Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Virtual Poker For Real Money

Using state-of-the-art computer technology, thousands of people play poker online for real money. By linking their computers to the Internet, players living as far apart as New York, London, and Tokyo are able to play together simultaneously in computer-generated poker games - for real cash.

Until recently, such games weren't feasible. The challenge was to invent poker software that would enable strangers to play against each other in live games from different locations -and with enough confidence to back their mouse clicks with cash.

Without real money at stake, online casinos cannot make profits. (They take a rake - a fixed percentage of each pot -just as a real casino poker room does. The only difference is that it's taken electronically rather than by a human dealer.)

Milestone advances in computer graphics, sound, and programming made Internet cash games possible. On January 1, 1998, Planet Poker was the first Internet poker casino to offer poker for cash stakes. Others followed.

But is it legal?

The answer as to whether such games are legal depends on which side of the business you're on - supplier side or client side - and also on where you live.

If you're thinking of starting an online poker casino, you'd better get out of Dodge! In the United States, you may be prosecuted for operating such a business, since federal law likely prohibits them.

Seeing a potential gold rush of almost unlimited client demand, foreign entrepreneurs rushed in to fill the void. Internet poker casinos are based in countries where laws are more lenient, such as Costa Rica.

The clients, however, may live anywhere. In some areas, it is against the law to place bets on the Internet. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to play poker for cash stakes online.