How to Get Started in Online Poker

Online poker is a fun, easy to learn, intellectually thrilling game that rewards actual skill unlike slots or the lottery. It’s also something you can play for as long as you want from the comfort of your home. And, if you’re good enough, you can make a real living playing it.

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have driven many recreational players back to live poker rooms, there are still plenty of people playing poker online. In fact, poker traffic is actually up at many of the major operators due to the massive shift in player demand.

In the early days of online poker, it was a fairly casual game played in chat rooms and a few tournaments. But all that changed in 2003 when an accountant from Tennessee named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event by qualifying through a $40 tournament online. After Moneymaker’s victory, poker was elevated to primetime status and players started flocking to online casinos to wager against each other.

As the poker landscape became more popular, a number of online casinos were established to meet demand and offer safe, secure gambling environments. The best online casinos are fully licensed and regulated in their respective states and offer state-of-the-art software, secure banking options and a variety of games. They also feature a variety of ways for players to deposit and withdraw funds, including credit cards and cryptocurrencies.

A great way to practice and hone your poker skills is through freerolls or practice tables on the website of an online casino. These tables are often populated with new players and can be an excellent opportunity to gain experience and learn the ins and outs of the game. Most online casinos also have a mobile app so that you can play on the go, whether you’re at work or on vacation.

The best online poker sites have a wide range of games and stakes to choose from. Most of them feature Texas Hold’em, but some have pot-limit Omaha and seven-card stud as well. Some also have special tournaments such as the monthly Milly and daily monster stack events with large guaranteed prize pools.

Getting familiar with the basics of the game is essential before you start playing for real money. This includes knowing the rules of each game, the betting structures and how to read your opponents. It’s also important to understand basic math concepts like frequencies and EV estimation. As you play more hands, these numbers will become ingrained in your brain and help you play better by serving as an instinctive reference point. For example, you’ll quickly be able to recognize which suits are higher and lower by their relative frequency in the deck. This helps you adjust your strategy accordingly.