Online Poker is a fun, easy-to-play game that rewards actual skill unlike slots or the lottery. It can be played at any time, for as long as you want from the comfort of your home and it offers a chance to win real money. But, like live poker winning real cash is not a sure thing and you need to understand the basics of the game before you start winning.
The early 2000s saw a massive spike in amateur interest in poker thanks to an accountant from Tennessee who qualified for the World Series of Poker main event via a $40 satellite tournament, an achievement which became known as ‘The Moneymaker Effect’ and set off a poker boom. This was the first time that poker became mainstream and since then it has continued to grow.
There are now countless online poker sites offering a wide variety of games to suit every budget and every level of player. Almost all offer free play for new players to get a feel for the site and try out their software before depositing any money. Most also offer a range of welcome bonuses that will match your first deposit up to a certain limit.
The games themselves vary from classic online casino style video poker to tournaments and sit & go’s and many feature multiple betting options including raise and fold. Many sites also have ‘beginner’ tables where you will be seated with players who classify themselves as beginners, this can be a great way to get started as it levels the playing field for new players.
You will need a reliable internet connection and a computer capable of running poker software (the requirements are minimal so most modern laptops and desktop computers will be fine). Some poker sites may require proof of age or identity before you can play, this is perfectly normal and usually just involves scanning in your ID and possibly a utility bill at the address on file.
It’s important to track your results when playing online poker. This will give you a much clearer picture of where you’re winning and losing your money, and what works and doesn’t work for you. Most of the major sites will have built in stats that you can click on to view after your session is over, but if not there are plenty of free poker trackers and solvers available to help you with this.
Serious players should ingrain a habit of using these tools as they are the best way to maximize their wins. It’s no secret that the competition has gotten tougher in recent years and serious players should be constantly analysing and improving their game with a range of tools to stay ahead of the pack. This includes bankroll management, game selection and seat finder software, heads-up displays and trackers and solvers. Those that don’t will quickly fall behind the ever-improving player pool.