Online poker is a casino style game played on the internet where players can wager real money. The game is regulated by most states and is safe to play provided that you only use legal sites. The best sites are governed by strict laws that ensure your account funds and personal information are protected. However, be wary of offshore sites that operate without basic consumer safeguards and may shut down at any time.
A player can log on to an online poker site using a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device. Once logged in the player can select the type of game they would like to play and then enter the table. Most online poker sites will have multiple tables running all day and night. There are usually tables for cash games, tournaments, Sit & Go’s and any special format game that the online poker room is offering. Many of the top online poker sites will also offer a separate table for players classified as beginners. This will help level the playing field for newcomers who may be intimidated by the speed and features of an online poker game.
Once a player has selected their preferred poker site they can then log into the online poker software and create a user account. This will require a valid email address and the player will be required to answer a few security questions to verify their identity. Once this step is complete the poker site will deposit funds into the player’s account and they can then begin to play for real money.
Getting on to a poker website and actually getting money off has become fairly easy compared to the old days. Most poker sites accept a wide variety of credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid cards and even third-party eWallets. Players can also use wire transfers and good old fashioned paper checks. The amount of money you can withdraw will vary by poker site and will often be capped each week.
Online poker requires a different set of skills than playing at your hometown casino but the rules are basically the same. You need to know when to call and fold, how much to bet and what suits have value. Unlike live poker there is no way to read physical tells so you have to rely on analyzing betting tendencies and looking at an opponents chips to size them up. For this reason you should study strategy books like Harrington on Hold’em or Theory of Poker but there are also a number of excellent free online poker strategy websites that can teach you the fundamentals of the game. In addition, poker database software such as PokerSnowie can be extremely helpful to a serious online poker player. This software allows you to overlay your opponent’s statistics directly on the poker table so that you can see their style and read any tells they may be giving off. PokerSnowie is available for both Windows and Mac computers and comes with a free trial period.