The game of poker has long existed in smoky bars and casinos but in the early 2000s online technology evolved to allow for sites to safely hold players’ money and let them wager against each other. The first step in finding the right poker site is making sure that it can be trusted which involves checking to see if it is licensed by a gaming commission and that it uses top-of-the-line encryption methods to safeguard your personal information. Once this has been done the rest is a matter of finding what you value in a site: a wide variety of tournaments, different types of cash games and generous bonus structure are all worth looking for.
Another important consideration when choosing a poker site is the software that will run it. This can be either a downloadable program or, in some cases, the sites will allow you to play without downloading anything to your computer. Regardless of which route you choose it should be virus-free and take up very little space on your computer or mobile device. Once the software is downloaded you’ll need to create a user account and decide on a screen name. Be warned that you can only create one account and attempting to open multiple accounts will result in a ban from the site.
Once you’re ready to get started playing real-money poker, the lobby will be categorized by Cash Games, Tournaments and Sit & Go’s. Most sites will also have beginner tables where you’ll be seated with other players that have classified themselves as beginners which dramatically levels the field for newcomers and makes it easier to win.
Professional players will often use a tool called a hand history tracker to log their results and analyze their own play as well as that of their opponents. This allows them to make better decisions and gives them an edge over their competition. The other tool that professionals often utilize is a heads-up display or HUD which takes the information from their hand history tracker and displays it in a way that they can easily see it during the game.
There are a number of ways to deposit funds on an online poker site and, in most cases, it’s pretty easy to do. In some cases you can even use a credit card and most sites accept a variety of third-party eWallets. It’s also not uncommon for a poker site to offer players the ability to fund their account with an eCheck which is a form of electronic check that can be processed instantly.
As the popularity of poker continues to increase, more and more states are passing legislation that legalizes it and allowing for regulated online poker. Pennsylvania recently joined the ranks of regulated poker by passing laws that will allow for virtual hands to be dealt in the state. Michigan and West Virginia have passed legislation as well but have yet to actually launch their regulated poker sites.