PokerStars is the largest online poker site which offers real money on the games. The company which started in 2001, now controls an estimated two-thirds of the world online poker games. As an online gambling company, there are countries land regions which do not allow its citizens to play on PokerStars. As an example, if you are in the United States, it is illegal to play on PokerStars unless you are located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Nevada.
One way to get around geo-location limitations is to use VPN services to connect to the gaming sites. This also helps solve several issues about privacy in gaming.
Online Poker Limitations
Poker gaming sites are heavily regulated and are usually not allowed to operate outside of their area or registered country. This follows the general rule about casinos and gambling across the globe. Casinos are also heavily regulated, and even if they are legal in most countries, the casinos follow strict rules.
One reason for this is to make sure that the local government gets its share of the income from gambling operations. In addition, casinos have historically been used in money laundering operations. Governments implement laws to prevent money laundering in casino operations. These laws also ensure that organized crime does not have a hand in casinos.
These are all preventive measures which have been implemented in online gambling operations. To prevent money laundering, online pokers have to be local operations with offices in the country they operate on. In addition, players can only access servers within their area. If you’re a PokerStars UK player, you can only legally play in the UK. If you happen to be visiting the United States, you would be barred access to your PokerStars UK account.
In some areas, online poker is only allowed for sites associated with an operating casino in the state or area. This ensures that the company has a real live footprint in the state. Effectively, this means that even if poker is allowed in 4 states in the United States, it is illegal to access international gambling sites.
For players who live in countries which block PokerStars, they can either move to another country to play, or they can use a VPN service.
Using a VPN
A “virtual private network” (VPN) started out as a way to allow secure remote access of corporate files through the public internet. The technology involves a remote client computer sending encrypted information to a server, where it is decoded.
The information can be a request to access files or an FTP to the private network’s computers. Information received by the server is encrypted prior to being forwarded to the original requesting computer. In this way, the information is secure even though it uses the public internet.
Nowadays, cheap VPN services are available on the internet to allow for secure browsing and file transfer. It also affords added security because of the encryption from client to VPN server, and back. VPN services are easy to configure. The user usually does not even notice the use of a VPN for secure communications.
With a VPN, communications are not only encrypted from the client to the VPN server. As far as the intended web server is concerned, the request came from the VPN server, and not from the client. This hides the real IP of the requester. This effectively hides the location of the user. If the server is located in New Jersey, the web server might think that the user was in New Jersey.
VPN services also try to leverage their reach to attract a large audience. VPN companies have hundreds or even thousands of servers spread across the world. The user can access any top 10 VPN services in the world.
For the user, the VPN offers a solid solution for several security issues. VPN is used to:
- As a workaround of geographic restrictions for websites, including poker sites and streaming media. When a user sends a request for a website on his computer, the target web server would only see the IP and location of the VPN server. If the user wanted to play poker in New Jersey, he can access a VPN server in New Jersey and use that to play poker. Poker players are no longer restricted to their location. They can have unlimited access to more servers, and poker tables.
- Protection against snooping. Public WiFi hotspots have inadequate protection. Some don’t even have a password. A device can have its contents stolen and collected by third-parties. Using a VPN for mobile devices helps maintain the security of the machine as well as the communications traffic.
- Online anonymity. While using a VPN, the client computer’s IP is masked by the VPN server. The web server would only see the VPN’s IP address and not the client computer’s. The poker player can be anywhere in the world when he logs into a VPN server at the same area as the poker site. The poker website would recognize the request as coming from their restricted location and allow the player to join the poker rooms.
- Protection from logging while using bittorrents. BitTorrent sites log the IP address of their seeders and leechers. This allows them to keep track of how many are online and participating in sharing a file. The BitTorrent software also keeps track of what segments each leecher still needs, as well as the segments a leecher can share. The logs will only reflect the VPN address and not the leecher.
- VPN provides security benefits for a lot of reasons and uses. It allows for better security for online poker players. To have an idea how this service can help access an online gambling site, a NordVPN review details the benefits. It also adds an additional layer of protection for any financial transactions. With VPN, poker players from anywhere in the world can access PokerStars.
The auditors stated that they “did not find any evidence of system configurations or system or service log files that are independently, or collectively, could lead to identifying a specific person or the person’s activity when using PureVPN service.” The certification effectively validates PureVPN as a No-Log VPN.
There are some disadvantages to using a VPN. The technology uses a dedicated server as a jump-off point to access the internet. This is an added step for requests and replies and can add to the total length of time it takes before the game refreshes. This is an unfortunate side effect of the VPN. For those who play poker games like Texas Hold Em in real time, the lag time can be short and unnoticeable, or it can be enough for a player to lose the game. Another possible cause for slower traffic is the number of VPN clients using a particular server. Within a server farm, there are hardware and algorithms which balance the load. This ensures that the servers will all share in delivering the browser requests. However, another kind of unbalanced load is when users all point their VPN to a specific location. This may result in the servers in that location overloading from the number of requests.
The only way to prevent slow VPN internet from happening is to choose a VPN with a proven fast service. VPN service providers try to keep the latency to a minimum, with the use of the latest and fastest hardware.
Online poker is a convenient game you can play wherever you are. The only requirement is an app and a connection to the server. Most poker playing sites have free poker games where players can join a poker room. Real poker players want more than that and would rather play poker games for money.
Using VPN to play for real money poker games is a solution for those who those players located where online gambling is not allowed. The popular Hold Em Poker is an enjoyable game and most poker players understand the stakes. The internet has brought online gambling to available users. If the game is not accessible or blocked in a particular country, VPN can be used to mask the originating location.
Poker is a different kind of game. Most online gambling is about luck. Whether gambling in a casino or online, the odds are stacked in favor of the house. The odds differ between casinos and countries, but the house never loses. The game odds are inherently against the player.
However, playing poker takes real skill. It is not enough to know the odds in Hold Em poker, it is also important to know the other players. In real games, a factor on the table is the player’s tell. It is a habit or an indicator of the player’s cards or his intentions. Players study the other players on the table for any sign of what the others are thinking. In most instances, it is a giveaway of what the player is holding. In online poker, the tell is not evident because the players do not see each other. The tell is an integral part of a real-live play, and without it, the players have to rely more on their card skills and the odds.