Online poker takes the concept of playing poker against other people and cranks it up to a whole new level. It is now possible to play from anywhere in the world for a fraction of the cost of attending a live event and you can wager with anything from pennies to tens of thousands of dollars. In addition you can play for satellite entries into some of the biggest live tournaments in the world.
The game has also become more professional with many top players committing a significant amount of time and money to improving their skills. They are not just enrolling in a few of the best training sites and courses they are arming themselves with a host of handy tools that can help to speed up the learning process.
Getting started with online poker is fairly simple. Most poker sites offer a quick start option where you just enter the game you want to play, your stakes and how many players you’d like to play against and you will be instantly seated at a table. This saves a lot of time and allows you to get to the game you’re most comfortable with in no time.
All online poker games are played over the Internet using software that connects you to a server run by the site. The program encrypts and safeguards your personal information and financial data to ensure it is secure. The software is small enough to be downloaded on almost any computer or laptop with a reasonably fast Internet connection. It is also compatible with almost all mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.
Most online poker players use a software program to track their results and those of their opponents. These programs, such as Hold’em Manager or PokerTracker, run during a session attached to the poker client and update in real time. They allow you to view and analyze all kinds of stats ranging from your win rate to the number of times you’ve made it to showdown.
The programs are usually free to download but you must be 18 or older to play. Some have a “Play Money” option where you can try out the software without depositing any money. This is a great way to test out the software and see if it’s something you would enjoy playing.
One thing to keep in mind is that different types of online poker have their own quirks and unique rules. You will not find that the same skills you learn in NL Heads Up cash will translate perfectly to Omaha/8 MTTs and high stakes HU. You will need to adapt your strategy accordingly.
The legality of online poker is constantly changing. While it is not yet available in all states, several are currently regulated and have launched a variety of sites. It is expected that more states will regulate the game in the near future. The most recent move came from New Jersey which signed an agreement with Delaware and Nevada allowing for shared player pools between the three.