Online Poker for Real Money

Though online poker may seem like a relatively new concept, the fact of the matter is that it has been around for well over a decade at this point and has had time to expand into many different markets. Having first been played in the mid to late 1990s, games like Hold’em and Omaha were able to reach an entirely new audience, one that had very little familiarity with any of poker’s variations.

Up until 1998, however, games played online were such that no real money was ever won or lost. Instead, people would play with artificial money that carried no real value. On the first day of 1998, the first online poker games for real money were played. From then on, online poker really took off and an increasing number of sites offering the game came into existence. By the mid-2000s, there was nearly 500 websites offering online poker for real money. That number continues to grow today as does the popularity of the game itself.

Poker with Play Money vs. Poker with Real Money

Though it may come as no surprise, there are massive disparities between playing poker with cold, hard cash, and playing with fake money provided by the casino at which you are playing. Apart from the obvious differences, there are many subtle disparities that a new player may not be so quick to catch on to.

One of the biggest differences is the way with which you bet. When playing real money poker, one tends to be a bit more frugal knowing that they are placing wagers with their own money. Not wanting to go broke and be forced to deposit again, real money players tend to ere on the side of caution more often than not.

When it comes to play money, however, caution is often thrown to the wind as players do not necessarily care if they lose their entire “bankroll” on one hand. Understanding this, it is important, especially for new players, that you treat every hand of poker as if the wagers were coming directly from your pocket. If you play with this type of attitude, you will ensure that the transition from play money to real money is not such a rough one.

Differences Between Play

When it comes to actual gameplay, there are typically massive differences between what you get when you are playing with real money and what you get when you are playing with play money. First and foremost, players tend to take bigger risks, and tend to take them more frequently when you are playing with fake, play money. Hands that would be folded during a game for real money are sometimes played until then, and often foolishly so.

At its core, poker for play money is a very deceiving way to play the game. Bluffing is another facet of poker that comes out much more with play money games than it ever does during games for real money. Because the money is not real and no one fears losing it, players will bet obscene amounts of money on hands that they know stand absolutely no chance of ever being the best hand at the table. Because of this, many new and beginning players are taught bad habits that will carry over into their real money experience and ultimately result in the loss of actual funds.

Depositing Real Money—The Options

Now that you have been educated on why it may not be the best idea to spend all that much time playing poker for play money, you might be interested in learning how you can fund a real money poker account. With the plethora of advances seen by the internet banking industry over the last decade, funding a player account is easier now than it ever has been before.


E-wallets such as PayPal, Skrill (Moneybookers), and Neteller are all popular avenues by which players fund their accounts. Players prefer e-wallets due to the simple fact that they offer an extra measure of security against any sort of data breach or other unscrupulous activity. Rather than linking your bank account and personal information directly to a site offering poker for real money, e-wallets act as a go-between, keeping your personal information safe while allowing you to still transfer money freely.

Instead of supplying an unknown website with all of your most secret personal and financial information, you are only giving such information out to a trusted source such as PayPal.

Debit/Credit Cards

One of the first and easiest ways of depositing real money to an online poker site is by way of a debit or credit card. If you have ever purchased anything online, depositing money is not too dissimilar. By simply providing a card number, expiration date, and security code, you can have funds into your player account in a matter of seconds.

Keep in mind, however, that not all debit and credit cards are created equally. When you are dealing with online gaming sites, it is important that you use debit and credit cards like American Express, Mastercard or Visa with added security such that you can be reimbursed if and when something unscrupulous happens. In many cases, players have given their card information out to the wrong individuals, lost a bunch of money, and were unable to get it back. Though this occurrence is extremely rare, there is no value that can be placed on being adequately prepared for anything and everything.

Bank Wire/Bank Draft

Another popular method by which you can fund a real money online poker account is by way of a bank wire or bank draft. Through this method, a player is able to send money directly from their bank account to the site in question. Most often, this type of deposit method is reserved for players who are looking to transfer large sums of money into a player account.

Unlike many of the other methods of deposit, a bank wire will not necessarily cause the funds to show up instantaneously. Sometimes it may take up to a day or more for the funds to be playable, and this is not preferable for players who want to get straight to the action.


Depositing money by check is perhaps the oldest form of funding an account. This method of deposit is rarely used nowadays simply because there are so many other options that work quicker and easier than mailing a check. The obvious drawback to this form of deposit is that it takes such an extended period of time for payment to be received by the site, and then even longer for it to actually be processed. Nonetheless, this is still a deposit option that is viable at most every site that offers online poker for real money.