Legal online poker for US players is a hot button issue, for good reason. America is supposed to be the land of the free, but there seems to be so much fuss over the presence of online poker. Many states still do not allow for Internet poker, and that means that poker fans are in for an uphill battle.
Skillbet is coming into the game as an alternative to the traditional real money poker game. The concept is straightforward — you’re going to play against a real person in a virtual heads up match against robots. You and the other real player have the same 30 hands, against the same hands and same computer players on separate tables. There’s no variation — you’re getting the same hand. It’s all about skill and how well you can bluff and push the robot player around.
You can’t bust out during the first 30 hands, but if you continue after 30 hands you can indeed bust out. This means that it really is about poker skills, because you can’t see what the other person does.
The computers aren’t easy to go against. You’re going to be facing robots that have some different tendencies. You’re going to find loose bots, passive bots, aggressive bots and even some donkeys mixed in there. You’ll also find some robots that are very strategic, more than what you might expect. The bot is going to take advantage of any flaws in your game. So if you get too tight, the robot is going to try to eat you alive through raising and pushing you to play more hands.
After the 30 hand match, the winner is whoever wins the most chips from the computer players. The hands play very quickly, and you can switch over to see your opponent play as soon as all of your hands are completed — they can do the same to you.
You might be concerned whether or not Skillbet is truly legal. The reality is that this is not a game of chance at all. Indeed, everything is going to be set up the same for all players. There’s no luck of the draw, which means that it’s all about the decisions that you make.
Marc Zwillinger is a Harvard lawyer who used to be the head of the internet gaming enforcement for the US DOJ. Four other lawyers studied the legality of Skillbet and one even joined the company as an investor.
Participation is tightly restricted to individuals who are 18 years or older in very specific locations.
At the time of this writing, states that blocked their players from taking part include:
Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington.
Believe it or not, you will not find Nevada or Maryland on the list — it’s blocked. What a shame!
You’re going to start with 1500 practice tokens, and you can reload to 1000 tokens when your balance hits 100. Even if you live in a banned state, you can still have practice tokens. This means that everyone can at least have a good time.
All other states are eligible to play and deposit real money in order to win money.
Sign up is fast, and it’s all Flash based. This means that you don’t have to download anything and Mac players can jump in on the fun as well.
Most 30 hand matches will really take only about 20 minutes or less to complete. This type of rapid play is bound to catch your attention, which is never a bad thing at all.
There’s a generous deposit bonus for real money players, which is subject to change. Always look at the site before you hinge everything on your welcome bonus.
Skill points can be used for bonus redemption. Skill points are based on the fee dollars paid into the system. Every dollar gives you 7 Skill Points. Skill points can be used to add new benefits to the site.
Since this is a legal skill based operation, you can pay with PayPal or a major credit card without problems. It’s a US based poker site, so PayPal has ruled that it’s completely okay. You will need to show identity and proof of residence when you cash out for the first time. A driver’s license and utility bill will make this pretty easy.
This is pretty cool, and it’s a concept that’s sure to really take off as time passes. Why not check it out today, while it’s on your mind?