Online poker is a traditional card game played over the internet. It’s available to people of all ages and skill levels and can be played on any computer, tablet or mobile device. There’s a huge range of stakes on offer, from free play to satellite entries into the world’s biggest live tournaments.
Getting started with online poker is easy, especially if you’re in the US where there are multiple regulated options. First you’ll need to choose a site and download their software, this will generally require you to register a player account and pass an age check. Once you’re signed in you can navigate to the cashier or tournament pages and deposit funds with your credit or debit cards, pre-paid cards, e-checks, wire transfers or through third party eWallet providers.
Once you have money on your account you can then select a table to join. The lobby is usually categorized by the type of game you’re interested in playing and will include sections for cash games, tournaments, Sit & Go’s and any other special format games that the site runs. Many sites also feature beginner tables where you’ll be seated with other players who have self-classified themselves as beginners. This dramatically reduces the amount of risk involved and levels the playing field for newcomers to online poker.
Then there are the rules of poker, which you’ll need to memorize. This includes things like what beats what and the odds of winning a particular hand. It’s important to understand these concepts before you start playing because they’ll help you maximize your profits. If you don’t understand these rules, you’re likely to make costly mistakes that will quickly erode your bankroll.
It wasn’t until 2003 that the world started taking online poker seriously when amateur Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event through a $40 tournament on an online site. This launched the poker boom and led to the creation of a massive number of online poker rooms, where players can compete against each other for real money.
The US has been a mixed bag for regulating online poker, with some states passing legislation and licensing operators while others have blocked it on federal level. This was largely due to the federal Wire Act, which the Obama administration used to crackdown on the industry in 2011 – known as Black Friday.
The current Trump administration has re-interpreted the law, making it clear that it only applies to sports betting and not to online poker. This has allowed some states to reopen their doors and allow players to compete across state borders, including Michigan joining the MSIGA in 2022. This is a major development for online poker and could lead to the eventual reintroduction of multi-state online poker in the United States.