Getting Started With Online Poker
Online poker is hugely popular for many of the same reasons that live poker is: it’s a fun, social game with a deep element of strategy to keep you interested; it rewards actual skill unlike slots and other gambling games; and you can play for as long as you like at any stake level from the comfort of your home. In the US, online poker has been around for a while now and it’s safe to play with strict regulations in place that ensure your account funds and personal information are protected.
Getting started with online poker is relatively straightforward. All you need is a computer or smartphone and a decent internet connection. Online poker sites are accessible to players from around the world, regardless of their location. However, to play you will need to be at least 18 years old or the legal age of gambling in your jurisdiction. During the COVID-19 pandemic online poker traffic has surged significantly as people are looking for ways to stay entertained.
Most reputable online poker sites require that new players create a user account to play. Once you’ve done this you can download the poker software and install it. The software will ask you to confirm your identity and age (there are typically age checks) and you’ll be ready to start playing! Once you’ve got your account sorted you can then play in the cash games, tournaments and Sit & Go’s that are available.
There are also a number of software programs that can be used to enhance your poker experience. Some of these include hand database programs that save, sort and recall all your hands played. These can be very useful for analysis of your play and help you to improve your poker skills. Other programs can scan the active tables for players that you have previously played with and display a range of statistics from previous hands with those players next to their name (known as a heads up display or HUD). These tools can be a great way to improve your poker knowledge and improve your play.
For those looking to learn more about the theory of poker, there are a number of books that can help. The most popular is probably “The Mathematics of Poker” by Matt Janda, which is an in-depth look at balance, frequencies and ranges. It isn’t for the faint-hearted and is best read after you’ve completed a basic course like The One Percent.
It’s important to note that in the US, online poker is only legal in a few states. However, more are expected to join the ranks in the future. Until then, there are a number of offshore poker sites that are available to players. These sites often have fewer consumer safeguards in place and can shut down at any time. This makes it a good idea to stick with state-licensed sites that are regulated by reputable agencies.