Caption – Online poker is booming
The online gambling industry is enjoying a boom with record numbers of players now choosing to get their poker kicks online. But as with any boom, the growth in the industry has spawned a huge number of online providers each promising to be the best online casino yet. For a new player, finding one that you can trust might seem like a daunting task, but with a little help and a healthy dose of common sense, you should be able to spot the average sites from the great.
The rise of online casinos
It’s no secret that casino games, and poker, in particular, are hugely popular games. However, it wasn’t that long ago that the only way you could enjoy any of these games was to take a trip to Vegas or get some friends around for a friendly home game. That all changed in 2003 when a certain Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the age of just 27.
But it wasn’t just his age that made his win so memorable. Chris was the first person to win the WSOP after qualifying through an online poker room. This added weight to the growing theory that you didn’t necessarily have to be an experienced live event player to become a winner. It also opened the floodgates for online casinos, and every person with a passing interest in playing a few hands of Texas Holdem scrambled to open their new accounts.
Caption – The Moneymaker effect is action from 2003 – 2012 | Credit: Statista
The resulting boom was more than any of the poker providers could have dreamed of and a relatively new industry was born. In the following years, new players who had never dreamed of making money at the tables suddenly had the means to practice against expert players. And as a result, the overall level of skill in the game skyrocketed and as we mentioned earlier, so too did the number of casino sites. So how do you spot the good from the average? Check out our tips below.
Look for the signs
No, we’re not talking about celestial inspiration here but plain and simple signs that your chosen site is a trusted one. Look for licensing information which should be clearly visible, usually in the footer of the site. If not, then there should be a link to this information at the very least.
Remember too that all online casinos (and any website these days) should have a security certificate. The easiest way to spot this is the fact that their website address should start with ‘https’ and not ‘http.’ Google Chrome will now flag insecure sites so this should be very easy to spot.
You can also often tell by the feel of a site if it is to be trusted or not. Now, that may sound a bit ridiculous but bear with us. Trusted sites will invest heavily in their website development and design, they will hire experienced copywriters to write their web copy and content, and they will always have an easy way to contact their customer support. If your choice of casino covers all the bases here then, you could be onto a winner. But don’t deposit your money or hand over your credit card details just yet.
Do your homework
Even slick websites with all the trust logos and gaming license information in the world can have a less-than-stellar record. This is often true when it comes to paying out or dealing with customer complaints and issues. So do your homework and check them out.
Look for reviews for your chosen site and not just one or two, look for as many as possible. But before you do, you will need to learn the difference between a worthwhile review and a waste of time review. The former will explain in detail their issue and will seem like a genuine grievance. The latter will possibly complain that the Omaha hi-lo table is too green. You know, a little whiny.
And one more thing – when checking reviews be sure to source them from several different locations. You can’t go by a few reviews on one site as, who knows, that particular site could be an affiliate of the casino site. Shop around for your reviews and remember – Google is your friend here.
Names you can trust
But by far and away the easiest way to find an online poker provider that you can trust is to look for the big names in the industry. Be on the lookout for sites with trusted brand names that you have heard of or who sponsor players at major poker tournaments. Trusted sites often have celebrities and pro-poker players as ambassadors, and this is a very good indication that the casino is on the level. Take 888poker for example, they have former world champion Martin Jacobson on their team among a host of other big name pros.
Caption – Martin Jacobson of 888poker
Even if you’re new to the world of casino games and don’t know who these poker pros are, you can easily spot at least one or two celebrity ambassadors on the site. You’ll usually find this info in the blog or magazine section of the website or under the team or ambassadors tab. Having a star as an ambassador is one of the best ways to build trust in the brand as let’s face it, most celebrities won’t put their name on a poor product or service.
Bonus tip: Read the fine print
Like practically every website on the internet, all casino websites have terms and conditions which you really should read. Yes, we know it pains us just as much as it pains you to read these things but it’s a task worth undertaking. And here’s why.
Not every online casino has the same payout policies so double check this. They should be able to payout your poker winnings in a day or two. Any longer and you should ask questions. There should also be no hidden fees or charges in that fine print and if there are, once again, question them.
Follow these tips, and you should have a pretty safe and secure online poker experience. To be honest, these days most online casinos are relatively good, and those that aren’t will get awful feedback that should be quite easy to find. So remember, pay attention to those reviews and you can’t go wrong.