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Online Poker FAQ

Making the decision to play online poker is an exciting one for many. After seeing the game on television or hearing about it through friends, the idea of trying it out for yourself can be quite captivating.

If you’re new to the game, however, there can be a lot to consider. The online world is new to many poker players and it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you sit down to play.

Prior to Choosing Where to Play Online Poker, let’s take a look at some of the more frequently asked questions by players first getting started.

General Questions

Do I have to deposit money when opening an account?

No. When opening an online poker account you are not obligated to deposit real money. You can play poker at the play money tables once your account is open.

Can I open more than one account?

No. You can only have one account on an online poker client. You can, of course, have an account on numerous poker sites.

But for game integrity you are limited to one account per game client.

Can I watch a game before sitting down to play?

Yes. By simply opening a table from a lobby you are free to watch. It is common for players to watch tables where notable pros are playing.

Can I play at more than one table at a time?

Yes. Multi-tabling is allowed and is a great way to play a higher volume of hands and even reach bonus requirements of raked hands sooner.

What is rake?

Rake is the scaled commission fee taken by a cardroom operating a poker game. It is generally 2.5 to 10 percent of the pot in each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount.

Can play money be exchanged for real money?

No. The play money tables are simply there for practice and entertainment. Play money chips have no real monetary value no matter how many you amass.

Do I have to use a sign-up bonus when depositing money for the first time?

No. No player is required to use a sign-up bonus. It is encouraged, however, as it is a great way to earn free money from the site after reaching the requirements laid out in the terms of the bonus.

How do I know which poker site is the best?

This is up to the player and their preferences. We suggest trying out more than one poker site to find out which one best suits the game experience you are looking for.

We do suggest, however, taking a look out our Reviews of Top Online Poker Sites.

What is an avatar?

An avatar is the image that represents you at the table. Some sites have their own built-in avatars, whether it be the sites logo or facsimiles of poker players. Other sites allow you to upload an image of your choosing.

Is my money safe in an online poker account?

Yes. We feel that the sites we work with are reputable and that any deposits are safe. The business of online poker is so competitive these days, that a room just going belly up, and leaving its players hanging is highly unlikely.

More likely is a situation where a struggling room would be taken over by a bigger room, and all deposits would continue to be safe.

We constantly monitor the rooms we cover, to make sure conditions continue to be safe for players, and their deposits.

How long does it take for a deposit to show up in my account?

Instantly. Once you click the deposit button the funds are available for use. It may take a day or two for it to reflect in your bank account, however, so be sure to keep track of your personal accounting.

How long does a cashout take to show in my bank account?

This can vary depending on the site and your bank. Usually, it will take no more than 3 business days.

Do I have to declare online poker winning on my taxes?

The tax system differs from country to country, but to be safe we suggest declaring any winnings on your taxes. You should, however, keep detailed records of your wins and losses to know exactly how much to claim.

Are the games rigged?

No. You will often hear players complain when they lose that the site is rigged. You have to keep in mind that there are literally millions of hands being played and that mathematical probabilities, no matter how small, are bound to play out.

Is an online poker client ever closed?

No, online poker sites are never “closed”. However, you may find that every once in a while, and by no means often, a site will need to be down for an hour or two for routine maintenance to keep the site running as best as possible.

Can I change my screen name if I grow tired of the one I signed up with?

No. Once you sign up, the name you choose will be yours forever. Attempting to change your screen name is seen as unethical and is highly frowned upon in the online poker community.

While a player is in a sense “hiding” behind a screen name, there still needs to be a level of transparency to ensure a fair game and maintain the integrity of both the game and the online poker client.

Cash Games

How much money do I need in my account to play at a cash table?

This all depends on the stakes at which you wish to play. As long as you have enough to cover a buy-in for the table you wish to join you are ok.

What is the minimum buy-in?

Typically, and it can vary from site to site, the minimum buy-in is usually ten times the big bet.

For example:

If you wish to play in a $1-$2 No Limit Texas Hold ‘em cash game, your minimum buy-in is likely to be $20.

Are there a minimum number of hands I have to stay seated for?

No. You are free to come and go as you please. A “hit & run”, when a player wins a lot in one or two hands and then leaves the table, while allowed, is frowned upon by other players.

