Online Poker has become a hugely popular pastime for people around the world. It wasn’t long ago that poker was played only in smoky bars and casinos but after an amateur player named Chris Moneymaker qualified for the World Series of Poker Main Event by winning a $40 tournament online it went mainstream and people started taking poker much more seriously.
Online poker sites are licensed by reputable gambling authorities and use advanced encryption technologies (such as 128 or 256 bit SSL) to protect your personal information and financial details. They also have the games and random number generators independently audited by third parties to make sure that they are fair for all players. The best poker sites also have their privacy policies clearly displayed.
Signing up with a real money poker site is a relatively easy process and you will be asked to provide proof of identity and address which may involve sending scanned copies of your ID and a utility bill or credit card statement. You’ll also be required to create a user account and deposit funds into it.
The best online poker sites have a wide range of banking methods for you to deposit and withdraw with. These include Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards, prepaid cards, ACH transfers, e-checks, PayPal, Skrill, wire transfer or even the good old fashioned cheque in the mail. Look for a site that accepts your preferred method and check the minimum and maximum deposit limits as well as any fees per transaction. You should also find out how quickly withdrawals can be processed.
Many poker players also use various software applications to help them with their game. These can include hand database programs that store, sort and recall all the hands you have ever played online. They can also be used to scan active tables and display previous statistics from hands with other players next to their name (known as a heads up display or HUD) and to provide odds, equity and variance calculators. Some of these are also able to scan your own hand histories and identify likely mistakes that you have made.
If you’re thinking of playing for real cash then choose a site with a solid reputation and an excellent customer service team. You can check out the reputation of a poker site by reading reviews and forums. The top sites will always display their licensing and safety certifications in a prominent place. You should also look for a site that doesn’t allow shady tracking software and has its own anti-HUD software. Finally, be aware that variance is a massive part of poker and there will be days when things don’t go your way. Don’t get upset and accuse other players of rigging the game – just brush it off and come back tomorrow.