As a matter of fact, online poker is still legal just as any other type of gambling at online casinos. I will explain why this is legal and how US players are being misinformed about what is legal or not. You may have remembered the Anti-Gaming laws passed in 2006 which tried to cut down on the online gambling industries and banks that process deposits and withdrawals. In fact, this law does not effect US citizens, nor can they be punished by this law.
The Anti-Gaming legislation was designed to clamp down on online gambling by taking advantage of some loopholes in the US Constitution. By law, the government doesn’t have a say in what you can do in your own home or with your own money to some extent, especially with gambling online. So they couldn’t shut down online casinos and prevent players from playing there that way. Instead, they went around the system and targeted the banks instead.
It is the banks that would receive punishments and the laws are directed towards them. They are not supposed to transfer money between customers and gambling outfits, so big online e-cards like Neteller stopped providing funding services for gambling.
Poker on the other hand is considered a game of skill and not pure gambling. Players can still deposit money into these places with credit cards, money orders, electronic checks and other methods, so there is nothing to worry about there. With casinos though, there are other ways to get money into these places without using big name banks like Neteller. Each casino has their own payment methods that you have to look into. The reason that they generally do not accept US players is not because it is illegal for them, but because it is very inconvenient to get a good payment method because there are so few banks that cater to US players. Instead, they have to use smaller, relatively unknown sources instead.
So if you are located in the US, there are a few good poker rooms such as Pokerstars and Carbon Poker where you can simply sign up, deposit money and play with no questions asked. So yes, online poker is legal in the US.
Yesterday I talked a little bit about PokerStars and the games there. In addition, I noticed that Carbon poker room has some razz tables that actually go up to $1000/$2000 stakes. Now for practicing the game, both places offer free chips or “play money” to use on free tables. This is actually an excellent way to practice the game with no risks of losing money and I would highly recommend doing this if you are learning how to play razz.
So when you practice razz poker, all you need to do is find any room that is using play money. Typically, there will be about 6 players in each room and the game is more casual. There are a few warnings that you should know about if you are going to seriously practice the game as a way to build experience and skill in razz.
The first thing to watch out for is the fact that many people in these “fake” rooms will not be playing as seriously as they would be with real money. So bluffing and other strategies will be irrelevant since players will just call your bets to see what happens in the end. This really isn’t effective practice because no one is really taking the game seriously. Although, these rooms are perfect if you are just learning the basics of the game, the rules and how to play.
If you already know the basics and want to get good at strategy and bluffing, then I would recommend moving to the micro-limit stakes in the $0.04/$0.08 rooms. These are the lowest money limits available at pokerstars.com. When there is real money at play, even small stakes, about 90% of the players will become serious and you will start learning some actual razz poker skills. Obviously, the higher the stakes get, the tighter players become and the more serious the game starts to be played. These are just a few things you should keep in mind as you begin practice exercises.
We all known that Carbon Poker is one of the best online poker rooms to play razz. One of the number one reasons why is because there is simply a large number of other players available to play this game with. Unlike the famous Texas holdem game, razz is nowhere near as popular even though it has been played for decades at the WSOP and there is a major main event for razz each year as well.
In case you were wondering, there is about 200 players for razz on an average day, but often times it will jump up to a few thousand during certain parts of the day when people are not at work and can play online. This is particular true on the weekends and holidays as well. One thing that is common among all PokerStars and Full Tilt tables is that razz poker games are fixed limit. This is the only table variation available at the moment, but some have claimed that no limit tables are also available when things get busy.
Players can play free stakes with play money and practice the game for free as well. The most common stakes is $0.04/$0.08 which would be considered micro-limit. The reason you will not see $0.01/$0.02 stakes except during special circumstances is because the antes and bring-in bets need to be some ratio of the small blind or $0.04. It would be hard to divide fractions of $0.01 so you will rarely see this kind of table.
On the high end stakes is the very high limit $100/$200 room as well, which is fixed limit of course. In between, you will see these kinds of limits as well:
So there is a very large variety of table to play at. Many people enjoy trying to start off at the bottom, earn some certain goal or “conquer” the table limit and level up to a higher limit before eventually making it to the $100/$200 tables. It does take some time but it is not unusual for players to actually do this. Note that these are just the casual ring-table or cash games. There are also many tournaments with buy-ins that range from as low as $1 to $1000. The same goes for sit and go tournaments as well, so PokerStars is like a nice playground for razz poker players and there is a ton of stuff. Check them out if you haven’t already.