Choosing the Perfect Online Poker Room

pair of aces in poker with poker chips

With literally hundreds of online poker sites in the market today, it can be really tough to pick the right one. This is especially true when you consider that everybody wants something different. Some players value bonuses and promotions above anything else, while others just want a fish-friendly site where they don’t have to spend forever learning how to win texas holdem games.

So how do you find the best poker room for you individually? A great place to start is by looking at reviews of poker rooms. Dozens of sites across the net offer online poker reviews that explain the pros and cons of playing at each room.

What’s helpful is that these reviews are broken down into sections like software, bonuses, tournaments and competition level. This way, it’s easier to find what’s most important to you in a poker room.

Once again, be sure to check out online poker reviews when you’re trying to find a site that you’ll truly enjoy.


Play online poker and other games in New Jersey

poker dealer

New Jersey has been in the news quite a bit lately, as we’re seeing the underbelly of one of the most corrupt states in the country. Louisiana is another, but there’s something about New Jersey strong-arm tactics that set it apart.

Still, there’s plenty to like about New Jersey politicians as well, particularly when they tell the politically correct suits in Washington to go to hell. There’s been all sorts of controversy through the years as the feds tried to stop people from enjoying themselves by playing poker and other games online. Then we had a court explain that federal law didn’t cover games of skill like poker, and now we have a bunch of states led by New Jersey making it clear that they’d like to control how people entertain themselves in their state. The state of New Jersey is now allowing its citizens and people in their state to play online.

The latest news has Richard Branson’s Virgin Group getting involved as they have teamed with the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City and online game maker Gamesys. They will offer online poker, blackjack and slots this week. The state hopes to bring in $1 billion in casino revenues this year by imposing a 17% tax. Finally, something that makes sense.

Of course people have been playing for years and this industry is growing like crazy. Everyone accepts online poker as a new and fun form of entertainment, and many new poker champions started by playing online. There are tons of poker sites for American players and there always will be, but now we have states getting in on the act and that should make things even better for consumers.

Hopefully, this push from the states will finally get Congress to adapt consistent rules and regulations, or at least make it even easier for states to innovate. Poker has become such a popular game and it seems silly to deny people the right to enjoy it in their pajamas. Sure, real casinos are fun, but sometimes staying home and playing on your own is even better.


Michael Phelps tries his hand at World Series of Poker

The ultimate poker event is about to begin in Las Vegas with the World Series of Poker, and as usual it draws all sorts of people from around the world. The buzz is definitely our there online with qualifying tournaments and WSOP poker “classes” and prize packages, and Vegas will be buzzing with side games and all sorts of extracurricular activities as players and fans descend on Sin City.

Las Vegas always draws celebrities, and with the World Series of Poker you have another event that brings in the big names. The latest chatter involves Michael Phelps, who is known to be a poker fan and is now reportedly going to enter the World Series. You have to respect great athletes who take their competitive spirit to other challenges. Michael Jordan is a great example with golf, as is Tony Romo. Yet there are cautionary tales there as well, as Jordan allegedly had some problems when it came to gambling. His legendary confidence and competitiveness was actually a huge problem for him.

Phelps has discussed his very aggressive betting strategy, and while that suits some players well, you have to wonder if he has a ton to learn and whether his ultra competitiveness will be a liability at the poker table.

Still, at the end of the day this is all about fun. If Phelps keeps his head on straight and understands that poker is a skill that has to be developed over time with practice, then he doesn’t have to worry about squandering the millions he’s earned through endorsements. It will also be interesting to see if he can function in the setting of the World Series with all of the distractions that a celebrity must face.

The World Series is such an awesome event, and the celebrities just add to all the hoopla, so I’m glad to see guys like Phelps develop an interest in the game.


The Poker Player Who Retired at 20

Image source: Wikipedia

They say the biggest mistake that most people make with regards to their retirement is that they do not plan for it, but that is clearly not the case with Canadian Mike “Timex” MacDonald, who, at 18 years of age—still too young to even play in most U.S. casinos—is retiring from the world of professional poker.

McDonald is a proven talent in the world of professional poker. “Timex” has earned himself two money finishes and a final table at the World Series of Poker, and would achieve the same result on the World Poker Tour. While on the European Poker Tour, Mike snagged himself three final tables and has finished in the money seven times. As of 2011, his total live tournament winnings exceed $3,600,000.

