Online poker is a card game played over the internet against players from around the world. It follows the same rules as live poker but comes with a few differences, mostly in terms of speed and the fact that you can play for any amount of money from anywhere you have a reliable Internet connection.
In the past most poker was played in smoke-filled bars and casinos but in early 2000 the game really took off thanks to a Tennessee accountant called Chris Moneymaker who won the World Series of Poker main event via satellite online. This was a huge turning point for the game as it elevated it to primetime and made it a national obsession. The popularity of poker has since continued to grow and now there are more than a dozen licensed poker sites that can safely hold your cash and allow you to wager against other players.
Before you start playing you’ll need to decide which site is right for you. Some of these sites are free to join and you can practice your skills on a number of different tables, but most will offer real money play as well. Choosing the best site for you will depend on your personal preferences and the types of games you like to play. It is also a good idea to choose a site that has a mobile-friendly interface that allows you to play on the go.
Once you’ve signed up with a site you’ll need to deposit some money and then head to the lobby where you’ll find the games you want to play categorized by Cash Games, Tournaments and Sit & Go’s. Most of the top poker sites will also have a Beginners tab where you can play at tables that only seat players who classify themselves as newbies, which is a great way to level the playing field when you’re just starting out.
While you’re playing it is a good idea to keep track of your performance. Almost all poker sites provide session stats and these will give you a clear picture of how you’re doing, helping you to understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve. It’s also worth checking if a site offers its own tracking as this can be a much more efficient way to do things.
Some poker sites may ask for additional documentation to prove you’re who you say you are. This is a standard and painless process and is generally done to ensure that you’re not someone who has been banned from other poker sites or has a criminal record. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a big increase in traffic for many of these poker sites as people who normally play at live venues have turned to them instead.
Getting money on and off poker sites has also become far easier than it used to be. Most sites accept a wide range of payment methods including credit cards, e-wallets and prepaid cards. You can even use a bank account in some states where gambling is legal, and there are even a number of sites that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.