If you love to play poker but can’t get to a real casino or don’t want to risk your cash playing in an illegal poker room then online poker is the answer. In the United States regulated and licenced online poker sites allow you to play for real money and offer a safe, secure gaming environment with all of your account funds and personal information protected.
The first step to getting started is registering with an online poker site. This is usually as simple as choosing a username, password and email address. Once you have an account the software will load and you’ll be ready to start playing. Most regulated online poker sites are available in multiple languages and have a customer support team to assist you.
Once you’re logged in you can choose from the full range of poker games on offer. The lobbies are usually divided into categories like cash games, tournaments and Sit & Go’s. Most sites also have beginner tables that are specifically designed for players with little or no experience.
Another great feature of online poker is the ability to play more than one table at a time. This is a huge advantage over live poker where you are generally limited to one or two tables. By playing more than one table you can maximise your profits by spreading your risk across a range of opponents.
One of the most important things to learn about online poker is to adjust your strategy against different types of players. For example if you are playing against a tight player it may be best to expand your starting hand range pre-flop to steal the blinds. Conversely if you are playing against an aggressive player you may need to play more cautiously and protect your chips.
It is also vital to remember that you are playing a game of chance and there are going to be bad beats. Many new players simply cannot handle this and end up blowing their entire bankroll in a single session. Make sure you are emotionally prepared for the ups and downs of online poker and try to view your progress over months or even years rather than weeks or days.
While there are a number of good online poker training programs and videos available the best way to improve your skills is through self study. Read books, watch video lessons from top professionals and discuss hands with other players on poker forums to learn how to become a better player.
The legality of online poker varies between countries and jurisdictions but there are now more options than ever before to play for real money. In most European countries and South America online poker is regulated, licensed and safe to play for real money. In the United States however reputable operators have to adhere to strict consumer protection regulations and it is only in a few states that online poker is legal. It is therefore very important to check that your chosen regulated online poker site meets these criteria before making a deposit.