Online poker takes a classic game that requires real brain power and turns it into an intellectual, fast-paced, thrilling pastime that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home at any time of day or night and for as low or high stakes as you like. The games are regulated by the states that allow them and there are some basic consumer safeguards in place to ensure that your personal information and funds are safe.
One of the main reasons that people love to play poker is that winning real money is possible, and online poker allows this to happen – at least it does in those states that have made it legal to do so. Players can win huge amounts of money playing at sites such as PokerStars and Full Tilt or they can simply play for fun and relax after a long work day.
To get started with online poker you will need to find a good site that accepts your preferred payment method and is licensed by your state regulators. You will also need to be at least 18 or 21 years old if you want to play for real money. Then you will need to sign up for an account and make a deposit. Once you have done this your online poker site will then give you a bonus to get you started.
This is usually given in the form of frequent player points that you earn when you play hands. These are often released in increments over a period of weeks and the best way to earn them is by playing lots of hands. This is why it’s important to read the terms and conditions of a bonus before you take it up or you may find that it is only worth taking up if you are going to play regularly.
Most online poker sites have a lobby that is categorized by cash games, tournaments and Sit & Go’s. You should look for these tabs as well as the “Instant Play” or ‘Free Play’ section that will show you the available free games. Many poker sites will also have a ‘beginner’ tab where you can be seated with players that classify themselves as beginners and this can be a great way to level the field when you are starting out.
It is a good idea to track your poker results online, especially if you are losing money. This will help you to understand your weaknesses and make changes that will improve your performance. You can do this by clicking on your session stats after a session and looking at things such as your Win Rate, number of flops seen and the times you have gone to Showdown.
Americas Cardroom or ACR is another big online poker site that offers a nice first deposit bonus of 100% up to $1,000 plus an Elite Loyalty program with 27.5 Awards Points earning one dollar for every two hours played. The site is also renowned for its low-stakes WSOP satellite tournaments and unique user interface features that enhance the gameplay.