For years poker has been played in the backs of bars, casinos and private homes but with advances in technology online poker is now a major industry. Players log on to their preferred poker site from any location with an internet connection and play against players around the world. The game can be accessed 24 hours a day and there are thousands of ring games at every level as well as massive tournaments with buy-ins that range from free to many thousand dollars.
The first step to playing poker online is signing up with a trusted and legitimate poker site. This can be a little more involved than simply entering your email address and password as most sites require additional verification to make sure you are who you say you are. This usually includes sending a copy of your government issued ID and a utility bill in your name with your address on it. This is all part of the process of keeping your money secure and making it harder for people to steal your bankroll.
Once you are signed up with a poker site the lobby is generally separated into different tabs for Cash Games, Tournaments, Sit and Go’s and any other format of the game they run. Some sites also have a beginner tab where you will be seated with other players who have marked themselves as beginners which levels the playing field for newcomers to the game.
Getting money onto a poker site is usually easy and many offer a number of different methods to deposit including credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid cards and third-party eWallets. Withdrawals are also a breeze and you can often use the same methods to get your winnings back.
One of the key things to understand about poker is variance, it’s almost impossible to win every hand and even the best player will have a losing day. Controlling your emotions and understanding that winning and losing are both part of the game are important aspects of playing poker successfully, especially if you’re looking to make a living from the game.
There are a number of tools that can be used to help you improve your game, from simple hand history trackers to advanced software such as the HUD (heads-up display) tools that overlay your table and provide real-time stats on your opponents. While these tools aren’t necessary for everyone they can give you an edge over the competition if you are prepared to invest in learning how to use them properly.
Another way to learn is to watch and listen to experienced poker players. There are plenty of poker podcasts and videos that feature famous pros talking about their strategies which can help you to see how the big boys play. Using this information can help you improve your own game and avoid some of the common pitfalls that newcomers to the game often fall into such as calling every raise and trying to over-play weak hands.