Online Poker

Online poker is a game of cards played over the internet. It can be played for real money or just for fun. There are tournaments and cash games and a whole lot more. There are tables with stakes as low as pennies and ones where you can compete for satellite entries into the biggest live events around the world. The game can be played on desktop computers, laptops or mobile devices such as tablets and phones.

In the not so distant past there was a distinct split between “live” and “online” poker players. You would hear stories of a “live pro” venturing online and not faring well and vice versa, with the latter complaining that live poker wasn’t “real”. Today there is much more overlap between the two. Most top players play both.

A big reason for this is the proliferation of tools that have sprung up to assist players in making better decisions at the table. One of the most powerful of these is a poker HUD (Heads-Up Display). These software programs break down the history of an opponent into clear and concise information. You can see all of their previous raises and calls, how often they have folded to a 3-bet and even their flop percentages! This sort of info can give you a huge advantage at the tables and is something that all serious online poker players employ.

Another tool to help make your decision making better is the ability to read the body language of other players at the table. This is particularly important in an online environment as you can’t pick up on the tells that you might be able to notice in a live game. There are still some tells to look out for however. Pay attention to how players bet, especially if they call all in with weak hands.

Once you’ve selected an online poker site and registered your user account you can get started playing real money games by adding funds to your balance. Most sites will have a deposit section that you can locate in the lobby menu. This area should be clearly labeled and easy to find. Simply click on the amount you wish to add and follow the directions provided by the poker room.

The best poker websites have games that are audited by third parties to ensure fairness. They also have high levels of security and encryption to protect player data. The best online poker sites also publish their privacy policies prominently on their home pages and are willing to address concerns raised by players. In addition, the sites should be licensed by their respective gambling authorities and display this license information on their home page. Finally, the site should be certified to use 128 or 256-bit SSL encryption to secure communications with their servers. This is a good indicator that the site cares about player safety.