But the time has come to move on. Regarding the retirement, Mike offered the following comments on his Cardrunners blog:

Poker came along and fairly quickly I was successful at it, and not too long after that I started to get good. I went to university for a year and really put many other aspects of my life to the side. I went from playing sports 4-10 times a week to maybe once or twice, didn’t really participate in any extracurricular activities, focused a lot less on school but in spite of all that I think it was most definitely the right thing to do. I had a fantastic opportunity to do something I enjoy, make lots of money and finally have an opportunity to truly excel at something.

After I turned 18 and could play the live circuit I did that, and I really enjoyed the free time, the opportunity to meet lots of people with the same common interest, the ability to see lots of new places. I started to get really good and fortunately after only ~5 months on the live circuit I won EPT Dortmund. I got to the point where I thought I was better than pretty much everyone and along with the success I had in tournaments I was doing extremely well in HU/shorthanded cash. After the 7 figure score I lost a fair bit of motivation to grind and went through a phase of playing very little poker. I was kind of at the point where I had made enough money that unless a couple really bad things happened, I had set myself up to be in a comfortable position for life. At this point I had more or less realized I would never be the best poker player since there were plenty of people who were smarter than me, had bigger egos than me and just legitimately enjoyed playing and learning poker more than I did. I still was very good but probably ~2 years ago is when I came to terms with the fact I would never be viewed as the #1 poker player in the world.

So anyways… at this point I arrive at the “where do I go from here” question that I asked in the title. I honestly don’t know but I think at least setting myself up to be in positions to find things I’m passionate about is probably the right approach. I recently began talking with a friend about a business idea that we’d consider starting in the next few years and although I was originally just thinking my involvement would be limited to investment, I’m now realizing that this is the type of thing that could highly interest me. I think returning to school and trying out a super wide variety of courses, learning new things, meeting new people and just beginning to live a life that is more in touch with everyone else seems aligned with my interests. I currently am trying to get in touch with the University of Waterloo about possibly taking some classes this summer, and depending on how that goes may return to Waterloo or another university in the fall.

It’s hard to imagine how someone could get bored with winning millions of dollars, but if poker has consumed most of your free time from an early age, it’s relatively easy to see why spending some quality time at school, and with friends, might need to take precedence.

What do you think? Will Mike make a triumphant return to the world of poker, or is he truly done forever? For a hard-core gamer of any variety, is the game ever truly over?

Simon is a writer and content specialist who is addicted to being on the front page of anything. A graduate of Dalhousie University, he specializes in using the em dash too often. Currently, Simon rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada. Check out a recent example of his work here.


Why Playing Poker is Better Online

Poker has been steadily gaining in popularity for years, and the number of people trying their luck at casino poker tables has grown. These days, people have options when it comes to playing casino games. When given the choice or playing poker online or playing in person, playing online has its advantages.

Learning Curve

When you play poker at, you do not need to be a World Series of Poker professional to get involved. One of the main advantages to playing poker online is that you can take all the time you want to learn the game before you start playing for real. The websites offer tutorials and training games that you can use to figure out what is going on and what you need to do to score big.


If you have played poker in a casino at all, then you know about the audience that can sometimes develop around a good game. Even if the game is not good, there is always the chance that someone will plant themselves right behind you and make you feel uncomfortable. When you play poker online, you do not need to worry about these distractions, which allows you to focus on the game at hand.

On Your Schedule

An online casino never closes, no matter what. If you want to play poker at 3:00AM on a Wednesday, then you will always be able to find people online who are interested in a good game. Online poker allows you to play on your schedule, and not on someone else’s.


If you do live near a casino, then it can sometimes be inconvenient to get dressed, get in the car and drive over to the casino just to find a poker table you can play at. If you do not live near a casino, then your problems at finding a casino-caliber poker game are obviously much larger. With an online poker website, you do not need a casino to play poker. You also do not need to spend time finding a parking spot and then walking around the casino just to find an open table.

Poker is an exciting card game that requires skill and a complete understanding of all of the different elements. If you want to play the game at your own pace and on your own schedule, then you will want to check out the many convenient options available for online poker.


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