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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Inside an online poker room. Software

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The backbone of every online poker room is its software – without it, you wouldn't be able to play poker online. Although there are poker rooms which do not require the player to download their software, most of them do. The downloading process is typically short, as poker room software size rarely exceeds 10 megabytes. Room system requirements are far from steep, and you can play in most of the rooms using an otherwise outdated PC. Connection speed requirements are also low, and you can play online poker, without the fear of lag or being disconnected, using a simple dial-up modem.

However, if you get disconnected during your online play with an all-in situation, you usually don't have to worry about losing the game automatically, as most of the online poker rooms feature so-called "all-in protection", which puts a player who is involved in a pot “all-in” whenever that player is disconnected. This means that you are not disconnected from the table, but you can not bet or call or whatever, you just stay in the pot, but you are "frozen". Still, there is a certain possibility to win that kind of pot without having to spend additional money. However, use of all-in protections is limited to certain number (which varies from room to room) to prevent player abuse.

If you for some reason do not wish to download a poker room, there are some JAVA-based rooms to play at (you just enter the site, log-in and start playing), with PokerRoom.com being a good example of a non-download poker room.

As soon as you download the software, you are prompted to open an account, which is typically very easy. After creating an account, you are thrust into the world of online poker.

The first thing the player sees when logged in, is the game lobby – the screen that shows available games with details such as the number of players at each table, the location of the table, status of the table, pot value, hands played per hour, etc. In short, the lobby is the place where you can find all the relevant information regarding the game. In the lobby, you can also evaluate the competition, such as the flop percentage or the average flop, but not all poker rooms support that kind of information to prevent aggressive players from ruining a loose game.

As soon as you choose in the lobby at which table to play, you are delivered at the table screen. The table is the most important screen when playing online poker, as it is the place where the game itself unfolds. Usually, the table screen consists of the playing area and the statistics area. At the playing area, you see the table itself, the chat screen and other players' images or names and their money. The contents of the statistics area vary from room to room, but typically you can find function buttons, hand history and other statistics there. If you play for real money, you should choose tables carefully, as the level of competition and thus the chance of winning varies greatly from table to table.

In fact, if you do not want to play for real money, there is an option to play for "fun money". Actually, this is a good option if you wish to check various poker rooms before deciding which to choose to play for real money.

Another important aspect of software is it's card randomization mechanism (commonly used name is Random Number Generator or RNG). Mostly, poker rooms use algorythms like SHA-1 Cypto Logical Hash Algorithm MD5 Random Number Generator or Knuth’s Full Shuffle Algorithm. These algorythms are used to ensure fairly randomized shuffles in order to prevent larceny. RNGs vary from room to room, but all of them are tested by independent companies such as BMM International and PricewaterCooper.

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