Whether faced with the possibility of managing bank accounts, buying goods, or even entering personal information of any kind, many people still approach the internet with a certain level of distrust. So naturally, combining poker – a pursuit known (unfortunately) for the deception and cheating often associated with it and other casino activities – and the internet arouses quite a bit of misgivings for many potential players.
However, despite whatever fears you may have, most reputable online poker websites are generally as safe as or even more secure than most popular websites which handle financial transactions. Like any industry, there are of course some online poker sites which should be avoided for their lack of transparency and/or shady dealings. The question then, is how does one distinguish between protected sites, which represent the majority of honorable operators, and their unsafe counterparts? Fortunately, there are recognizable signs and practices which allow you the player to make such distinctions and, thus, provide the protection and ultimately the enjoyable and safe experience youre looking for.
When checking out online poker sites, look for those which display symbols or information indicating their security level. Companies such as Verisign or Thawte Security (a subsidiary of Verisign) are quite popular employed by groups such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of Defense, General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Lufthansa Airlines, and Hyatt International Hotels – because of the Secure Socket Level (SSL) encryption capabilities they offer their clients. Online poker operators such as Empire Poker proudly display on their sites proof that such security companies have been contracted. A player can usually find displayed as well information indicating that operators have employed independent auditors to monitor their sites financial integrity. The presence of such information can, and should, be taken as a reliable signal of the sites commitment to security and safety.
Apart from these indicators, there are also other ways online poker sites preserve security and safety, indicate their level of integrity, and seek to calm any doubts you may have. Because online poker operators dont truly make their money from the players (they do indeed take a rake of course, but players are playing against each other, NOT the house) worries about the risks to your money should be focused more on the dangers posed by other players. In other words, collusion is perhaps the greatest security threat regarding online poker games. Even in this area, however, online operators have plenty of tools and procedures for preventing this behaviour and protecting you from such practices. As soon as a player signs-in, most sites, through several verification procedures such as email verification, IP-address tracing, credit card tracking, etc., are able to determine whos playing at what tables and, therefore, the likelihood of collusion occurring between players.
On top of all of this, for those who worry not only about the reliability of the financial aspects of online poker but also the structures of the online game itself, additional measures have been taken to uphold this areas integrity. Through the use of algorithms similar to those used for encryption purposes, online poker rooms employ random number generators which randomize cards and deal better than any human operator ever could. So not only are you playing with secure money and personal information, youre also assured to be participating in a fairly dealt game.
As online poker sites increase in popularity and the competition increases, operators are continually looking for ways to attract players. Ensuring the security of their sites and making this information available to potential participants is clearly in the operators interest! Online casinos not only have the same tools as live casinos for monitoring their games and preventing cheating, but also numerous other electronic measures which, one could argue, makes the online version even more reliable and safe than live games. As long as they seek to attract new customers, online poker rooms will do whatever it takes to assure potential players that their sites provide a safe and trustworthy environment. As a player, engaging only in sites which exhibit such behaviour not only protects you and your money but also encourages the operators to continually enhance their security measures and provide their customers (you!) with the safest product possible.