Online poker is a game of cards played against other players via the internet. The games aren’t rigged or fixed as some people believe, but are run at random with cards drawn from a standard 52-card deck by a Random Number Generator (RNG). This means that every player has an equal chance of winning each hand they play.
Until the early 2000s, poker was only played in smoky bars or casinos but an accountant from Tennessee elevated it to primetime when he created a way to securely hold cash wagers and let players play against each other on the internet. This made poker more accessible to people from all walks of life, not just those with access to smoky bars or the casino floor.
Since that time, the number of online poker sites has grown significantly and most offer a large range of real money games to choose from. Many of these sites also offer regular tournaments with massive prize pools. Players can log on at any time of day and find thousands of players ready to join a table.
When choosing a site it’s important to consider the type of games you want to play, the bankroll you’re comfortable depositing and any bonuses and promotions available. Some of the larger poker sites also offer a mobile app which is convenient to use on a smartphone or tablet.
If you live in a state where poker is legal it’s best to select an online site that offers games in your jurisdiction. This will ensure that you can deposit and withdraw funds easily. It will also limit the risk of you running into a poker room that doesn’t have any basic consumer safeguards or regulation.
Another thing to consider is the amount of traffic a poker site gets. A higher traffic site will generally have a larger player pool, making it easier to find a game to join. This is especially important at lower stakes, where it can be challenging to find a full table. High traffic sites also tend to have more frequent tournaments with huge prize pools.
Lastly, it’s important to know that if you play poker in the United States, you will need a valid ID and proof of address. This is a requirement to prevent minors from playing online and you’ll have to provide this information to most poker sites before they’ll let you play.
In addition to this, some states have additional requirements, including age restrictions. It’s important to check the poker site’s terms and conditions carefully before registering to make sure you can comply with all these rules. Fortunately, there are a few ways to verify your identity, such as a photo identification, driving license or passport. It’s also a good idea to have a backup method for funding your poker account, such as a prepaid card or e-wallet service. This will allow you to get started faster, and reduce the time it takes for you to get your first real money hands in.