Online poker takes the classic card game and cranks it up a few notches. It can be played completely free or for the smallest stakes imaginable (literally pennies) for the chance to win satellite entries into some of the world’s best live poker tournaments. It can also be played for millions of dollars in cash prizes or just for the fun of it. It’s all available at a click of a mouse or swipe of a touch screen.
Real money online poker sites can be accessed from a desktop or mobile device and offer games in a variety of formats including ring games, tournaments, sit-n-go’s, satellites and even multi-table events like turbos and GTD’s. They also use the latest encryption technologies and have their random number generators audited by independent third parties to ensure they are fair and not rigged in anyone’s favor. Look for sites that display this information prominently to help you make an informed decision about where to play.
Many players also utilize software applications designed specifically for poker to give them an edge at the tables. These include hand database programs that allow players to save, sort, recall and replay all their online hands. They can also scan active tables for players they know and display previous statistics from hands with those players next to their name (known as a heads-up display or HUD). Some programs go further, offering quizzes, equity or variance calculators and other features.
The best poker sites will also have a solid software platform that is easy to use and offers plenty of customization options. They’ll have a clean interface and multiple filters, views and reporting on hand histories and poker stats. PokerSnowie for example is one of the most popular GTO poker software tools and is a must-have for any serious online player.
Another important feature of a top poker site is the ability to deposit and withdraw money safely. Fortunately, this is far easier today than it was in the past as most poker sites now accept a variety of popular banking methods including credit and debit cards, eWallets and bank transfers. Some also support responsible gambling advocacy and anti-money laundering solutions.
There are still challenges to be faced when it comes to legalizing online poker in the US. It will require legislation on a state-by-state basis and may take time before more states get their sites up and running. But the industry is poised for growth as more players become aware of the possibilities and demand access to safe, reputable gaming sites.
The first thing to consider when choosing an online poker site is your budget. Real-money poker requires a steady stream of funds to avoid running out of chips. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to sign up for a site with “beginner” tables so that you can be seated with other players who have classed themselves as beginners. This will dramatically level the playing field for newcomers and make it much easier to build up your bankroll.