Gambling guide: Learn how to win.
Joining Online Poker Rooms
How to download software and join a poker site online:

Getting Started

Your first step is finding an online poker site which appeals to you and that you can trust. Choosing a site that you are going to trust with your money is an important requirement. One way to help you make this decision is by reading reviews and selecting from popular and/or recommended sites.

Once you found a poker site, try out the freeplay games first. It will not be the same level of play as playing for real money, but you will get to know how the software and interface look and behave.

Take your time checking how you would get money out of your poker account (how to cash out) before you make any deposits. Once you have signed up and deposited cash to your account you can start playing real cash games.

Initially, it would be advisable that you play low limit games at a regular table (not tournaments). It gets you in the action straight away and you can leave anytime. You could also sit back on your virtual chair and simply watch others play before joining in.

Downloading the free software
(Note: The procedure below applies to Empire Poker site, but all other poker sites should be similar.)

The next step to playing live online poker is to download the free software. Simply click on the download button or link, and the download process will begin. Once you download the software, which will take a 2-5 minutes on average with a 56k modem connection, you'll have everything you need to play.

  • How to Install with Internet Explorer: Begin the download, click "Run this program from its current location". Once the download process is complete, Internet Explorer will ask if you want to install and run. Click "Yes", and the installation will begin.
  • How to Install with Netscape Navigator: Begin the download, and when you are given the "Save as" prompt, save the file in a folder where it will be easy for you to find once the download process has been completed. Once the download process is complete, use Windows Explorer to locate the folder you downloaded the software into. Then simply click on the icon to begin the installation process.

Open an Account for free

You've now successfully downloaded and installed the poker site's software (such as EmpirePoker). You're almost ready to play. But first, you will need to register an account. The software should launch automatically after downloading, if not, please go to your desktop and double-click the poker site's icon on your desktop to launch the software.

You'll then be presented with the Login/Sign Up screen. Click "Sign Up - Open Account". The Open Account form is all you need to complete in order to create your account. Here you will choose an Account name and password, and provide your name and email address.

Now you are ready to Login and play!

There are two different ways of joining a table for a poker game: regular play and tournament play. The former (regular play) lets you start playing immediately and you can leave the table at any time. The latter (tournament play) runs for a certain period of time.

Play free using "Play Money" or for real using "Real Money"

After you Login, you'll be at the poker site's Main Lobby. The large display on the left hand side shows you all the tables you can join and play.

Use the tabs at the top of the display to navigate to different game types, including Omaha, Hold 'em and all your other favorites, as well as to tournaments. Click once on a game to view the players at that game, and double-click a game to be taken to the table where you can watch or choose to sit down and play. Until you deposit real money, you'll be able to play only at "Play Money" (not real money) games and tournaments.

Once you're ready to play for real money, click Banking at the Main Lobby to deposit money. You'll need to validate your email address before you can deposit money. This is for the security of your Account. To validate, you'll simply enter a 4 digit code that will be sent to your email address. If you lose your code, don't worry, they will send it to you again. And if you have any problems, call their customer care department and they'll walk you through it.

Your next step is the main Deposit Options screen, where you'll choose which method you'd like to use to make your deposit.

Please note that several credit card companies have implemented systems to decline their cardholders' transactions at egaming sites. If you are declined and don't know why, this may be why. In such event, you could use one of the poker site's other payment methods as listed, such as iGM-Pay, FirePay, NeTeller.

You will be taken to a secure screen to submit your payment, or to set up an account with the payment vendor if you do not already have one.

Once your payment has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. When your payment has been processed, you're ready to play for real money.

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