Online poker takes the game of poker and cranks it up to a whole new level. Players can play for free, for the smallest stakes possible (literally pennies), for satellite entries into world-class live tournaments around the globe or for the highest stakes you can imagine. You can do it all from your PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.
The first step to playing poker online is to choose a site and download the software. This doesn’t take long on most modern computers and you can play in no-download versions too if you don’t have the necessary hardware. Next you need to create an account. This will involve entering personal information like your name, address and credit card details or a username and password. You can then choose from a number of deposit methods to fund your account and start playing for real money.
It is important to be aware of the risks involved in playing poker online. For one thing, there is the possibility of addiction. If you have addictive tendencies or are easily influenced by others, online poker is not for you. Also, there is the risk of losing large sums of money very quickly. This can be especially true in low-limit games, where the swings can be dramatic.
Another factor that you need to consider is the potential for rigged games. This is not as big a problem as it once was, because most of the major poker sites have removed rigged tables from their client software. Nevertheless, it’s still something to be aware of, so make sure you read up on it before you start playing.
Lastly, you need to have the right mindset to succeed in online poker. It is a very up and down game and it’s easy to get caught up in bad beats and coolers. It’s important to learn to keep your emotions in check and remember that the math will sort things out in the end.
A great way to increase your winnings is by finding an online poker site that offers a good rakeback deal. This could be a straight percentage of the rake collected, or it could be in the form of points that you can redeem for cash or bonuses. Whichever route the poker site chooses to take, it’s important that you find a good deal because it can make all the difference in your bankroll.
The halcyon days of regulated online poker in the US came to an abrupt halt after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This legislation was designed to stop financial institutions from processing payments that were related to online gambling. It ended up having a significant impact on the industry, but many of the largest sites managed to remain operational in spite of it. However, it did stall the progress of several states towards forming multi-state compacts for regulating online poker.