Online poker has been around for decades but really took off in the early 2000s. A Tennessee accountant aptly named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event, and a whole new world opened up to millions of Americans who wanted in on the action.
Today, players can play poker from just about any computer or mobile device with an internet connection. There are games to fit every budget and skill level from free play to high stakes events. Online poker is available for people in most states where it is legal to play and is regulated by those states to ensure player safety and fairness.
Before you start playing poker you will need to register with an online poker site. This usually involves filling out a short registration form or providing identification to prove you are over the age of 18 or the minimum gambling age in your state. Once you have done this you will be able to login and begin playing for real money. You can choose to deposit funds using a variety of methods including credit and debit cards, pre-paid vouchers or third party eWallets. Most sites also offer a number of different ways to withdraw winnings.
The main thing to remember about online poker is that you will be dealing with strangers. While this can make for a very entertaining game, it can also be difficult for some players. Professional poker players can read their opponents’ faces and body language to figure out if they are bluffing. This ability cannot be replicated at an online poker table so if you have trouble reading tells, this may not be the game for you.
When it comes to playing poker for real money you should always stick to reputable, regulated sites that use strict consumer protection and security standards. This will help to keep your personal information and bankroll safe. It will also ensure that the games are fair and that you won’t get ripped off by shady operators.
Once you have a stable bankroll you can move up in stakes on the poker site you are playing at. It is very important to remember that you will probably lose a few hands when you do this, but it is not a sign that you are losing your edge or that you should quit the game. Just drop back down for a bit and grind it back up again.
The US poker market is growing and more regulated online poker sites are popping up all the time. Some of these have started to offer a multi-state product which allows for shared player pools. This is an exciting development but it could still take a while to catch on. It would be great to see more states join the MSIGA but this is unlikely any time soon. Until then, be sure to play responsibly and don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose. If you have a problem, please seek help.