In the past, playing online poker was simple. You make a deposit online, and then you play in the games with the money you deposited. Unfortunately, the legal situation in some countries, including the United States has made it difficult or even illegal to play online poker. There is an alternative for those looking to play online poker, and that is subscription based poker sites.
What are Subscription Based Sites?
Subscription based poker sites are sites where a player can either signup for free or for a fixed monthly fee, and in exchange, they get access to features on the site. Among the features on these sites are online poker games that are free for players to play in. Most of the sites give players a set number of points that can be used for their tournament buy-ins. These credits are reset either daily or monthly depending on the terms of the site.
However, these sites are indeed more than just the poker games. Some offer training materials for poker players, as well as magazines, member discounts, downloads, and more. The games on the site serve as contests that are run under sweepstakes laws. Since the games are run as sweepstakes, a player can play in any state or country that allows sweepstakes. In the U.S., it is legal to play subscription based poker in all but 14 states.
What Can Be Won?
The prizes that can be won in subscription based poker varies depending on the site. For example, on ClubWPT, you can win both cash and prizes. The cash tournaments pay out a set number of players, similar to a freeroll or Sit-N-Go tournament. Prize tournaments typically pay only the winner. For example, ClubWPT offers players the chance to win their way onto the World Poker Tour and play in a WPT Main Event. These events usually just give a package to the winner.
Other subscription based poker sites allow players to accumulate points that can be used to purchase merchandise. One such example is GoldStrikePoker.com. There players that purchase a subscription can accumulate VIP points to be used towards various rewards that include Electronics, DVD’s, Gourmet Food, and Music.
The Real Benefits to Playing Subscription Based Poker
You might wonder why you would want to play on a site where you need to pay a monthly fee as opposed to potentially making a one-time deposit on a poker site. First, consider the fact that many people blow through their money on a poker site very quickly. They put on $50 and in a few days, or maybe as little as a few hours, they need to put more money on. Once you pay your subscription fee, you are done for the month. You can play as little or as much as you want, and it won’t cost you another dime.
Next, subscription sites give you added features that in some cases are worth the monthly fee that you pay. For example, on ClubWPT, you get access to the WPT Magazine, free training, and even discounts for Vegas. The discounts you get from the site may help pay for the membership.
Lastly, the games are totally legal. With subscription based poker, you do not have to worry about the government shutting down your site and having your money tied up or potentially lost. Since you are not wagering any money, true gambling is not occurring. As such, you are free to enjoy the game you love without fear of prosecution or loss.
Many call subscription based poker the wave of the future, because it’s 100% legal – not the grey area that poker sites have been stuck in. It is true that some sites such as ClubWPT have developed a devoted following, but how popular these sites will remain in the future will depend entirely on whether certain governments, especially the U.S. government, will regulate and legalize the game. However, until that time comes, subscription based poker does offer players a viable alternative for online poker play.