Online poker has taken the old idea of playing poker for money and turned it into a digital game accessible from any computer, tablet or mobile device with an internet connection. Players can play for anything from free, to satellite entries into the biggest live tournaments around the world, to the highest stakes. And it’s all available 24/7.
Many states now have laws that make playing poker online legal, and these sites offer a variety of games. Some are regulated, offering secure transactions and privacy policies that protect your personal information. Others are not, and you should be cautious of those sites as they may be unlicensed, operate without basic consumer safeguards, and could abruptly close down at any time.
Most of the leading poker sites offer free play money tables so you can try out the software and learn the rules before wagering any real cash. These tables are usually grouped into categories such as Cash Games, Sit & Go’s, and Tournaments. Some also have a special beginner tab where you’ll be seated with players that classify themselves as beginners, which dramatically levels the playing field.
Another advantage of online poker is that it’s easy to deposit and withdraw funds. Depending on the site, you can use credit cards, e-checks, third-party eWallets, and even wire transfers to get your money. This convenience can help to keep your bankroll safe from bad beats, especially if you have a small bankroll. It’s also a good idea to have a separate bank account for your poker winnings, and to use a virtual Visa card for the sole purpose of gaming, so you can easily track your wins and losses.
Poker is a game with a big short term luck element built right in. This is what draws the amateurs in, but it can also be a killer for them if they don’t have a solid long term strategy. You have to be able to take bad beats and cooler heads-up plays in stride, and realize that the math will sort things out for you in the end.
If you’re a new player, it’s a good idea to stick with a tight, ABC game at micro and low stakes. However, if you see a loose player that raises every bet with marginal hands like AK, KK, QQ or JJ, it might be worth trying a light 3-bet against them. A good HUD will let you know who the weaker players are, so you can target them with this type of bet. Just be sure to watch for bluffs though!