What if the games I want to join are full?

In the event that the limits you wish to play at the cash tables are full, you can simply join the wait list. You will be prompted to take a seat once a player leaves the game.

Being on the wait list is a good opportunity to observe the table and players before taking your seat.

What does it mean to “post’ a big blind when I take my seat?

When you first sit down at a cash table you have the option of playing right away by posting the amount of the big blind, or you can simply sit out a few hands and wait until the big blind reaches you to join the game. Of course, it can happen where when you take your seat you happen to be the big blind right away.

Am I required to play every hand while I’m at the table?

No. You can “sit out” at any time. This means that you will still have your seat at the table, you will just not be dealt into the hand.

If you have to step away from the table for any reason it is a good idea to sit out.

In the event you miss being dealt in as the big blind while away, you will be required to post the big blind amount when being dealt back in.

Do I have to leave the table if I lose my buy-in?

No. In the event the cards do not go your way and you have no money left on the table you can simply buy back into the game if you have enough funds in your account.

When can I leave the table?

You are free to leave the game any time you wish.

Can I play at more than one cash table at a time?

Yes. Multi-tabling is allowed and is a great way to play a higher volume of hands and even reach bonus requirements of raked hands sooner. You are welcome to play at as many tables as your bankroll will allow.


What is an “entry fee”?

Every tournament has a buy-in and an entry free.

The entry fee is essentially the rake as it relates to a tournament. Online poker sites do not rake the hands of tournaments but instead charge a small entry fee on top of the buy-in to cover the rake.

What is a freeroll tournament?

A freeroll tournament is a tournament that is free to enter that you can win real money in. Freerolls are a great option for first-time players.

How do I register for a tournament?

If a poker tournament is in the ‘Registering’ or ‘Late Reg’ state, highlight that tournament in the desktop client by clicking on it, then click on the ‘Tourney Lobby’ button. Once the Tournament Lobby screen opens, click on ‘Register’.

You will need to log-in if you have not already done so for this session.

Some tournaments may allow you to register directly from the main lobby once you have highlighted the event.

Can I play in more than one poker tournament at a time?

Yes, just like with cash tables you can play in as many tournaments at once as your bankroll will allow.

What is a freezeout?

A freezout is a tournament in which players are only allowed one entry with no rebuys. Once they are knocked out, their tournament is over.

What is a “rebuy” tournament?

In a rebuy tournament, you have the option of buying back into the tournament after you have been knocked out. Typically, rebuys are allowed until the first break of the tournament.

What is a satellite tournament?

A satellite tournament is a tournament in which rather than money, you win entry into a bigger tournament. Chris Moneymaker famously won the 2003 World Series of Poker main event after winning an online satellite tournament to gain entry.

What is a sit & go?

A sit & go is a type of tournament that is usually only one table, sometimes more. Sit & gos are not scheduled tournaments, but rather available in the game lobby and they begin once the required number of players have signed up.

How long do tournaments last?

The length of a poker tournament online can vary greatly. It really depends on how many players have signed up to play to make any ballpark assumption on how long a given tournament might last.

When sitting down to play a tournament, it is best to assume that you will be playing for a few hours.

How many players make the money in a tournament?

Typically anywhere between 10%-20% of the player field will make the money.

What is chopping?

When you reach the final table of a tournament, players are given the option to “chop”. If all players agree to chop, the tournament will end and the remaining players will split the remaining prize money.

What is ICM?

ICM, or individual chip module, is an equation used when deciding on a chop amount that isn’t an even chop. ICM is a mathematical model used to calculate a player’s overall equity in a tournament.

The model uses stack sizes alone to determine how often a player will finish in each position (1st, 2nd, etc.).

Can I “sit out” during a poker tournament?

You can opt to sit out during a poker tournament. Unlike cash games, however, you will still be dealt cards and will still post a big and small blind even if you are sitting out.

How long does it take for tournament winnings to appear in my account?


Once a tournament ends or you are knocked out in the money, the amount you cash for is automatically applied to your account.


This should have covered any questions you may have in regards to online poker.

We invite you to check out some of our other in-depth articles below that cover the games offered and how deposit bonus work.

Best of luck at the tables!

  • Rules of Razz Poker
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