Setting Up an Account
Getting started is as easy as typing the site you are interested in into your browser. If you haven't decided which poker site you'd like to use, check out Appendix D in the back of the book. This appendix offers a list of popular online poker sites, complete with a description of each. Once you've chosen a site, just type it into your browser and click Go. When the site's home page appears on your computer screen, simply click on the “Download Now” hyperlink, and the site's software will download to your computer. Software downloads on Internet poker sites should always be free. If the site you've chosen charges for software downloads, keep looking until you find one that doesn't.
Once you've downloaded the software you will see a clearly visible link that could say “Register,” “New Players Sign Up Here,” “Get Started,” or “Sign Up.” Clicking this link should allow you to sign up for access to the site.
Now you are ready to fill in the required fields on the registration form. In most cases you will need to fill in your name, complete mailing address, e-mail address, and date of birth. You will also be asked if you are of legal age to gamble. Finally, you'll be asked to select a screen name, nickname, or handle that you want to use, as well as a password.
Figure 2.1 PokerRoom.com sign-up page
Choosing a screen name sounds simple, but it is not something to be taken lightly. For one thing, you don't want your screen name to act as a tell for your opponents. It's best to project a positive image with your screen name — or at least a neutral one. Also, be sure you have backup names ready in case the screen name you have your heart set on is already in use.
Stay away from names that indicate gender, such as prettylady or toughguy. Names like these will give your tablemates preconceived notions about you that might make it easier for them to guess what moves you'll make in the game. Something more neutral, like new-yorker, is better.
Figure 2.2 How screen names appear on screen (Bodog.com)
Also avoid names that imply that you are manic or deranged unless that's your misguided intention. Your screen name is just as major a tell as when a player only raises with pocket Aces. If you choose a non-gender-specific name, you can keep your opponents guessing, rather than giving them knowledge they can use against you.
When you enter a poker game, the other players might greet you with rapid-fire text messages. It's their way of detecting as many tells about you as they can. It's important that you offer no information about yourself or your play to your opponents. It's equally important to find out as much about them and their play as you possibly can.
Once you've chosen a screen name and have entered in all your other personal information, you'll be asked to agree to the Terms and Conditions. You must check “Yes” or “I Agree” to play on that site.
Next, decide whether you are going to play with play money or open an online account with real money. These options should be clearly explained on the site, making it easy for you to choose one or the other. (You'll read more about betting later in this chapter.) If you aren't quite ready to play yet and would like to simply observe a couple of games, that's fine too.