The online poker industry has been abuzz in recent months with the news of Facebook taking steps towards offering a real money gambling platform.
The social networking site has long offered free-play Texas Hold’em via the wildly popular Zynga Poker, which plays host to over seven million card sharps, a higher player traffic than all online rooms – such as PokerStars and PartyPoker – put together.
Zynga fans can buy virtual chips to battle versus friends, but cannot cashout their winnings. Recent revisions in Facebook’s policies, however, have seen the launch of a full gambling platform – Gamesys’ Bingo & Slots Friendzy for Facebook users in the United Kingdom.
Baby steps, but professional poker players and sharks around the world are watching with baited breath in the hope of poker following in its footsteps. The most optimistic of punters are even anticipating a second ‘boom’ in online poker, similar to that of 2003 when everyman Chris Moneymaker parlayed a $40 online deposit into $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker.
The question is, however – if the real thing were offered today, what percentage of free-play poker fans would jump into the real-money waters, to swim with the sharks? Would you?
The Pros and Cons of Real Online Poker
- You can win real money! There are many things working in your favor if you’re a dedicated player looking to turn a profit – video coaching sites, strategy forums, VIP rewards, rakeback, bonuses… you can even trade in points for Porsches!
- Better software! Online poker rooms, most notably PokerStars, have the card game experience down to a fine art. Their game client offers everything you need to get your fix, including hotkeys, note-taking, and the ability to play 24 tables at a time.
- More games! Tired of heads up No Limit Hold’em? Why not try your hand at Pot Limit Omaha or HORSE? Six-max, Full Ring, or a freeroll tournament versus a field of thousands – the choice is yours.
- It’s not free anymore! You’ll need to add real-money funds with a credit card. However, you can work on your game at microstakes with little risk, manage your bankroll, and enjoy a welcome poker bonus on top of your first deposit.
- It’s not Facebook! Addicted to notifications and chat pop ups? You can still spam your friends’ news feeds with brags about your poker prowess via social sharing platforms such as PokerStars’ BOOM! Hand Replayer, that lets you make a video hand history of that river bluff you snapped off, and share it on Twitter at the click of a button.
- I want to play with my friends! Online poker networks play host to tens of thousands of players, so you can talk to new people from around the world in the chat box. If you want to get your best buddy off Facebook and onto the virtual felt, you can often pick up a refer-a-friend bonus just for introducing them.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!