Online Poker FAQ
If you're just getting into this crazy world of online poker, there are probably a thousand questions rattling round your head right now. Luckily, we are here to ease your head rattling just a little as we try and answer some of the most frequently asked questions (that's where the FAQ bit comes from) from online poker fanatics and newbies Down Under. Get a clearer picture on the online poker situation in Oz in 2013, then check some of our recommended links for a great deposit deal.
Is online poker legal in Australia?
At first glance, it may seem as though online Texas Hold'em and Omaha are totally barred for Aussie gambling fans. Luckily, that couldn't be further from the truth. Although it's illegal for companies to run online poker rooms from within Australia's borders, it isn't illegal for Aussie players to log on and enjoy poker from the comfort of their own front room. International poker sites, therefore, are allowed to attract Aussies to their sites.
What laws relate to it?
In 2001, the Australian government signed off on the Interactive Gambling Act which effectively made it illegal to operate an online casino in Australia. Some existing online gambling sites were allowed to continue but many shut up shop over the following years. As of 2013, there is no countrywide law allowing Oz sites to open their virtual doors in Australia. The Interactive Gambling Act does nothing to prevent Aussies from playing online, however.
Do you have to pay taxes on your poker winnings?
Generally speaking, just as in the UK, Australian online poker players don't have to pay taxes on their poker winnings. As online poker isn't considered a job in Oz, taxes are not needed to be paid, unless the game somehow becomes part of your business dealings in the country.
Can you sign up to multiple sites?
Of course – there's nothing to stop you opening multiple accounts with Australian-friendly poker rooms. In fact, it pays to shop around, open a few accounts, and take advantage of the many promo deals on offer.
What is a welcome bonus?
A welcome bonus is offered to new real money Australian players signing up to a poker site for the first time. Players will often need to deposit money with a special promo code in order to activate the bonus.
How do you clear your welcome bonus?
Normally, a 100% bonus up to a set amount – say, $300 - will be promised. To clear the bonus, you will have to 'play through' the bonus amount; that is, you will have to play a certain amount of hands in order to win bonus cash back. If you've played enough poker on a site to trigger the bonus, most online sites will release your bonus money back to you in increments.
What is a 'rake'?
A rake is a proportion of a pot taken by the poker site as a fee, just as a land-based casino does. For example, in a typical cash game of Texas Hold'em, 5% of a pot will be taken by the online room in rake, up to a maximum of $10. For tournaments and Sit 'n' Gos online, typically the fee, or rake, will be 9-10% of the buy-in.
Are online poker sites safe to deposit at?
If you stick with the recommended poker rooms online that we list here, there's no reason to fear your hard-earned Aussie bucks are at risk. The best sites in the world have security systems in place to ensure your private info is in good hands. Also, the biggest, most popular sites will never run off with your money if things go belly-up.
What is a freeroll and how do they work?
Freerolls are simply free-to-enter tournaments online poker tournaments. They cost nothing to enter, and offer a great way to test the poker waters before making a first real-money AUD deposit. Some freerolls will dish out a little cash in the way of prizes, while others have prizes like gadgets or Frequent Player Points for you to use entering more games.
What is the difference between a SNG and a MTT?
An SNG – or Sit 'N' Go – starts as soon as the tables have been filled up. SNGs can be single-table tournaments (STTs) or run up to 180 people. There's no official start time – just take your seat, fill up the tables, and off you go. An MTT is a scheduled Multi-table Tournament, and can have anything from 18-10,000 players! Payouts are paid as a percentage of the total prize pool – the more people in the tournament, the more spread out the prize money. Generally SNGs and MTTs are in Texas Hold'em only, but tournaments online in other disciplines are common on the big sites.
Will I find plenty of opponents?
If you pick a reputable, established online poker site, you will find enough players for whatever game you're after, be it a No Limit Texas Hold'em cash game, a few Sit 'n' Gos, or a big-money satellite tournament. The smaller sites will often struggle to fill their tables, however, and you may find you're hanging about for an age waiting for your game to start. That sucks, so make sure you stick with the recommended sites with lots of traffic.
Do I have to play for real money?
Many poker rooms offer play-money games so you can practise your game before making a first AUD deposit. The standard of play won't be the same (players will often be far looser when playing with fun money!) but they are still good to learn the ropes. This is particularly true when trying out a new poker variant, like HORSE or Omaha.
Can I play on my phone or tablet?
Yes. Mobile poker sites are the big thing for 2024, and more and more poker rooms are offering compatible clients that work on your smartphone or portable tablet. These poker apps fit your screen, have intuitive touch-screen buttons, and offer the same great action that a standard online poker client boasts. Playing poker on the move has never been so much fun!