When you play poker online for real money you have to keep in mind where you are and what you are doing. The virtual world is such a complete environment that your brain can sometimes be lulled into believing you are in an alternate universe, where nothing is totally ‘real’. But money is always real.
Sure you can play online games, including gambling games, and not use real money. But as any keen game player will tell you, the best buzz, the true thrill, only comes when there is risk involved and the stakes are real. You can make outrageous bets and use crazy strategies with ‘play’ money but you only start earning your poker stripes the hard way when you play online poker for real money. In any case, if you spend all your time playing against other people using play money, they are not going to indulge in the same strategies and tactics as those using real money. You stay a novice in the world of real poker.
If you are going to play poker online for real money choose the type of site you want to play at. Do you want to play in a casino style environment where you play the ‘house’, or do you want to play against other poker enthusiasts like yourself? Do you want somewhere that you have to set up a separate account with them to play or do you want one that comes out of one of your already existing accounts?
Find out which sites offer differing levels of play depending on experience. Some offer tournament play or play between set groups of people. If you are really serious, choose places that give you the chance to enter qualifiers for the World Series of Poker or the World Championship of Online Poker. There are lots of big money, high profile tournaments that you could end up in, but you have to be prepared to play and learn with the big boys and play online poker for real money.
Whatever you chose to do make sure you have enough put away for your ‘hobby’ so that your gambling money isn’t being directly siphoned from your children’s college fund or your nest egg. Gambling should still be a fun pastime even if there is risk and danger involved in creating the thrill. But not the danger of losing your house or possessions!
When you play poker online for real money be aware of the risks. But also be aware of the benefits. While not everyone can be a winner or rise to the top of the world as Chris Moneymaker did back in 2003, some people have to end up winning. People do end up claiming that prize money and seeing their lives transformed. Choose your gaming carefully and bet according to your status. When you play poker online for real money you need to stay grounded in the real world, and not the virtual world of the internet.