The next step is to sign up at the site and download the poker gaming software to your home PC. Most poker sites give simple and easy to follow instructions to set up the poker client, but here is a brief description of a typical sign up and installation process.
Downloading the Poker Client
The very first step in your foray into the online poker world is to download the software from the website you have selected. Each poker room will have its own poker software and it can be downloaded free of cost from their website on to your computer. The free download or Play Now button is what you should look for it will be prominently displayed on the home page itself. Click on the button to begin the process. A new window with various buttons like ‘Run’, ‘Save’ or ‘Cancel’ will pop up. Follow the instructions to download the program. Make sure that your computer firewall allows the download of the poker software.
Installing the Software
The next step is to install the software so that you can enjoy online poker. This process is equally simple and is just like installing any other software on the computer. If you have a broadband connection, the download and installation process is completed in just a few minutes. Once the installation process is complete, you have an instant access to the poker room through the icon on your desktop. You simply double click the icon to launch the software. However, the software launches automatically the first time it’s installed.
Creating an Online Poker Account
Once the poker software is launched for the first time, you will need to register an account with the site. This too is a very simple process. You might be asked to verify your email address and give some personal details usually this is an online form that may be filled up and submitted to the site. Then, you have to pick out a username and password. Make sure that you take some time to select your username because this will be your online poker room identity among the poker gaming community. Poker sites do not permit you to change your identity so think up one that you will be happy with even in future.
Once the signup process is completed, you are ready to play poker for free with the help of play money. You might also decide to play for real money in which case you must deposit funds into your poker account. One note of caution for players in the US: Even before signing up at a poker site, check out if they accept US players. After the passing of the UIGEA, many online gambling sites have stopped accepting US players. This may not be an issue if you will be playing simply for fun and not wagering real cash.
If you indeed want to play poker for cash, you might want to know the best ways to move the money to and from your poker account. These days it is quite easy to use web related services to transfer money within a few seconds with zero processing fees. And online poker rooms try to make financial transactions as easy as possible for their customers. Some poker sites may even cover the transaction fees if you are using the right financial processor. To make your deposit at the site, go to the Cashier section of the software and you will be given a list of deposit methods. Some of them are explained below:
Deposit through Visa or MasterCard
Players can fund their account with the help of a credit card. However, you might encounter problems if the bank issuing the credit card does not process gambling related financial transactions. Even if the bank allows the transaction, you will be charged a substantial fee apart from a higher rate of interest for the credit. But the biggest advantage is the transaction happens in a few seconds and you don’t need to open a separate account just to fund an online poker account.
Bank Draft or Wire transfer
Almost all poker rooms accept bank drafts or wire transfers but you might have to pay a fee in the range of $20 to $50 to the bank for the service. Besides, getting a draft to the poker site may involve a lot of time since it has to be mailed from one location to another. The bank wire transfer happens in a couple of days, saving you the time. The advantage here again is that you don’t need to open a separate web-based cash account.
E-Wallets like Neteller or MoneyBookers
Not only are E-Wallets a convenient method to deposit and withdraw money from your poker account, they are popular as well. The system involves setting up of an online money account and linking it to your bank account from which you transfer funds. Transfer of funds to and from the E-Wallet account takes a few days. You are also able to withdraw money from your poker account to the E-wallet and subsequently transfer the same to your bank account. So you can use a single method for deposit and withdrawal of funds.
To withdraw money from your online poker account you must again go to the Cashier section and request for cash out. Most sites allow you to use the E-Wallet system that you used to deposit funds. Poker sites also allow the option of receiving the money by check which can then be deposited into your account. Some sites may give you the option of electronic fund transfer which sends the money directly to your bank account.
Each online poker room has a different policy for frequency of withdrawal and minimum cash out amount. Generally, sites permit one withdrawal per week and the minimum cash out amount varies according to the withdrawal method. So, it might be possible to withdraw as little as $5 via Neteller but you might need at least $50 in your account to ask them for a bank draft. Its a good idea to be aware of all the terms of conditions for banking transactions at the online poker room you play at.