We’ve covered whether using dubious sites is safe in our article on illegal streaming site Popcorn Time – but what about legal poker sites? Are they safe? The online poker industry hasn’t always been trusted. In 2011, the U.S. government stopped the online poker industry and shut down every major website. This day became known as Black Friday and changed millions of players’ perceptions of online poker.
Over a decade has passed since the shutdown, and poker enthusiasts are slowly beginning to come back online. While numerous websites offer poker again, are online sites safe to play on? Let’s take a deeper look.
1. Free-to-play games
People from all walks of life enjoy poker. Some people play as a hobby when they have extra time, others play as a social game to meet people, and others want to practice new strategies they’ve learned — thus, not all poker is played for real money. Some of the best poker apps are free to play, like Zynga Poker and Governor of Poker 3. If you’re a fan of Texas Hold ’em and want to have fun playing casual poker, then you’ll get a kick out of playing Zynga Poker. For those that want to go on a poker role-playing adventure and conquer territories, try Governor of Poker 3. Either way, you’ll have a blast playing poker with play money.
However, to play these free games, you’ll still need to set up an account, and there are risks involved. You’ll be asked to provide personal information whenever you set up an account. The apps collect not only your data but any information you provide about other people, like details of your friends. Researchers have found links between apps and unwanted targeted advertising, such as spam. Be cautious about what information you provide when signing up for free-to-play games.
2. Real money game
There is a myth that online poker for real money is rigged, but there is very little evidence to support this claim. The only ones that normally make this claim are those on a losing streak; the winners and pros never make such claims.
In real money sites, just like free-to-play, there are also risks involved. Of course, you’ll set up an account requiring you to enter your personal information. Only this time, your financial data is what you’ll be giving to the site. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your site is legit, safe, and secure. If the site is not a legitimate website, meaning it is situated ‘offshore,’ it may not pay out your winnings. Legitimate poker sites would never risk their reputation or legal status to cheat their customers. If they knowingly break the law, they would risk having their business shut down. That said, real money games are safe as long as they are on a legitimate site.
3. Use a Secure Website
One fast and easy way to ensure the site you are using is secure is to check the spelling of the first letters of the URL. If it begins with “https” rather than “http,” then the site is secure. The “s” in “https” stands for secure, which means the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate. You can be confident that your personal information, data, and messages are encrypted as you send and receive information.
Online poker is back and safe to play, so long as it’s a legit site. As with most things online, risks are involved, so read each site’s terms and conditions before going all-in.