According to the new Celebrity Apprentice Joan Rivers, poker players are “beyond white trash.” But I bet you could find millions of poker fans who disagree with that assessment. As a matter of fact, poker is wildly popular right now and so are those who play it professionally. This is evidenced by the fact that professional poker stars such as Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Phil Gordon, Mike Matusow and many others have achieved enormous celebrity status in the last decade.
Poker’s star-making ability has inspired many to try to make a living on on-line poker websites. Some have actually been very successful and as a result, poker has created a whole new wave of Internet millionaires. These poker successes are not always who you would expect them to be, because they’re often very young and not seasoned pros. But for every group of successful poker players, there are also plenty of people who are victims of online poker scams. These scams befall mostly new players, because they don’t know how to verify a online poker site’s bona fides.
To make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to you, the following tips can help you assess whether a site has the potential to be a scam:
- If the site doesn’t look professional, don’t play there. Sub-standard construction could be an indicator of the work of a quick-buck artist or a cash-strapped owner who may go belly-up and take your winnings with him.
- Check if the site or its owners are members of the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC). IGC members agree to adhere to a code of ethics.
- Make sure the site has 24-hour support with a toll-free phone number and e-mail.
- If the site looks professional, is an IGC member and has good contact info, do several small transactions as tests before you put up any major money. These should tell you a lot about the integrity of the site.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so with some luck and a lot of skill and practice, you too could become one of online poker’s new stars. Just make sure to do your homework first, so your success won’t be tainted by regret.