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Bovada Poker
Popular online poker site that brings texas holdem game with a huge deposit bonus and access to sports and casino play. Play here...

Bet365 Poker
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Cool Hand Poker
Play poker with the name you can trust. Cool Hand offers quality games and a huge sign up bonus. Not many players can match Cool Hand Poker. Play here...

Intertops Poker
One of the oldest and most recognizable online poker sites. Licensed in North America, takes U.S. players and also offers and sports and casino gaming. Play here...

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Why Play Online Poker?
Sounds simple, right? The fact is that there are an almost unlimited number of possible answers to this seemingly innocent question. If you haven't asked, and answered this question for yourself, I suggest you do. Recognizing your core motivation will add focus to your game over the long run and provide you with measurable milestones.

In the spectrum of possible answers, the two extremes are easily defined. I like to show it graphically in the following simple diagram.

Poker Scale

There are plenty of players in both of these camps. However, most of us exist somewhere in between, in that mixed space that is less defined.

Gaming Background

Like many of you, I grew up in a house in which playing cards was second nature using a poker strategy. My earliest memories are of Go Fish and War. These quickly evolved into various forms of Rummy, Canasta, Pinochle, Spades, Hearts, a local game called Catch-5, Bridge and yes, Poker. My family loved playing cards and didn't really seem to favor any one game over the other. Looking back, playing cards was the perfect social experience, bringing people together for a fun and competitive activity. I can clearly remember my parents playing in their "card club" one night a week.

I played regularly in high school, in college and for at least a number of years after graduation. Then life intruded. People moved, they got busy with their jobs, marriages and kids. Their priorities changed. Who had time to play cards? After all, a decent poker game needs to be played over at least five or six hours with six or seven people right?

Enter the era of: Internet Poker

Fast forward to January 2004; I had been reading on the internet about "the new online poker phenomenon" for more than six months and was thoroughly intrigued. Since I was on vacation during the Christmas/New Year holiday I decided to download Party Poker. Eureka! I reconnected quickly with my youthful love of cards and have been playing on this site. Early on in my online poker career I never wondered why I was playing. I just knew that I didn't need 5 or 6 hours, nor did I need other people. They were always there.

One day, I was telling a non-playing friend about bonuses at casinos online. She asked how often I played and was shocked when I admitted that I played at least some almost every day. This evolved into a long and complicated discussion that ended when she asked me, "But, why do you play"? After babbling and stammering a bit, I realized that I didn't have a really solid answer. My reaction to that was to simply write her question off as unimportant. I mean, what a silly question, right? For some reason though, I couldn't let it go.

Reasons People Play Poker

Here is where it took me. I've considered that if you asked 1000 poker players why they play, you would hear at least all of the following:
  • I play because of the competitive nature of the game. I love to compete and especially win.
  • I play because I like to gamble and can afford it. I see it as a form of entertainment.
  • I play because it helps me forget about the more stressful aspects of my life (work, school, my marriage, the kids, etc.)
  • I play because my friends all play and it's what they talk about. I want to be a part of that.
  • I play because I watch it on television and it doesn't look that hard. I can imagine being at a WPT or WSOP final table one day.
  • I play to win money.
  • I play to win money and use it to .. (fill in the blank).
This short list is far from complete. It does, however, touch on the majority of the responses any randomly selected group would give. There are no right answers here. In the correct context, any of them can be right. In fact, I have moved through several of these from that time in January 2004 when I started, until now.

Initially, I was firmly in the camp that loved to compete and could afford to play. I didn't win right away, but I didn't lose enough to chase me away. I invested in my game by reading most of the better books out there. I experimented with NL and limit cash games. I played SNGs and Multi-table tournaments. After about a year, I started winning regularly and steadily.

As time passed, I found that I had moved to the stage where I was playing to win money. The number in my bankroll became really important. I'm not sure why, it just did. I would total up all my accounts at the end of every week and log it in a spreadsheet I had built. When it was larger than the week before, I felt happy. When it was less, I wasn't happy.

One day, about six months ago, I totaled up those accounts and realized I had been on a very nice streak over a three month period. The number had increased significantly but I wasn't all that elated. Finally, it struck me. It was, after all, just a number in a spreadsheet. It didn't represent anything at all. Yes, I was winning regularly. Yes, the number was increasing. So what?

A week later I withdrew about $800 from one of my accounts and bought myself a fancy new Samsung 21" monitor. When it was delivered a few days later, I developed a whole new understanding of why I play poker. Since then, I have bought myself a 42" plasma HD television out of my winnings. These are things that I would not have bought (even though I could afford them) if I had not won the money.

For me, playing poker is now defined as that activity that allows me (try) to win money to do something very specific that I might not do otherwise. I'm not implying that this is the right answer for everyone. It is for me. You'll probably never see me at a WPT final table, but I do plan to treat myself to something "special" when my winnings allow.

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Bodog Poker

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Intertops Poker

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Virgin Poker

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Bet365 Poker

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Stan James Poker

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Cool Hand Poker

Their motto "No Pros, No Hustlers, No Sharks" gives the average player the advantage at Cool Hand. Also get generous bonuses for first time players and all the stand perks and features of a top online poker site.
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Sports - Bookmaker

Bookmaker is by far the best bet out there. Solid, reliable and easy to use, they also offer big bonuses and promotions seasonally. Use their app to place bets with your IPhone, Blackberry or Android.
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Sports - Sportsbetting

The Sports Betting name says it all. They're one of the oldest books out there and also one of the more friendly bettor outlets. You find good lines, generous bonuses and lots of props. Also get a 50% deposit bonus and the ability to use your credit card in processing.
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USA Players Please Note:

There are just a few places for USA players to play poker online. Here are the sites we recommend:

Bovada Poker | Intertops Poker

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