Want to know more about how online poker works?
We can’t say we blame you. It’s not as straightforward as live poker. If you play live poker, you just come in, select a game from the menu, register and sit down when a seat is available or when the event starts.
The owner of the game room is clear. It’s clear who gets paid and how the system works. Plus, if you play at a legitimate poker room or casino, you can be sure they are licensed and regulated. You can also ask the employees or do a simple Google search to find out who is who.
On the other hand, being online is not the same. There are more hands in the pie and it’s not clear who owns it. It all happens on the internet, behind computers, firewalls and servers.
Knowing how it all works shouldn’t change your experience, but knowing who you give your credit card details to, who runs your poker room and how the games work is still useful (and potentially reassuring).
Do you disagree?
Then let’s get started. For your convenience, we’ve divided this into four parts. An overview of the company, its jurisdictions and its networks
An important difference between live poker and online poker rooms – one you’ll probably never notice – is that online poker sites have a physical location, but only for tables, chairs and players.
It houses the servers, customer service representatives and all the other staff needed to run the business. What they must do is in accordance with the guidelines of the gambling authorities and regulators in the area where their servers are located.
For example, if your servers are located in Canada, you will almost certainly be restricted by Canadian gambling authorities.
This policy may be implemented at the federal, state and/or municipal (city or town) level. Each location is unique.
Each jurisdiction is responsible for developing and enforcing the rules. The parent company of the poker room is then responsible for enforcing the rules. The more they play by the rules, the more fun it is to play there.
There are numerous gambling jurisdictions and regulatory bodies. The following are the most typical:
- Costa Rica – Curaçao/Netherlands Antilles – Alderney – Gibraltar – Isle of Man – Costa Rica – Curaçao/Netherlands Antilles
- Kahnawake (Kahnawake)
The guidelines specify, among other things, the types of consumers they can accept, the games they can offer, the fees they can collect and the software testing.
The jurisdiction has the right to revoke a company’s license if it does not comply with certain regulations. This is usually the beginning of the (public) end for many poker sites.
White Label Poker sites are also known as Networks.
Although many poker sites are less common nowadays, they used to be part of a network. Carbon Poker, formerly part of the Merge Network, is a prime example.
Each network is unique. However, they usually offer a white label platform that any company can use to get their poker software up and running quickly.
The term “white label” literally means “business in a package”. This means that the network offers all or a combination of the following:
- Shared player base – Software – Customer service – Marketing – Promotions – Payment processing
Since few sites, especially new sites, have the player base needed to support recurring and consistent play, the player base was/is critical. And it is difficult for a poker site to get off the ground when games are not active.
Since the only difference between each poker room is in appearance, networking sites are commonly referred to as “skins”. Almost everything else was the same, from games to software to advertising.
This is useful in a way because it ensures consistency between poker rooms. If Poker Room A’s software is good, Poker Room B’s software is bound to be good too. You can join Poker Room B with confidence in their games.