Online poker first took off in the early 2000s when an accountant from Tennessee named Chris Moneymaker won a $2.5 million World Series of Poker Main Event through an online tournament and single-handedly elevated the game to primetime. After that, more and more players started playing online and it quickly grew in popularity. Unlike live games where players can look each other in the eye, online poker requires a different set of skills to play successfully. It is important to learn these skills early on before wagering any real money.
The best online poker sites are licensed, regulated and monitored by government and financial bodies to ensure game integrity, secure transfers and protection of player information and accounts. Players should always be wary of unlicensed, offshore sites which operate without basic consumer safeguards and may abruptly shut down without notice.
A good poker site should also offer a large variety of games. Poker can become very boring if you only play one type of game all the time. Therefore, a good poker site will have a lot of different games for you to choose from and they will be well-organized within the lobby so that you can find them easily.
It is also important to make sure that the poker site you are using has a solid bankroll management system. This will allow you to avoid going on monkey tilt and losing all your money. Many new players get into trouble when they start moving up the stakes and they lose all their money in a few bad sessions. This is very common and it happens to even pros, but the key is to not take it personally and just drop back down a little bit and grind it out.
Most online poker sites offer a free lobbies where you can play poker with fake money to get used to the game before wagering any real cash. This is a great way to become familiar with the rules of the game and get comfortable with the speed of play. It is also a great idea to practice your hand reading and betting strategies before you begin playing for real money.
As with any game, the key to success in poker is to study the game and understand it completely. There are a lot of resources available to help you do this including online poker books, blogs and training videos. Once you have these fundamentals in your arsenal you can focus on learning new strategies and improving your old ones.
Online poker is a hugely popular game and there are many reasons for this. It is extremely easy to learn, can be played from anywhere in the world and can be very profitable if you understand the game. However, the game can also be very difficult to master if you are not careful. You need to be patient, have a clear head and a strong bankroll management plan in place to succeed at poker.