You’re an avid poker player who likes playing poker on PokerStars and similar online poker cardrooms that are, unfortunately, banned in your country or region. Good news, though. There’s a solution, and that is using a VPN.
You’re not alone. Even in the US, poker lovers are unable to access some poker websites, so the players turn to VPNs to get around the restrictions.
A VPN can be an extremely useful tool for playing online poker. However, there have been a number of cases in which people’s accounts were canceled and their profits lost because they used a VPN. It is, therefore, crucial that you take time to find out all you can about the rules in your country and the online cardroom you play in if you decide to use a VPN.
Poker websites block people in countries where the their access has been banned by using Geo-restriction technology. Many online poker players throughout the world are located in countries that have been blocked from accessing popular poker websites.
Even if your country hasn’t been blocked, some poker websites might force you to play only with other players from your country. This is frustrating if you’re interested in going up against players from certain countries for whatever reason. This is where a VPN comes in. It enables you to make it appear as though you are accessing the poker website from the country of your choice.
When looking for a poker VPN, one of your main considerations are the locations of the provider’s servers around the world. If privacy is a high priority for you, you also need to consider the encryption technology used by the VPN provider you’re thinking about using.
Another important consideration to make when looking for a poker VPN is security. Online poker players are susceptible to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks aimed at locking you out of the game at a pertinent moment to allow an opponent to win. A powerful VPN offers protection against such attacks.
Let’s take a closer look at choosing the best VPN for PokerStars and other online poker cardrooms.
Online Poker and DDoS Attacks
To connect to the Internet, your computer uses a network card that has limited capabilities which other tech-savvy players can use to their advantage at a crucial moment in the game to improve their chances of victory.
Computers communicate with others on the Internet by using unique IP addresses associated with individual computers. For a connection to be made, your Internet service provider (ISP) issues your computer’s network card with an IP address. While a firewall is effective in preventing unknown and possibly malicious sources from connecting with your computer, it’s not effective in protecting you against a DDoS attack.
A DDoS attack is executed by flooding your network card with connection requests that overwhelm it with incoming data. Even though your computer will not accede to all requests, the process of denying access to hundreds or even thousands of connection requests causes the connection to crash. Failure to maintain a connection to your current online poker website results in you being removed from the game and therefore losing the pot in play.
Tech-savvy online poker players use DDoS attacks against vulnerable players. They need not do it themselves. For a few dollars, they can hire a brief DDoS lasting a few minutes—long enough to do the damage. It is for this reason that most of the DDoS attacks which occurred in 2017 were attributed to the online gaming industry.
Using a VPN to Prevent DDoS Attacks
Thousands of connection requests in a few short minutes are enough to incapacitate your network card because of its minimal capabilities. With a VPN that you can register PokerStars or 888Poker with, you need not even worry about fending off such an attack because your IP address is invisible to the attackers, to begin with. Not only that, the poker website itself cannot see your real IP address unless your VPN connection drops and the VPN service you use does not have a kill switch, which we shall talk about shortly.
Therefore, when using a VPN to access poker, DDoS attacks will be the least of your worries because you essentially transfer the risk to the VPN servers, which are built with the capacity to handle such attacks. Using “load balancers”, a VPN server spreads out the burden across the entire network of servers while ensuring only legitimate requests make it through to your device. With a VPN in your arsenal, all you need to worry about is whether your poker game is on point.
Features to Look for In a Poker VPN
It is important to note that by using a VPN to unblock a poker website in a country or region where it is blocked, you are essentially breaching the website’s terms of service. As a result, there’s a chance that your profits may be confiscated if you’re found out.
For this reason, you need to take measures to ensure that you are protected. To begin with, start a fresh account and only load enough funds in it to play the game. Also, make sure you cash out your winnings at every opportunity. Needless to say, the more money you let accumulate in the account, the more risk you expose yourself to.
Never lose sight of the possibility that your winnings may be withheld by the online poker company in case you’re caught.
- The Kill Switch: A Must-Have Feature for a Poker VPN
If, for whatever reason, your VPN connection drops while you’re connected to the poker website, your real IP address might leak and the PokerStars VPN detection systems might discover your actual location and identity. This will lead to your account being canceled and all your winnings being confiscated.
Thankfully, leading VPN providers offer a feature known as a kill switch to resolve this problem. A firewall-based kill switch is the most effective but even these work only when the VPN client is operating. If the VPN app crashes, your IP address will leak. The best way of resolving the problem is by using a VPN that allows you to have multiple active connections so that you’re still protected if the VPN app in one of your devices crashes.
- Using a VPN that Provides You with a Dedicated IP Address
Obtaining a dedicated IP address is the most effective way of using a VPN to ensure online privacy and security when playing online poker. As the name suggests, a dedicated IP address is one that is assigned to only one user of the VPN service. It is your best bet of never getting caught as you play online poker via a VPN.
However, not all VPN providers offer this feature. Even if the inclusion of this feature increases the subscription costs of the VPN service, it is worth the investment. Experienced online poker players who use VPN services will attest that using a provider who offers a dedicated IP address is a near-foolproof way of ensuring that the poker website you use never catches you using a VPN.
You will often find that professional online poker players and avid fans who like to participate in tournaments play from a dedicated VPN IP address and use two connections of a firewall-based kill switch: one on their real device and another one on a virtual device.
A Final Word from VPN Base about Using Poker VPN
Online poker websites such as 888Poker and PokerStars limit access to certain regions and countries, and they don’t bother to fight the authorities in countries where they are banned. Thankfully, VPN providers are on your side, giving you a way to get around Geo-restrictions and engaging in your favorite game of poker.
However, for maximum privacy and security, and the best gaming experience, it is imperative that you identify a powerful yet affordable VPN service. To determine which is the best VPN provider, a comparison of their services and cost is required. You certainly don’t have the time to do this, which is why you should rely on reviews from trusted VPN experts to guide your purchasing decision.
Our experts at VPN Base have taken the time to test different VPN services to determine the ones that offer the best VPN services for various online activities, without excluding playing poker online.
It is also worth mentioning that free VPN services do not provide adequate privacy and protection for playing online poker. Although it may be tempting to use them, you will be compromising heavily on good quality because the features they offer are a stripped down version of the features offered by premium VPN services, and some free VPN providers leave out some essential features.