The smaller and newer a site is, the more risk there is that you will not be able to get money back when you win. They may be running a scam, or even if they are a legitimate company, there is risk that they will go bankrupt and not be able to pay their debts. You may not be able to claim the money that you rightfully won.
The first thing to consider, when choosing a site, is looking for a well-populated poker room that has established a long track record of paying their debts when a withdrawal is requested. Party Poker, Poker Stars, Paradise Poker, and Ultimate Bet are some of the oldest and most well established sites you should consider, when choosing where to play.
The Random Number Generator
Something else to be aware of is that each poker site simulates things like shuffling and cards dealt by using a random number generator. It’s very important that no one can predict what cards are being dealt to other players because, if they could, it would be very easy for them to always play correctly and win all your money.
It’s not very likely that you’ll find a poker site that doesn’t have a very good randomizer, however, since it’s in their best interest to give everyone a fair chance to win. Also, there is a regulatory commission, which licenses these sites and checks such things. Sites are also subject to independent auditing.
Inspections from the auditing companies are always random and unannounced. The servers running the software are all examined, as is the programming being used. Also, there are laws in place, which require all Internet poker sites to get a license that can only be given by the Kahnawake Gaming Agency. They set the rules and regulations that all poker sites have to follow in order to get licensed. They will revoke the license if a site is not carefully following all of these rules.
There’s also the consideration of how much personal and financial information you are giving out, when you deposit money on a poker site. It’s possible that a computer hacker could try to get past the security of the poker site and gain access to your credit card or checking account information. It’s even possible that the poker site employees themselves may sell lists of their players to other companies. In this day and age we all know the dangers of identity theft and it could happen, if you willingly give too much information to the wrong site.
Perhaps the biggest risk of playing poker online is the chance you take of getting addicted. Online gaming makes it very easy to lose track of how much you’ve lost and even the best players have periods of time where the cards just aren’t kind. Remember that poker can be a fun game, but never deposit more than you’re willing to lose. Poker sites make money from players, so only a small portion of those players can come away ahead consistently.