Online poker is growing in popularity and now has a much wider market than ever before. People love it for the same reasons that live poker is loved – it’s an intellectual game, that rewards actual skill unlike slots or the lottery, it’s something you can do at any time from the comfort of your own home and, if you are good enough, it can lead to real money winnings.
The first step in getting into the world of online poker is to decide which site you want to join and how you’re going to deposit money onto it. You can choose from a range of different methods depending on your region including credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid cards, bank transfers and third-party eWallets.
You’ll then have to register an account with the site by providing some basic personal details such as your name, address, email address and phone number and creating a username and password. Once you’ve done that you’re ready to start playing! If you’re playing in the USA you’ll also have to prove your identity using official documents such as a driver’s license or passport.
Once you’re registered you can access the poker room lobby which is generally categorized into Cash Games, Tournaments and Sit & Go’s. You may be able to filter these options further so you can find the type of games you’re looking for easily. If you’re a newbie it’s worth signing up for a beginner table as this means you’ll only be seated against players who have classed themselves as beginners and will give you a more level playing field against your opponents.
Another important aspect to consider when choosing an online poker room is the software that you’ll be using. If you have to grind long sessions on software that’s constantly crashing it will affect your win rate more than you think. Online poker is a game of concentration and having unintuitive software can distract you from the tasks at hand, especially when playing for a significant amount of money.
The one downside to online poker is that it’s a little harder to spot fraudsters than with live games. However, poker sites are improving their anti-fraud measures all the time and they can now hire security personnel to monitor card, player and pattern history as well as checking the computer IP addresses of players in order to detect collusion and other types of fraud.
Online poker isn’t yet available in all states but it is becoming increasingly common and we’re expecting to see more sites offering real-money play in the near future. If you’re interested in finding out more about legality and regulation in your state visit our detailed page about US online poker laws. In the meantime it’s well worth registering with a few sites and seeing which ones offer the best experience for you. You’ll also be able to compare the bonuses and promotions that they offer before making a decision.