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Play Texas Holdem for Money With Friends

Texas-Holdem-Poker1USA Online Poker Update and Status as of July 2013

In 2011, enthusiasts of online poker in the United States had little to feel confident about. One of the most influential federal criminal cases in the country, and the world, was taking place, and it threatened to turn the world of online poker on its end.

The case involved the three largest online poker companies operating in the United States: Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, and Cereus. You might remember one or more of these companies from their blanket advertising throughout the landscape of televised poker tournaments, both regular and celebrity.
In the case of the United States v. Scheinberg, charges against these three online gambling giants included money laundering and bank fraud, in combination with alleged violations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The charges alleged that the owners of these sites, including several of its associates, participated in these crimes in order to process transfers from and to their online customers.

A civil suit against Full Tilt and Cereus followed that sought roughly $3 billion from the gambling mega-sites, and the indictment was carried out on April, 15th 2011, a date that became known in the online poker community as “Black Friday”. Following the trial, both Full Tilt and PokerStars discontinued real money online play for their American customers.

The URLs for these three online poker sites were seized by the U.S. Department of Justice and rendered inactive with the stipulation that activity could resume following the discontinuation of service for United States customers.

On July 31, 2012, the United States government settled with PokerStars in an agreement stipulating that all civil complaints “with prejudice” would cease, PokerStars and Full Tilt could admit no wrongdoing, affectively ending any future litigation against the company by the U.S. government. In return for these governmental concessions, among other stipulations, PokerStars agreed to purchase Full Tilt. However, all indictments made prior to this settlement are still in place and pending.

In the wake of Black Friday, online gambling, specifically poker played for real money, is in a state of massive reconstruction as leaders in the industry struggle to regain the confidence of online players.

Today, online poker is slowly returning, but with heavy government regulation dictating its every move. Some states do not allow it at all, and for the ones that do, residents are discovering a strong limitation of choice.

To put into perspective how big of a hit the online poker sites took when they lost the American clientele, the decline in online play is equivalent to roughly one third of all online poker players in the world.

Further complicating the issue is the late arrival of brick and mortar casinos into the game, the refusal of top U.S. government officials including Sen. Harry Reid and President Obama to endorse any legislation that calls for the reintroduction of online poker to the United States, and a general confusion and tortuous argument surrounding the differences between casino gambling laws and online gambling laws.

Most experts agree that U.S. online poker will be tied up in debate and attempted legislation from champions of both sides of the issue for at least a decade, if not much longer.

A History of Prohibition

In the eighteenth century, the first law banning poker in America emerged in Louisiana. Many states and territories followed suit, and these laws still exist today. Of course, there is little, if any action by officials against private games for money in households across the country, but as far as the eyes of the law are concerned, big money poker games may now only take place in state or federally sanctioned venues.
Today, following Black Friday, legislative pioneering from government leaders such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is paving the road for a new approach to legal online poker. With these new specifications, online poker players are only allowed to operate and cater to clientele within their state and affiliate with area casinos. The same restrictions exist in Pennsylvania.

The effects of this new “existing casino” precedent have already been shown when the aforementioned PokerStars, whose parent company operates in New Jersey, was not allowed to purchase an Atlantic City casino in an attempt to regrow its customer base. Much of these restrictive new policies also have to do with the AGA, which, even though it accounts for around 1% of all poker clientele, sees the new legislative models as beneficial to their business.

As for the existing world of online poker, many questions remain. Will these new legislative models, which many critics deride as political pandering to the powerful casino contingent, ever break free from their current restraints? If so, what are the implications to the future of the online industry? Will the restrictions still pertain solely to online poker players in the United States, or will a kind of de-bordering occur, effectively globalizing the industry once more?

And on the other side, should sanctions against online poker sites in the U.S. be lifted, will politicians be able to guarantee protections against players being conned by corrupt site owners? Is it at all possible to make these guarantees of player protection outside of the current legislative approach, which many poker enthusiasts criticize as being far too harsh?

In the following months, years, and probably decades to come, these questions may or may not be answered, but one thing remains clear: After the massive cases against three of the biggest online poker sites in the world, as well as the enormous loss of U.S. trust and clientele, something drastic must be done in order to reinvigorate an institution that shows nothing but potential to be one of the fastest and most steadily growing facets of the entertainment industry.

The Purpose of

Our goal is to help players hone their skills through a series of edifying materials and, most of all, have a great time playing our favorite game with friends.

While competing with faceless players from all over the world may be enjoyable and potentially profitable, there is nothing more rewarding than playing amongst friends, where you can put a face to the name of the person you’re swiping cash from and attain bragging rights over people you actually know. But first, please bear in mind these sincere, experience-driven recommendations.

  • Recommend: Play for low to mid-level stakes, so as to maintain long-lasting friendships.
  • NOT Recommend: Inviting your boss to the virtual table. (No explanation needed.)


