Online poker has been around for decades, but only recently has the United States become a legal jurisdiction for online games. The first online poker sites launched in the late 1990s, and a large unregulated market grew after Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker. After the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed, a number of sites were forced to pull out of the U.S. market. Some, however, like PokerStars, have remained accessible to U.S. players for many years.
Despite the fast pace, online poker games are not for the faint-hearted. A player with a 5% win rate could break even by the time he’d finish his shift. In contrast, a player with a 5% win rate would average $24/hour, whereas a player in a poker room with multiple tables could make more than $4/hour if he made good decisions within the allotted time at each table. Some players play as many as eight tables at once.
While playing at a brick-and-mortar casino, a player can only increase his limit and eventually find better opponents. With online poker, players can play on multiple tables. While playing at multiple tables in a traditional casino is limited to one table, most online poker rooms let you play on as many as you’d like. Each table is displayed in a separate window. In low limit games, playing at $10 per 100 hands is a decent strategy.
The legality of online poker in some states is still in question. While Nevada and New Jersey have already legalized online poker, other states are currently in the process of legalizing the industry. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have also regulated their sites. Although the future for regulated online poker in these states is uncertain, many players are still enjoying the benefits of online poker. The chances of legal online poker in these states growing are improving. So, play responsibly and play on the Internet.
The 2006 UIGEA effectively banned online poker in the US until 2011. However, this ban was not completely enforced because it was ambiguous and did not explicitly prohibit poker. While Party Poker pulled out of the US, PokerStars and Full Tilt remained. In the meantime, the Department of Justice seized their domain names. Further, it indicted key people involved in the industry for bank fraud and money laundering. So despite the UIGEA, there is a huge demand for online poker in the US.
In addition to being legal in Nevada, six states now operate online poker rooms. Others may follow their lead. The legalization of online poker will benefit state economies and attract new users. As sports betting and online gambling are gaining popularity, online poker is a natural choice for state-licensed gambling. With more states allowing online poker, more states will be able to satisfy the demand. However, the future of online poker in the US is uncertain. The industry has yet to gain a legal status in every state, so a legalized online poker site in that state will need to apply for licensing in each jurisdiction.