Online poker is a game that takes the thrill of playing cards against people from all over the world and cranks it up to the highest level. It can be played for free or the smallest stakes possible (literally pennies) and it can be a chance to win real money from the comfort of your own home. It is a game that rewards actual skill unlike slots or the lottery and has many different tournament formats from sit n go’s to full on mega tournaments.
Before online poker was popular it existed mainly in the back rooms of smoky bars or in casinos. But the internet and an accountant from Tennessee elevated it to primetime. In the early 2000s secure online poker sites were able to safely hold players’ cash and let them wager against each other. It was a boom time for the industry until Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which cut off the flow of money that had fueled it. Still, some online poker companies survived and today it’s a thriving industry that can be enjoyed by almost anyone with an internet connection.
The first step in getting started with online poker is to find a site that accepts your preferred payment method and offers a safe environment. Once you’ve found a site, sign up with a username and password and create an account. Most online poker sites also offer a free play mode where you can practice your skills without risking any of your own money.
Once you’re ready to start playing for real money, deposit some funds into your account and choose a table. Most poker sites have a downloadable application that will let you log in with your credentials and give you access to their range of games. Some sites will even have live streamers of their top players chatting with fans and answering questions.
Whether you’re an experienced poker vet or a complete beginner, the first thing to look for in a good poker site is their customer service. The best poker sites are staffed around the clock and will always answer your questions promptly and courteously. If you’re not happy with a site’s customer service, it might be time to move on.
The next thing to consider is the type of players you’ll be playing against. Experienced poker players will want to avoid crowded tables and prefer sites with soft competition. It doesn’t make much sense for a top five player in the world to battle against ten players of equal skill on a regular basis.
For newer players it’s a good idea to look for a poker site that has a wide variety of game formats and types. For instance, a good site will have a section for cash games, tournaments and Sit n Go’s. It’s a good idea to read the rules of each game before you join so that you’re familiar with how they work. Also, if you’re a complete beginner, try to find a poker site that has a tutorial section that will help you learn the basics of each game.