Online poker has made a game which was once only played by a select set of people available to players all over the world. Prior to the poker boom which occurred in the mid-2000s when broadband internet was introduced, poker was only played in a handful of places across the United States. But now there are millions of players, and it is possible to log on to an online poker site and sit down at a table within minutes. The fact that poker is now so accessible is a great thing for the game, but it has also brought about some security issues. To ensure that you are playing safely, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you start handing over your personal details.
The Basics: Encryption and SSL Technology
Most internet users realize that they need to have some basic protection against viruses, malware, and hackers when they visit any website online. The need for this awareness is perhaps amplified when logging onto online poker sites, however, as they have such a high number of visitors every day. In addition to anti-virus software, online poker players need to know the basics about encryption and SSL technology. If a site has good protocols in place for these things, it is generally safe to play at.
SSL stands for secure sockets layer, a security technology which establishes an encrypted link between the client and the server. These are considered to be essential for online businesses that want to foster trust in their clients. It allows them to put a visual cue on the site, such as a padlock or a branded URL bar, to inform customers that they have a safe connection. Before entering any personal info at a poker site, players can check whether the site uses SSL technology by reading their About page.
On top of these security measures, poker players could also consider logging on through a VPN which provides an extra layer of protection against cybercriminals. This technology allows players to go through an additional server before logging on to the wider internet. In doing this, they can mask their IP address and can also appear to be in a different country to the one in which they are based.
Protection of Players’ Personal Data
When you join up at any online poker site you are going to have to provide the operator with some of your personal information. This helps them ensure that you are legally allowed to play. You might also need to enter some details when you top up your account. Some players may be wary about handing over all this data online, but there are some considerations they can make in order to ensure the safety of their personal details.
One of the best things that players can do to protect themselves is play at sites that have been around a long time and have built up a strong reputation. Some of the biggest brands in the business have got to that level by making their customers feel safe when playing there. This means that they put great care into ensuring that players’ personal data is dealt with carefully and securely.
888poker, for instance, has over 10 million registered players all over the planet who log on to play traditional forms of poker like Texas Hold’em along with new options like Snap poker. The world-famous poker site is able to attract such large numbers because of the poker software it uses, which is 100 percent safe and secure according to the site. It claims to be as safe as online banking thanks to its encryption protocols and SSL technology.
Safest Payment Methods
You can’t play online poker for real money without crediting your account with funds, and this is the part that scares a lot of internet users who fear their credit card details could be stolen. According to the Washington Post, credit and debit card fraud in the United States has boomed over the last decade, with a total of $4.57 billion stolen by 2016. For this reason, many Americans are seeking alternative payment methods in an effort to find a more secure way to top up their funds online.
Luckily, most online poker sites now accept a wide variety of systems for their transactions meaning users can choose the one that suits them best. This diversity has become a selling point of sites which want to win players over from their rivals. Indeed, few sites nowadays stick rigidly to the traditional methods of payment like VISA and MasterCard.
PayPal is one of the most popular and trusted options when it comes to online payments. The company began as a subsidiary of eBay in 2002 and gained a good reputation when it was only used for transactions on the well-known trading site. Since branching off on its own in 2015, PayPal’s usage has skyrocketed and many online shoppers and players are choosing it in favor of credit cards. This is because they know their money is secure and that the company is swift to process refunds if they are required.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are also offering players a safer way of topping up their online poker accounts. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology which allows every transaction to be tracked and verified by any computer in the network. This makes the digital currency extremely hard to copy. When using Bitcoin, players don’t need to input any of their personal details on a website. This helps with anonymity and means there is less data out there for cybercriminals to try and steal.
The best advice for online poker players who are concerned about handing over their personal information is to use a reputable site. Other than that, they can opt for secure payment methods like PayPal and log on to the site through a VPN for added safety.