All joking aside, playing Texas Holdem for money with friends is a favorite pastime that has been upheld for generations. However, modern technology has completely changed how we go about it. Gone are the days when poker games were reserved as weekly occasions at a buddy’s house, where the spouse makes sandwiches while the guys chug beers and bet their favorite Craftsman tools when the coffer runs dry. Nowadays, we stay home, turn on our computers (mobile devices, tablets, whatever), launch an online poker room and send messages from a ‘Buddy List’ to join a private table. The wonders of technology are truly marvelous, aside from the fact that you’ll have to supply your own food and beverage.

Next, we’ll discuss a few easy ways to play Texas Holdem with friends over the internet.

Set Up a Private Poker Club

The easiest way to play Texas Holdem online with friends is to set up your own private poker club. There are several online poker operators who offer private tables, but my personal favorite is the PokerStars Home Games platform. It’s so easy to use and the private clubs are permanent; perfect for regular home-gamers.

Simply go to PokerStars, download the poker client and from the lobby, click “Home Games>Create a Poker Club”. Once your friends have downloaded the poker client, they can join your poker club by entering the correct password, provided by you.

PokerStars Home Games aren’t just designed for casual ring games, either. The host can actually devise and schedule tournaments under the “Manage Club” function, specifying every minute detail of each tournament, from the buy-in, blind levels and prize pool structure, to the poker game, limit and seats per table.

I won’t bother explaining every little detail, because the guys at PokerStars already did that. If you want to learn more, check out the complete PokerStars Home Games web page, including a video tutorial by Daniel Negreanu, to help you get started.

Temporary Private Poker Tables

If you’re not a fan of PokerStars, or live in a country where you can’t access the real money tables, you still have options. There are plenty of poker rooms that support temporary private tables. You’ll have to talk to your friends in advance, giving them a time and place (poker site) to meet up, then create the private table, send them the password and wait for them to show up. The only disadvantage is that once everyone leaves the table, it disappears from the private tables section of the lobby; not that they are difficult to create to begin with. But you will have to start over the next time you want to get your friends together for another online poker game.

Meeting Friends at Public Poker Tables

Maybe you only have one or two friends who enjoy poker as much as you do, but you’d like a larger field to contend with? Simply tell your friends to show up at your favorite online poker site at the same date and time, joining the same public poker table. By adding each other to your “Buddy List”, you can easily find what table your friends are at.

Warning: Be very careful about playing public poker tables with friends. Poker operators may immediately become suspicious of collusion when two or more people are frequenting tables together on a regular basis. Poker software is designed to monitor its players, even their background programs (yes, they know if you are Skyping), to ensure collusion is not occurring. If both players are running the same table, and the same real-time messaging system, or betting in peculiar ways that coincide with collusion between hands, you can expect to have your account closed in short order, with or without the return of your financial holdings.

Play WebCam Poker with Friends

For the most realistic experience of a home game from afar, check out the high-tech gameplay at 888 Poker, where they’ve introduced new PokerCam games. At PokerCam tables, everyone is available to view one another via webcams. Get your friends together, turn on your webcams and play face-to-face, just like the old days!

A similar service is offered by, but it’s a fun-money site only – no real money on the tables. They offer not only the opportunity to set up private tables, put on a poker face via webcam and chat through instant messaging, but also a variety of Poker Leagues, where friends can gather and compete for up to eight weeks at a go.

Play Texas Holdem with Friends for Fun

There are plenty of websites offering public and private poker table where friends can meet up and play for fun, as opposed to real money., for example, presents a Texas Holdem app for iPhone and iPad users. It’s also compatible with Windows PC, so your friends don’t have to be as technologically hip as you (or vice versa). You can play against friends via email-invites or play strangers and make new friends. is another free poker program that is specifically designed for friendly poker games. There is no real money involved, but it’s a free, clean software download with a dozen avatar options and lots of customizable table options.

And let’s not forget about everyone favorite social media network, Facebook. The site is teeming with poker apps like Zynga, DoubleDown Casino, PokerMob, Pokerist Club and many more, where players can invite their friends by simply clicking the “invite” link over facebook.

Best Platforms to Face Off Against friends

Texas Holdem aficionados have many PC-alternatives in 2013. In the Mobile space, the most utilized platform is now the Android Operating System. However, Mac real money poker (including its iOs Mobile counterpart) still represents a sizable chunk of the gaming market. For technology geeks, you can always try Texas Holdem on Ubuntu, or turn your Blackberry into a real money Poker Machine. For more information about software platforms which are compatible with poker applications, we recommend an innovate new site which covers that subject at the intersection of the French market. The site name is, it’s written in French, but has some unique information that international players will find useful, for example which gaming brands run on a tablet, etc…