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by Bill Burton

Party Poker

Bill Burton is an advantage blackjack player and skilled poker player. He is the author of the best-selling book, "Get the Edge at Texas Low Limit Holdíem", available at 10% discount from the BJI online store, and the guide at


There was a time when playing poker online was new and many players were hesitant about giving it a try. However, over the last year the number of online poker players has grown ten fold from the year before. At any given hour of the day there are millions of players worldwide logged on to the Internet playing on various poker sites. The better players are making a lot of money from the inexperienced players, who have not learned how to play winning poker. In fact the majority of online players play for entertainment only and they have no clue how to play poker correctly.

I have covered this point in past articles in BJI so I wonít rehash the same information. I have also discussed how to select an online poker site. This month I would like to answer a question I have been asked a lot lately, namely now that Iíve decided which site to play poker, "How do I get started?"

Personally, Iíve tried many sites and regularly play on two or three of them. My favorite site and the one I highly recommend is Party Poker. is a member of the Interactive Gaming Council and is therefore accountable to the most respected non-profit regulator in the industry. Party Poker is currently ranked #1 by Poker Pulse ( a site that keeps tack of all online poker activities. So this month I will walk you through how to open an account on (note: The process will be essentially the same for other sites as well).

Download the Software

The first thing you must do is download and install the software on you computer. If you click on the Party Poker banner above it will take you to the download page where you can get the software. Simply click the download button and it will ask you if you want to run the software or save it. I always choose to save it to my download directory. You can save the file to our desktop or any other location where you save files (just remember where).

Opening an Account

Once you completed the installation process, will open automatically and you will be asked to log in. Click on 'Sign up - Open Account'. From here you will enter your account/ screen name, password and e-mail address.

Choosing a Screen Name

Your screen name must be unique. No two players can have the same name. It is usually best to have a few choices since the name you choose might already be in use by another player. If thatís the case you will be prompted to choose an alternative name. Usually they will give you variations of the name you wanted. For instance, if you choose "Big Flop" it may say that name is in use and suggest you use "Big Flop 10" or something along those lines. Choose a name you like as most sites will not let you change your user name once you sign up. I suggest that you have several names that you would like to use. That way if your first choice is taken you can keep trying until you find one that is available.

After you choose your screen name you will need to validate your account. They will send a validation number to the e-mail address you supplied. You will need to enter this number in the box before you can continue

Once you sign up you can play at the Play Money tables for free. If you want to play for real money you must fund your account.

Financing Your Account

When you start the Party Poker software, the log in screen will appear where you will enter your screen name and password. Once you are logged in you can open a money account by clicking on the Banking tab on the top of the tool bar or you can click on the Cashiers button at the bottom of the page. This will take you to the Player Registration page where you enter your name, date of birth, address, and phone number. After you enter this information click the Continue button and it will take you to that page with the Options for Funding your account.

The first option you will see is for using a credit card. If you live in the United States you will probably not be able to use this option. Most credit card companies will not allow you to use their cards for any online gambling activities.

The other options are what they call ACH which is a term used for electronic checks. These are money holding companies. You register your bank account with them and they transfer money to and from your account. If you ever used Pay Pal to buy an item on EBay, you are familiar with this process. Unfortunately Pay Pal will no longer let you use your account for gambling activities.

When you register your account with one of these companies you will need you bank account number and the aba routing number that your bank uses. The routing number is usually listed on your checks. It is the fist series of 9 or 10 digits before your account number.

They process when you use one of these companies is that they will make a small deposit into the account that you register. It is usually something like 10 or 20 cents. You then confirm the deposit and they activate your account. They can only do this during normal banking hours and it may take a day or two if you sign up on the weekend. It is helpful if you have online banking because you can check your account to see if the deposit goes through without having to wait until you get a bank statement or calling the bank to check on the deposit.

One of the transfer companies listed on the Party Poker site is IGM-Pay. I tried using them but my bank would not accept activity from them and allow me to transfer money to a poker site. You might want to check with you bank if you have difficulty.

Many players are a little leery of linking their primary bank account to one of these online companies. Instead they choose to open a separate bank account with just their gambling money in it. I have never had any problems but it is a smart idea to maintain a separate gambling bank account and this is an ideal excuse to get one started.

Two of the most popular transfer companies that deal a quite a bit with online poker rooms and casinos are Neteller ( and FirePay ( Opening an account is free however, there is a service charge on some of the transfer.

FirePay will charge you a transaction fee when you deposit money from your bank account. It is either $3.99 or $5.99.

Neteller will charge you 7 or 8 percent if you want to transfer money instantly into your account; however, there is no charge if you transfer money using the 5 day option.

I have no first hand knowledge of other transfer companies but you can find more information on the Party Poker site about them. Regardless which company you use I would suggest setting up your account ahead of time before you are ready to play for real money.

The best advice I can give is to register for Party Poker and play on the site in the Play Money games while you are waiting for confirmation on the money transfer company. This way you will become familiar with the software and how to play online.

If you have any problems at all setting up your account, Party Poker has live help 24 hours a day. You can reach them by e-mail or by phone.

Next month, I will give you some advice on playing in Sit & Go tournaments. These single table tournaments can be a gold mine for those knowledgeable players who know how to beat them.

Until Next time remember:

Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.


Party Poker

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